The voice of California’s charter school movement

Hiring and Retaining Teachers of Color is the Key to Black Student Success

By Ana Tintocalis

As we wrap up our month-long celebration of Black History Month, we believe it’s imperative to focus on one critical factor: Hiring and retaining teachers of color.

In CCSA’s latest report, Serving Black Students With Excellence: California Charter Schools Working to Close Opportunity Gaps, research shows four of the highest performing charters in California are managed by a Black school leader who actively try to recruit and hire teachers of color.

CCSA researchers also provided a more comprehensive look at this approach a few years ago when we released Charting the Course to Equity: K-12 Leaders of Color and Student Success (2019). Key findings in that study are:

  • Students at schools with a leader of color score significantly higher on state tests, especially at high schools.

  • Twelfth grade students at schools with a leader of color graduate significantly more prepared for college and career.

  • Students, especially African American students and high school students, with a leader of color are significantly less likely to be suspended.

To shed further light on this topic, CCSA convened a panel of Black charter school thought leaders in San Diego earlier this month to talk about increasing teacher diversity. The panel discussion was recorded by the University of California Television (UCTV) and broadcast on its Education Channel.

Two of the panelists head charter schools in San Diego: Dr. Helen V. Griffith is the Executive Director of The Preuss School UC San Diego, and Dr. Cheryl James-Ward is CEO/Chief Engagement and Innovation Officer at e3 Civic High School. Nicole Jones, Dean of Counseling Services at Cuyamaca College, also offered her viewpoints from a post-secondary level.

Check out how the panelists analyze barriers and offer solutions to Black student achievement:

HubSpot Video

We also encourage you to watch CCSA/UCTV’s entire half-hour recorded panel discussion here.

If you’d like to learn more about what California charter schools are doing to increase teacher diversity, check out CCSA’s 2019 report, Charting the Course to Equity: K-12 Leaders of Color and Student Success.

For a national perspective, we also recommend reading one of the most definitive studies on the topic: Teachers of Color: In High Demand and Short Supply (2019) by the Learning Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that conducts independent research to improve education policy and practice.