In alignment with other initiatives around the nation like Man Up, InDemand, Call Me MISTER, and Black Male Educators for Social Justice, The Fellowship seeks to increase the diversity of the teacher workforce to better reflect the students they serve by increasing the number of Black and Brown male educators in the profession. This underrepresentation of Black teachers means Black students miss out on boosts to their academic performance as studies have shown that Black students have Black teachers do better in school. White females constitute 83% of the U.S. elementary teaching force, while Black educators make up less than 6% of teachers, and less than 2% of that 6% are Black men (Johns, 2016). Research shows that when Black students have one Black teacher by 3rd grade, they’re 13% more likely to enroll in college. With two Black teachers in the mix early on, that stat jumps to 32%. For Black boys from low-income households, their on-time high school graduation rate soars by 40% (Center for Black Educator Development, n.d.). Kunjufu (2002) cites research that finds a 4% increase in student test scores when the teacher is of the same race, suggesting possible statistically significant implications of more teachers of color entering and remaining in the workforce. Teachers that understand communities of color’s cultures are needed to improve the educational outcomes of students of color.
Areas of Intended Impact
Through the Male Educators of Color Fellowship, SFF intends to serve up to 30 male educators per year with a goal of 50% of the fellows coming from the public charter school sector. Over time, SFF hopes to expand the fellowship to include 50 male educators of color annually.
Fellows are male educators of color within the first three years of their teaching careers, including student teachers. Student teachers will also be eligible to participate. SFF anticipates that most fellows will serve inner-city or under-resourced schools located in low-income communities.
The secondary population the Fellowship will serve is young men and boys of color in grades K-12. For white students, student-teacher congruency has proven productive and beneficial academically. On the other hand, teacher ethnic incongruence, especially for young men and boys of color, places students of color at a disadvantage and contributes to lower academic achievement and graduation rates (Chalkbeat, 2020). By providing male educators of color with a source of comprehensive training and peer support, SFF will impact the lives of more than 500 students each year and help create and retain a workforce that better reflects the evolving demographic makeup of Colorado’s schools.
The Fellowship Experience
A THREE-PRONGED APPROACH
Craft Development: Prioritizing educators in the early stages of their career, the Fellowship will support the development of evidence- and equity-based pedagogical approaches that increase teacher success. SFF will also develop the capacity of the fellows to create learning experiences using the new conceptual framework developed by Dr. Dedrick Sims, the Sims Framework for Academic Achievement of Boys of Color (SFAABC).
Equity: Recognizing that even men of color face challenges teaching students of color, educators will learn how to design lesson plans and learning experiences considerate of equity and the unique needs of young men of color following the four multi-dimensional areas of academic engagement, behavioral engagement, cognitive engagement, and affective engagement.
Community: Acknowledging that challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers of color are fueled by the majority of white educational spaces that fail to create safe spaces for teachers of color to receive culturally appropriate support, the Fellowship will create a community of educators where ideas can be exchanged, successes and challenges can be shared, and solutions can be formulated. The community will provide support and mentorship, ensuring educators have a place to turn to receive the support they need to succeed.
THE COHORT EXPERIENCE
Summer Intensive: Fellows will begin the year-long fellowship with a three-day intensive that focuses on the “why” of the fellowship in relation to the “Scrooge Moments” in the fellows' lives regarding their own SEL development.
Quarterly Deep Dives: During quarterly deep dives, fellows will be engaged by national education experts on various topics such as Solidarity Economics, Urban Education, School Reform, Racial Equity, Advancing Boys of Color, and more.
Monthly Meet Ups: Fellows will lead and host monthly “meet up” sessions designed to build community between fellows and their families. The goal is to help retention and recruitment by creating a community that’s safe, supportive, and comfortable for fellows and their families.
Monthly Development Sessions: For eight months outside of the quarterly sessions, fellows will engage in topics that were informed by the stakeholder surveys from Colorado's Deans of Colleges of Education, District Teacher Development Professionals, the Design Team, and the Fellows themselves. These sessions will focus on pedagogy, mentorship and teaching, culturally considerate instructional frameworks, social-emotional skill development, and other topics.