DMPS, Drake, DMACC Forming the 3D Coalition to Identify, Education and Hire More Minority Teachers

Leaders from Des Moines Public Schools, Drake University and Des Moines Area Community College are working together to form a new partnership to recruit, educate and hire more minority teachers for Iowa’s capital city. The goal of the new partnership – called the 3D Coalition – is to identify aspiring minority teachers and guide them through the postsecondary education needed to teach in Des Moines.

“As a district proud to educate a racially diverse student body, we want and need to attract more and more aspiring minority educators to teach in our classrooms,” said Tom Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “By working with Drake and DMACC, we hope to open new pathways and opportunities to make that a reality.”

In 2012-13, minority students at Des Moines Public Schools, the largest school district in Iowa, made up 53.4% of enrollment. During that same time, only 10% of administrators and 4.5% of certified teachers were minority.

“We are excited about and committed to working with DMPS and Drake in forming the 3D Coalition,” said Rob Denson, president of Des Moines Area Community College. “This is a win-win-win effort that will benefit Des Moines students, future teachers, and our entire community.”

“As our city’s school district becomes more diverse, it can serve as an inspiration for students to see a minority teacher at the front of their classroom,” added Janet McMahill, dean of the Drake University School of Education. “As the educator of many teachers here in the capital city, Drake is proud to join in this partnership.”

DMPS, Drake, and DMACC recognize the merits of working together to strengthen the urban community by increasing the number of minority teachers in the Des Moines school district. Leaders of each organization are developing preliminary plans to begin a new program for aspiring minority teachers, including identifying revenue sources supported by groups and organizations within the community.

DMPS, Drake, and DMACC have a long history of collaboration. DMACC is a two-year community college that serves more than 67,000 credit and non-credit students of all ages and backgrounds annually. DMACC has six campuses across central Iowa, including an urban campus in Des Moines. Drake University is recognized as one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the Midwest. A midsized, private university in Des Moines, Iowa, Drake offers the benefits and resources of a larger institution along with the advantages of intimate class sizes and close personal relationships. The School of Education experience is distinguished by exemplary teaching, scholarship, and services that advance the higher education experience for on-campus and extended-campus learners. Drake enrolls more than 3,400 undergraduates and 2,100 graduate students from 49 states and about 50 countries.

Members of the 3D Coalition previously worked together to implement two large federal grant programs that successfully brought minority teachers to Des Moines classrooms. The Career Opportunity Program was active in the 1970s and was instrumental in recruiting and training a number of minority teachers who went on to serve Des Moines schools in the classrooms and administrative offices for many years. The Teacher Quality Project (TQP) ran from 2005-2009 and focused on the recruitment, training, and hiring of quality minority teachers. Thirty-two of the 34 TQP graduates continue to teach in Des Moines schools.

The program is being designed to support future educators as they pursue the postsecondary education pathway needed to become a teacher. The program will develop an academic plan for each student, customized according to the educational background of each participant. The program plans to provide support beyond academic planning. The goal of the 3D Coalition is to provide students with:

  • Educational pathway development and advising
  • Personalized financial planning, including the identification of grants and financial aid opportunities
  • Mentoring and seminars
  • Technology assistance
  • Tuition assistance, including books and fees
  • Flexible work, including schedules and student teaching stipends

After completion of the 3D program, graduating with a teaching degree and endorsements, participants will have a job as a teacher with Des Moines Public Schools.  Students will be required to work in the Des Moines school system for the same length of time they received support from the 3D Coalition.