Historically Black Simmons College in Louisville, Kentucky has partnered with Jefferson County Public Schools in an effort to produce more Black teachers and to keep them in the county.
The district has struggled over the years to hire and retain Black teachers. Currently, 35 percent of the county’s student population is African-American, compared to only 12 percent of the teachers. The district aims to reach a goal of a teaching workforce that is at least 18 percent Black by 2020 as part of its Racial Equity Plan.
The first phase of the new program will allow Simmons graduates to get into the county’s public school classrooms quickly through a 12-week summer boot camp that has been approved by the state. The goal is to have the first round of certified graduates helping in the county’s public school classrooms by the 2019 fall semester.
“We believe we can be a catalyst in this area as it relates to our local school system and also across the state,” said Dr. Frank Smith, Jr., executive vice president of Simmons College of Kentucky.
According to Dr. Smith, many Simmons students have expressed an interest in becoming teachers. Once the School of Education st Simmons College is up and running, these students will have direct access to the county’s public schools for their required observation hours and student teaching.