November 2, 2021

Initiative Launches to Address Racial Disparity Among Teachers in PA

Earlier this month, Remake Learning launched the inaugural cohort of an innovative program called OTIS: Operation Teacher (of Color) Irrigation System. This program aims to address the increasing disparity in the percentage of students of color versus the number of teachers of color in Pennsylvania.

This initiative was led by South Fayette School District’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, Dr. Chuck Herring. He came up with the “irrigation system” concept to convey that the Pittsburgh region doesn’t need one narrow pipeline—especially given all the negative connotations that “pipeline” now carries in the world of education. Instead, Herring aims to “flood the region” with talented teachers of color from around the country by introducing them to Pittsburgh while they’re in college.

The inaugural cohort is made up of four undergraduate students at Howard University studying elementary education. Howard University generally sends students to international locations for their months of student teaching, but one goal is to have OTIS participants do their student teaching in southwestern Pennsylvania. Continued funding will be sought out to continue and expand this program.

About Remake Learning

Remake Learning is a network that ignites engaging, relevant, and equitable learning practices in support of young people navigating rapid social and technological change.

Image: An early learning professional sits on a chair at a table, surrounded by three young children who are playing with blocks. Additional children sit in the background, playing together on a circular carpet.