Mount Saint Mary’s University’s Department of Education receives three-year grant toward producing teachers best able to serve increasingly minority-student populations
LOS ANGELES (Mar. 2, 2021) — Mount Saint Mary University’s education department has received a grant for $375,000 as part of a three-year program with Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity to ensure that future educators are well versed in best practices for educating the diverse, minority population found in many K-12 classrooms.
Studies show that young students of color benefit from being taught by educators who represent our society’s diversity. The Mount is part of BranchEd’s second cohort of minority-serving, higher education institution grant recipients that the organization is assisting not only financially but with technical assistance, training and support services.
During the course of the grant, each recipient is required to work with at least one community partner, and Mount student educators will be working with two K-8 Catholic schools: St. Turibius, a STEM school in downtown Los Angeles, and the Mount’s neighbor, St. Vincent. “By working closely with our partner schools, we seek to learn more about what skills and dispositions new teachers need to be successful in current classrooms,” says Carol Johnston, PhD, chair of the Mount’s department of education.“
The Mount offers the opportunity for undergraduate students to concurrently work toward their CA teaching credentials alongside graduate students who are earning their credential along with a Master’s degree in education. On average, there are about 200 students enrolled in the education department’s various credential programs.
Johnston noted that the work that BranchEd is doing “aligns with the Mount’s mission and the ideas of social justice and equitable teaching. We work to break down barriers so that the teachers are not just using teaching methods that are helpful to all but are truly advocating for their students.”
The need is growing for educator programs to produce greater numbers of minority instructors with sensitivities to their future classrooms’ makeup: According to BranchEd, more than half of K-12 students are minorities, yet 80% of their teachers are white. And while only 13% of educator preparation programs are from minority-serving institutions, they produce nearly half (48%) of the nation’s teachers of color, and these graduates tend to have longer persistence rates as teachers compared to graduates from other institutions.
Children who learn from teachers with diverse backgrounds, including those similar to theirs, are better learners and prove more adaptable to the myriad races, languages and cultures they will encounter as they grow older and experience the world outside of their communities.
The BranchEd grant is a performance-based award paid out in five installments provided that Mount Saint Mary’s and its partners meet various data-driven targets by established dates. Continuous communication and assistance will help ensure that the program goals are met.
About Mount Saint Mary’s University
Mount Saint Mary’s is the only women’s university in Los Angeles and one of the most diverse in the nation. The University is known nationally for its research on gender equity, its innovative health and science programs, and its commitment to community service. As a leading liberal arts institution, Mount Saint Mary’s provides year-round, flexible and online programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Weekend, evening and graduate programs are offered to both women and men. Mount alums are engaged, active, global citizens who use their knowledge and skills to better themselves, their communities and the world. msmu.edu
Based in Austin, Texas, Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity is the first and only non-profit organization in the nation dedicated to strengthening and growing educator preparation at Minority Serving Institutions, with broader goals of both diversifying the teaching profession and intentionally addressing critical issues of educational equity for all students. educatordiversity.org