As we here at the Sioux Falls School District gear up for the first day of school, we were reminded by Dr. Homan Wednesday morning exactly who we are, who we serve, and the community partnerships which make our success possible.
Some facts and figures about us:
Our enrollment continues to climb. Last year we grew by more than 500 students and our preliminary estimates show that we can expect 400-500 more again this year. A familiar phrase in the District is “This is a good problem to have.” We are pleased and excited to be a part of a growing, thriving community and to be entrusted with the education of our world’s most precious resource.
We’ll have an even better idea about our growing ethnic diversity at the end of September with our official enrollment count, but last year, 74% of our students were white and 26% of our students were not. More than 1,800 of our students natively speak a language other than English and are English Language Learners (ELL). Our students speak more than 51 different languages and that number does not include the varying dialects of those languages. Our expanding diversity brings priceless social awareness, unique perspectives and exciting educational opportunities to the classroom.
Our special education population alone is larger than all but five entire school districts in this state. Each day, our staff helps and guides 3,197 students with disabilities overcome all manner of obstacles in order to reach their educational goals.
Our nearly 1,200 expected preschool students will be getting a jump start to their education this year. The groundwork is being laid for success in the coming years by exploring reading, math, and developing the social skills that will make kindergarten, and the years beyond, more successful.
We have our work cut out for us. The children we serve continue to face economic challenges at home. Nearly 47% of our elementary students qualify for free or reduced lunch rates, a number which continues to grow.
That being said, our students also continue to surpass expectations. Our ACT scores and number of successful Advanced Placement test scores continue to outshine the state and national averages, and we exceed the yearly requirements laid out by the state regarding No Child Left Behind.
Our 2,800+ staff members are already back in the buildings, preparing for nearly 23,000 students to join them Monday morning.
We are dedicated and committed to educating and preparing each student to succeed in this changing world. Let’s have a fantastic year!