Lora Taira, director of information services at School District 65, presented the Opening of Schools Report for 2010-11 at the School Board’s meeting. 

Enrollment: The report reflects that 6,809 students are enrolled in the District’s elementary (k-5) and middle schools (6-8), up 226 students from last year. The number of students in the elementary schools increased by 155 students; the number in the middle schools increased by 71 students. See chart below.

Ms. Taira said the “official enrollment,” which includes students in the elementary and middle schools, Park School, Rice School and students aged three and up receiving special education services at the Joseph E. Hill Center, is 6,941, up 249 students from last year. 

Kindergarten Enrollment: 822 students are enrolled in kindergarten, 10 fewer than last year. Ms. Taira said 94% of those students had pre-K experience in a home or center daycare, pre-school or Head Start. 

Pre-K: 441 children attend an early childhood education program at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center, which includes 52 students in the age range, birth to three.  

Ethnic Breakdown of the K-8 Enrollment: 43% of the K-8 students are white, 26% black, 19% Hispanic, 7% multi-racial, and 5% Asian. In the last 10 years there has been a drop in the percentage of black students enrolled in grades K-8 at District 65 from 45% in 2000 to 26% in 2011; a part of this drop may be due to a multi-racial category being introduced in 2005. During the same period, the percentage of Hispanic students attending District 65 has increased from 8% in 2000 to 19% in 2011. See chart below.

At the kindergarten level, 44% of the students are white, 22% black, 20% Hispanic, 5% Asian, and 8% multi-racial. 

Ethnicity by School:  In accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Seattle School District case, the District no longer uses race as a factor in admitting students to the magnet schools or in granting permissive transfers. This year one school, Orrington, has a racial group that exceeds 60 percent of the student body at the school. Orrington is 68% white.  

Low Income: 2,923 students, or 40% of all students, are identified as low-income (using free/reduced-price lunch as the criteria). The percentage of low-income students at the District’s schools ranges from a high of 66% at Oakton to a low of 19% at Orrington. 

Homeless Students: There are a total of 200 students from households who said they were homeless, up from 31 in 2004-05. 

Special Education: 863 students ages 3-14, or 13% of all students, are in special education programs. Of those, 38% are black, 24% white, 27% Hispanic, 6% multi-racial, and 5% Asian.

ELL/TWI: 832 students are English Language Learners (ELL). Of these, 325 are enrolled in a Two-Way Immersion (TWI), 165 are in a transitional bilingual program, 19 are in a bilingual special education program, 160 are enrolled in an English as a Second Language program, and 176 have waived services. There are a total of 36 TWI classrooms at five different schools: Dawes, Dewey, Oakton, Washington and Willard. 

ACC: 96 students are enrolled in the African-Centered Curriculum (ACC) program at Oakton School, 18 in kindergarten, 21 in first grade, 14 in second grade, 11 in third grade, 18 in fourth grade, and 15 in fifth grade. 

Class Sizes: The average class size for general education classes at the K-5 levels are as follows: kindergarten – 19.4 students; first grade – 20.6 students; second grade – 19.4 students; third grade – 21.4 students; fourth grade – 19.3 students; and fifth grade – 20.4 students. 

 There is a wide disparity in the average class sizes, ranging from 13 students at the first grade at Oakton to a high of 25 students at third grade at Lincolnwood.  

Busing:  3,165 students are eligible to take the bus because of distance, safety or a program placement. Of these, 33% are black, 27% are white, 28% Hispanic, 6% Asian, and 6% multi-racial. The report does not reflect the number of students who actually take the bus.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...