Evanston news delivered free to your inbox! 

Lora Taira, director of information services at School District 65, presented the Opening of Schools Report for 2012-13 at the School Board’s Nov. 5 and 12 meetings.

Enrollment: The report reflects that 7,027 students are enrolled in the District’s elementary (k-5) and middle schools (6-8), up 218 students from last year. The number of students in the elementary schools increased by 163 students; the number in the middle schools increased by 55 students.

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 7,140, up 199 students from last year.

Kindergarten Enrollment: 863 students are enrolled in kindergarten, 41 more 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: 468 children attend an early childhood education program at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center. 

Ethnic Breakdown of the K-8 Enrollment: 44% of the K-8 students are white, 25% black, 18% Hispanic, 7% multi-racial, and 5% Asian. In the last 12 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 25% in 2012; 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 18% in 2012.

At the kindergarten level, 47% of the students are white, 22% black, 17% Hispanic, 6% Asian, and 7% 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 70% white. 

Low Income: 2,709 students, or 36% 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 63% at Oakton to a low of 14% at Orrington.

The percentage of low-income students is much larger, 43%, if the criteria include families receiving public aid, students living in institutions for neglected or delinquent children, students supported in foster families with public funds, and student on the free/reduced-price lunch program.

Homeless Students: There are a total of 299 students from households who said they were homeless, up from 200 last year and from 31 in 2004-05.

Special Education: 874 students ages 3-14, or 12% of all students, are in special education programs. Of those, 36% are black, 25% white, 26% Hispanic, 6% multi-racial, and 4% Asian.

ELL/TWI: 796 students are English Language Learners (ELL). Of these, 325 are enrolled in a Two-Way Immersion (TWI) program, 133 are in a transitional bilingual program, 142 are enrolled in an English as a Second Language program, and 196 have waived services. There are a total of 36 TWI classrooms at five different schools: Dawes, Dewey, Oakton, Washington and Willard.

ACC: 95 students are enrolled in the African-Centered Curriculum (ACC) program at Oakton School, 18 in kindergarten, 18 in first grade, 21 in second grade, 14 in third grade, 11 in fourth grade, and 18 in fifth grade.

Class Sizes: The average class sizes for general education classes at the K-5 levels are as follows: kindergarten – 21.4 students; first grade – 19.1 students; second grade – 20.5 students; third grade – 20.0 students; fourth grade – 20.9 students; and fifth grade – 19.7 students.

 There is a wide disparity in the average class sizes at the schools, ranging from a low of 15 students at the first grade at Oakton to a high of 24 students at kindergarten and fourth grades at Willard. 

Busing:  2,246 students are eligible to take the bus because of distance, safety or a program placement. Of these, 33% are black, 29% are white, 23% Hispanic, 6% Asian, and 6% multi-racial. The report does not reflect the number of students who actually take the bus. These numbers do not include special education students who have special transportation needs in their IEP.


D65 Projects Increased Growth

School District 65 is projecting that its K-8 enrollment will increase by a total of 503 students in the next five years (measured as the difference in enrollment at the start of the 2012-13 school year and the 2017-18 school year),  with most of the increase occurring at the middle schools. Lora Taira, chief information officer of the District, presented the projections to the School Board on Nov. 5.

The projections show a net increase of 194 students at the District’s K-5 schools in the next five years, and a net increase of 309 students at the 6-8 grade levels, with substantially all of that increase projected to take place at Haven and Nichols.

The schools with the largest projected increases in enrollment between 2012-13 and 2017-18 are: Nichols (+210), Haven (+96), Lincoln (+85), Dewey (+43) and Willard (+40). Lincolnwood is the only school where the enrollment is predicted to decrease substantially, a decrease of 54 students over the next five years.

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...