Providence Public Schools, RIDE will use the funding to hire more than 125 teachers of color over the next five years
The Rhode Island Foundation has raised $3.1 million to increase the number of teachers of color in Providence public schools. Students of color represent 80 percent of enrollment in the district while just 20 percent of teachers are members of minority groups.
The funding will be used to offer candidates a college loan-repayment incentive totaling up to $25,000 over the first three years of employment. The incentive will be in addition to the standard compensation package that the Providence Public School District (PPSD) offers all teachers.
The district hopes to hire more than 125 minority teachers over the next five years through the program. PPSD hires approximately 175 new teachers a year, generally to fill vacancies due to retirements or movement to other districts.
Full-time teachers who identify as Black, Asian, Indigenous, Latino or multi-racial are eligible for the loan repayment program. They must be new hires to Providence public schools—current teachers are not eligible.
This initiative builds off of the work of the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) has done to convene and retain educators of color statewide in Rhode Island.
The goal is to recruit approximately 25 new teachers of color a year for five years beginning in the 2021-22 academic year. Participants are eligible to have up to $6,000 of their college loan debt paid off after completing year one of teaching, up to an additional $8,500 after completing year two and up to another $10,500 after completing year three.
The donors are Judith and William Braden, Nancy and Charlie Dunn, Ruth and Jonathan Fain, Bhikhaji Maneckji, the Papitto Opportunity Connection, the Partnership for Rhode Island, The Stonehouse Mountain Family Fund and Jyothi and Shivan Subramaniam.
PPSD is using a multi-year $220,000 grant from the Foundation to hire a Diversity and Pipeline Design Specialist to coordinate all efforts related to the recruitment of teachers of color, including collaborating with existing teacher certification programs and developing supports for retention.
In addition, The Equity Institute received a $125,000 grant to help a diverse group of non-certified teaching assistants to become state certified teachers in partnership with College Unbound.