Illinois Quad-Cities school districts working to improve diversity

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“Kids need to see themselves in role models and in teachers and staff and counselors and nurses and liaison officers,” Savage said. “They need to see themselves in the supportive roles of the adults around them.”

It is one of the best ways to show them what they can attain, she said.

Fox also said a diverse teaching staff also has a positive effect on the entire student body’s performance.

“It’s important to have teachers that reflect the diversity of the student population so teachers can reach all students,” she said.

Fox said the Illinois Quad-Cities districts are not alone in having a diversity gap.

She noted there are 2 million students and 130,000 teachers in the state’s public school systems. Of the students, 52% identified as nonwhite, compared to 17% of the teachers.

The district’s superintendents said they are working to diversify their teaching work forces, but face challenges in doing so.

Those efforts include building diversity from within by finding likely teachers among other district employees and students and connecting them with opportunities to pursue a teaching career, and also finding more diverse candidates through dedicated recruitment efforts.

In the Rock Island school district, the pool of paraeducators — teacher’s aides and other staff who support teachers in the classroom — is more diverse, Lawrence said. The district is encouraging those employees to seek certification through alternative licensing programs.

via Dispatch Argus

October 24, 2020 at 02:34PM

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