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Grand Prairie ISD Kicks Off New School Year With Summit

An education summit featuring nationally recognized speakers teaches audience about the city's growing diversity

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    Grand Prairie ISD kicked off its new school year with an education summit that focused on the city's changing demographics. (Published Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012)

    Grand Prairie ISD kicked off its new school year with an education summit on Thursday morning.

    The school district invited business leaders and community members to learn about the latest studies when it comes to the city's changing demographics.

    Nationally recognized demographer Dr. Steve Murdock said Hispanics are on the rise in Grand Prairie.

    He said about 40 percent of Hispanics in Texas and across the country have less than a high school degree, compared to about 10 percent of Anglos.

    "The reality of it is that the future of Texas and the United States is tied to the minority population. And how well they do is how well Texas and the U.S. will do," said Dr. Murdock.

    The school district's Council of PTA President Katrina Jones said she has seen the changes firsthand.

    "I've seen it just dramatically change from the Caucasian population to the Hispanic population. It's just kind of flip flopped," said Jones.

    For more than ten years GPISD has been delivering any form of parent communication in both English and in Spanish. And the school district has multiple entities working together to provide better access to parents who don't speak English.

    "We are certainly trying to certainly address our shift in population. We want to make sure that our administrative staff and teachers reflect the demographic change," said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Vern Alexander.

    Bilingual ESL Director Magda Schenck said about 7,000 students participate in the school district's dual language program. She said she hopes that number will go up as the city continues to grow in its diversity.

    "It's just going to propel us even deeper into our mission of creating all kids in Grand Prairie to be bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. No matter what their language is," said Schenck.

    First day of school in the Grand Prairie school district is on Monday.