Schools receive grant money to teach diversity

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Classrooms in La Crosse will become more equipped to teach complicated topics.  Students in the La Crosse School District will begin to see racial justice integrated into their class curriculum.

“Our kids are watching and if we’re not helping them form healthy opinions and to have equitable perspectives and to be valued in our schools, we’re really missing out on an opportunity,” said Matt Kitzerow, principal of Longfellow Middle School.

The district was awarded a little more than 26-thousand dollars in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Grants from the La Crosse Public Education Foundation and Mayo Clinic Health System.

“This grant is in partnership with the YWCA. The YWCA is going to have people who will lead us through a racial justice training with our staff,” said Kitzerow.

Not only will there be training for staff, but students will benefit too.

“We are putting together materials that help to educate our students to become active community members that make the world a more inclusive place, a more safe place,” said Jeanne Halderson, 7th grade teacher at Longfellow Middle School.

The new materials will be distributed across the district, in the form of multicultural and diverse books, and art supplies and bandages that match a variety of skin colors.

“It impacts every single school,” said Halderson.

Principal Kitzerow said with what is going on in the world, these grants serve as an opportunity to improve the schooling environment.

“Just making sure that we’re constantly reflecting and constantly making sure that we create a school environment where all kids belong, and feel valued and respected,” said Kitzerow.

The grant money will be spread across all schools in the district. Three thousand dollars of it is set aside to purchase books at Logan Middle School. This is to allow students to see themselves represented regardless of their racial, ethnic, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation or gender identity.