Posted October 25, 2023

CEHD awarded $1.4 million grant to recruit and retain teachers of color

Temple’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) has received this grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to address the racial and ethnic disparities in educators across the commonwealth.

Temple and Philadelphia officials posing with Hooter
Photography By: 
Joseph V. Labolito
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has awarded Temple’s College of Education and Human Development a $1.4 million grant to recruit and retain teachers of color.

In Pennsylvania, children of color make up nearly 40% of the student population while just 6% of teachers in the commonwealth are people of color. This disparity is present throughout the U.S. and is negatively impacting K–12 education.

To help address this issue, Temple’s College of Education and Human Development has been awarded a $1.4 million grant from the commonwealth’s Department of Education to recruit and retain educators of color across Pennsylvania. This grant is championed by Pennsylvania Senator Vincent Hughes.

The grant was announced at a press conference in the university’s Center for Anti-Racism, where students, staff, faculty and legislators from Philadelphia and Temple gathered to celebrate the news.

“Regrettably, so many in Pennsylvania are underprepared or miseducated,” said Center for Anti-Racism Director Timothy Welbeck as he welcomed guests. “We now have the data that educators, particularly those of color, can change the trajectory of our students, and we all benefit from a diversity of faces and perspectives. There are countless of us shaped by educators, particularly by our beloved late President JoAnne A. Epps.”

“Our college is living out its commitment to social justice and equity, uplifting the community and cultivating and nurturing our acres of diamonds,” added Monika Williams Shealey, dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

The grant, which is available through June 2025, will fund 10 initiatives to benefit aspiring and early-career educators. These plans include free summer programming and dual enrollment courses for 150 high school students across Pennsylvania. Additionally, the college will offer academic advising, peer and professional mentorship, and affinity groups for students of color currently in its teacher education programs. It will also support early childhood educators on their path to receive child development associate’s certificates and bachelor’s degrees.

Graduate students participating in the educational leadership program for the School District of Philadelphia will have the opportunity to engage in workshops, and professional development will be available for faculty and staff in the College of Education and Human Development to understand, employ and model culturally relevant and sustaining education. The College of Education and Human Development also seeks to collaborate with career and technical education programs in Pennsylvania to create pathways for teaching academy students in bachelor’s degree programs.

“We’re building off our existing programming so that we can provide a greater variety of opportunities for high-quality experiences that will enhance teacher preparation here at Temple. We want those who complete our programs to thrive in their chosen profession,” said Juliet Curci, project lead and assistant dean of college access and persistence in the College of Education and Human Development.

This work involves collaborating with numerous organizations in the commonwealth such as Research for Action, the Center for Black Educator Development, the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, the School District of Philadelphia, Teach Plus, the Philadelphia Citywide Talent Coalition, the Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Consortium, Philadelphia Charters for Excellence, Teach for America Greater Philadelphia, the Community College of Philadelphia, the Teacher Education Alliance and Temple’s Council for Teacher Preparation.

“It’s our responsibility to make the investment,” said Senator Hughes. “We want to make sure that students who will become teachers or who are already in the profession realize how important and needed they are.”

Temple first-year student Lucas Santiago expressed how one of his teachers of color influenced him in K–12. “Mr. Pomales was the very first teacher I could connect to. He had experiences like me. A Hispanic man in the education field was something I’d never seen before.” Santiago, a secondary education social studies major, also benefited from Temple Education Scholars, a yearlong pre-college program preparing students to be educators in Pennsylvania.

Temple is committed to providing opportunities that increasee and support teachers, especially individuals of color.

“Being selected as a trusted partner to help address teacher shortages by opening pathways and extending partnerships will offer lasting benefits to communities across the commonwealth,” said Provost Gregory Mandel. “We have a long history of graduating educators who make profound impacts in the classroom, research, policy and government, just to name a few. Our College of Education and Human Development is well-positioned to lead this work and will continue to do an exceptional job in preparing and empowering our next generation of educators.”