Saint Martin’s College of Education and Counseling Psychology (CECP) has been awarded a two-year grant, totaling $20,000, from the State of Washington Professional Educators Standards Board’s (PESB) Pilot to Policy Grant: Advancing Systemic Equity program. The grant is intended to be used by educator preparation programs to increase equity and recruit and retain diverse students, with the goal of preparing a greater number of diverse teachers and administrators to work in Washington state public schools. A 2016 study by the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction shows that students of diverse backgrounds are unlikely to encounter classroom teachers of similar backgrounds, and the Advancing Systemic Equity grant program is designed to help address this issue.
Saint Martin’s will use the grant to develop new sustainable strategies to support racial equity in its teacher education and school administration programs. The University will work to make systems-level changes and work in tangent with efforts campus-wide to support access and inclusion for all students. The CECP will be working extensively with internal players and community partners in order to execute its Equity Action Plan (EAP).
“The grant aligns with the mission and values of the University,” said Saint Martin’s University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D. “The College of Education and Counseling Psychology’s plan is innovative and collaborative, and the CECP seeks to work with our community and education partners in ensuring we seek out and support potential and current educators of color. There is a critical need for educators of color, and it takes all of us working to bring about positive changes and racial equity.”
The EAP outlines five high-priority goals and attendant strategies, including:
- Supporting the exploration of teaching careers for Saint Martin’s first-year students and sophomores and reaching out to candidates who are already living and working in the area
- Expanding recruitment and outreach by securing more scholarship funding for underrepresented students and updating recruitment materials and strategies
- Increasing alternate pathways to teaching by changing requirements and providing more resources for Saint Martin’s Secondary Teaching Alternate Route (STAR) program
- Giving students appropriate support systems, including electronic learning assessment tools, peer-to-peer connections, field supervisors who are trained to do equity audits, and mentoring for pre-service teachers of color
- Creating an inclusive campus climate by hiring and retaining more diverse faculty, staff and administrators, conducting an audit of the curriculum to make improvements and articulate an anti-oppressive curriculum, continuing collaboration with external stakeholders and partners for new initiatives, requiring student teachers to complete an equity audit, engaging all CECP faculty in conversations around race, racism, and oppression, providing professional development opportunities to reflect on how to create welcoming environments for all and proposing a new agreement for community college transfer students entering the teacher education program
Kate Boyle, Ph.D., dean of CECP and Saint Martin’s University – JBLM, spoke about how the grant will provide support for the EAP and help the University establish a more equitable workforce. “We are committed to making systemic changes in order to achieve racial equity in our education programs,” she said. “This is a strong, comprehensive and sustainable project. The grant funds will provide essential seed money to establish the infrastructure and models, after which the project will be self-sustaining.”
The CECP core project team included Boyle, Eric Boyer, Ph.D., assistant professor of education, STAR program director and future teachers’ student club advisor; Celeste Trimble, Ph.D., assistant professor of education; Marcela de Souza, Ph.D., assistant professor of education and English language learners program advisor; Linda Maier, Ph.D., key lead on the grant project, assistant professor of education and director of the school administration program and CECP graduate programs; and Kasey Williams-Lopez, graduate assistant and student within the Master in Teaching program.
External stakeholders who were involved in the development of the EAP included Kurt Hatch from the Association of Washington School Principals; Andrew Eyres, Ed.D., assistant superintendent of Educational Service District 113; Condee Wood, Marshall Middle School principal and representative from Olympia School District; Terae Harris, assistant vice principal at Lakes Elementary and representative from North Thurston School District; Collette Stewart, director of talent recruitment and development for Tacoma School District; Michelle Andreas, Ed.D., vice president of instruction at South Puget Sound Community College; Charo Garcia de Portaro, director of CIELO (Integral Latino Education Center of Olympia); and Vincent Perez of Rethink Manhood.