Fairfield school administrators want staff to reflect community’s diversity

FAIRFIELD – Between 2017 and 2019 Fairfield’s student body became more diverse, poorer, with increasing students who are learning English or have disabilities.

Just over half – 4,903 or 53.1%– of the district’s nearly 10,000 students are white. There are 4,115 students or 44.5%, who are economically disadvantaged, as of the 2019-2020 school year.

However, the district’s teaching and administrative staff of color more than doubled from 20 to 46 between 2011 and 2020. The non-teaching staff of color increased from 20 to 34 – or 4.3% in 2017 to 7.2% in 2020.

That’s above the state average of about 5.2% of teachers who are people of color.

“We want to see the diversity of our community reflected in our school (staff),” said Roger Martin, assistant superintendent. “I’m not satisfied. We want to keep (increasing).”

The figures came from this month’s annual report by the district’s Equity Leadership team.

Ohio Department of Education Report Card data shows increases in the number of Black and Hispanic students as well as an increase in students identified as economically disadvantaged.

“We are noticing some difference in our black and Hispanic populations,’’ said Denise Hayes, co-chair of the team and principal at North Elementary School. “Our students of color are increasing.”

The report showed that for the 2017-2018 school year there were 1,691 students identified as Black – or 18.5% of the student body. Two years later there were 1,991 Black students or 21.5% of the student body.

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