Here are some demographic data regarding the student body at District 65 as reported in the District’s Opening School Report for 2018-2019.

Enrollment: The report reflects that 7,422 students are enrolled in the K-8 grade levels at District 65, a decline of 74 students from last year. In addition, 322 children attend an early childhood education program at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center, down 28 from last year. Since 2006, the enrollment has grown by 1,324 students in the K-8 grade levels, or by 23%.

Kindergarten Enrollment: 762 students are enrolled in kindergarten, 40 less than last year; 94% 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: 44% of the K-8 students are white, 22% black, 20% Hispanic, 9% multi-racial, and 5% Asian. In the last 16 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 2017; 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 20% in 2016. The accompanying chart shows the trends.

The ethnic breakdown of the incoming kindergarten class is 44% white, 20% black, 20% Hispanic, 10% multi-racial, and 6 % 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 only one school, Orrington Elementary School, has a racial group that exceeds 60% of the student body at the school. Orrington is 63% White.

Low Income: 2,685 students, or 36% 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, 2,348 qualified for the free-lunch program, indicating a higher level of poverty. The percentages of low-income students at the District’s schools range from a high of 67% at Oakton to a low of 16% at both Orrington and Willard.

Homeless Students: The report estimates there are a total of 199 students from households who are classified as homeless, 49 more than last year. This is up from 31 students in 2004-05.

Special Education: 945 students ages 3-14, or 12% of all students, are in special education programs. Of those, 34% are Black, 27% White, 29% Hispanic, 7% multi-racial, and 2% Asian.

ELL/TWI: 1,120 students are English Language Learners (ELL). Of these, 439 are enrolled in a Two-Way Immersion (TWI) program, 203 are in a transitional bilingual program, 359 are enrolled in English as a Second Language program, and 110 have waived services. There are a total of 38 TWI classrooms at six different schools: Dawes, Dewey, Oakton, Washington, Willard, and Bessie Rhodes.

There are a total of 81 native languages spoken by students in the District.

ACC: 85 students are enrolled in the African-Centered Curriculum (ACC) program at Oakton School: 9 in kindergarten, 17 in first grade, 15 in second grade, 16 in third grade, 14 in fourth grade, and 14 in fifth grade.

District 65 Family Center: The number of children receiving direct services at the Family Center is 119, down from 314 three years ago.

Class Sizes: The average class sizes for general education classes at the K-5 grade levels are as follows: kindergarten – 18.7 students; first grade – 19.9 students; second grade – 19.7 students; third grade – 19.8 students; fourth grade – 20.3 students; and fifth grade – 20.0 students.

There is a disparity in the average size of general education classes at the schools, ranging from a low of 10.0 students in kindergarten at Oakton to a high of 25.3  students in fifth grade at Kingsley.

Busing: 3,299 students are “eligible” to take the bus because of distance, safety or a program placement. Of these, 28% are Black, 29% are White, 29% 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...