Multicultural theory and practice are taking on new dimensions of complexity in our society as demographics, social conditions, and political circumstances change.

Demographic differences including, but not limited to, ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, gender, sexuality, religious, linguistic, physical, and cognitive characterize members of our social and professional communities.

Increasingly, professionals across a variety of sectors are recognizing that culturally responsive practices are crucial for success in the 21st century.

Winona State University (WSU) partnered with Rochester Public Schools to deliver the Multicultural Education Certificate Program (MECP) to 15 staff members of the Community Education After-School Program. The MECP supported these professionals in identifying ways to better engage with diverse clientele within their respective educational settings.

Through analysis of the teaching and learning practices utilized in the after-school programs within their respective middle schools, the cohort identified specific equity issues to study within their buildings and began to develop action plans to address them.

Dr. Nicholas Wysocki, MECP Instructor, states, “The MECP was developed to help participants both analyze their own cultural development experiences and work more closely with the clientele they serve to examine how professional services can be provided in a more equitable manner.

Our learners bring many different identities and life experiences with them to our after-school programs.

In order to meet their academic, social/emotional, and developmental needs, it’s critical that the adults in our system have the knowledge, skills, and mindset required for a culturally responsive system.

The MECP process brought us another step closer to achieving this.

Amy Eich

Executive Director of Community Education

I think the work we have done with the MECP program has been extremely helpful and insightful with our Community Education Afterschool Programs.

We have been using data through surveys and previous research to give us ways to reach students across many different cultures, genders, races, and religions. Working with Dr. Wysocki was very helpful and important to do this.

He brought a lot of knowledge to our team and made us do a lot of thinking outside the box in terms of why our programming is/was structured the way it is, how we can reach new populations of students, and how we can continue to bridge the gap between programming and students of all demographic differences.

Being able to look deep into the ‘why’ question is the beginning of growth in a program and our Afterschool Community Education team feels like we are working our hardest to continue towards absolute inclusion and equality in our programs.

Phillip Hartman

Special Education Case Facilitator, Member of the MECP Cohort

This program was partially funded with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) using federal funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

WSU will continue to offer the MECP more broadly to foster understanding of how multicultural theory and research can inform educational practices.

About Rochester Public Schools, Community Education

Rochester Public Schools, Community Education has touched the lives of thousands of community residents, from birth through adulthood, meeting the learning needs of these residents through classes, events, extended experiences, and support services.

About the Instructor: Dr. Nicholas Wysocki

Dr. Nicholas Wysocki is an Associate Professor in the Education Studies Department at WSU.

He holds a Ph. D. in the Social Foundations of Education from The University of Iowa and has worked in higher education for over 20 years.

Dr. Wysocki currently works with both teacher candidates seeking a Minnesota teaching license and graduate students engaged in ethnographic analysis projects in their local communities.

About WSU-Adult & Continuing Education

Adult & Continuing Education (ACE) at Winona State offers a wide range of non-credit and for-credit course offerings to enhance professional development.

Whether through online learning, immersive classroom experiences or hands-on training, Winona State strives to meet student needs so that they can reach their goals.

For more information on continuing education opportunities through WSU, contact Julie Kiehne at  or call 507.457.5080.