Increasing the diversity of our workforce is another key component to achieving racial equity for students in UPSD.
Increasing the diversity of our workforce is another key component to achieving racial equity for students in UPSD. This goal is shared by nearly all districts in our region and state. Efforts to diversify our staff are working. In 2018, 14.7% of staff were people of color. This percentage has increased steadily each year to 15.7% in 2019, 16.5% in 2020 and 18.4% in 2021. While progress is being made over time, these numbers are still not reflective enough of our diverse student population (about 51% non white). We remain committed to recruitment and retention efforts for employees of color.
UPSD has an affirmative action plan (2018-2023) in place with the specific goal of diversifying our workforce to better reflect our community. Attracting more teachers of color remains a significant challenge here and across our country. According to the US Department of Education National Center of Education Statistics, between 1999 and 2018, the percentage of teachers of color in US schools increased by only 5% from 16% to 21%. Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce will require action at each level of the "pipeline" explained below. The figure show the pathway from high school graduation to becoming a certificated classroom teacher. (US Dept. of Education, The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce, 2016)
We will continue to focus on the following areas to improve our ability to serve our diverse population of students:
Recruit and retain leaders of color. Leaders play a key role in hiring staff to serve students and families. Progress has been made over the last several years to add to the diversity of our leadership team. At this time, about 21% of our district leadership and management team are leaders of color. Support and retainment of these leaders is essential.
Actively recruit teachers and support staff of color.
Review hiring practices to ensure that they are non-discriminatory.
Review hiring practices to ensure that they help to identify and select qualified candidates of color.
Support current employees of color to ensure that they stay and thrive.
Maintain partnerships with local colleges & universities with education programs to provide student teaching placement opportunities and potentially hire student teachers of color from these colleges & universities.
Encourage current students to pursue a career in education when they graduate.
Prepare students to be college-ready and support students of color to access post-secondary education. Going to college is the first step on the road to becoming a teacher.
Hiring staff who are Culturally Competent
When we are unable to hire educators of color to open positions, we still plan to emphasize cultural responsiveness and competence in the people we do hire. We continue to review the relevant experience of candidates and look for individuals who have successful experience working in diverse environments. We also recently engaged our District Equity Advisory Team in reviewing both our job postings and interview questions to make sure that our commitment to racial equity, inclusivity and cultural responsiveness is reflected in both places. This review resulted in changes to both postings and interviews that will help identify staff members who are ready to work effectively with our diverse student population.