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Katy ISD's Rapid Growth Includes Expansive Language Groups

(KATY ISD) – Katy ISD is the fastest growing school district by student population in the Greater Houston Area, welcoming more than 2,000 new students and families each school year. According to demographers, Katy ISD’s enrollment will exceed 100,000 students by 2027, a conservative projection by many indications. With this growth, 30 percent of new enrollees are considered emergent bilingual — a learner whose native language is something other than English and is in the process of developing English proficiency.




During the October Board meeting, Linda Shepard, Director of Katy ISD’s ESL and Bilingual Programs, delivered an update on this growing population of Katy ISD students and plans for ensuring all students continue to thrive amongst the district’s changing demographics.

PEACE network team

“The Office of Other Languages has created a Parent & Family Empowerment Amid Community Engagement (PEACE) network team to create opportunities for parents and families to engage in community events that support their child’s education, as well as help them connect and share their talents,” said Shepard.


Among the supports Katy ISD provides to emergent bilingual students and their families are science, technology, engineering, arts, and math programs hosted at the district’s STEAM Center, and information sessions focused on course selection and applying for post-secondary education.


More than 25 percent of Katy ISD’s current student population are emergent bilingual learners who are in the process of acquiring English. Many of these students receive language support, bilingual dual-language and English as a second language services that help facilitate the acquisition of English and learning. Currently, a fully comprehensive bilingual dual-language education program is available in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade to Kay ISD’s native Spanish speakers who represent the district’s largest emergent bilingual group.

The district is also ensuring instructional staff are prepared to serve its growing emergent bilingual population.


“Beyond ESL certification opportunities, the district provides a comprehensive professional development plan to support teachers with the tools to address the varying proficiency levels of their students,” said Shepard. “Components of the plan address students’ affective, linguistic, and cognitive development, as well as the positive contributing factors of parent, family and community engagement in a child’s education.”

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