SPS diversity program seeing progress

The Academy for Rising Educators aims to recruit and retain educators of color and background. It says it sees progress.

SEATTLE — Craig Jackson was serving Seattle Public Schools (SPS) students as youth relations coordinator and basketball coach at Franklin High School for more than two decades when the director of a new program called the Academy for Rising Educators (ARE) asked him to recruit participants .

“The program here was geared toward color teachers, male color teachers, and I didn’t see that in the building either, and that hurt me for our kids,” Jackson said. “Not being able to see people who look like them, and not just having teachers who look like them, but someone who’s a role model – someone who can say, hey, I might want teachers too.” will.”

Hear more of Jackson’s story here.

The program is coordinated and financed by partners at the local universities. The City of Seattle’s Department of Education and Early Learning also provides instruction, comprehensive services and flexible support for participants to earn degrees and/or certifications with the agreement that they will teach SPS for a minimum of four years.

Realizing that the program helped break some of his own barriers to becoming a teacher, Jackson decided to enroll.

“You understand what life was like for someone my age, no doubt, working full-time, with families,” Jackson said. “They made it possible for me to be in class during the time I was there and they understood that it was going to be an obstacle and they helped me through that.”

Tristan Wiley, program manager for ARE, said the program began in 2019 in response to a disproportionate number of color educators compared to color students.

“To date we have hired over 120 teachers from the program and I am pleased to say that over fifty percent of them are color teachers,” said Wiley. “We had sixty ARE graduates this year alone, and they are entering the SPS classrooms this year.”

The program is linked to the district’s strategic plan. SPS Director of Talent Management Mike Simmons said the district is also working with historically black colleges and universities and local partners to increase the number of color teachers in the classroom.

“We don’t just want to attract them, we want to hold them culturally and climatically so that they can thrive,” Simmons said. “And I can see ten years from now someone in the program becoming a principal or an assistant superintendent.”

Jackson said he thought he might want to be a physical education teacher, consistent with his coaching when he started the program. Instead, he was inspired to become a high school history teacher.

“I want to teach black history, but I don’t want to teach it just to black kids,” Jackson said. “I want to teach it to all children. I think everyone needs to learn about everyone, hopefully that makes us better people and a better society.”

https://www.king5.com/article/news/education/sps-increasing-representation-classrooms/281-0613a9ef-17a0-420f-9247-0f521d453589 SPS diversity program seeing progress

Alley Einstein

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