Hispanic student numbers on the rise | PostIndependent.com

Hispanic student numbers on the rise

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE – More Hispanic students are enrolling in schools across Colorado and Garfield School District Re-2 is definitely feeling the increase. This year administrators anticipate for the first time in the district’s history to have a school where Hispanics represent the majority of the student population.”We’ve been seeing an increase in diversity for years,” said director of districtwide services Theresa Hamilton. “There’s been a significant increase in diversity over the past four years.”Districtwide, Re-2 has an unofficial Hispanic population of 38 percent as of Aug. 31. That’s a 3 percent increase from last year’s October counts, according to the Colorado Department of Education.Administration from Re-2 anticipate these figures to fluctuate throughout the year.October counts for 2006-07 school year calculated the Hispanic population at Highland Elementary in Rifle was 45.6 percent, kindergarten through fourth grade. As of Aug. 31, 2007, that figure rose to 48.8 percent for the same grades, while the white population saw a smaller increase of 1.2 percent to 48.5 percent this year.Of the 520 students currently enrolled at Highland in kindergarten through fourth grade, 254 are Hispanic and 252 White, with 14 students of other races. This is the most evenly balanced student body the district has had in any one school.”These numbers will change,” Hamilton said. “But right now it looks like we’re about fifty-fifty.”

The district’s official student count is calculated on Oct. 1; that figure will be turned in to the Colorado Department of Education as defining the 2007-08 student body. Early counts indicated Re-2’s districtwide enrollment at approximately 4,416 as of Aug. 31, an increase of 146 students (3 percent increase) over last year.Even with the increase in Hispanic students in Rifle schools, white students still outnumber Hispanics nearly two to one districtwide with Whites at 62 percent and Hispanics representing 35 percent of students.Speaking strictly of student population, Rifle Middle School is definitely feeling the growth impact with its – and Re-2’s – largest single-school student body this year at 773 students, nearly a 6 percent increase from last year. Hispanics represent 43 percent of the student population at RMS as of Aug. 31.Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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