We are eager to share the experiences of our new volunteers as they embark on their journey. There is sure to be a lot of information shared, games played, craft projects completed and most of all, relationships built this year. With this great success of reaching 100 new volunteers, we know there is a lot more work to be done until every student who wants or needs a mentor has one.
Changes are happening in Sioux Falls, and schools often are where these changes are first noticed. The Government Research Bureau at the University of South Dakota recently did an analysis of the Sioux Falls School District. In their report, some key findings include:
- Enrollment continues to increase. The Kindergarten class in 2005 was 1,659 students. The Kindergarten class in 2013 has 2,182 students.
- The percent of students receiving free or reduced lunch has steadily risen over the past 8 years. It is projected to be over 50% of district students in 2016.
- On average, the number of English Language Learning students has grown by at least 10% each year since 2005. ELL students were nearly 10% of the districts population in 2013.
- From the 2008-2012 American Community Survey (via the US Census Bureau) shows that in the City of Sioux Falls, there are 34.5% of families with a female householder (no male present) with children under the age of 18 living below the poverty level. When looking at the families with a female householder with children aged 5 and younger, the percent increases to 45.4% who are living below the poverty level.
As a community, we need to keep pace with these changes to help the growing number of youth who need extra support. Schools are not able to tackle all of the issues a student faces alone. Please do your part by considering becoming a mentor. It is just one hour a week and the rewards are priceless.