INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As the country combats a teacher shortage, diversifying the classroom has become a priority for many districts around the state.
The first-ever Educate Me Foundation’s HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) teacher fair aims to recruit a diverse pool of teachers to help with that.
The teacher fair will be streamed online on Wednesday starting at 11 a.m., but people who want to participate need to register here.
Data shows although Black and brown students make up a large percentage of student population, in many districts, just a fraction of teachers mirror those same ethnic backgrounds. And many say the value of having educators who look like you is priceless.
There are more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities around the country. The Hoosier state is where the Educate Me Foundation is kicking off its HBCU teacher job fair.
“We are definitely looking for those students who have the Circle City in their heart and want to come back home and make a big difference,” said Educate Me Foundation founder Blake Nathan.
HBCUs were founded when Black students had little to no access to higher education. The benefits of having teachers with similar cultural backgrounds still holds value today: About 50% of Black educators are HBCU grads.
“We’re just happy to be mixing the perfect storm with the perfect opportunity,” Nathan said.
With teacher shortage concerns growing as a result of the pandemic, the HBCU teacher fair is another way to tap into a pool of diverse educators. Indianapolis Public Schools has taken steps to improve diversity in the classroom.
“There is research that shows when students of color share the racial identity of their teachers, they perform better academically,” said Alex Moseman, head of talent acquisition at IPS.
Kendra Randle is a Kentucky State University grade and a product of Lawrence Township schools. Randle chose to come back home to teach eight years ago.
“I can count on about one hand how many African American or Black and brown teachers that I have had,” Randle said.
In the last few years she’s moved on to administrative work at Emma Donnan Elementary school, but said every day she sees the value diverse teachers bring to students from all backgrounds.
“They are able to see the impact that their teacher makes and it encourages them to make the same impact.”