SDL sees district moving closer to 2025 diversity goal | Community News

When: Lancaster School District Council Meeting, Nov. 1.

What happened: The percentage of McCaskey students of color taking advanced courses continues to rise, and that increase should help the district meet a diversity goal by 2025.

Quotable“We’re excited about what we’re seeing from our students and faculty,” McCaskey principal Justin Reese told board members.

Objective: More than 30% of McCaskey students of color will enroll in and successfully complete advanced coursework by June 30, 2025, Reese said.

Numbers: For International Baccalaureate classes, this fall brought 145 additional students, and 47.7% of that increase came from students of color. Advanced Placement courses saw an increase of 101 students this year. Students of color made up 43.4% of new enrollments.

ETC: The school’s vocational and technical training program has also seen an increase. Career and technical education classes increased by 144 new students, and 53.9% of that increase came from students of color, Reese said.

Book program: The district is updating book titles for 9th and 10th graders to better teach English/language arts goals and provide choices that resonate with teens, said Karen Wynn, who directs educational programming and professional development for the district. Novels and non-fiction books join the regular program.

Quotable“We want our kids to see themselves in these books,” Wynn said after the meeting. Students, parents, teachers, administrators and two board members formed a curriculum committee that held book club meetings.

Details: The group looked at the diversity of characters and book authors, as well as sexual preferences, Wynn told board members.

Ninth: Freshmen will continue reading “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros, which can be paired with a new selection, “#NotYourPrincess,” an anthology of Native American female voices. Ninth graders will also read The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, a Shakespearean play that the students read a few years ago. Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” will remain on the list, while the young adult version of Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” will be another new offering.

Tenth: The district will test a student favorite called “Station Eleven” in one or two classrooms because administrators are concerned the text structure will be too difficult, Wynn said. The fantasy novel, by Emily St. John Mandel, deals with the effects of an influenza pandemic.

More information: Students will continue reading the play “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry, “The Kite Runner”, a novel by Khaled Hosseini and “Night” by Elie Wiesel.

Next: The school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9. The public can view the meetings and register to comment on the district’s website.

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