The Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Consortium (PEDC) hosted a two-day virtual summit on June 22 and June 23 that joined hundreds of educators at all levels to engage members and stakeholders in important dialogues about the future of educator diversity in Pennsylvania.
The event titled, “Reaping What We Sow: Enriching the Soil to Cultivate and Sustain Culturally Relevant and Anti-Racist Educators in Pennsylvania” was organized by PEDC co-founders who represent Cheyney University Pennsylvania, Temple University, State College Area School District, and other professionals in education. The goal was to elevate a shared vision, new opportunities and tools needed to mobilize, prioritize and take actionable steps toward increasing the number of Black, Latinx, and culturally relevant and sustaining educators in Pennsylvania.
According to Kizzy Morris, Cheyney’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer and PEDC Co-Founder, the Pennsylvania Educators Diversity Consortium was founded as a grassroots organization of concerned and committed educators to increase and sustain teacher diversity with the Commonwealth.
“Less than 10% of teachers, that is not even 1 in 10 educators, in the state are persons of color. Yet our state is representative of many people from diverse backgrounds and varying identities,” said Morris. “Our purpose culminates annually with the Summit, which is hosted by Cheyney University, the nation’s first HBCU whose origins are grounded in educator preparation programs. We are excited to continue to be part of the journey to affect the changes to policies, procedures, and practices to make education within our Commonwealth equitable and inclusive.”
“The impact of bringing together several hundred stakeholders from across the Commonwealth to address educator diversity is significant for ensuring equitable and high-quality educational experiences for students in Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Juliet Curci, Assistant Dean of College Access and Persistence, Temple University College of Education and Human Development. “We are looking forward to building the momentum of the Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Consortium’s efforts through the programming and engagement of attendees in the Summit.”
The virtual summit included keynote speeches by education stakeholders, workgroups, and informational sessions across the two days. Participants had the opportunity to engage in several topics, including:
- Examine the vital role of the preparation, recruitment, hiring, and retention of highly effective, culturally relevant, and sustaining PreK-20 educators as foundational to dismantling systemic racism across Pennsylvania ecosystems.
- Identify how local education agencies, institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations can utilize data to examine trends, assess challenges, and set goals for increasing educator diversity locally, regionally, and state-wide.
- Center the voices and experiences of Black and Latinx students and educators in identification of action steps related to the need for culturally relevant and sustaining education, teacher effectiveness, and equity and diversity in the educator workforce.
- Explore various strategies and tools for implementation of the Consortium’s culturally relevant and sustaining education competencies, as well as initiatives related to the recruitment, mentorship, and retention of Black and Latinx teachers.
“What made this educator diversity Summit such an important event is the number of committed educators from across the Commonwealth registered and expressed an interest in teacher diversity and Culturally Relevant and Sustaining Education,” said Dr. Donna-Marie Cole-Malott, Educational Consultant. “We have an opportunity to make a difference, and the time is now. The Summit is a place they can come to learn about the possibilities for what this could look like, and to get support from PEDC and the individuals already doing this work.”
This was the second annual Educator Diversity Summit hosted by PEDC, formerly the Aspiring to Educate (A2E) Consortium. Cheyney faculty and staff became founding members of PEDC’s statewide program last year to teach diversity as it aligned well with efforts as part of its Breaking Barriers Series initiative. The program’s initial key outcome during the last several months was creating toolkits based on the pillars of the teacher diversity: recruitment, retention, mentorship, and culturally relevant sustaining