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Boston Public Schools Reports Annual Hiring Update, Reaches Diversity Hiring Milestones
Targeted recruitment, cultivation, hiring, and retention supports producing positive results for attracting and retaining educators of color
BOSTON — Monday, November 23, 2020 — The Boston Public Schools (BPS) Office of Human Capital recently provided its annual hiring update, demonstrating substantial progress on recruitment, cultivation, and diversity hiring practices and initiatives with the hiring of the highest percentage of candidates of color in seven years.
For the first time in the last seven years, when BPS adopted mutual consent hiring, the total percentage of educator hires (including teachers and guidance counselors) who identified as people of color surpassed 50%, growing the BPS workforce to nearly 54% people of color, an increase of nearly 7% over last year, which was the previous highpoint.
This year, Black educators comprised 31% of all hires of teachers and guidance counselors, the first time this number has been significantly higher than the court-ordered Garrity threshold of 25%. In addition, 16% of hires were Latinx, the highest percentage in the last seven years. The Garrity court order, established in 1974, requires BPS to achieve and maintain a desegregated faculty and staff (teachers and guidance counselors), “comprised of not less than 25% Blacks and 10% other minorities.” According to the data released today, BPS teachers of color are now 39% of all teachers, the highest total percentage over the last seven years.
BPS also experienced strong diversity hiring results for external hires, or those new to BPS. Over 48% of external hires were educators of color, while external Black hires were 24% of the total, a nearly 6% increase over 2019-20, and by far the highest percentage in the last seven years. Additionally, the percentage of hires who self-identified linguistic capacity in a BPS language other than English was 45% this year, a 7% increase over last year.
“I am so proud of my colleagues for their continued progress in leading the critical charge of increasing the diversity of our workforce. This incredible progress is the result of years of hard work and a reflection of the commitment of our team to continue to elevate our diversity recruitment, cultivation and retention efforts,” said BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “This office’s move to the Division of Equity and Strategy has brought a renewed focus to this work and broadened our efforts throughout the district to expand workforce diversity initiatives, in alignment with the commitment in the BPS strategic plan to increase teacher and workforce diversity so children have more role models who look like them and speak their language.”
BPS, which employs just 6% of Massachusetts educators, already has an outsized proportion of educators of color in the Commonwealth. While 8% of the teaching force in Massachusetts are educators of color, BPS employs 47% of the state’s Black teachers, 23% of the state’s Latinx teachers, and 23% of the state’s Asian teachers.
The BPS Office of Recruitment, Cultivation & Diversity (RCD) Programs recently moved to the Division of Equity, Strategy, and Opportunity Gaps, led by Dr. Charles Grandson. The office continues to cultivate diverse educator candidate pools by maintaining strong partnerships with colleges and universities, BPS-run pipeline programs, Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) Prep support programming, school-specific coaching and supports, school-based and central office affinity grouping, leadership development and retention programs for educators of color.
"These positive results demonstrate the impact of the comprehensive and collaborative strategies that have led BPS to be recognized as a national example for success in recruitment, cultivation, hiring, and retention of teachers of color,” said BPS Managing Director of Office of RCD Programs Ceronne Daly. “We look forward to further expanding this work to eliminate racial disparities across the district by continuing to advance strategies and initiatives that yield a highly effective racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse workforce."
One of the key initiatives of the Boston Public Schools five-year strategic plan is to hire and retain a workforce that reflects the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of the students and families the district serves. BPS has also started to collect more robust language fluency data as part of the recruitment and hiring process. BPS asks candidates not only to identify languages in which they have some fluency, but the hiring process also requests that applicants self-assess in reading, writing, and speaking, in addition to indicating whether the language is native, whether they feel comfortable teaching in the language, and whether they have the ability to translate.
Access to a linguistically diverse candidate pool will support the district’s strategy to implement the LOOK Act and strengthen and expand the bilingual options available to students. BPS recently welcomed Dr. Silvia Romero-Johnson as the new Assistant Superintendent for the Office of English Learners, who has made it a priority to hire more bilingual educators to better serve students with native language supports, and provide additional training to current bilingual educators to support them in meeting the needs of all learners.
More information about the district’s retention, cultivation and diversity programs is available at teachboston.org.