NACCTEP Colleges Strive To Diversify Teacher Workforce
NACCTEP Colleges Strive
To Diversify Teacher Workforce
Photo courtesy Nacctep
Too few minority students enter and complete college; even fewer are choosing teaching as a profession. This critical population needs mentoring and encouragement to stay on track and become future educators.
Accessible and affordable, with diverse student bodies representing local populations, with established relationships with school districts and universities, community colleges are ideally positioned to attract, prepare, and support diverse early childhood and K-12 teacher candidates.
For several decades, shortages of minority teachers have been a big issue for the nation’s schools. As the nation’s population and students have grown more diverse, the teaching force has moved in the opposite direction by growing less diverse. Research has found that academically skilled, racial/ethnic minority teachers have a positive impact on minority student outcomes.
NACCTEP supports the membership by sharing resources, maintaining strong partnerships, and serving as a voice in national discussions regarding community college teacher education programs. At the national conference being held in Anaheim, Calif., from Feb. 28 to March 2, in partnership with the League for Innovation, NACCTEP will promote discussions and hold breakout sessions focused on the recruitment and retention of minority teacher education students.
- In Hawaii, Leeward CC Cultivates Local Teaching Talent
By Jeffrey Judd
Leeward Community College (Hawaii)
In Hawai`i, there is a critical need to recruit and retain “home-grown” teachers in schools with large populations of Native Hawaiian and Filipino students. While half of the students attending Hawai`i public schools currently represent these two groups, only 15 percent are found in the ranks of teachers. To address this need in 2006, the Hawai`i State Legislature funded the Associative in Arts in Teaching (AAT) program at Leeward Community College (LCC) on Oahu. During the last seven years, the enrollment of LCC’s AAT program has grown from 21 students to over 400, with 53 percent of these students representing Native Hawaiian and Filipino populations.
To ensure that Native Hawaiian and Filipino students are well-represented in the AAT program, partnerships with local high schools and community groups in underserved areas were specifically developed for recruitment. For example, the program partners with high school Teacher Academy programs and hosts a Teacher Academy Day that brings more than 100 high school students to the LCC campus each year.
The AAT program offers these students college credit through articulations with the Hawai`i Department of Education and opportunities to collaborate and engage in various activities with current students. As a result of these recruiting efforts, nearly 16 percent of the incoming 2012 AAT students were made up of Teacher Academy students. Partnerships with community groups result in more than 10 percent new Native Hawaiian AAT students annually. Additionally, to reach underrepresented groups already assisting as instructional assistants in Hawai`i’s public schools, the program hosts information sessions and workshops to specifically encourage these paraeducators to continue their educations by completing an AAT degree and transferring to a four-year university to become licensed teachers.
The AAT program addresses three challenges that student surveys indicate are the leading barriers in trying to reach students’ academic goals: (1) lack of time due to family or job commitments; (2) lack of financial resources; and (3) lack of academic skills. The AAT program’s Teaching Learning Connection provides systematic counseling and academic support to address each barrier. Each incoming student is required to meet periodically with the AAT counselor and create an academic plan for reaching his or her goals. Manageable class schedules and time expectations are continuously explored, while counselors discuss a variety of financial options.
The AAT program also provides peer mentors whose primary duty is to assist struggling students to complete an assignment. Peer mentors are current or former AAT students who are carefully selected and trained by the AAT faculty based on their teaching abilities and professionalism. Using data-management software, peer mentors are notified to contact a student. The peer mentor will then counsel and tutor the student and update the instructor on the student’s progress through the software. As a result of this systematic process, nearly 40 percent of the students referred to a peer mentor complete courses that historically have resulted in failure, and the completion rates of AAT students have risen to nearly 80 percent.
Finally, the most important measure of the program’s success is the number of AAT students who return to their communities to teach. Although the AAT program is relatively new and the first graduates are just now completing their educational coursework at four-year universities, there have already been 12 students who have recently been hired to teach in the state.
- Calif. College Lends Books to Prospective Teachers
By Steve Bautista
Center for Teacher Education
Santa Ana College (Calif.)
Since 1999, the Center for Teacher Education (CFTE) has served as a hub within the Santa Ana College (SAC) Counseling Center for students preparing to become K-12 educators. Serving a future teacher student population that is 79 percent Latino, 75 percent female, 63 percent under the age of 22, and a majority of first-generation college students, the CFTE provides services aimed at the retention and transfer of students.
For most of our low-income students, the cost of books is one of the biggest barriers to attending college. One of the most successful and popular services and strategies for retention has been the Center’s Textbook Loan Program. Students who want to participate are required to register with the center, attend an information session on the pathway to teaching, and develop an educational plan with a counselor. In return, the students have the opportunity to borrow textbooks from the SAC library for Education and popular General Education courses. About 250 students take advantage of the program each year.
Despite a cost of approximately $3,000-$5,000 a year, the outcomes of the program have shown this to be a mutually beneficial investment. For the students, they are able to defray the cost of textbooks, which can cost between $100 and $250. Additionally, we are able to distribute the books at the very beginning of the semester so that students will have access to their books from day one, which is critical to success particularly in classes such as math.
The program also has huge benefits for CFTE. First, we are able to identify and track the students who are interested in a career in education. This is critical, particularly at a very large community college where the teacher pathway is made more complicated by a lack of an undergraduate education major. Secondly, we are able to orient the students to the various pathways and ensure that they meet with a counselor to get connected with various support services on campus and to develop an educational plan that will lead them to graduation and transfer.
Our data shows that our course level retention ranges from 83 to 86 percent and course success rates range from 83 to 91 percent. Keeping students in college and helping them be successful – that’s what it’s all about.
- N.M. College Boosts Needy Students Over Barriers
By Irene Den Bleyker
Division Chair, Education,
Health, and Human Services,
University of New Mexico-Gallup (N.M.)
The University of New Mexico-Gallup (UNM-Gallup) is the largest branch campus of the University of New Mexico and serves a population that is diverse in a number of different ways. The student population is approximately 80 percent Native American, of those Native American students, nearly 80 percent are Navajo. UNM-Gallup is designated as a Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution by the U.S. Department of Education and covers a vast, rural area that includes parts of the Navajo Nation and the Pueblo of Zuni.
UNM-Gallup students face a number of educational barriers. A large number of students qualify as low income. Most students are first-generation college students, live in geographic isolation and in many cases have limited access to Internet, electricity and running water. Another barrier is the large number of students who enter UNM-Gallup academically under-prepared. For the fall 2012 semester, results of student placement tests placed 79 percent into remedial English, 82 percent into developmental reading and 93 percent into a math remediation class.
UNM-Gallup is committed to placing an emphasis on the PK-14 continuum and is currently partnering with the Navajo Nation, the Pueblo of Zuni, and the Gallup-McKinley County School District through a variety of means to insure that recruiting, advising, retention, and instruction practices are being implemented to support the minority population. Some of these initiatives include Campus Caravan recruiting trips to schools and chapter houses, the Lobo Academy experience for incoming freshmen, TRIO Student Support Services and the celebration of Native American Month. UNM-Gallup just elected a new Miss Native UNM-Gallup who is an ambassador and model for current and prospective students. All of these programs are geared towards the successful recruitment and support of our minority student population.
Specific to our education programs, UNM-Gallup supports the Navajo Nation Head Start program through special recruitment days, data tracking, and analysis specific to these students. Because of the excellent working relationship with the coordinators of the Navajo Nation Head Start office, UNM-Gallup is able to align education courses with the needs of the students by scheduling weekend and condensed course sequences.
UNM-Gallup works closely with the dually enrolled high school students attending the on-campus Center for Career and Technical Education to identify students interested in pursuing an education degree. Students are enrolled in a “discovery” class through which they can observe and experience classroom situations. Students are then asked to evaluate their interest in the field of teaching and are advised on successful strategies to pursue their interest. These initiatives have proved beneficial to our diverse student population and have increased awareness and interest in the field of education.