Issaquah families asked to report student ethnicity, race

June 8, 2010

By Staff

Issaquah School District officials are asking families to voluntarily report their children’s race and ethnicity information through June 15.

“Each year, school districts in Washington are legally required to report student ethnicity and race data to the state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction,” Superintendent Steve Rasmussen wrote in an e-mail. “Because federal and state lawmakers recently changed the reporting categories for this data, we need to completely update our records system.”

Families can report the information two ways: By accessing their Family Access account or by filling out an ethnicity and race reporting form.

There are two mandatory questions in the new reporting system. First, all students must be identified as either Hispanic/Latino or not Hispanic/Latino. Second, students must be identified by at least one racial category.

The new reporting system still places Hispanic/Latino and those of European origin in the “white” category.

“I apologize if this seems unintuitive — as a district, we have no leeway to alter any of the categories,” Rasmussen wrote.

The new reporting categories are meant to better reflect diversity in the district, the letter said. For example, families of Asian descent can delineate whether they’re Chinese or Japanese, or students with two ethnicities can list both.

District officials have updated the database of Family Access accounts to reflect previously known categories for students as a starting point for families. Families simply need to clarify any information.

The information is important to district and state officials, because it allows them to track changes in enrollment demographics and various outcomes, such as graduation rates, to ensure all students receive the services and educational programs to which they are entitled.

To change your student’s information under Family Access, click on On-line Registration then follow the instructions to verify and update your student’s information. Send the form to the district’s main office, 565 N.W. Holly St.

If your family does not take the opportunity to choose more specific ethnicity and race categories, the updated information district officials put in your Family Access account for your child will remain and will be reported to state officials in September.

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