Education notes: LPS symposium aims to attract more diverse educators | Education

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Officials at Lincoln Public Schools have made clear their goal of recruiting more teachers of color to better represent the district’s diverse student body. 

The Lincoln Board of Education even cemented that goal as one of four equity measurables it rolled out last year. Those goals include closing gaps based on race in the hiring of certificated staff, the graduation rate, school suspensions, and Advanced Placement and honors course enrollment.

Last Monday’s Aspiring Diverse Educators Symposium was just one example of how LPS hopes to reach those benchmarks. About 60 LPS students from diverse backgrounds who have an interest in teaching met with staff for roundtable discussions and workshops at the symposium.

The event featured remarks from a number of speakers, including Amanda Morales, an associate professor of education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2022 Nebraska Teacher of the Year Lee Perez, and Ebony McKiver, social studies education specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education.

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While the symposium concept is new, the district has held similar events in the past, primarily to recruit students to come back to teach at LPS after college, said Pete Ferguson, LPS youth development coordinator.

“I think that really put boundaries on the sandbox that we played in,” he said.

So at the symposium, the focus was broader: Connect students with a career in education beyond just the classroom and even LPS itself.

“If they’re going to be a principal, a coordinator (outside Lincoln), we at LPS, our community is going to jump up and down,” Ferguson said. “We need to celebrate that fact.

“Our hope is that we’ve done a good enough job that they’ve been recruited and tapped enough that when the situation is right, they see LPS and say, ‘I’m going to come back and give back and this is going to be where I make that mark.'”

Students at Monday’s symposium came from all three school levels and could register for the event, held at the Don Clifton Professional Learning Center.


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LPS has long wanted to diversify its teaching force to better reflect the changing demographics of Lincoln.

Roughly 93% of teachers at LPS are white, compared with just 64% of students.

Officials want to grow the percentage of teachers from diverse racial backgrounds to a target of 8.1%, as outlined in the board’s equity goals. An action plan to achieve those benchmarks is set to be unveiled later this month.

One student at the symposium summed up the importance of this work.

“I have never had the experience of a Latino or Latina teacher, and I want to become a teacher to change that for students like me.”

Lincoln High turns 150

Lincoln’s oldest high school started in the basement of an unused church at 12th and K streets in 1871. More than 150 years later, Lincoln High School is still around (although it moved on from its basement beginnings).







Links

The Links statue at Lincoln High School.




On Sunday, staff and students will host an open house to celebrate the school’s sesquicentennial from 1-4 p.m. The open house will include student-guided tours, an art show, a video-interview booth and a look at the school’s archives.

Lincoln High’s history dates back to 1871, when voters approved a $50,000 bond issue to construct the school at 15th and N streets. The school wasn’t ready until January 1873, so in the meantime, classes were held in the basement of Methodist Protestant Church. 

In 1915, the school moved to its current location at 22nd and J streets, and the old building — built on the site where Pershing Center would eventually stand — was torn down.







Links

The Links statue at Lincoln High School.




Sunday’s open house will kick off with introductory remarks in the Ted Sorensen Theater at 1 p.m.

In the words of former Principal Mike Wortman: Another Lincoln High job well done.


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