As student population grows, so grows diversity
The Dublin City School District's student enrollment has grown every year for the past 36 years and there is no end in sight to that long-term trend.
In the fall of 1977, district enrollment was 1,899.
This fall, enrollment is expected to push toward 15,000 students when the official October count is taken.
During that time, the district has grown from one central campus on Bridge Street, to 20 school facilities located throughout the district's 47-square miles.
Dublin City Schools is the 12th largest in Ohio and has more students enrolled than Dayton City Schools, Canton City Schools, and Youngstown City Schools.
The student enrollment growth has averaged about 300 new students per year, but in the early 1990s, the district added 600-700 students per year during a several years stretch.
One of the outcomes of this continual enrollment growth has been an exponential growth in the district's diversity.
In 2002-03, minority students made up 17.8 percent of the population in our district.
Last year, this percentage increased to 31.5 percent.
That percentage is virtually identical to the percentage of minority students in South-Western City Schools.
When looking into the specific ethnicities in that same 10-year span, our African-American subgroup has grown from 2.9 percent to 4.3 percent and the Asian population has increased from 10.5 percent to 17.2 percent. The Hispanic and multi-racial subgroups have seen even greater increases as their percentages have more than doubled during the past decade.
Another subgroup of students that has seen dramatic increases is our students coming from poverty.
In 2002-03, 3.9 percent of our total student population was classified as economically disadvantaged.
By 2012-13, that number was nearly four times higher.
It has increased to 15 percent of our students.
While many will find these statistics interesting, what may be even more surprising is that Dublin City Schools has more diversity in certain subgroups than do some large urban areas.
Our district has more English Language Learners than Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Dayton City Schools.
The district continues to grow in the number of students that are learning English in our ELL Program.
Ten years ago we had 569 students in the program.
We now have 1,253 students in the program to date.
Of these students, 36 percent have been assessed to be at the very earliest levels of learning English. The state refers to these students as pre-functional or beginning language learners.
Our top four native languages spoken within the Dublin City Schools ELL Program are Spanish, Japanese, Arabic and Telegu.
Our students come from 46 different countries and speak 59 different languages.
There are English Language Learners in every one of our elementary, middle and high school buildings.
Sells Middle School has more than 100 students in the ELL program with Indian Run, Wright and Thomas elementary schools each identifying more than 150 students learning English.
As required by law, we assess all students who enroll in our schools that report speaking another language other than English at home.
This fall we have assessed more than 450 students and approximately 200 of those students were not designated as needing English Language Learners services.
In addition to those students with diverse backgrounds who enter our schools with a knowledge of English each year, we exit students from the ELL program once they have met the state standard and acquire enough English to no longer need this additional support.
This helps to demonstrate the increasing number of children who bring a diverse perspective to our learning environment.
Diversity is a positive for the students of Dublin City Schools.
In the 21st century global economy, our students will most likely interact with individuals from throughout the world, with various cultural backgrounds and speaking many different languages.
Fortunately, our students have the opportunity to be exposed to global citizenship right here in our district.
Jill Reinhart, Dublin City School District director of literacy and English language learning, submitted the School Notes column.