ACPS Awarded State Funding to Grow Diversity in its Teacher Workforce

While 76 percent of the white teachers with provisional licenses in 2013 were fully licensed by 2016, only 63 percent of provisionally licensed Black/African-American teachers attained full certification after three years.
(Photo: ACPS)

By Mary Wadland

ACPS has been awarded state funding to help increase diversity among its teachers.

The grant will help six provisionally licensed minority teachers gain the qualifications needed to attain full state licensure — a prohibitively expensive process that can hold back new teachers. The funding will cover tutoring costs and fees for the assessments required by the state Board of Education for full licensure.

The funding is part of an effort by the Virginia Department of Education to recruit and retain educators who reflect the growing and increasingly diverse student population of Virginia by focusing on the unique set of challenges faced by minority educators and teacher candidates in the commonwealth.

“The grant alleviates the stress of figuring out how to pay for the exam preparation and fees, which enables me to focus more on teaching my students and on learning strategies to better support their learning,” one of the grant recipients said.

The award is aligned with the ACPS goal to increase the diversity of its staff to better align with its student body. ACPS teaching staff is made up of 62 percent white, 30 percent Black/African-American and 8 percent Hispanic teachers, which fails to reflect the student body at 36 percent Hispanic, 28 percent white and 27 percent Black/African-American. ACPS students hail from 114 different countries and speak 119 different languages.