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Board Approves Lakota Community Diversity Council

Board Approves Lakota Community Diversity Council

At its regular June 5 meeting, the Lakota Board of Education approved the creation of a Community Diversity Council to help support the district’s nearly 17,500 students in their educational experience. The council will replace the Board’s diversity committee, with Board President Lynda O’Connor and member Kelley Casper serving as representatives.

The council is part of Senior Director of Diversity Elgin Card’s vision for the ever-evolving work of the Lakota Office of Diversity and Inclusion (LODI). “It is my goal to make this vision a reality and set this group up for success,” said Card, noting that he wants to have the group in place before he leaves the district to become the superintendent of Princeton City Schools in August.

At the board meeting, O’Connor read the group’s mission statement:

“The purpose of the Lakota Community Diversity Council is to establish a supportive and welcoming school environment for Lakota students and staff of all backgrounds. WE will work to make sure all students have the same opportunities for success. WE will work to break down barriers to student learning for all students.”

Card envisions participants will be representatives of many different cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, learning styles and religions. “We are hopeful your unique perspective will help inform our priorities for making Lakota schools a source of support to anyone who walks through our doors,” Card says in his letter to prospective members.

While details are still being finalized, O’Connor shared that the council meetings will be facilitated by a third party and may include up to 30 people. “Part of the thinking is to hear from people who might not be involved in other ways in order to bring some new faces to the table, as well as some who have been previously involved or are currently involved in the district,” O’Connor said. “The expectation is that all who serve must be willing to listen and to consider all sides (and) must be able to discuss collaboratively and respectfully what’s best for students.” 

The Lakota Community Diversity Council will meet quarterly and work to remove barriers to education that may exist for the diverse makeup of students who call Lakota home. 

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