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October 14, 2013 06:06 PM

Diversity Of The Sioux Falls School District

Sioux Falls, SD

Sioux Falls schools are continuing to become more diverse.

The state's largest school district is using its annual demographics report to find ways to improve and grow with the diverse population.

According to the District, kids are speaking 60 different languages with several dialects in Sioux Falls schools. And that number could continue expanding with new ethnic students moving to the area.

"Right now this year, we are 30.4 percent diverse. So that number continues to grow at a rate of about one to two percent over the last 15 years or so," Community Relations Supervisor DeeAnn Konrad said.

To help acclimate these kids into regular classrooms, there are programs to help them learn English at their own pace.

The English Language Learning program, or E.L.L., is designed to work with kids on a one-on-one basis.  According to the Demographics Report, there are currently more than 2,000 students participating in E.L.L..

There is also a special class for older students, looking to graduate high school, called the Multicultural Academy.

"They maybe came to us as 15, 16, 17-year-old students who desperately want a high school diploma. And so they're working at a faster pace, learning the English language right along side of gaining their high school credits. So they can receive a diploma," Konrad said.

Konrad says having such a diverse population has been a learning experience for the faculty and students.

"Those are their classmates. They're the students sitting right next to them. And so our students are able to learn about the world through the eyes of their fellow classmates," Konrad said.

The Demographics Report also looks at other areas of diversity, such as the number of special needs students in the district.

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