Northern Kentucky University hosting symposium in teacher diversity

Posted at 4:30 AM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 07:02:16-04

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. -- Hundreds of educators will gather at Northern Kentucky University Friday for a symposium on teacher diversity.

The event will include about 300 educators from across the country. 

NKU education major Augustine Sanchez is Hispanic and said she didn't see any teachers who looked like her while she was growing up.

"There were only a few Hispanic kids, so I was pretty much different compared to everybody else," she said.

Nationally, about 45 percent of students are minorities, compared to about 14 percent of their teachers. 

Cindy Reed, the dean of the NKU College of Education & Human Services, said it's important for everybody to have someone they can relate to, and especially so for young people in school.

"And that's a large part of this conference, too," Reed said. "How do we meet every student where they are, rather than assuming that we treat everybody the same?"

A recent Johns Hopkins study found black students had higher graduation rates and were more likely to consider college when they had one black teacher between third and fifth grades.

Winton Woods Schools have a diverse student population with 25 different languages. But the superintendent said he looks for more than just teachers of color.

"It's not about the physical makeup, it's the attitude of the person," Superintendent Anthony Smith said. "Do I believe my students can excel academically? Do I believe I'm going to push them and give them rigorous opportunities to be successful?"

Smith said teachers with a hear for kids make a difference.

"It's not as much about the physical part, it's about what's in here," he said.