Charleston Co. schools look to recruit men of color to teaching position with new program

Updated: Nov. 22, 2021 at 3:55 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District is looking to expand the diversity of its teachers with a new educational pathway designed to help men of color become teachers.

The new program is called Men of CHS Teach and is aimed at recruiting college degree holder into the teaching profession.

The partnership effort with the University of South Carolina requires candidates to already have a bachelor’s degree in any subject and a minimum 2.75 GPA. In return, candidates finish the program with a South Carolina teaching certificate in Early Childhood or Elementary Education and a job lined up at a CCSD school.

Bill Briggman, CCSD’s Chief Human Resources Officer, says this is the kind of program that not only expands diversity, but also helps them fill critical teaching positions.

“As you may be aware, there is a teacher shortage across not just South Carolina, but the nation,” Briggman said. “We have several initiatives to really address this teacher shortage. What April Butler is leading, the work she is doing around pathways is around growing our own teachers.”

The new initiative goes far beyond checking the diversity box or simply filling classrooms with teachers. April Butler, CCSD’s Director of Pathways to Teaching, says this is about representation and providing positive role models for children of color.

“This pocket of teachers is underrepresented in education around the world,” Butler said. “The impact it has on students of color is tremendous. It has shown to have increased graduation rate as well as being able to relate to cultural aspects in bringing a more positive experience and exposure to students of color.”

CCSD estimates about 15 percent of the teaching staff are people of color and only about four percent are men of color. Meanwhile, students of color make up around 45 percent of the district’s student body. The first batch of 10 recruits will start in January.

“This opportunity means a great deal to me as I get to help shape the lives of our future,” said Taylor Wright, a candidate for Men of CHS Teach. “I am appreciative of this opportunity and will do my best to ensure that I impact student lives in the best way possible.”

The Men of CHS Teach cohort will follow a residency model, allowing candidates to co-teach alongside effective CCSD teachers. E.B. Ellington Elementary, North Charleston Elementary, Stono Park Elementary, and W.B. Goodwin Elementary are the participating school locations.

Briggman says the goal is to fill 20 positions next summer and another 20 for years after that.

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