Teacher diversity program gets $500,000 in funding

Posted at 6:18 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 18:18:09-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The creation of the Teacher Diversity Pipeline Program will provide a pathway for teacher aides and assistants of diverse ethnic backgrounds to become certified teachers.

"When we have teachers that you can truly relate to, you really have just decreased that distance between you," said Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner, President of Buffalo State College.

They are considered ideal candidates because they are already working in Buffalo Public Schools. Teacher aides and assistants will be working with the Buffalo State's Office for Continuing and Professional studies.

"These are working adults, and so we need to develop the program around them," said Dr. Wendy Paterson, Dean of the School of Education at Buffalo State, "They're not the traditional 18 to 21 year olds that are here for undergraduate education, but many of them already have Bachelor's degrees."

"Things have to be worked out to fit people's lives," said Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes. "I really want to commend the people at Buffalo State for doing the real deep dive into identifying those folks and identifying what their needs are.

Peoples-Stokes helped secure the half million dollars in funding in the 2018-2019 New York State Budget.

Two thirds of students are minorities, while 87% of teachers in Buffalo are White. The goal of the program is to have more teachers who might be able to better relate to their students.

"This is an issue for African Americans ,and this is an issue for Latino students to have teachers in the classroom who look like them," said Peoples-Stokes.

Buffalo Public Schools is working with Buffalo State College, Empire State College and other partners to develop a curriculum to increase their teacher diversity.