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Puget Sounds School District tries to recruit – and retain – more color teachers. Here's how.

Seattle, Bellevue and Highline School District have launched ambitious efforts to recruit more teachers who represent their students' background. But these glitters of hope can be unpleasant if there are still challenges about retention. When you have the task of getting more colorants to work in schools, the usual rules for recruitment do not apply. Fairs are an ocean of white. So, most of the higher education schools are. And if you've been waiting for the application season, you're late. Demanded by the diversity of its students, at least three of the Puget Sound region's major school district – Seattle, Bellevue and Highline &#821 1; have launched ambitious efforts to recruit more classroom teachers who represent their students' background. Education Lab is a Seattle Times project that reflects promising approaches to sustainable challenges in public education. It is produced in collaboration with the Solutions Journalism Network and is funded by a contribution from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and City University of Seattle. · Learn more about Education Lab At Seattle Public Schools, administrators will have more money – from the new education fee – to spend on creating a leadership of teachers from staff and students already in the district. On the east side, the Bellevue School District plans a new screening system. And in South King County, human resource transformation at Highline Public Schools has paved the way for a new recruitment team that manages talent generally, early and often. With this year's crop of new teachers,…

Seattle, Bellevue and Highline School District have launched ambitious efforts to recruit more teachers who represent their students’ background. But these glitters of hope can be unpleasant if there are still challenges about retention.

When you have the task of getting more colorants to work in schools, the usual rules for recruitment do not apply.

Fairs are an ocean of white. So, most of the higher education schools are. And if you’ve been waiting for the application season, you’re late.

Demanded by the diversity of its students, at least three of the Puget Sound region’s major school district – Seattle, Bellevue and Highline &#821

1; have launched ambitious efforts to recruit more classroom teachers who represent their students’ background.


Education Lab is a Seattle Times project that reflects promising approaches to sustainable challenges in public education. It is produced in collaboration with the Solutions Journalism Network and is funded by a contribution from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and City University of Seattle.

· Learn more about Education Lab

At Seattle Public Schools, administrators will have more money – from the new education fee – to spend on creating a leadership of teachers from staff and students already in the district. On the east side, the Bellevue School District plans a new screening system. And in South King County, human resource transformation at Highline Public Schools has paved the way for a new recruitment team that manages talent generally, early and often.

With this year’s crop of new teachers, all three districts managed to employ more color teachers than they lost between school years 2012-2013 and 2017-2018, according to a Seattle Times analysis. But it is easy to show growth because the starting point was so low. Data from Bellevue and Highline show that districts employed almost as much as their entire non-white teaching staff since school year 2012-2013.

Getting new teachers is only half of the battle.

Attempting to Change Student Results – By Recruiting

Changing Faces That Hate Students is a moral imperative for Trevor Greene, an award-winning boss who joined three other years with just another staff in charge of recruiting Highline’s human Resources department. He helped lead a HR review, which created a seven member design and development team that sometimes consisted almost entirely of people of color.

Although he grew up and attended schools at Yakama Indian Reservation through his teenager, all his teachers were white.

“When I looked around my schoolhouse to see people of color who had a college degree, I could not look at my teachers, “said Greene, a registered member of Muscogee (Creek) Nation. “It made me very aware of the breed at an early age”.

When he became head of the Toppenish High School in Yakima County a decade ago, Greene said he could set the standard high because he had lived in the same reality as the students, “the vast majority were low-income teachers of color.

At the same time contributed his expansion of mathematics and science opportunities combined with increased graduation rates until he became the headmaster of the National High School

“I never saw myself in an HR role,” Greene said, “but I was convinced that we could actually influence student results by hire better people. “

Thus, the entire management of the 20,000 student district had 10 miles south of Seattle. Highline used the results from a 2013 review and $ 250,000 in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to get a consulting company to reduce inefficiency in HR and make way for Greene’s team. (Education Lab receives funding from Gates Found ation.)

Since school year 2012-2013, Highline has employed 222 more color teachers to teach their students, 78 percent of whom identify with a different race than white

district edited the material distributed at work fairs and other scouting opportunities, which added more diversity to their images and market themselves as cultural reception.

Plant the seed early – before a vacant position is available – has been crucial. Darany Pen, a member of the Highline Recruitment Group, starts subtitling and calls potential employment for several months to one year before deciding to apply.

“I wish there was a science for it,” said Pen, who is Cambodian. “But we’re just in touch with people, and make sure they feel we’re interested in their lives.”

That ethos extends to teachers who have already signed an agreement. Although bilingual instructors are in high demand – with Highline aiming at a fully bilingual student population in 2026 – the district negotiated a contract with an incoming Korean teacher so that she could start two years later after completing her Fulbright program in South Korea. 19659031] Darany Pen, right, a talent development specialist with Highline Public Schools, talks with a participant at a family resource fair in the White Center. (Ellen M. Banner / Seattle Times) “src =” https://www.seattletimes.com/wp-content/themes/st_refresh/img/lazy-loading-14×9.png “data-src =” https: // static.seattletimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/12102018_localteacherdiversity1_160037-1020×762.jpg “data-srcset =” https://static.seattletimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/12102018_localteacherdiversity1_160037-300×224 .jpg 300w, https://static.seattletimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/12102018_localteacherdiversity1_160037-768×574.jpg 768w, https://static.seattletimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12 /12102018_localteacherdiversity1_160037-1024×765.jpg 1024w, https://static.seattletimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/12102018_localteacherdiversity1_160037-780×583.jpg 780w, https://static.seattletimes.com/wp-content/uploads /2018/12/12102018_localteacherdiversity1_160037-1020×762.jpg 1020w, https://static.seattletimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/12102018_localteacherdiversity1_160037-1560×1166.jpg 1560w, https://static.seattletimes.com/wp -c Onto / uploads / 2018/12 / 12102018_localteacherdiversity1_160037-375×280.jpg 375w “data-sizes =” (max-width: 767px) calc (100vw – 20px), (max-width: 1019px) calc (100vw – 30px), -width: 1044px) calc (100vw – 60px), 970px “/>

 Darany Pen, right, a talent development specialist with Highline Public Schools, talks with a participant at a family resource fair in the White Center. (Ellen M. Banner / Seattle Times)

Darany Pen, right, a talent development specialist with Highline Public Schools, talks with a participant at a family resource fair in the White Center. (Ellen M. Banner / Seattle Times)

A focus on intersection

Traditionally, employment has been the school province. managers decide which teachers meet their needs. But recently, Greene said, Highline has moved some work to district level, where administrators seek finalists with an eye on diversity in total.

It is a change area of ​​the Bellevue School District that was adopted four years ago, says Alexa Allman, head of employment relations. After accounting for sales and new jobs, Bellevue received more color tutors than any other district in the Puget Sound region between 2013 and 2018, according to a Seattle Times analysis of government data.

Both the Highline and Bellevue central offices have taken more control over screening candidates, to ensure that more non-white finalists come in front of the main team. Allman’s goal is to present mainists with candidates who match the Bellevue Folk High School – 63 percent of students in the color last school year.

With more control over the interview process, says Allman, the district can also ensure that interviews and candidates share similar backgrounds in an attempt to prevent prejudices.

Both districts have credited this change to employ more teachers of color.

Seattle Public Schools has not attempted to move to the central office because the agreement between supervisors only allows teams based on specific schools to control who is interviewed and ultimately employed at each campus.

Human resources can still propose a diverse group of candidates, said Tim Collins, Seattle School’s chief executive officer for recruitment, retirement and boarding. By next spring, the district says that all school hiring groups will have gone through implicit bias education.

But Seattle, with an 80 percent white teacher, is far from representing its students.

The area estimates approximately $ 350,000 from the city’s new $ 600 million plus families and education fee will fund teacher diversity initiatives, which may mean more money to expand the district’s “Class to Cert” program, which provides scholarships for college studies to district staff who do not have government education licenses. [19659003] Only about 80 people have graduated by grade to cert since the program debuted a decade ago – but 70 percent of the current 20 participants are people of color. A one-time, $ 100,000 grant from the city helped expand the group from 15 to 20 this year. The district spends approximately $ 300,000 a year on the program, a provision in its employment contract.

This autumn, the district plans to conduct a work study opportunity for students who participate in the Seattle Promise Program, which gives two years of college for free to the Seattle Public Schools degree. During the course, students can work as para-teachers, with the aim of creating a pipeline in the Class to Cert program. The state’s Professional Educator Standards Board made a contribution of $ 18,000.

Money from the fee could also increase Seattle Teacher Residency. Candidates from that program undertake to teach in a poverty school for five years. About 40 percent of the program’s 109 candidates so far are people of color.

The leaky bucket

Although local efforts bear fruit, recruitment can only go so far. The real challenge is to keep teachers of color when they arrive.

Main reason: It is exhausting. From the time they join the labor force, they pay what some have called an “invisible tax” – another job as mentors and advocates for color students and a token diversity consultant.

Shalini Miskelly, an Indian American, said that her background linked her to the students at her former school, who recently remedied immigrants and English students. But the further work that this commitment sent – including multi-committee service – burned her out. She said she felt ignored by colleagues and once heard a colleague called her a “colored person”. She left her education at Seattle World School in June of June.

In order to keep the teachers Highline battled to attract, the district strengthens its teacher-mentoring program, an exercise that studies have shown helps to retain the beginning of the teacher. The district also carries out HR partners, who regularly check in with school leaders on staff issues – which may include discussing career development opportunities for color teachers.

It has also begun recruiting more locally because administrators believe that employees who have roots in society are more likely to stay.

Seattle Public Schools begins to deal with retention. Based on focus groups and initial interviews with color teachers, most people said they leave because of Seattle’s high cost of living, Collins, from Seattle schools. The district also plans to seed formal collections and affinity groups for color teachers to cure the insulation that some may feel at work.

About 21 percent of teachers who left Seattle between 2013 and 2018 were people of color, higher than Bellevue’s 15 percent and Highlines 13 percent. The Churn in Seattle, the state’s largest school district, means that there are now fewer African and Indian teachers than it was six years ago.

The nine present and former color teachers interviewed for this story described the extra work as both a privilege and a necessity, so that others in their buildings can relate to their students as they do.

During his first-year education, Tola Atewologun’s laptop at the Chief Sealth High School was a place where students could sing between classes – or late in the evening – for advice or a long chat.

Some continued to visit Atewologun last summer when the government and geography teacher would open their classroom to help students plan their future, like opening an investment account or undergoing college loan counseling.

 Tola Atewologun goes to his former classroom at the Chief Sealth High School. For no pay he opened it in the summer to help current and former students to run their future. He has since been transferred to Roosevelt High. (Ellen M. Banner / Seattle Times)

 Tola Atewologun goes to his former classroom at the Chief Sealth High School. For no pay he opened it in the summer to help current and former students to run their future. He has since been transferred to Roosevelt High. (Ellen M. Banner / Seattle Times)

Tola Atewology goes to his former classroom at the Chief Sealth High School. For no pay he opened it in the summer to help current and former students to run their future. He has since been transferred to Roosevelt High. (Ellen M. Banner / Seattle Times)

To his students, who call him Mr. Tola, Atewology is someone who understands how to navigate in the real world with all its obstacles and prejudices. A son of Nigerian immigrants with roots on the east coast, he wears nice costumes called sewing in the feed. He worked as a budget analyst for the federal government before he began teaching.

Former student Gonzalo Cruz said that Atewologun “never gave up” to him.

Cruz, of Mexican descent, has previously fought with homelessness. He is now enrolled at the University of Washington Bothell. In the upper secondary school, he asked for financial advice to one of Atewologun’s economic sections.

Atewologun helped him create a safe and a mailbox.

“I felt safe” Cruz, who remembers the feeling of indifference from most other teachers. The information gave him a sense of security.

Forged relationships with Chief Sealth students were easy, said Atewologun, because his background made him reliable. Most are students of color and children for immigrants.

He keeps careful notes and spreadsheets about current and past students’ progress.

In seven years if I enter the child, can I see this child in the eye and say I’ve done him right? “He visits them at college or at work.”

 Tola Atewologun recently helped Senior Sealth Graduate Gonzalo Cruz, 18, secure college college counseling. (Ellen M. Banner / Seattle Times)

 Tola Atewologun recently helps Senior Sealth (Ellen M. Banner / Seattle Times)

Tola Atewologun helps with the latest chief of senior economist Gonzalo Cruz, 18, who is confident in college loan counseling. (Ellen M. Banner / Seattle Times) M. Banner / Seattle Times)

Atewologun does not want his students to see this work as a burden for him. But he thinks there are easy ways the district can help, like more flexible hours and extra pay for bells on mentorship.

His history also represents a small part of the detention and teaching representation problem outside the district

When the district adjusts school Personnel based on enrollment, the newest staff are the first to be moved, as mandated by the union contract. In the fall, Atewologun was forced to transfer to Roosevelt High School, a much richer and whiter campus on the other side of the city. In his new post, Atewologun knows his skills and the background is less important.

He does not do much mentorship work this year.

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