7 JCPS teachers selected to complete cultural literacy program at UofL


by Gene Kang


Posted on August 9, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 9 at 1:31 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A new elite group of Jefferson County teachers was chosen for a University of Louisville program that will help them with cultural diversity and conflict resolution in the classroom.

You can call them the "lucky seven," the first group of JCPS teachers out of 45 applicants chosen for a cultural literacy program at UofL with a specific vision in mind.

"Equity and equality are values that we hold and inclusion for all students," JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens said.

JCPS has the most diverse student population in Kentucky. With that diversity comes many different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
One of the "lucky seven," Wesley Mayes, said it's about building personal tools to better his 8th grade social studies class at Knight Middle School.

"I want to be able to influence other teachers and understand the students," Mayes said.

Waggener High School English Teacher, Martha Brennan, said: "Every teacher in our district needs to understand the diversity within his or her classroom whether through this program or we do it on our own."

Liam Bowan will begin his 7th grade year at Western Middle School and he said he believes they will all benefit from this diversity training.

"I think that if they each learn how to handle each one of us better there will be a reduced level of that and we'll learn how to get along in a better way," Bowan said.

In plain English, the C.A.R.D.S. program will provide selected teachers with a scholarship to earn a graduation certificate and master's degree at UofL. The winners from Westport, Western, Waggener, Stuart, Fern Creek, Thomas Jefferson and Knight will study world religions, Latino and African-American studies, history and social sciences in Fall 2013. It will help mediate cultural and social clashes in the classroom.

"These conflicts and differences are actually opportunities to build from," Shelley Thomas with UofL social studies education said.

The seven teachers won't be quitting their day jobs. The 33 hour master's program means they work and go to school at the same time, applying what they've learned in real-time.