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February 11, 2014

School board adopts minority teacher recruitment policy

Community meeting to be held to discuss plan

Live Oak — The Suwannee County School Board voted unanimously 5-0 recently to adopt a plan for minority teacher recruitment for Suwannee County Schools. The board cited a “need for greater diversity within the teaching force” as a reason to move forward with the plan.

As a result of the plan, a community meeting will be held tonight at Triumph The Church and Kingdom of God in Christ at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the community’s role in minority recruitment.

“Diversity promotes creativity, productivity and good citizenship,” the school board stated in the plan. “In addition, career development theory posits that students need to be able to see themselves in a career. If there are fewer role models for minority students to identify with, the shortage of minority teachers will likely get worse.”

The three-page plan outlines 25 new or continued steps the school district will take to improve the minority recruitment and hiring for Suwannee County Schools.

The list includes, but is not limited to:

“The District will expand the geographic area of recruitment by sending notices to colleges and universities, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBU’s) in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, of available teachers and administrative vacancies.

“The District will seek contacts from other community-based organizations, such as the NAACP and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, to help disseminate teacher and administrative vacancy notices.

“The District will identify additional recruitment fairs and sites, both within the state and out-of-state, that are the best sources for minority teacher and administrative applicants.

“The District will collaborate and network with organizations such as the local NAACP, United Teachers of Suwannee County, Suwannee and Lafayette Retired Educators, area churches and other appropriate local organizations to assist in identifying free or low-cost housing for student teachers interning in the district.

“The District will provide training for the superintendent, school board members, principals, and other individuals who have any role in recruiting or hiring teachers or administrators.

“The District will conduct a self-assessment to determine the overall success of its recruitment efforts.”

“We are encouraging the members of our community to attend this important meeting to discuss Suwannee County School Board's Minority Teacher Recruitment Plan,” Superintendent Jerry Scarborough said. “It is extremely important that we receive suggestions from our community as to how we can increase the number of minority teachers in our school system."

Alonzo Philmore, vice president of the local NAACP, said the minority recruitment is a “work in progress.”

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Philmore said. “They had something in writing before, but nothing detailed like they have now. It’s a work in progress.”

Philmore also said the organization is pleased with Scarborough’s efforts.

“I commend Mr. Scarborough for stepping up to the plate. He’s trying,” Philmore said.

The community meeting will take place tonight at Triumph The Church and Kingdom of God in Christ at 6:30 p.m. at 410 Taylor Ave.

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