Fairfield’s students are changing: What that says about the community

A recent report to the school board of Fairfield Schools revealed a continuation of a trend since 2014 of more racial diversity among the district's 10,000 students. (File Photo\Journal-News)

In recent years, the student population of one of Butler County’s largest school systems has also remained among its most diverse.

Officials at the 10,000-student Fairfield Schools recently updated the school board on the trend toward an increasingly diverse enrollment in the last six years.

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“It’s an opportunity to expose all our students to view various cultures and they don’t have to wait until college to learn there’s more out there,” said Matthew Crapo, director of student services, who presented the demographic information to the school board earlier this month.

During the 2014-15 school year, 66 percent of Fairfield’s enrollment were white students, 16 percent were Black students ; 9 percent were Hispanic students; and 2.5 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander students; and multi-race and American Indian students made up the remainder.

By last school year (2019-20), the percentage of Black students had risen to 22 percent with Hispanics continuing as the second largest minority group at 13 percent and Asian/Pacific Islanders increased to 6.4 percent. The majority white student’s percentage of enrollment decreased to 53 percent, according to the district’s records.

Fairfield Schools' spokeswoman Gina Gentry-Fletcher said “one of the things we are most proud of is how diverse our student population is.”

The district’s English as a Second Language (ESL) programs have mirrored the diversity growth that requires the special instruction program, said Gentry-Fletcher.

“We make every effort to accommodate the needs of all of our learners, but do have a focus on making sure that our English learners have the resources they need to be successful. We provide translation services, and our schools have tutors and ESL teachers. We believe that diversity is our strength,” she said.

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Crapo said Fairfield Schools have established a reputation in recent years among some other Butler County public school systems that attracts school families seeking that diversity.

“The numbers (demographic) are growing for a reason,” he said

Helping the trend, said Crapo, is the different geographical areas served by Fairfield Schools, with students coming from both the city of Fairfield and the suburban and rural parts of Fairfield Township.

“It’s obvious we are reaching a different number of different students and they are obviously happy here because we are a melting pot,” he said.

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