Brooklyn College has one of the most diverse student populations of any higher education institution in the United States, and the faculty, staff, and administration at Brooklyn College consider this one of our greatest strengths. No single race or ethnicity constitutes a majority on our campus. Most recently, responding students self-identified as 25% White, 22% Hispanic, 19% Black, and 18% Asian. These statistics are reflective of the borough of Brooklyn, in which 75% of our students reside. Additionally, a large number of our students are first-generation college students and immigrants from over 143 countries who speak 92 different home languages. The diverse backgrounds and perspectives of students representing a broad range of ethnicities, religions, gender identities, abilities, and interests make our campus a rich and vibrant place to be.
In the School of Education, we believe it is particularly important that the teacher candidates we are preparing mirror the students they will be teaching. Because Brooklyn College naturally attracts such diverse students, we have not had the challenges in recruiting diverse teacher candidates that some institutions face. However, we believe we can always do better in terms of both recruitment and retention in order to meet our goal of preparing a teacher workforce that mirrors the students in our community. The following describe a few of the initiatives and strategies in which we are currently engaged to help us meet this goal:
Partnerships with the New York City Department of Education
Since their inception, our teacher preparation programs have worked closely with teachers, principals, and system-level administrators at the New York City Department of Education to provide clinically rich experiences for our teacher candidates in New York City public schools. Over 80% of the students in our teacher preparation programs were themselves students in NYC public schools, and over 80% of our graduates go on to become teachers in the public schools of Brooklyn. The teacher preparation programs at Brooklyn College are deeply rooted in our community, and our faculty and administrators engage our school partners in program development to ensure that we are preparing teacher candidates to meet the needs of the students they will serve, in part by preparing teachers with similar backgrounds as those of P-12 students in NYC.
New York City Men Teach: https://nycmenteach.org
Begun in 2016, NYC Men Teach is a partnership among the NYC Mayor's Office, the NYC Department of Education, and the colleges of the City University of New York (CUNY), including Brooklyn College. The goal of NYC Men Teach is to increase the number of men of color who teach in New York City's public schools by actively recruiting young men of color into our teacher preparation programs. NYCMT is open to students currently enrolled or interested in enrolling in any undergraduate or graduate teacher preparation program at Brooklyn College. We offer those who are selected academic supports, including tutoring, colloquia, and certification test preparation; social support through mentoring, networking, and a variety of programming at the college and CUNY levels; and financial supports for transportation and certification test costs.
Teacher Opportunity Corps II: http://www.nysed.gov/mbk/my-brothers-keeper-teacher-opportunity-corps-ii
The Teacher Opportunity Corps II (TOC II) is funded by the New York State Education Department with the goal of recruiting teacher candidates of color into our teacher preparation programs. Our program at Brooklyn College, which began in 2016, is intentionally small, made up of 15 undergraduate teacher candidates per year. Undergraduate students from any of our teacher preparation programs are eligible to apply. Students enrolled in TOC II receive financial assistance to close tuition gaps as well as extensive support from faculty and mentoring from faculty and recent graduates, all of whom are teachers of color currently teaching in NYC schools. TOC II students are required to attend weekly seminars that focus specifically on issues of relevance to teachers and students of color, and many of them voluntarily choose to participate in additional meetings and study sessions because of the close-knit relationships they develop with their peers and faculty and alumni mentors.
US PREP: https://www.usprepnationalcenter.com
The Brooklyn College School of Education was invited by the New York City Department of Education to apply for a US PREP grant in 2018. The University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (US PREP) National Center provides on-the-ground support and services to a coalition of university-based teacher preparation programs. The current coalition comprises 21 school-university partners with a common mission of attracting, preparing and retaining racially diverse teachers who are highly qualified to serve students from all backgrounds from underserved communities across the country. Since we were selected to receive the grant, we have piloted aspects of the US PREP Developmental Framework across all of our undergraduate teacher preparation programs, with a particular emphasis on clinical practice. We are currently planning for how we will sustain these practices once the grant funding ends.
All of these initiatives focus on the continuum of recruitment, retention, graduation, and certification of a diverse teaching workforce prepared to face the challenges of educating students in the highest needs schools in our Brooklyn community. As we learn more about how to do this work successfully, we will continue to develop new strategies and programs for meeting this goal.
Dr. April Whatley Bedford, Dean, School of Education
More Programs Leading the Way
We work closely with the members of our Higher Education Opportunity Program office to identify or refer minority students who are considering a career in teaching. Once we have gained diverse candidates to our Educator Preparation Program, we work to provide them the various supports they need to succeed both at Alfred and in the teaching major and profession.
CUNY - Lehman College
The faculty work diligently to mentor and support our candidates across the program's tenure so that they are able to attain their professional goals and enter the teaching force as highly qualified beginning teachers. Our diverse student body of candidates are supported in a multitude of ways in order to equip them with the academic, leadership, and socio-emotional skills to create equitable systems of change in the Bronx public schools.