This story appeared in print as part of “Real Models: CPS Grows Their Own Minority Teachers”

Nikki McGruder, executive director of the Diversity Awareness Partnership – Columbia and member of the Worley Street Roundtable, has been conducting a diversity audit of Columbia Public Schools, which began with sitting down with every CPS principal to find out about each school’s current landscape — what the makeup of the school is, what diversity training exists within the school, and what diversity curriculum looks like within the school.

This is part of Superintendent Peter Stiepleman’s vision for CPS: “We Are One,” a slogan the district uses to promote unity. McGruder says the district needs to go beyond saying “we are one” and begin implementing it through policy and procedure. This must occur at the individual, instructional, and institutional level.

McGruder says individual teachers must assess their personal experiences with diversity and assess whether their lesson plans recognize and respect all points of view and backgrounds. CPS as an institution must be active and passionate about recognizing and appreciating its diverse constituents — something that goes beyond one or two multicultural nights per year.

“We are at a point of transition in our history,” McGruder says, referencing the United States Census Bureau’s projection that racial and ethnic minorities will make up more than 50 percent of America by 2050. “The demographics are changing.”

McGruder wants to provide “culture kits” and readings to supplement existing social studies lessons in the classroom and Skyping with local professionals of color, known as community champions. Some of these plans could be implemented immediately, while others, like the culture kits, will take time to develop.

McGruder says they would first focus on younger grades in the first year of implementation, and the curriculum and kits will look different at each grade level.

Recent News

What We Get When We Embrace the Artisans

  The multi-year process of rewriting the city’s development code caused a significant amount of sturm und drang, especially among the downtown folks, but...

Intro to Co-working

This article appeared in print as part of “Remote Control”   You’ve heard of co-working, but what is it exactly? And is it for...

Your Guide to Driving Electric in Mid-Missouri

This appeared in print as part of “Not Quite Flying Cars.”   Columbia has limited charging options for electric vehicles. Here’s where to plug...

Could You Go Pro?

This article appeared in print as part of “Remote Control”   With a growing gig economy, remote work isn’t just for employees. Think you...

Women Entrepreneurs: Building the Team

This post is the final in a four-part series about creating a new entrepreneurship program, the Missouri Women’s Business Center, while simultaneously helping entrepreneurs...