Lakota to launch new, larger Community Diversity Council

Participants will be representatives of various cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, learning styles and religions.

The Lakota school board voted this week to create a new diversity committee with preliminary discussions describing the group as including up to 30 members with both representatives from the schools and the general community.

The Lakota Board of Education earlier this week voted 4-1, with member Darbi Boddy opposing, to create a Community Diversity Council.

Final details are still to be worked out but the resolution sponsor — Lakota School Board President Lynda O’Connor — said the relatively high number of potential members was done “in order to being some new faces to the table.”

O’Connor and fellow board member Kelley Casper will be the initial members representing the governing Lakota board on the new diversity council in the upcoming school year.

The council will replace the board’s current diversity committee.

According to Lakota officials, 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 northern Hamilton County’s Princeton Schools in August.

Officials said the 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.”

Meetings will be overseen by district-hired facility.

Lakota’s 17,500 students makes it the most populous of any Butler County public school system and the district has seen is a steady rise in non-white students in the last decade as its two townships experience sharp population growth.

According to a mission statement read by O’Connor at the board’s June 5 meeting, the diversity council is designed “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, who was Lakota’s first African-American high school principal, said “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 wrote in possible language to be used in the future solicitating of community members to join.

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