When Mayor Petty asked President Maloney to convene a committee of professional educators to review and make recommendations to the Worcester Public Schools committee on teacher recruitment and retention of diverse populations, Maloney gladly agreed, knowing he had some of the most seasoned experts within his ranks. After a year, the Worcester Teacher Pipeline report was finally received by the Mayor Petty and members of the Worcester Public Schools committee. The report, which was finalized in July, 2020, was not received and discussed until Tuesday, July 13, 2021 due to the ongoing state of emergency due to the pandemic.
“It is very important,” Petty said concerning the report and its recommendations. “Our city is diverse and there is a shortage of teachers everywhere. We need teachers of diversity to go into this profession. Unless we get students to go into this field and to get in early, it will not work.”
Maloney agreed with the Mayor’s statement. “When Superintendent Binienda was at South High School, we discussed this [work]. Talent and retention, following the pandemic, have certainly changed and diversity will be important. We built our work on the shoulders of Dr. Lewis and the Latino Education Institute, and others doing work on cultural competency. Their experience was good because their public school experience was good. They need to be supported. I am really pleased by the work,” stated Maloney.
WPS committee member Ivonne Perez, who also served on the Teacher Pipeline committee, agreed that diversity is important work of both the WPS and the city as a whole.
“We have increased diversity hires this year, but we know we need more. We are hiring the best candidates, not just people of color. The data will show us that when a student has a teacher of color in the 3rd grade, they will be more likely to graduate from high school. If they don’t’ see themselves there, they won’t know they can get there.” She also stated that retention is something we need to work on, and it’s happening all over the United States.
According to Dr. Raynold Lewis, associate dean of the school of education, Worcester State University, the report addresses five points: early recruitment from among high school students; retention; a Worcester teacher residency program; cultural responsiveness competency; and hiring and interview skills. According to Lewis, this is not new. “For years, we have been trying to grow our own teachers. How can we grow our own diverse workforce? This report is a solid start. With the funding, we can get this work done.”
Hilda Ramirez, executive director of the Latino Education Institute, discussed what was lacking: a residency program. “Teacher residency addresses the support the first year [of teaching], especially as a cohort. We don’t have that here [in Worcester] and it will make a difference.”
According to Mayor Petty, Superintendent Binienda, who was not present for the discussion on the report, is very supportive of the work of the committee.
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