Diversifying the Educator Workforce Workgroup releases report that offers recruitment, preparation, and retention strategies for diverse educators in Colorado

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DENVER – Sept. 30, 2022: Today the Diversifying the Educator Workforce Workgroup released its report, Diversifying the Educator Workforce: Disrupting Inequities to the legislature outlining a range of strategies to diversify Colorado’s educator workforce.

The report recommends strategies that have the greatest potential to make substantive differences in the recruitment, preparation and retention of a diverse educator workforce. The report notes that addressing the challenge requires effort on the part of policymakers, district and school leaders, government officials and concerned members of communities across the state.

Recruitment strategies identified in the report include providing a competitive salary and other incentives such as bonuses and loan forgiveness; and investing in “grow your own” programs for high school students, paraprofessionals and local community members that focus on justice and equity.

House Bill 21-1010 directed the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Colorado Department of Education to convene a workgroup on diversity in the educator workforce to submit a written report of its findings and recommendations to the House and Senate education committees. The 39-member workgroup was comprised of representatives from K-12, colleges and universities, non-profits, higher education advocacy groups and representatives from state government. The law required the workgroup members to be representative of the racial and ethnic diversity of the Colorado student population with at least 50% of the workgroup is comprised of persons from historically underrepresented groups.

“From our flowing mountain streams to our urban parks, our schools across Colorado reflect the diverse tapestry of our state,” said Jenni Trujillo, workgroup member and dean at Fort Lewis College. “We know that a diverse teaching force benefits all Colorado students, and this report contains concrete actionable steps. These are not just aspirational ideas in the wind, but instead are grounded in research, rooted in care, and ready to grow.”

“The work of this group has been difficult and emotional for me. I spent more than two decades wondering why the stories of teachers of color, our stories, didn’t center our work for all teachers,” said Gerardo Munoz, workgroup member and manager, learning and development for Denver Public Schools and 2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year. “This information gives us a way forward to improve the educational experience of teachers of color and the communities we serve.”

Here is a snapshot of the various strategies recommended by the workgroup:

Recruitment Strategies

  • Make teaching financially appealing by providing a competitive salary and other incentives such as bonuses and loan forgiveness.
  • Continue to invest in “grow your own” programs for high school students, paraprofessionals, and local community members that focus on justice and equity.
  • Provide funding and support to districts for incentives for recruitment and accountability measures to track progress.
  • Invest in a media campaign about teaching as a profession that elevates the voices of current educators of color as ambassadors of the profession.
  • Provide support and resources to implement culturally relevant and sustaining practices and to understand and address implicit bias and microaggressions in school districts.

Preparation Strategies

  • Provide paid student teaching/residencies during clinical experiences.
  • Ensure multiple approved measures of competency can be used to demonstrate preparedness for licensure.
  • Provide mentorship opportunities for aspiring teachers and support and compensation for mentor teachers.
  • Invest in preparation programs at institutions and fund statewide, regional, and/or local cohorts of candidates of color.
  • Ensure that preparation programs include culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogy for all aspiring educators (including principals and administrators).

Retention Strategies

  • Provide support and resources to schools and districts to implement culturally relevant and sustaining practices and to understand and address implicit bias and microaggressions in the classroom and workplace.
  • Provide consistent, ongoing, timely, and issue-specific development opportunities for principals and school leaders.
  • Provide induction, mentoring, and professional development opportunities for teachers of color that respond to their unique needs.
  • Support social-emotional wellness for teachers of color through racial alliance groups at the school and district levels.

To learn more about HB 21-1010, and visit the state’s educator preparation programs.

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