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Supporting Educator Diversity in Today’s Classrooms: Three Teacher Preparation Programs to Check Out

Preservice teacher programs

With young Latinx learners representing a large percentage of the student population, more Latinx educators are needed in today’s classrooms. The Latinx student population is expected to continue to grow, and “research shows that schools and districts with teachers that reflect the cultural, racial, and/or linguistic backgrounds of Latinx students are better equipped to support them,” according to the education policy report Paving the Way for Latinx Teachers: Recruitment and Preparation to Promote Educator Diversity from New America.

You can help influence the teacher pipeline by pointing your Latinx students who are considering careers in education to one of these great pre-service and higher education programs that are working hard to support aspiring Latinx educators, including those interested in STEM. 

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) represents more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States, Latin America, and Spain, as well as school districts throughout the United States. It offers support for Latinx college students and includes STEM-specific initiatives designed to increase Latinx participation in STEM education and careers. 

The STEM Summits initiative is a “regional gathering of STEM majors and employers to offer preparation in readiness for STEM career opportunities, including internships through the HACU National Internship Program (HNIP).” At the summits, participants learn about career opportunities from industry professionals; gain tips on securing internship opportunities; receive feedback on improving their resume, interviewing, and networking skills; and meet and interact with successful professionals from leading corporations.

“Research shows that schools and districts with teachers that reflect the cultural, racial, and/or linguistic backgrounds of Latinx students are better equipped to support them.”– Excerpt from Paving the Way for Latinx Teachers.

The AACTE Holmes Scholars® Program 

Founded in 1991, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Holmes Scholars® Program provides mentoring, peer support, and professional development for students who self-identify as racially and ethnically diverse and are pursuing graduate degrees in education at AACTE colleges and universities.

The program specifically aims to help master’s and doctoral students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds who are pursuing careers in education, while helping AACTE institutions develop a pool of diverse candidates for faculty and other leadership positions. 

Today, nearly 40 colleges and universities support students by participating in the Holmes Scholars Program. Students describe the program as a family and community that helps them make connections and provides them with advice and support on their career path. 

The National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program specifically focuses on supporting future STEM teachers. It provides funding to higher education institutions for scholarships, stipends, and programmatic support in order to recruit and prepare STEM majors and professionals to become K–12 teachers in high-need school districts. The program seeks to increase the number of K–12 teachers with strong STEM content knowledge who can in turn teach subjects such as mathematics, science, engineering, and computer science.  

According to the program’s website, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) also works with the NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program to identify and disseminate information about effective practices and strategies for attracting, selecting, and preparing new K–12 STEM teachers and retaining them in the STEM teacher workforce.

While each is unique in its mission and offerings, all of these programs are making great strides to bring more educator diversity and representation to today’s classrooms, which is something that benefits all students.


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