Program to grow teacher diversity in city schools

Apr 3, 2017

A new "grow your own" style program will help build a diverse workforce of Buffalo Public School teachers. SUNY Buffalo State and the Buffalo Public School District announced the launch the Urban Teacher Academy to be located at McKinley High School Monday at a news conference. 

SUNY Buffalo State and the Buffalo Public School District announced the launch the Urban Teacher Academy to be located at McKinley High School.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The four program will recruit McKinley students interested in becoming school teachers.  City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash said it is “critically important how young people are inducted into a profession.”

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“You have to have to have really great educators inducting the young people and continuing the succession management,” noted Cash. “In many countries in Europe and around the world, teaching is a revered profession – it is considered a noble profession and it seems to me, that over the generations I’ve witnessed – it seems that we’ve lost that luster about how important and special and noble it is to be a teacher in our society. This partnership will reaffirm that importance.”

The program will start this fall at McKinkley. Those students must complete a four year program and then be accepted into Buffalo State and promise to teach at city schools for five years.

Buffalo State President Catherine Conway Turner said the new academy to reflect the diversity of the community in city classrooms.    

“We are going to collaborate with our partners to make a difference.  To be a part of recruiting students from diverse backgrounds and being a part of instilling in them the outstanding value of what it means to be a teacher,” declared Conway Turner. “What we want this Urban Teacher Academy to do is to make sure that those teachers reflect the diversity.” 

Buffalo State President Catherine Conway Turner says the new academy to reflect the diversity of the community in city classrooms.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Superintendent Cash noted it will provide a pipeline for good teachers for years to come in Buffalo.

Buffalo School Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold spoke about teaching being an honorable profession.

“I welcome this program – this model that I believe is going to be a national model for other district’s to look at,” said Seals Nevergold.

Buffalo School Board member Theresa Harris-Tigg, an educator at Buffalo State, said it is about “paying it forward” and “giving it back”.

“Teaching is life-long learning. “We’re starting with ninth graders and we are going to grow them out,” noted Harris-Tigg.

Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore has been working on created the needed funding for this type of program that would generate diversity in the classroom. 

“This is something many of us have thought about it for years. Is to how to bring diversity into the teaching ranks,” Rumore said. “The students, once they graduate, will get a full ride to Buff State. That includes housing that includes tuition and a job, if they agree to teach in the city of Buffalo for five years. That way then we will be growing our own.”