JCPS & Simmons College of Kentucky launch new initiative

Partnership to strengthen minority teacher recruitment efforts

Simmons College of Kentucky and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) have announced a new partnership that will introduce recent college graduates and current Simmons students to a career in teaching and public education. The launch of this community-wide recruitment effort aims to increase the number of minority teachers in JCPS classrooms.

“This is another step in our commitment to the district’s Racial Equity Plan,” JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said during a July 8 press conference to announce the initiative. “We want to make sure that our teacher population reflects our student population. Research supports that when this happens, it can improve student achievement.” 

Dr. Pollio stands at a podium at Simmons College

With the framework from the University of Louisville, Simmons College has developed a Transition to Teaching course. This yearlong class is designed for those with a bachelor’s degree in another career field outside of education. Students will spend time in a JCPS classroom to experience what it’s like to be a teacher. This course will help those interested in education determine the best pathway toward becoming a teacher. After students have completed the course and a separate teacher preparation program, the goal is for them to later teach in JCPS.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have a proven track record of recruiting and training black teachers for the public school system,” said Rev. Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons College. “Louisville is blessed indeed to have one of the oldest and preeminent HBCUs in Simmons College of Kentucky.”

Simmons College of Kentucky is an HBCU in Louisville. In January, the Jefferson County Board of Education passed a resolution in support of this innovative partnership between the college and JCPS. The district is committed to increasing the number of African-American teachers over the next few years. While 36 percent of JCPS students identify as African-American, only 13 percent of JCPS teachers are African-American.

Applications for this course are being accepted now for the fall semester. Simmons College is also looking for mentors and volunteers with a background in education to provide additional support to students as a part of this initiative. Those interested in participating can apply on the Simmons College website here.

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