One could make an argument that the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. has something in common with the United Nations. That’s because about 60 languages are spoken by students within the district.
That’s a remarkable number for a community that pales in population size to regional metro cities. And it speaks to the diversity of the student population that represents a wide swath of countries and ethnic backgrounds.
Taking that into consideration, it’s understandable why Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is considering a two-way language immersion program that could begin in kindergarten and allow students to be bilingual and bi-literate. Superintendent Jim Roberts shared that possibility as the guest speaker at the eighth annual Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization’s annual meeting.
However, something else he told the crowd was more significant. He noted in his speech about BCSC’s efforts toward cultural responsiveness and inclusivity that despite the diversity of the student population, the district’s adult workforce is about 98 percent white.
He added that the school district is trying to take steps so that its adult population better reflects its student population.
That’s a commendable goal. Cultural diversity is best reflected in a community when it’s seen with everyday occupations that serve a diverse population — teachers, police, firefighters and medical personnel, for example. That helps in strengthening bonds within the community and further illustrates an inclusive culture.
Roberts’ speech served as a reminder that there is still work to be done locally in that regard, but that the need is recognized and being addressed.
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