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February 12, 2018 05:24 PM

Morphing Practices: Diversity In The Sioux Falls School District

As the Sioux Falls School District becomes more culturally and ethnically diverse, its practices morph, too. On Monday night, the school board will get an update on how schools are making sure every student feels welcome.

To give you an idea of how the district has diversified, consider this statistic: school officials say about one third of students do not identify as Caucasian. We visited Lincoln High School to get a better idea of how the district is embracing its diversity.

Junior Anwar Ibrahim is a peer tutor at Lincoln High School.

"I just help them out, and make them understand," Ibrahim said. "And I can speak one or two languages that they understand, so, I just like kind of help them out and show them how to do stuff, and make work easier." 

The 17-year-old was born in Kenya and moved to the United States in 2015. 

"I speak Hindu, Somali, Swahili, English, obviously, and Arabic," Ibrahim said.

He believes the Sioux Falls School District celebrates diversity.

"There's a lot of cultures, a lot of languages, and there's fun stuff, activities that we do together, so I think they do a pretty good job," Ibrahim said.

Deb Muilenburg-Wilson is senior director of special services with the Sioux Falls School District. 

"The plan we'll take to the school board tonight describes what we've been doing, and where we're going forward, and that plan will involve the district putting together district-level resources to support schools," Muilenburg-Wilson said.

In addition to that support, Muilenburg-Wilson says every school needs to look at what students are learning. 

"Does your curriculum reflect your group, and you're also talking about how to build students' own cultures into acceptance at your school," Muilenburg-Wilson said. "And so, those items are already happening some places." 

Ibrahim has seen that firsthand. 

"When I came here, I felt safe, engaged, more, students were welcoming, teachers were welcoming, so it's pretty good, good job," Ibrahim said.

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  • Elementary
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  • Sioux Falls, SD


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