Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Ford School: Comparing Student Populations in 2001 to 2011

Originally founded by English settler Edmund Ingalls in 1629, Lynn has clearly undergone substantial changes in its population since then. Today more than a third of Lynn's population is Hispanic or Latino. Interestingly, some neighborhoods/communities in Lynn have seen more considerable changes in terms of their population in short periods of time than others. One indication of transformations in a specific community's population are changes in its student demographics. The Highlands in Lynn is one neighborhood that has seen an evolution in its population over the past decade as evidenced by changes in the population attending the Ford School. Here we will compare Ford's student population from 2001- 02 to 2011-12. While the actual number of students attending grades K - 5 at Ford in 2011-12 is not much different from 2001-02 (605 versus 592), the demographic composition of the school has in a number of ways.

2001- 022011-12
African American20.2%10.5%
Native American0.2%0.5%
Multi-Racial, Non-HispanicN/A3.0%

First and foremost, one notices the substantial increase in Hispanic students at Ford; between 2001-02 and 2011-12, this population grew by 113%. Additionally, the African American and Asian student populations at the Ford School have decreased over the past 10 years. The white or Caucasian population has decreased by 72% since 2001-02.

2001- 022011-12
First Language Not English36.90%65.1%
Limited English Proficiency1.5%37.1%
Low Income83.50%90.0%
Special Education0.0%7.0%

As the Hispanic and other immigrant student population at the Ford School has increased, so has the percentage of English as a Second Language (ESL) and Limited English proficiency (LEP) populations. The ESL population has increased by 76% while the LEP population has increased by an astounding 2373%.  The low income population has not changed much since 2001. Interestingly, despite changes in ESL and LEP populations, the percentage of students achieving proficiency on the 3rd grade reading MCAS exam has only decreased by 13 percentage points (74% in 2001 vs. 61% in 2011). Thus, from this we see that while Ford continues to educate a majority low income population, language barriers have become a much more salient issue as the LEP and ESL population has grown exponentially. As far as demographic changes in the Highlands as a whole, this data indicates the racial/ethnic makeup of families with younger elementary school age children has changed over the past ten years from almost equal among the racial/ethnic groups to a Hispanic majority. 

*Data taken from:

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