Diversity Program Takes Strides In Janesville

The Janesville School District is making strides toward increasing diversity, and it is getting a boost from an alumnus who is the first to graduate from the Janesville Multicultural Teacher Opportunities Program.

Edison Middle School’s newest teacher, is Daniel Jackson is a famaliar face in the Janesville area.

“This is where I started out, so I might as well give back to the community, as they gave to me,” said Jackson, a Parker High School graduate.

Jackson is using his experience as a high school wrestler to help at-risk students.

“I’m also a coach, and coaching is an aspect of teaching, so I kind of wanted to apply that philosopy over to teaching in a classroom,” said Jackson.

Superintendent Karen Schulte said the initiative was created in 2008 to make sure the faces leading the classroom more closely resemble the faces of their students.

“We are up to 1.7 percent as far as our teachers of color,” Schulte said. “Our student number has also risen, and we have about 23 perscent of students of color. So, we’re making gains, but it is slow.”

Schulte said the district pays the teacher’s salary and the scholarship pays their tuition in exchange for teaching in Janesville.

Jackson completed his certification in January, and this is his first teaching job. He started at Edison the first week in March. Coming from a family of teachers, he said he knows what he’s getting, and he can’t wait.

“I’m definitely excited about the challenge to make these kids rise to their potential and hopefully get them excelling in the classroom,” said Jackson.

Another scholarship recpient is expected to graduate in May, and four more are coming in 2013. To be eligible, one has to be a former Janesville student or live in the community.

Schulte said graduation from the program doesn’t guarantee students a teaching job. They have to interview, like other candidates wanting to work in the district.

Donations are accepted through the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin.