USA: Schenectady schools partners with colleges to diversify teaching staff

USA/ 25 November, 2021/ https://www.timesunion.com/

By Paul Nelson

Photo of Paul Nelson
Schenectady Superintendent of Schools Anibal Soler Jr., left, SUNY Schenectady President Steady Moono, center, and Catherine Snyder, chair of Clarkson University’s Education Department, right, discuss a new program aimed at diversifying the city school district's workforce. 
Schenectady Superintendent of Schools Anibal Soler Jr., left, SUNY Schenectady President Steady Moono, center, and Catherine Snyder, chair of Clarkson University’s Education Department, right, discuss a new program aimed at diversifying the city school district’s workforce.

Paul Nelson / Times Union

SCHENECTADY –  In the city school district, where  students of color make up roughly 80 percent of the student body, the teaching staff is overwhelmingly white.

Part of the goal of the newly announced ‘Grow Your Own’  pathway program is to help balance out those numbers and diversify Schenectady schools’ workforce of teachers to better reflect the student body.

“Research shows us that when students of color have just one teacher of color in their education, it increases the likelihood of graduation tremendously, and that’s one of the focuses of this program – increasing the number of teachers of color in the Schenectady school district through this Grow Your Own program,” Catherine Snyder, chair of Clarkson University’s education department, said Tuesday at  Schenectady High School where she joined Schenectady Superintendent of Schools Anibal Soler Jr. and other school leaders to unveil the initiative.

Before earning a master of arts in teaching from Clarkson’s Capital Region campus in Schenectady, a Schenectady high graduate or district employee pursuing a career in teaching must earn an associate degree from SUNY Schenectady and then a bachelor’s degree from Cazenovia College, a small independent co-ed college in Madison County. Along the way, the schools will offer participants financial assistance and mentoring.

While at Schenectady High, teens can embark on their professional journey in the 11th grade by taking courses at SUNY Schenectady, providing them with the opportunity to earn credits early for their associate degree. The district also plans to expand its offerings of programs aimed at getting youngsters to consider getting into teaching.

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