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New JCPS teachers graduate with masters degrees in single-year program

JCPS said they need more Black and brown teachers to help match the demographics of the students they teach. There is a program in its second year to help bridg
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 11:04 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - JCPS said they need more Black and brown teachers to help match the demographics of the students they teach.

There is a program in its second year to help bridge that gap and focus on racial equity.

A special graduation ceremony for the district’s newest teachers was held Thursday.

These new teachers spent four days a week in the classroom with kids, then Fridays in their own classroom at UofL. They earn a master’s degree at the end of the year-long program.

The goal is to make sure that everyone, especially children of color in JCPS, have all their needs met.

“We absolutely want to recruit Black and brown teachers but what we want most is great teachers for our students,” Sylena Fishback, who leads the Louisville Teacher Residency program said. “So we train all of our teachers in racial equity and ensure that they’re ready to ensure every student feels included in their environment.”

Fishback said that minority teachers only make up 16% of the staff. That is well below the number of Black and brown students.

After completing the program, the newly certified teachers sign a 5-year contract with the district. That includes Resident of the Year Shenay Sullivan-Bullard.

She was getting her start as a provisional teacher before this, and said taking a close look at race in the classroom was very important to her.

“It made me more conscious of my biases,” Sullivan-Bullard said. “And it made me more conscious of those around me with biases and I could see how it was affecting our students.”

The district’s solution isn’t just worksheets and assignments though.

“Relationships was the biggest,” Sullivan-Bullard said. “Even though I generally love making relationships with the students, I didn’t realize the significance of how it would affect them in the classroom so that really brought it out full circle.”

The residents get a stipend of $30,000 and UofL charges $17,500 for tuition. There are some requirements, like having a bachelor’s degree. You can learn more about the program by clicking here or by emailing louisvilleteacherresidency@jefferson.kyschools.us.

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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