TOPEKA, Kan.— The Topeka school district is working with several historically black colleges and universities in Texas to make its teaching staff more diverse.
The district hopes to seal formal affiliations soon with Wiley College, Jarvis Christian College, Texas College, Huston-Tillotson University and Texas Southern University, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
The goal is mutual recruiting, said Marie Carter, who works in the district’s human resources department. The Topeka district has been trying for years to attract and retain more minority teachers, while the colleges have a shortage of students studying education, Carter said.
The Topeka district plans to hold a minority college fair next fall, with representatives from the colleges, to connect students with more post-secondary options and potential scholarships.
The idea is that many college students return to their hometowns to teach once they’ve completed their studies. Topeka district administrators are hoping the collaboration could lead to more minority candidates for teaching jobs in Topeka.
Other diversity efforts include a minority leadership academy and a Westar Energy partnership that allows members of the academy to attend the company’s leadership classes.
“The minority leadership academy is what made Topeka public schools stand out,” said Dana Owens, a first-year counselor at Highland Park High.
The leadership academy now has about 20 members, and its members have created a program to give scholarships to high school students who plan to study education and teach in Topeka.
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