PEMBROKE — The School of Education at UNC Pembroke will host a virtual recruiting event this summer to increase the number of teachers of color.
A report by the U.S. Department of Education in 2016 predicted that by 2024 students of color — including Black, Latinx, Asian and American Indian — will make up 54% of the student body in public schools. However, only 20% of educational leaders are people of color.
“While we embrace the goal of increasing the number of teachers in North Carolina overall, we are prioritizing the importance of recruiting and retaining teachers of color to build a more diverse teaching force that better reflects the students they will be teaching,” said Dr. Kayonna Pitchford, director of University-School Partnerships and Clinical Practice for the School of Education at UNCP.
According to Pitchford, the recruiting event aligns with the mission of Governor Roy Cooper’s DRIVE task force focused on improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the education profession. Studies show diverse teachers in the classroom have positive academic impacts on students from all backgrounds.
The goal of the event titled, “Walk Towards Your Purpose: Becoming a Teacher of Color” is to recruit 100 high school students of color in the region to the teaching profession. The four-day event, which will be co-hosted by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, is funded by a $20,000 grant from the Future Teachers of North Carolina. LaMorris Smith, head of teacher recruitment for the School of Education at UNCP, along with UNCW colleagues Drs. Candace Thompson and Dr. Cindy Wiseman, are assisting with planning and coordinating the event.
The event will include small group sessions led by faculty focused on a various topics, including pedagogy, child development, successful teaching strategies, classroom management practices and effective lesson planning. Attendees will engage in role play, discussion, simulated student teaching activities and participate in active presentations from guest speakers.
“This program offers an excellent opportunity to impact the future growth of teachers of color in our state by cultivating relationships with and retaining our teacher candidates from entry to completion of our teacher education programs,” Pitchford added.
Participants will receive UNCP swag bags, bookstore vouchers and will have a chance to win door prizes.
“We are all very excited about being able to implement this project,” Pitchford continued. “This will be a great recruitment tool not only for our teacher education programs, but also for the university. By offering the event virtually, we will be able to reach students who may not have considered attending college at UNCP prior to this opportunity.
“It’s going to be an engaging and fun event to promote teaching as a viable career option.”