LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) has teamed up with the University of Louisville (UofL) to better equip JCPS educators for teaching in the state’s most diverse district.
JCPS and UofL officials today announced the kickoff of JCPS Teacher C.A.R.D.S. (Competency, Awareness, and Responsiveness to Diverse Students). The program will provide JCPS teachers with a tuition scholarship to receive a graduate certificate in diversity literacy and master’s degree in teacher leadership at UofL. A grant from the Gheens Foundation will fund the program.
“Providing increased cultural competence training to our employees is a part of our Strategic Plan: Vision 2015,” JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens said. “The JCPS Teacher C.A.R.D.S. Program goes a step beyond. It gives our teachers a chance to immerse themselves in the study of diversity literacy while sharpening their pedagogical skills. This will help us reach more students and contribute to our goal of all students graduating prepared.”
UofL President James Ramsey said the program is a perfect example of the “power of partnership” between the university, JCPS, and a donor. “UofL is proud of our collaborations with JCPS,” he said. “And we’re excited that we can help these great teachers learn even better ways to educate the next generation of Louisvillians, regardless of their cultural backgrounds.”
The JCPS Teacher C.A.R.D.S. curriculum is a 33-hour master’s degree in teacher leadership from the College of Education and Human Development that includes 18 hours within the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). The 18 hours in A&S will give students a graduate certificate in diversity literacy and can be in classes that explore such topics as world religions, Latino and African-American culture, history, philosophy, and the social sciences.
Seven JCPS teachers—selected through a competitive application process—are enrolled in the program for fall 2013. All of the teachers currently serve in a Priority School and have committed to remain teaching at a JCPS Priority School for three years after they complete the JCPS Teacher C.A.R.D.S. Program. These teachers are as follows:
Elizabeth Best, language arts, Westport Middle School
Erin Biery, social studies, Western Middle School
Martha Brennan, language arts, Waggener High School
Geena Constantin, language arts, Stuart Middle School
Joseph Franzen, social studies, Fern Creek Traditional High School
Hollie Gilbert, math and science, Thomas Jefferson Middle School
Wesley Mayes, social studies, Knight Middle School
As part of a Strategic Plan initiative, JCPS provided cultural competence training to all employees over the past year. The primary elements for developing cultural competence include personal awareness, diversity awareness, knowledge of core concepts, and acquiring cross-cultural skills. Cultural competence allows educators to work effectively in the context of cultural differences.