Rochester City School District minority teacher population grows five percent

September 08, 2017 06:34 AM

Students and teachers across our area are all back in the classroom. Earlier this year, we told you Rochester City School District Officials traveled hundreds of miles to recruit more diverse teachers to match the student population. 

Since ramping up recruitment efforts the number of minority teachers in the classroom has grown five percent, but school officials say they still have a long way to go.

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Finding a diverse set of teachers isn’t just a Rochester problem, Harry Kennedy, Chief of Human Resources for the district says.

"The diversity count for the nation is 82 percent White teachers, and 18 percent diverse teachers,” Kennedy said. “Here at Rochester City School District we are 75 percent White teachers and 25 percent diverse teachers.”

Kennedy says the district has made gains, but it's still not enough. According to the latest demographic data, 57 percent of students are Black, 28 percent Latino, 10 percent White, 3 percent Asian, and the remaining identify as other. Kennedy says it's time to even the scale.

“This year we've put in place a plan for an aggressive recruitment to increase our diversity hires by 10 percent,” Kennedy said.

The department gets a $45,000 budget, most of it is spent traveling across the country to reach their goal. They have recruited in Puerto Rico and traveled to several historically black colleges and universities across the country. 

“It's a costly endeavor but again we understand that we have a mission to accomplish and that mission is to drive our diversity numbers,” Kennedy said.

School officials say this year, they'll start recruiting in December. This will be the earliest they've ever done it, and officials hope this early start helps them address both diversity and the teacher shortage.

School officials will also continue recruiting locally to address the problem.


Kaci Jones

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