Enrollment: The report reflects that 7,559 students are enrolled in the K-8 grade levels at District 65, up 188 from last year; 404 children attend an early childhood education program at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center, down 14 from last year. Since 2006, the enrollment has grown by 1,461 students in the K-8 grade levels, or by 24%.

Kindergarten Enrollment: 815 students are enrolled in kindergarten, three less than last year; 96% of those students had pre-K experience in home day care, a daycare center, pre-school or Head Start.

Ethnic Breakdown of the K-8 Enrollment: 45% of the K-8 students are white, 22% black, 19% Hispanic, 9% multi-racial, and 5% Asian. In the last 15 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 22% in 2016; a part of this drop may be due to a multi-racial category that was introduced in 2005. During the same period, the percentage of Hispanic students attending District 65 has increased from 8% in 2000 to 19% in 2016. The accompanying chart shows the trends.

The ethnic breakdown of the incoming kindergarten class is 43% white, 18% black, 19% Hispanic, 12% multi-racial, and 7% Asian.

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 two schools, Orrington and Willard, have a racial group that exceeds 60 percent of the student body at the school. Orrington is 63% white, and Willard is 61% white. 

Low Income: 2,649 students, or 35% of K-8 students, are identified as low-income, measured by those who qualify for free- or reduced-fee lunch. This is down from 37% last year. Of those, 2,279 qualified for the free-lunch program, indicating a higher level of poverty. The percentage of low-income students at the District’s schools ranges from a high of 68% at Oakton to a low of 25% at both Orrington and Willard.

Homeless Students: There are a total of 150 students from households who are classified as homeless, down from 216 last year and up from 31 in 2004-05.

Special Education: 953 students ages 3-14, or 12% of all students, are in special education programs. Of those, 36% are black, 29% white, 25% Hispanic, 7% multi-racial, and 2% Asian.

ELL/TWI: 991 students are English Language Learners (ELL). Of these, 405 are enrolled in a Two-Way Immersion (TWI) program, 165 are in a transitional bilingual program, 323 are enrolled in an English as a Second Language program, and 89 have waived services. There are a total of 36 TWI classrooms at five different schools: Dawes, Dewey, Oakton, Washington and Willard.

ACC: 87 students are enrolled in the African-Centered Curriculum (ACC) program at Oakton School: 11 in kindergarten, 16 in first grade, 12 in second grade, 13 in third grade, 13 in fourth grade, and 22 in fifth grade.

District 65 Family Center: The number of children served at the Family Center is 190, down from 314 last year.

Class Sizes: The average class sizes for general education classes at the K-5 grade levels are as follows: kindergarten – 20.0 students; first grade – 20.0 students; second grade – 20.4 students; third grade – 20.0 students; fourth grade – 23.1 students; and fifth grade – 20.2 students.

 There is a disparity in the average size of general education classes at the schools, ranging from a low of 12.0 students in third grade at Oakton to a high of 27.5 students in fourth grade at Washington.

Busing: 2,809 students are “eligible” to take the bus because of distance, safety or a program placement. Of these, 27% are black, 33% are white, 25% Hispanic, 6% Asian, and 8% multi-racial. The report does not reflect the number of students who actually take the bus. These numbers do not include special education students.

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...