New effort pools schools’ resources to recruit more teachers of color

Ohio statistics show 30% of students are non-white, while only 5% of teachers are.

An initiative by the Oakwood and West Carrollton public schools would unify efforts to recruit diverse teachers in the Dayton region, including Clark and Champaign counties.

However, some of those schools haven’t heard about the program, while others say they will consider it.

With the Diversity Recruitment Educators Association for Miami Valley, or D.R.E.A.M, any district in the area that wants to work together to recruit more teachers of color to the profession could do so.

Statewide in school year 2017-2018, about 5% of teachers were not white, while about 30% of students were not white, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

D.R.E.A.M. has a $70,000, three-year grant from the Ohio Department of Education for the project.

Several schools in Clark and Champaign counties say they haven’t heard of the program.

“This is the first I have heard of this so we are not participating at this time,” said Vickie Hoffman, Triad Local School District superintendent.

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Springfield City School District officials said they are not participating but are interested in learning more.

In the district, 146 teachers are not white, while 906 are white or Caucasian, and 91 were either unknown or not provided.

Northeastern Local School District officials said they will explore the grant and program further.

“We were not aware of the D.R.E.A.M. grant, but we are always looking for ways to recruit the best possible candidates we can for our students,” a communications representative said.

Schools around the state have been trying to recruit more diverse people to the teaching profession for years, and many schools have programs to accomplish that goal.

D.R.E.A.M. would allow schools to pool resources and mentor teachers outside of the district.

Other schools in Clark County said they may consider participating in this program.

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“We are not currently participating with D.R.E.A.M at this time... It looks as if they will be adding more schools next year. We would be open to looking at this option for the future,” said David Shea, Southeastern Local School District superintendent.

The number of teachers available in the state has become a concern for area districts. Ohio issued a fluctuating number of teaching licenses since 2000, with between 45,000 and about 67,000 licenses issued each year, according to ODE data. The number of licenses issued fell steadily between 2010 and 2017 but began to go back up again in 2018. But with many teachers ready to retire, districts are concerned about the profession.

All students benefit from teachers of color, said Maya Dorsey, director of equity and collaborative impact at Learn to Earn Dayton, which is participating in the project.

Research cited by the Ohio Department of Education has shown that students of color have better academic outcomes when they are taught by someone who looks like them, and that white students also benefit in social and emotional ways when they are taught by nonwhite staff. Teaching is a predominantly white, female profession, she noted.

“It needs to be changed,” Dorsey said. “So we’re trying to do what we can locally to create opportunities for all students to have exposure in this opportunity.”