Eastern Connecticut State University

02/14/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/14/2018 19:00

Holmes Program at Eastern Develops Minority Teachers

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Left to right: Lucero Garza, Laina Rivers and Alexis Sanchez

Written by Casey Collins

Willimantic, CT (02/14/2018) -In partnership with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), Eastern Connecticut State University is continuing its participation in the Holmes Program. This year, three elementary education graduate students-Alexis Sanchez (Uncasville), Lucero Garza (Willimantic) and Laina Rivers (Bloomfield)-are participating in the Holmes Master's program, which supports students from underrepresented backgrounds who are pursuing careers in education.

While the National Center for Educational Statistics projects that 55 percent of all K-12 students in public schools will be students of color by 2023, more than 80% of all K-12 teachers are white. Unless teacher preparation programs recruit more students from minority populations, this underrepresented trend will continue into the future.

This year's Eastern participants are developing the talents needed to become agents of change in the teaching workforce, while also earning their master's degree. The program also allows them to work closely with different communities in an effort to engage in research opportunities and advocate for equity and diversity.

'Having the opportunity to be involved in a program that advocates for minority teacher recruitment is eye opening and rewarding,' said Rivers. 'There are so many people of color interested in the education field but do not know where to begin or do not believe that they can be successful in the field. I am humbled and honored to be a part of such a program.'

It is Eastern's ultimate goal that by participating in this program, the university will be able to create new interest in the field of teaching, and raise the percentage of underrepresented students enrolled in Eastern's education programs.

'The Holmes Master's Program has given me the opportunity to inspire and encourage underrepresented students to join the teaching force,' said Sanchez. 'I have only had a handful of minority teachers in my life and would have liked to have had more teachers of color. There is a dire need for minority teachers nationwide to fill the diversity gap in schools. Being part of that movement has been an honor.'

In addition to participating in the Holmes Master's Program, Eastern is also launching its own program - Project ImpaCT (Improving Minority Potential among Connecticut Teachers). Project ImpaCT will increase the number of interactions students in the Holmes Master's Program have with children by bringing them into more schools. Project activities will include hosting forums and speaking on the topics of diversity awareness, community engagement and benefits of enrollment in the Holmes Program.

In order to qualify for the Holmes Master's Program, a student must be a member of a historically underrepresented group and must be a full-time matriculated graduate student in the field of education. Students also must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, a 3.0 GPA as a graduate assistant or a 3.5 GPA as a research assistant for graduate coursework. For more information about the Holmes Master's Program at Eastern, contact the Graduate Division at (860) 465-5292, or at [email protected]