The percentage of minority teachers at Evanston Township High School is getting closer to the percentage white educators, but a large gap still remains, according to school officials.
“Our efforts are bearing fruit,” Scott Bramley, Associate Superintendent for Human Resources told the District 202 Board of Education on Monday night.
While 65% of the current certificated staff of 336 (teachers, librarians, counselors, etc) are white, the board was told, new hires for the current school year are 61% individuals of color.
“We flipped this,” Bramley said, regarding the high percentage of minority hires.
That’s the faculty.
As for who they teach, it will take some time to get the staff percentages closer to the student body percentage, which is 46% white, 25% Black, 19% Hispanic, and smaller percentages of Asian and two or more races.
Many studies have shown that minority students have higher academic achievement when at least some of their teachers are minority group members as well.
With equity in mind, recruiting has become more important than ever before, in trying to get a teaching staff which roughly mirrors the student population.
“Gone are the days of just posting a job opening and having people apply for it,” Bramley said.
“There’s a need,” he said, “to diversify our approach.”
So last spring, Bramley said, ETHS began working with Chicago State University, a predominantly Black institution in this area, trying to attract more candidates.
ETHS also plans to work with Central State University, an HBCU in Ohio. While most teachers end up working near where they grew up, or went to college, Bramley said, Illinois is now reducing bureaucratic obstacles for out-of-state teachers to be licensed here.
He also talked of ETHS “growing its own” teachers, particularly minority educators.
The high school is looking to start a teacher residency program, something already being done by Evanston/Skokie District 65.
Unlike the traditional student teaching model, where those working on their degrees student teach for one semester while attending college, teacher residents teach for an entire school year, get paid, and, at least at District 65, are guaranteed a job upon completion of the program. Residents also earn a master’s degree.
Bramley said ETHS is in discussion with Northwestern University about such a residency program, and may also look into one with Chicago State, which would have a different student demographic mix.
It may also help to start even earlier than college.
Long-term, Bramley noted, “we need introduction to teaching” classes, where ETHS students can start to find out if a future teaching career is for them.
While the percentage of minority teaching hires has jumped this year, over the past few years the needle has not moved very much on narrowing the gap between white teachers and teachers of color at ETHS.
Board Vice-President Monique Parsons said the high percentage of new minority employees this year is “really good,” but it also needs to be “something we can start from and improve on.”