Austin Student Population Reaches Milestone

October 10, 2018 06:37 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- It’s changed the way students learn … and teachers teach.

And while it’s been building for years, this year is a “first”.


"It is truly a world community and the more that we can understand one another the better off we'll be," Austin Public Schools Superintendent David Krenz said.

The Austin school district has long been known for its diversity. And with the new school year, that diversity has reached a milestone.

“This year was the first time ever we saw the district crest that 50 percent threshold for non-white students," said Corey Haugen, the school district’s director of research evaluation and assessment.

It's happened at individual schools before, but never district-wide ... until now.

"Over the last two years, we're over a six percent increase, which has gotten us to this point now where we're at 50-point-9 percent non-white district-wide,” Corey Haugen told us.

The majority of the non-white students ... 29 percent... are Hispanic.  But the fastest growing segment is the Asian student population.

"And the majority of those are coming from Burma and Thailand, Karenni and Karen student population" Corey Haugen explained.

“They're cultures from all over the world and that's the challenge to us is for our teachers to get to know the students to better understand and to instruct, to better understand where the children come from so we spend a lot of time providing opportunities to do that " Superintendent David Krenz said.

And the district has expanded its programs to help students with limited proficiency in English.

"We look at individual students, where they're at and where they're where they need to go to and we take that into account and we personalize and individualize that program" Superintendent David Krenz explained.

And looking down the road:

"We do kind of have a crystal ball in our kindergarten center,” Corey Haugen said. “We're not seeing huge increases beyond that mid 50 to upper 50 percent there, but it will continue to increase our district percent as we go forward into the near future.”


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