Showing posts with label black teachers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label black teachers. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Ohio Teacher, Kurt Russell named 2022 National Teacher of the Year

The Council of Chief State School Officers announced Tuesday that Kurt Russell is the organization’s National Teacher of the Year for 2022.

A 25-year veteran of the classroom, Russell was first inspired to become a teacher in middle school, when he encountered his first Black male teacher. Now as 2022 National Teacher of the Year, he plans to advocate for classrooms to better reflect the students within them — from a curriculum that reflects their backgrounds and identities to a more diverse teaching profession. 

Kurt teaches history at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, Ohio, where he was born and raised; his classes include African American history, which he has taught since the late 1990s, and Race, Gender and Oppression, a class he developed. He also serves as faculty advisor for the student-led Black Student Union, whose work has led to positive impacts for students across racial groups.

In addition to his classroom and extracurricular duties, Kurt is the head coach for the school’s varsity basketball team. He sees basketball as an extension of the classroom, and a place where young people can learn about working together and how to handle both adversity and success.  

Kurt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and a minor in Black studies from the College of Wooster and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from Ashland University. He continues to take courses in child development at Oakland City University.

He was previously recognized as teacher of the year by the Oberlin Heritage Center and the Oberlin chapter of the NAACP, and as Lorain County Basketball Association Coach of the Year and the Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year. 

 Kurt lives with his wife, Donna, in Oberlin. They are the parents of two adult sons, Kurt Junior (KJ) and Korey. Kurt enjoys reading non-fiction and traveling.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Maryland teacher, Keishia Thorpe Wins $1M Global Teacher Prize

Keishia Thorpe, a high school teacher from PG County, Maryland, is the winner of the $1 million Global Teacher Prize in 2021 mainly for her work in opening up college education for students who are underprivileged.

The award was given by Varkey Foundation to Thorpe after being selected from over 8,000 nominations and applications from 121 countries around the world. Thorpe, who teaches English at International High School Langley Park in Bladensburg, Maryland, “completely redesigned the 12th-grade curriculum for the English department to make it culturally relevant to her students who are first-generation Americans, immigrants, or refugees from mostly Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South and Central America,” according to the Global Teacher Prize’s website.

Her efforts resulted to 40% increase in her students’ reading. She was also responsible for helping high school students gain fully-funded scholarships. In fact, she helped seniors win $6.7 million in scholarships in 2018-2019 alone.

Thorpe knew firsthand the struggles of underprivileged students as she herself migrated to the US from Africa on a track and field scholarship. She and her twin sister Dr. Treisha Thorpe also founded a non-profit organization called U.S. Elite International Track and Field, Inc. that aims to help “at-risk” student-athletes across the globe connect with college coaches to access fully-funded scholarships in the US.

Prior to the recent achievement, Thorpe was also honored with the Medal of Excellence from the governor of Maryland and was chosen as the National Life Changer of the Year in 2018-2019.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Rodney Robinson named 2019 National Teacher of the Year

HBCU graduate Rodney Robinson of Virginia has been named the 2019 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State Officers. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, the Bureau of Indian Education and the five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions.

Rodney Robinson is a 19-year teaching veteran. He became a teacher to honor his mother, who struggled to receive an education after being denied an education as a child due to segregation and poverty in rural Virginia. In 2015, Robinson started teaching at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, in an effort to better understand the school-to-prison pipeline.

Robinson uses the whole child approach to education to help the students who are most vulnerable. His classroom is a collaborative partnership between himself and his students and is anchored in him providing a civic centered education that promotes social-emotional growth. Robinson uses the knowledge he has gained from his students to develop alternative programs to prevent students from entering the school-to-prison pipeline.

Robinson has been published three times by Yale University and has received numerous awards for his accomplishments in and out of the classroom, most notably the R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence. He is a member of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s Education Compact Team, which includes politicians, educators, business leaders, and community leaders, and is working with city leaders and local colleges to recruit underrepresented male teachers into the field of education. He has also worked with Pulitzer Award winning author James Foreman on developing curriculum units on race, class, and punishment as a part of the Yale Teacher’s Institute.

Robinson earned a Bachelor of arts in history from Virginia State University and a master’s in educational administration and supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Why black teachers are leaving urban schools

While the percentage of minority teachers has risen in the US, the number of black teachers has declined between 2002 and 20012 in nine cities, according to a recent study by the Albert Shanker Institute.

What does this mean not only for the communities in which these schools exist, but for the nation as a whole?

“Diversity is a key component to equality and opportunity,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told the Washington Post. “Where there’s a diverse teaching workforce, all kids thrive. That’s why we note with alarm the sharp decline in the population of black teachers in our cities.”

There are several factors which may be behind this decline. The first is low pay for teachers. According to a study by Young Invincibles, an advocacy group, the average starting salary for a teacher is $34,575 – or about $6,000 less than the average starting salary of 28 professions.

The second is the recurring emphasis that education policy tends to place on test scores. This rigidity, argues Nekita Lamour, a Haitian-American and tenured educator, disincentivises black and Hispanic educators from participating in the system: they are not being encouraged to teach their fellow man, but to the test, instead.

The Shanker Institute’s study found that over a ten-year period, from 2002 to 2012 (a period marked by an explosion in the development of charter schools, and an accompanying dialogue about education reform), the population of black teachers declined by as much as 62 percent in the cities studied (although in the case of New Orleans, many black teachers were fired).

“Minority teachers quit because of working conditions in their schools,” Richard Ingersoll, an expert who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, also told the Washington Post. “In surveys, those teachers cite lack of autonomy and input into school decisions [in large urban schools].”

Read more: Why black teachers are leaving urban schools

Sunday, September 27, 2015

How one principal is trying to get more black men into the classroom

Educators and policy wonks of many stripes pretty much agree that U.S. classrooms need more minority teachers.

But how to make that happen?

One Philadelphia principal is trying to do his part by launching a new organization that aims to bring together Philly’s black male educators and provide them with professional support to thrive in their jobs. The group, called The Fellowship, also wants to become a hub for the recruitment and retention of black men in education.

Black men account for just two percent of the nation’s teaching workforce.

“We want to be able to affect policy as well as practice,” said Sharif El-Mekki, the principal of Mastery Charter School’s Shoemaker campus in southwest Philadelphia, not far from where El-Mekki grew up.

Read more: How one principal is trying to get more black men into the classroom