There are 3,393 students enrolled at Evanston Township High School this year, the highest number recorded in 30 years, according to the annual Opening of School Report presented to the District 202 Board at its Nov. 14 meeting.  This is a 71-student increase since last year and a 238-student increase since 2012-13.

 “Is this what we expect in the future?” asked Board President Pat Savage-Williams.  Projections once showed enrollment would decrease, said Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, but that never happened. The school added about 600 students in 10 years.

The report showed enrollment disaggregated by race. Numbers show that the percentage of Hispanic/Latino, white and Asian students has increased. “The proportion of Hispanic/Latino students has increased to 17.7% in 2016-17 compared to 15.4% in 2012-13, which is the highest in ETHS history.  The proportion of white students increased to 44.1% in 2016-17 compared to 43.2% in 2015-16. The proportion of Asian students increased in 201617 to 5.5%, which is the highest in ETHS history,” said the report.

The percentages of black/African American and students who identify as two races decreased.

“The percentage of black/African American students is 29.8% in 2016-17, compared to 30.2% in 2015-16. The proportion of black/African American students has remained relatively steady for the past five years. The proportion of students identified as Two or More Races declined in 2016-17 to 2.4%, compared to 5.2% in 2012-13,” the report said.

The numbers of students taking special education and bilingual programs have increased. The number of students enrolled in the special education program increased from 396 in 2015-16 to 401 in 2016-17 and is the highest in five years. In 2016-17 there are 67 students enrolled in the bilingual program, which is twice the number of students enrolled in 2012-13.

Board Member Doug Holt asked if there had been any “budget consequences,” whether the school received “assistance” with the increased special education and bilingual needs. The school is “looking for the correct paraprofessionals”, said Principal Marcus Campbell.  There has been “an increase in staffing,” said Dr. Witherspoon.

All departments except English/reading increased enrollment in 2016-17. The history/social sciences department increased for the fifth consecutive year, and the physical education and wellness department increased for the fourth consecutive year. The mathematics and science departments increased enrollments for the third consecutive year. The enrollments in all departments are higher than in 2012-13.

“We are probably in the best of all situations” said Dr. Witherspoon. There “is growth” but it is not “unmanageable.”