Supt. Bryan Johnson said over 14 percent of Hamilton County School students do not speak English as their first language and this percentage is continuing to grow.
He said, "We have over 30 languages spoken with 125 different dialects.
The topic came up at a School Board policy committee meeting on Thursday afternoon.
Dr. Johnson said the student English proficiency level is assessed, "then we are trying to push them to the next proficiency level so they can take advantage of the opportunities in our schools."
He said a large number of Hispanic students are now at Howard, which is part of the English as a Second Language feeder system along with East Ridge High.
A large number of those from non-English speaking backgrounds are at Eastside Elementary and Clifton Hills Elementary, it was noted.
Dr. Johnson said, :It's mind-boggling how many are moving in."
In a discussion of school fees, board member Rhonda Thurman said athletic fees are so high that some parents are having to pull their children from sports program. She said that is especially so when there are multiple children in school in the same family.
She said, "It's getting to be where sports is just for the rich." She said students from disadvantaged backgrounds "are the ones who need sports the most."
Talking about school field trips, new board member Jenny Hill said she noticed the discrepancies in trip costs - ranging from $400 per student to $1,100 for a Washington, D.C., trip.
Officials said under state law, "If everyone does not go, then nobody can go."