LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Thanks to targeted initiatives to recruit and retain teachers, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) is seeing a noticeable impact and promising trend of hiring and keeping teachers of color, the Jefferson County Board of Education learned Tuesday.
“It’s not enough to say that representation is important – it’s absolutely crucial that our students are able to recognize themselves in their teachers. I’m very proud that we’re starting to see such dramatic results as a result of these specific, intentional initiatives,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, JCPS superintendent.
- Eight of the last 12 principals hired are Black.
- JCPS has a record number of teachers of color – 1,117 – and its largest-ever number of Black male teachers, 213.
- The attrition rate of Black teachers has dropped from 14 percent to 7 percent.
- Of the 424 new teachers hired for the 2020-21 school year, 83, or 20%, are teachers of color.
- The Louisville Teacher Residency Program has produced 30 residents, 23 of whom are people of color.
In January 2019, the JCBE approved the district’s first racial equity plan, aimed at creating parity and accessibility to educational programs, resources and opportunities for all students throughout the district. Diversity in staffing and classroom was one of the major areas addressed by the plan, setting an initial goal of increasing the number of minority teachers by 2% by 2020.
“A diverse teaching force leads to the betterment of all children,” said Dr. John Marshall, chief equity officer of JCPS. “By taking intentional steps to recruit and retain teachers of color, Jefferson County Public Schools is showing to the community we are serious about positive change to create true racial equity in all facets of our foundation.”
To attract and retain more teachers, particular teachers of color, the district has developed numerous initiatives and strategies, including:
- The Louisville Teacher Residency Program, an innovative partnership between JCPS and the University of Louisville (UofL) to increase the pool of diverse, highly-skilled teachers, particularly in low performing, urban schools. The program, the first of its kind in Kentucky, offers college graduates who did not major in education the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree and teaching certification in one year, in exchange for their commitment to teach in a high-needs JCPS school.
- A partnership with Simmons College of Kentucky to introduce recent college graduates and current Simmons students to a career in teaching and public education. The recruitment effort aims to increase the number of minority teachers in JCPS classrooms.
- A restructuring of JCPS Human Resources in 2019 that created positions to assist with traditional recruitment activities, maintain connections with candidates and make personal outreach to newly hired employees to offer support and help troubleshoot issues throughout their first couple years.