Henderson County News: New initiative aims to recruit teachers of color
New initiative aims to recruit teachers of color
The Henderson County Education Foundation has launched a new scholarship program aimed at increasing the diversity of teachers in the county school system.
The new initiative aims to bridge the gap between students and teachers of color in Henderson County. School officials and members of a community coalition are committed to increasing opportunities for students of color to pursue teaching careers in their own communities.
For more than 4,700 students of color who currently attend one of the county’s 23 public schools, the odds of them being instructed by a teacher who reflects their own ethnicity is less than 7 percent. Across Tarheel State, the story is the same with only 21% of teachers of color.
To address the disparity at home, the Education Foundation launched the Grow Our Own Education Relief Fund in partnership with the coalition and individual and corporate donors. The Grow Our Own Scholarship is the newest of 25 scholarships available through the Foundation to support public education initiatives at public schools in Henderson County.
All Foundation scholarships are now open for applications. New Grow Our Own scholarship amounts are up to $3,000 and are renewable for up to four years. The number of scholarships available each year will be based on the level of donor and grant support, and will be made through an annual appropriation from the HCEF Board.
The scholarship is intended to recruit Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students (current and former) and current HCPS staff (teaching assistants, support staff) interested in a teaching career, to train, develop and prepare them to return to Henderson County. to join the faculty.
“As a district, we actively seek to ensure that our school environments reflect our mission statement, ‘We will honor the individual and cultivate the potential of all children,'” said County Superintendent Dr. John Bryant. . schools. “We hope that the Foundation’s ‘Grow Our Own’ scholarship, alongside our new teaching career path, will ultimately help expand our teacher diversity portfolio.”
The goal of the new Grow Our Own initiative, said Foundation President Jessica Collins, is that current and former Henderson County students and staff planning to major in education, receive on-going mentorship road and return to Henderson County to teach.
“This is an intentional effort by our Foundation, the community and our donors to support HCPS in its stated goal of closing the gap between students and teachers of color,” Collins said. “If we can collectively invest more in the Henderson County workforce by increasing the diversity of the teaching population so that more students see themselves represented in the classroom, we will be a stronger and more inclusive county. generally.”
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, children whose teachers reflect their ethnicity do better in school, are more likely to graduate from high school, are more likely to continue their education, and are more likely to become active members of their community.
The scholarship provides financial aid and mentorship to promising local students and staff of color who wish to become teachers and who would commit to teaching in Henderson County for at least three years after graduating and obtaining their certification as teacher.
In addition to the Foundation’s new Grow Our Own scholarship, HCPS has been accepted into the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s pilot program, Teaching as a Profession (TAAP). Launching to high schools this fall, TAAP is a new career and technical training path designed to recruit students interested in the teaching profession, then streamline and encourage the process by providing opportunities to receive college credit while still in high school.
While the program intentionally recruits students of color with an interest in teaching, the path is open to all high schoolers and seniors. When paired with HCEF’s Grow Our Own scholarships and resources, TAAP’s goal is to encourage students of color to bring their expertise back to Henderson County and serve as teacher leaders in the workforce. local. To learn more about the scholarship and its criteria or to support Grow Our Own in Henderson County, visit www.hcefnc.org/growourown.