The Sioux Falls School District says their student population is becoming more and more diverse over time.
For this school year, 69.4% of students are listed as Caucasian while 30.6% of students are listed as minorities.
A situation like this has its share of challenges. But the district is quick to say there are also a lot of opportunities as a result.
Sioux Falls' Jane Addams Elementary School is an example of the strength of diversity in the school district: all sorts of kids from all different backgrounds...together...learning about the world and each other. "We have learned a lot about how to work with these students and help them be successful. and that is our goal." DeeAnn Konrad with the Sioux Falls School District tells us this year's diversity numbers are part of a continuing trend that really started kicking in 15 years ago; where...on average..the rate of diverse students has been increase by 1-to-2 percent a year. "Some of them come to us already educated in their own languages so they have all the math and reading skill and that type of thing in their own language but then they need to catch up on the English language."
And in some cases, that catching up means students who come to the district not being able to speak a word of English. Which means the district has had to change how it does things: it has had to monitor...essentially..English immersion programs for those students. But Konrad says in some cases, the kids who learn English in Sioux Falls' elementary schools are the ones taking advanced courses in Sioux Falls' high schools. "We're always glad to have them. yes, there are challenges along the way but we really look at it as an opportunity rather than a challenge."
Konrad says one of the opportunities with having a diverse student population is this: some students are moving into the district after living in other countries...meaning students can sort of "see the world" without ever leaving their classroom.