PARSONS, Kan. — The Parsons School District is making strides to ensure they’re being inclusive with all students in their teachings.
“Parsons USD 503 school district is addressing the African-American population as well as the other ethnic groups in a pretty fashionable way,” said Lou Martino.
Earlier this year, a member of the Parsons School Board asked questions about African-American representation in classroom lessons. Wednesday, we spoke with faculty and staff about what the district is doing to be inclusive for all students.
“We pay attention as a school. Of the authors that wrote it, we pay attention to the characters that are in the story. If the, you know, the heroes and heroines and their race, their ethnicity, their culture, and we take time to talk about that in the classroom, let the kids own it, that, hey, that’s me,” said Kendra Barcus.
“I see Parsons USD five or three as a district that really addressing and facing and talking about and caring about the African-American population, as well as all the other groups,” said Martino.
Some students were interested in an African American studies class, and the district listened and implemented it into the curriculum as an elective.
“We have some star teachers that are really addressing the African-American population as well Hispanic, Asian, Native Americans. One in particular is a high school history teacher, Lonnie Wharton, who actually has an African-American history class,” said Martino.
“Last year, we actually were able to take our students to Tulsa, to the Greenwood District, and they were able to learn about Black Wall Street in Tulsa. A lot of kids, they didn’t know. And I felt that it was important,” said Kristina Mayhue.
School leaders said making sure all students, including African Americans, are represented is something they are very proud of.
“We look at what we’re doing. How is this impacting students? Are we making sure that we’re meeting each and every kid’s need, let alone showing that student themselves and giving them that example,” said Barcus.
“I just think we just keep doing what we’re doing and as questions like collaborate as a district and try to figure out what we can do to keep moving forward in a positive direction,” said Mayhue.
Visualization is important. And the Parsons School District is doing their part to ensure that all students have representation of people that look like them.