SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota’s largest school district is seeing an increase in students and record diversity.
The Sioux Falls School District saw a jump in diversity at all student levels, but the increase in people of color is largely occurring from the bottom up. Data prepared for the latest school board meeting show about 4 in 10 elementary school students are nonwhite.
White students currently make up just under 64 percent of the district’s nearly 24,000 students, the Argus Leader reported.
“The big picture is, we’re still growing,” said Brian Maher, the district’s superintendent. “We’re growing in diversity from the bottom up.”
Maher is focusing on increasing the number of teachers of color as the district diversifies. He said he’s also making sure teachers are trained to work with different cultures.
The district also grew this year by more than 300 students. Those students speak 90 different languages, a record high number for the district, according to the data.
Maher said the increase is slightly above projections, which the district bases on birth rates in the city.
Sioux Falls schools’ demographic report also showed that nearly half of students qualify for free or reduced lunches. About 3,500 students also receive special education support.
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com