While all students benefit from a diverse teaching workforce, just 16 percent of New Jersey educators are teachers of color according to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). Montclair State University and Rutgers University will split a $750,000 NJDOE “Diversifying the Teacher Pipeline” grant to encourage teacher diversity and expand recruitment and preparation opportunities for teachers of color in high-needs schools. Montclair State will partner with Newark Public Schools in a 19-month pilot program.
“It has long been a priority for us to produce a diverse teacher population for New Jersey schools,” says College of Education and Human Services Dean Tamara Lucas. “The ’Diversifying the Teacher Pipeline’ grant will provide additional support for our efforts to recruit and begin preparing racially and ethnically diverse high school students to become the New Jersey teachers of the future.”
According to Montclair State Center of Pedagogy Executive Director Jennifer Robinson, program efforts will focus on increasing the recruitment and retention of students of color with strong academic backgrounds to the University’s teacher education program; developing and placing a pipeline of teacher candidates of color in Newark Public Schools; and devising a district-based collaborative induction plan for Newark Teacher Project graduates.
“Montclair State is again in the vanguard of teacher preparation and in leading the recruitment and retention of teachers of color – as well as teachers for urban schools,” says Robinson. “The program is purposefully meant to be a model for other programs across the state. The plan is to develop a set of strategies, policies and practices to share with other New Jersey teacher education programs.”
The new project will extend the work of the University’s innovative Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency Program, an initial teacher certification program for college graduates and career changers deeply committed to urban education that is the University’s model for site-based teacher preparation. “The grant will also help to provide funding for our Newark Teacher Project learning experiences, including summer community internships, digital backpacks and more and allow us to continue Residency practices with additional certification areas,” says Robinson.
The “Diversifying the Teacher Pipeline” grant is especially meaningful for Robinson. “Since 1998, much of my scholarship at the University has been in the area of recruiting and retaining teachers of color, beginning with the establishment of Teacher Education Advocacy Center within the Center of Pedagogy,” she says. “This grant will help us sustain the work of the Urban Teacher Residency with our Newark partners and it will create a viable model for dissemination across the State of New Jersey – and beyond. Most important, it will help us learn more about how to do this work so that we can increase the diversity of the New Jersey teacher population.”