Intro to education career course aims at grooming diverse future teaching staff

By Louis Hoglund

Ambitious plans to improve academic performance and advance cultural awareness were outlined at the March 20 Pelican Rapids school board meeting.

Boosting math and reading scores is a thrust of the plan, which will be implemented from July 2023 to June 2026. 

Encouraging an ethnically diverse teaching staff is a unique component of the Pelican school’s integration-achievement plan.

A cornerstone is a special “Intro to Education” course in the high school, with a priority of enrolling students of color. A benefit of the program, if students continue into college, is to cultivate diverse students who might return to Pelican as future faculty members. 

All teaching staff, plus most of the support staff, will be offered special training and workshops to increase knowledge of culture, race, ethnicity, and poverty.

Presenting the plan at the school board session were staff Doug Bruggeman and Becky Wontor.

Another important component of the plan is cultural activities in collaboration with nearby school districts. 

“We’re the hub of a very non-diverse area of Minnesota,” said Bruggeman. The plan aims to make connections with other schools, through culture fairs and other multi-school events. Among them, a Native American Pow Wow in Detroit Lakes, which Pelican youth will attend. 

A Chinese New Year celebration is also planned, in Battle Lake.