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Magnet schools are most well-known as a half-hearted remedy to the foibles of post-Brown integration. The concept is still alive, however, in the form of specialty programs that allow students to transfer out of their neighborhood school and into a faraway school where the program of interest is housed. 

On the one hand, these programs offer real-world learning opportunities to students and give them the chance to specialize early.* On the other hand, the presence of specialty programs may by default cause teachers to treat students differently based on whether they are in the specialty programs or not. This “other hand” is what we explore in this episode of Wide Ruled with Stephanie Alderman-Oler and Lucas Vincent.

*FWIW, specializing early was something that stressed me out big time as a student.

Lucas Vincent grew up in Olathe, Kansas and graduated from Olathe North High School in 2010. While in high school Lucas was a member of both the football and wrestling team where he was a two-time all state selection, a Kansas Top-11 selection, and an O-D All-American in football as well as a three time state placer, two time state finalist, and a state champion in wrestling. After high school Lucas attended The University of Missouri on a football scholarship where he played from 2010-2014. After playing five seasons at Mizzou and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Lucas went undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft and was picked up as an undrafted free-agent by the Tennessee Titans. After a brief stint with the Titans, Lucas was released from contract and moved home to Olathe. Upon moving home Lucas found a coaching opportunity at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas. Upon getting the coaching position Lucas was offered a job as a paraprofessional working with special education students. Halfway through the school year Lucas really started to fall in love with working with special education students and by that next December Lucas had enrolled in a Master’s of Special Education program at Grand Canyon University. Lucas Graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Master’s Degree in Special Education in the Spring of 2018. After finishing his student teaching as a long term sub at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in 2018, Lucas landed a full time job teaching Social Emotional Resource (formally known as Emotional/Behavioral Disability) at Olathe West High School where he is in his fourth year in the position. Lucas is also the Head Girls Wrestling Coach and an Assistant Track and Field Coach at Olathe West.

Stephanie Alderman-Oler

Stephanie Alderman-Oler is a middle school science teacher in Kansas City, KS. Over the last ten years teaching high school and middle school science, Stephanie has developed a passion for high quality and meaningful science education practices that center students in doing science. Stephanie is an active member of science education leadership in her school (Science PLC Lead), district (Science Peer Leader, Science Curriculum Cadre), state (KATS district  representative) and at the National level (NSTA member and presenter, ACESSE project participant). Stephanie is also an advocate for more equitable educational practices across education systems and supports this work as the Trauma Sensitive & Resilient Schools Facilitator for her school building and member of Building Leadership Team. Stephanie earned B.S Biology, B.S. Secondary Science, and M.S. Family Studies – Youth Development from Kansas State University.

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Nathaniel Bozarth

Author Nathaniel Bozarth

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