With those populations growing in AISD, "You've got students who need a little more special attention sometimes," Stone said. "We're making progress, but we've still got a way to go."
But educational implications can go even deeper.
Abilene ISD's demographics are drawing closer to mirroring statewide proportions, meaning students are experiencing diversity similar to the real world they will face beyond graduation.
Both Cooper and Abilene high schools have been on the edge of facing that "unacceptable" status in recent years because of black students struggling in math and science.
"I think the secret to working with diverse students is to teach to the individual student," he said. "I think it's extremely important that the school district and campuses do an extraordinary job assessing where each student is and measuring their progress by name and by face."
"We learn about this so we can go to lengths to break those barriers down and make schools more inviting," he said. "We're not against them. We're not passing judgment. We're just working to help their children move forward."
He said by teaching to particular groups, "the job gets too big. I think you teach students one child at a time."
For instance, many in poverty have general distrust of governmental systems, said Jeff Brokovich, district executive director of Title I funds for low income students.
Abilene ISD voters have twice turned down a bond election for a career tech high school, which some hoped would have appealed to students who weren't considering college or were at risk of dropping out.
He theorizes minority groups are increasing in Abilene because they are moving closer to work from outlying areas, which often means they are families that struggle economically.
Abilene schools becoming
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As the district evolves with more diversity and the state holds school districts responsible for students in every race and income level, AISD is continuously developing programs in attempts to reach them all with opportunities for educational success.
AISD has long had more low income students than the state average while the population continues to rise. In 2003, AISD had 54.3 percent low income students, which has risen to nearly 60 percent in 2009.
This is consistent with his methods to frequently give students assessments so teachers can identify each students' weaknesses and create appropriate remediation.
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New reports from the Texas Education Agency confirm the trend that the Abilene Independent School District is increasingly becoming a "majority minority" district, with just over 50 percent of students representing races other than white.
working on initiatives to specifically help Hispanic populations by presenting Cafe Con Leche events for Abilene to learn about Hispanic education issues and college preparation.
For instance, the school district can have 95 percent passing math, but if all student groups aren't meeting basic requirements, the school can still be labeled "unacceptable" by the state.
the University of Texas system. He said statistics show Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in the state and are expected to be the majority by 2027.
Robles encourages parents to learn more about how their high school students can apply for college and financial aid.
Petty Hunter, president of the Abilene chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a community developer, said, "I think Armani Belt the pace that it's changing is not going to be drastic, but it is changing."
Nationwide, the "achievement gap" reveals Hispanic, black and low income students are scoring significantly lower than other students. In Abilene, about 63 percent of black students are meeting Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills standards, compared with 72 of Hispanic students and 84 percent of white students, according to the AEIS report.
While this diversity brings insight for students, it brings to Texas schools and districts a whole new world of accountability.
Abilene ISD's Hispanic enrollment has steadily grown from 26 percent in 1995 to 35.6 percent in 2009, according to the latest Academic Excellence Indicator System report released last week. The state's Hispanic enrollment has grown steadily to 47.9 percent this year.
The educational implications of the changing AISD population run deep.
"Don't let language be a barrier," he said.
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Growing diversity means Abilene ISD alumni are from a different background than the current students, which could come into play when they head to the polls. This is a statewide issue, said Mike Moses, the former Texas education commissioner with the search firm AISD recently hired to find a new superintendent.
"Districts and schools are required to ensure passing standardized test scores for each racial and socioeconomic group in every subject," said Billy Stone, AISD's director of accelerated programs.
cast ballots in favor of bond and school tax elections for school systems with children who don't look like them," he said.
This special attention is coming in various ways.
AISD's black student enrollment was 10 percent in 1995 and has risen continuously to 14.4 percent this year. This is the first year the district's black population has passed the state's steady proportion of 14.2 percent.
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