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How One City is Using Urban Fellowships to Recruit Teachers of Color

How One City is Using Urban Fellowships to Recruit Teachers of Color

As recruitment season enters full-swing, many cities and districts are putting forth their best efforts to recruit non-white teachers to their school systems.

Syracuse is one of those cities that is desperately trying to recruit minority teachers into its 90 percent white staff. The Syracuse City School District hopes to better represent its student population, which is 76 percent non-white.

The racial mismatch between educators and students is "a huge problem when considering national studies have consistently found students perform best when they have role models with whom they can identify,” said

In order to recruit more teachers of color, the district is using an aggressive recruitment tool called an Urban Fellowship.

Through a partnership with Syracuse University, the first round of fellows will attend Syracuse University’s education school this fall for free "in exchange for a commitment to teach in the district for five years, and a promise that they will live in the city of Syracuse. After five years, they will have a master's degree in teaching,” the article said.

Research has concluded that students can learn better when being taught by a teacher of his or her own skin color and background.

"Sarah Leibel, a Harvard University educator, said in a recent college publicationthat students benefit from 'mirrors and windows.' In other words, students learn from seeing themselves in reading materials and teachers, and also from experiencing other worlds and perspectives,” according to the article.

In addition to targeting students of color, Syracuse will also be targeting fellows that are bilingual and are looking to specialize in needed content areas like "math, science, technology, English as a new language, library media and special education.”

After the first round of fellows enter Syracuse’s education system, the district plans to pair them with mentors to guide their first-year experiences and ensure they stay. So far, more than 25 teachers of color have volunteered to be mentors, the article said.

Read the full story.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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