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State grant helps local school district, college to increase diversity in front of classroom



The La Crosse School District is a melting pot of sorts with students of all different cultures.

The faces at the front of the classroom are all pretty similar.

The district and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse are hoping to change that.

A grant from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will pay for tuition for two assistants enrolled in the Grow Your Own Teacher Diversity program at UW-L.

Mai Chao Duddeck, the senior equity advisor at UW-L, said the rates in 2016 concerned them.

“There were 500 teachers total, but just 24 were multicultural,” Duddeck said. “That’s about roughly 5 percent of the teaching force.”

The $21,500 grant will pay full tuition and fees, as well as testing assessments.

“It’s so important for students of color to see a person of color in a leadership role, because it gives them a vision to possibly be a leader themselves,” Duddeck said.

The program holds four students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Duddeck says it has a waiting list, but it can’t expand much more because of limited financial resources.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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