March 8, 2018

School Board Notes

During public participation, a parent said the District needed to do more to increase the diversity of its staff, saying that it did not match the diversity of its students. She asked what the District was doing to increase staff ethnic and cultural diversity. She shared that when a student of color sees teachers and staff in school who look like they do, it can have an enormous positive impact on their educational outcomes and can potentially change their outlook on school for the remainder of their school days.

As is the case with almost all school districts in Oregon, David Douglas’ staff is far less diverse ethnically and culturally than its student population. David Douglas certified teachers are 91% white, whereas David Douglas students are only 38% white. Just more than 3% of teachers are Hispanic, while 25% of students identify as Hispanic. David Douglas administrators are 83% white, and 82% of classified staff are white.

The District is and has been taking active steps to attract a more diverse staff. Half (3 of 6) of the new administrators hired for the 2017-18 school year are culturally diverse. The District attends job fairs every year with the intent of attracting potential candidates of color. Other steps being taken:

Scots to Knights program is a partnership with Warner Pacific begun last year to recruit David Douglas high school juniors and seniors, and especially students of color, to pursue a career in education. The classes they take provide free college credit at Warner Pacific, and as future education students at Warner Pacific they will receive mentoring and student teaching opportunities in David Douglas. This is an attempt to “grow our own” diverse teaching force.

Bilingual Teacher Pathway program has, for the past 19 years, encouraged and assisted current District classified employees of color and/or who are bilingual to pursue teaching degrees and to become teachers in David Douglas.

Teach Oregon Partnership is a 5-year-old program with Portland State University to increase the number of PSU student teachers who come to David Douglas.

Through Teach Oregon, the District began working with Cultures Connecting, an organization that provides workshops on hiring a diverse workforce, coaching and guidance on hiring practices, and best practices for job postings and interview processes that eliminate historical barriers for candidates of color.

The District has implemented, and is continually updating, a new Hiring Guide and training for administrators on the hiring process to focus on reducing implicit bias.

The District offers a mentoring program for all new teachers and a New Teacher Academy with the understanding that potential teaching candidates are looking for districts that offer strong support for new teachers. The more teaching candidates who want to come to David Douglas, the better the chances of attracting a more diverse pool.