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But in fifth grade, her teacher, principal and assistant principal at the Delaware County school were all Black women.
Those women, they did that. As Dawson moved through her middle and high school years in the William Penn School District, she continued to develop strong relationships with educators of color, who she largely credits for mentoring her and helping to prepare her for college. Half a decade later, student demographics in the suburban Philadelphia district have completely transformed. It is now predominantly Black.
Diversity among the teaching force, however, has not kept up. William Penn has become one of the districts in the Sexy black women Reading Pennsylvania with the widest gaps between its of students of color and teachers of color. The disparity is even more skewed in schools in Duquesne, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster, and Southeast Delco, among others.
The findings come amid a years-long push by advocates to increase teacher diversity in the state. In the William Penn School District, families say the result is a disservice to the education of students. But key Black educators took special interest in her and would stay after school to help her with asments and, later, the college application process.
Sophomore year, Shana had been dealing with bouts of anxiety and things were made worse by a geometry class taught by a second-year white teacher where the classroom often devolved into chaos. And for [Shana], she was almost failing this class because she was not learning. She and her mom see a clear reason why.
They say Black teachers in the district tend to live within the immediate community and have a presence there outside the context of school. That creates a rapport, built organically over the years, that the teachers can leverage in their classrooms. When Shana had to retake geometry the following year, she took the class with Ms. Wagner, a Black woman. Hite added that a return to in-person learning is not contingent on teachers getting vaccinated. Nicole Miller, 41, has been a kindergarten teacher at Evans Elementary in Yeadon for 19 years. As both a parent and educator of Black children, she says the disciplinary issues that come up in classrooms where Black teachers are underrepresented can sometimes stem from a lack of cultural sensitivity.
Kene Miller, 17, unrelated to Nicole, left the district during her junior year. When she was still a high schooler at Penn Wood, students were not allowed to use the school microwave to heat up their food. Nicole Miller of Evans Elementary says regardless of race, all the teachers she works with have immense content knowledge when it comes to the curriculum. She believes white teachers would do better by furthering their understanding of cultural competency. Susan Norton, 50, is a Penn Wood graduate and a white teacher there now who says the school needs to do much more work to diversify its staff.
She cited a personal example from last year during one of her high school classes. A student had asked her to define racism during a class debate about the appropriateness of setting aside one month for Black history. For Norton, being a white teacher of Black and Latino students means learning is always a two-way street. She says she strives to listen to her students.
She depends on them to keep her able and she works to create an inclusive classroom environment. As an advanced placement language teacher, she thinks hard about selecting a diverse range of writers and books that represent her student body. She acknowledges the breadth of languages and cultures her students come from and integrates them into asments and projects. I need you to make sure that we are working together for our community.
Providers are struggling as they navigate how to stay afloat financially while keeping the children they serve and their staffs safe. Black educators in the William Penn School District say students would be in a much better place now if prior top-level administrators would have prioritized diversity in hiring.
Brown is a Yeadon success story. She and her family moved there when she was three months old. She remembers being the first Black family on her block during a period of increasing Black migration to the suburbs across the country.
Between andan average of overAfrican Americans moved to the suburbs each yeara rate of increase that was faster than that of white Americans. Brown graduated from the William Penn School District and came back to teach middle school English at 21, straight out of college. For Sexy black women Reading Pennsylvania years, she says she was turned down for promotion after promotion. Other teachers of color in the district came to also feel they were not being considered for jobs they were qualified for because of racism.
In August ofBrown and another teacher in the district, Kim Evans-Johnson, filed a t lawsuit against the district for violations of the Civil Rights Act, as well as for race and gender discrimination in hiring practices. They went to trial in March but ultimately lost. Brown, with more than 16 years of above-proficient evaluation ratings, had a hard time accepting that result. Johnson and Brown also claimed that it was common for the district to give teaching and administrative positions to individuals without publicly posting the job.
Brown decided to try again for a leadership position and was recently made assistant principal at Penn Wood High School. Brown and several teachers WHYY spoke to in William Penn have noted increased attention given to issues of racial equity within the district since Becoats became superintendent. That includes a racial equity forum he spearheaded as part of the formal professional development teachers are required to undertake. In the wake of the pandemic and growing racial and social unrest across the country, Becoats says he wanted to create a space for teachers and staff to discuss biases and develop tools to better support the student body.
What does it look like?
I believe that you have to have something that is continuous, something that allows people to grow over time. Every first Wednesday, teachers and school officials across the district meet virtually on Zoom and an independent moderator curates a conversation about issues that arise in classrooms and schools, like discrimination and cultural bias. These are all first steps, but ultimately Brown says the district needs to start actively recruiting teachers from historically Black colleges and universities in the state, have more Black administrators on hiring panels, and promote Black teachers from within.
The free Keystone Crossro newsletter delivers the most important Pennsylvania stories to your inbox every week. In landmark school funding case, Pennsylvania lawmakers try to block evidence of racial disparities. The Pa. Chester Upland School District avoids unprecedented charter takeover — for now. Chester Upland School District confronts the prospect of charter takeover. The financially distressed Delco district, now in receivership, is on the cusp of being dismantled.
Three charter groups have submitted proposals. The disparity is even more skewed in schools in Duquesne, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster, and Southeast Delco, among others The problem extends throughout the state. From the gap between teachers of color and students of color in Pennsylvania has widened. Courtesy of Research for Action In the William Penn School Sexy black women Reading Pennsylvania, families say the result is a disservice to the education of students.
She says her daughter has had a rockier time at the school. Related Content. Keystone Crossro. The Miller family sits in the living room of their Landsdowne home in In the end, no substantial action was taken. They are part of a learning pod in Delaware County. She says white educators there need to be especially self-reflective. Above all, she says being an effective teacher comes from carrying deep respect for students. Elizabeth Brown, 41, says her story is case in point.
Eric J. Becoats is in his first year as superintendent of the William Penn School District Courtesy of William Penn School District In the wake of the pandemic and growing racial and social unrest across the country, Becoats says he wanted to create a space for teachers and staff to discuss biases and develop tools to better support the student body.
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