Teachers listen to each other in a group.

Barr Announces New Grants to Drive Toward Educator Diversity

Announcing a new cohort of New England school systems committed to developing diverse, talented teacher workforces for student success.

This summer, in partnership with TNTP, we announced a new RFP for school systems to deepen their understanding of their current talent landscape in order to diversify their teacher workforces. Today, we are excited to announce nine communities that will receive grants as part of the Driving Toward Educator Diversity cohort. These schools and systems understand the importance of a diverse, talented teacher workforce in supporting their students to reach success. This cohort represents public schools across the New England region, of varying governance structures, each with more than 50 percent of their students identifying as people of color:

Our partners:

  • Boston Preparatory Charter Public School (MA)
  • Excel Academy Charter Schools (MA)
  • Foundation for Portland Public Schools (ME)
  • Fitchburg Public Schools (MA)
  • Lowell Public Schools (MA)
  • Salem Public Schools (MA)
  • Stamford Public Schools (CT)
  • Teach Western Mass (partnership across 6 Massachusetts school networks: Holyoke Public Schools, Springfield Empowerment Zone, Baystate Academy Charter, Libertas Academy, Springfield Prep Charter, Veritas Prep Charter)
  • Winooski School District (VT)
A map of grantees for educator diversity work.

For the remainder of this 2021-22 school year, these school systems will look deeply at their own data, listen to their educators, families, and students, and reflect on their current approaches to their workforce. With technical assistance provided by TNTP, grantees will gain a deeper understanding of how well their current approach to recruiting, staffing, supporting, and retaining educators aligns with their vision and goals for diversifying their educator workforce, and identify areas for prioritization. More detail on this RFP opportunity can be found here.

Background on this work

Across the country, teachers don’t look like the students they serve. While 53% of students in the United States identify as people of color, 80% of teachers are white, and 40% of public schools don’t have a single teacher of color. This imbalance holds true in New England and has far-reaching effects on student experiences.

Students have big goals for their lives, and they are far more likely to reach those goals with access to more teachers of color who hold high expectations and deliver engaging, developmentally-appropriate instruction. Research shows that a more diverse teacher workforce benefits all students—but especially students of color with more equitable outcomes. Students with teachers who share their race are less likely to be suspended, more likely to be referred to gifted and talented programs, and more likely to complete high school and go to college. And TNTP’s recent research shows that teachers of color have higher expectations for students of color, which correlates with more learning.

The teacher diversity gap is a complex problem with many causes and contributing factors. We are proud to join our partners across the region in supporting this work that can transform school systems and better support students’ needs and aspirations.

The Driving Toward Educator Diversity cohort represents the second major initiative of Barr’s Invest in Educators portfolio and we are eager to learn from this cohort as they gain a deeper understanding of their current approaches. To learn more about the Invest in Educators portfolio, please visit our strategy page.

Read recent coverage of our partners:

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Kate Dobin

Former Senior Program Officer, Education