New Initiative to Work with Minority Students Wanting to Become Teachers

edmunds-teacherDES MOINES (May 29, 2014) – A new effort at Des Moines Public Schools will work with minority students in middle and high school who have an interest in becoming teachers, providing support to help them go on to college and careers in education. The initiative, called Dream to Teach, will provide mentors to students and assistance at the higher education level and during their first years of teaching in the field.

“DMPS has high-caliber teachers who help every student succeed in the classroom,” DMPS School Board member Connie Boesen said.  “But research has shown that students may have even higher academic achievement when taught by teachers of the same race and ethnicity.”

Des Moines Public Schools educates more than 32,000 students. Minority students make up 55% of the district’s enrollment, yet only 6% of DMPS teachers are minorities. A shortage of minority teachers is a national issue, faced by many larger and more urban school districts, with low minority enrollment in many education colleges.

In response to the need to hire more minority teachers reflecting the diverse backgrounds of students, DMPS is launching the Dream to Teach program. Support from the program to students will include:

  • Meetings with minority role models
  • Exposure to teaching through hands-on activities
  • Scholarships for education degrees
  • Professional development as a new teacher

“This initiative is particularly exciting because of the support from the community and from the district,” said Sarai Tillinghast, a SCAVO teacher who has been heavily involved with the project. “So often folks talk about how something needs to be done and because of the awesome teachers, community leaders, and district personnel who are on board, we’re doing it!”

Dream to Teach is working to recruit community partners to help fund and further support the program.  Interested sponsors and media are invited to learn more about Dream to Teach at its upcoming launch event:

Thursday, May 29, 2014.
4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Central Campus
Multi-Purpose Room/Board Room
1800 Grand Ave., Des Moines