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Diverse Elementary Teacher Initiative

Educators can truly make a difference in the lives of students! Providing the best preparation for future teachers is what the Washburn education department strives to accomplish. It is known that students in primary grades thrive when led by strong and capable role models who help them dream for their futures and believe that their dreams can come true. Research has shown that students who have the experience of teachers with whom they are able to relate show overall improvement in academic performance and increased graduation rates. The goal of the Diverse Elementary Teacher Initiative is to recognize, recruit and support a more diverse population of future elementary teachers to provide these much-needed role models. The vision of the Washburn Diversity Education Advisory Council is to “actively discover, develop, and support minority and other under-represented individuals desiring to become passionate and effective elementary teachers, influencing the greater Topeka community and beyond.

The Need

To reach our goals, sufficient funding must be available to turn this dream into a reality for motivated and deserving individuals in our community. We are seeking support to provide tuition assistance and mentoring for local individuals as they pursue a degree in elementary education at Washburn University and who aspire to be valuable teachers in area schools. Your gift to the education department scholarship fund can provide students with the financial means necessary to assist the Washburn Diversity Education Advisory Council with reaching its remarkable vision.

"Studies indicate placing male teachers of color in our classrooms improves outcomes for all students.  Teachers of color can help prevent stereotyping and promote diversity improving the school climate.  Having a black teacher reduces the dropout rate for black students and significantly increases the likelihood of them continuing with post-high school education.  Supporting the Diversity Council Initiative assists in addressing financial roadblocks many black males face in furthering their studies to become a teacher."

Frank S. Henderson, Jr.
Past-President, Kansas Association of School Boards


"Every great accomplishment starts with the ability to dream. Giving young minds and hearts the ability to dream is what the Washburn University Education Department is doing as it develops a pipeline to add diversity to our local classrooms. As our future educators see people that look like them and share stories similar to theirs, it inspires them to dream of more than their current circumstances. It inspires them to fight through times of disappointment. It reassures them that there is more than one way to get to where they are going. The diversity council's work will extend beyond just the minority students in our classrooms because everyone benefits from a team that possesses eclectic gifts, stories, and passions."

Johnathan Sublet
Fellowship Hi-Crest Servant Pastor 


Diversity Advisory Council’s Vision:

Our vision as a council is to actively discover, develop, and support minority and under-represented males desiring to become passionate and effective teachers, influencing the greater Topeka community and beyond, is the vision of the Washburn University Education Diversity Advisory Council. 


Findings state . . .

In Kansas, the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that of the state’s more than 36,000 teachers, more than 95% are white and 1.6 % are Hispanic. The portions that are Black are so small they are not even quantified.
There are 100,000 Teachers in Missouri and Kansas.   How Come only 1% are Black Men?
By Mara Rose Williams
Oct. 8, 2019

When students have teachers who look like them, it sends a signal early on about their future potential, and what they can be when they grow up.
Teacher Demographics in Kansas City, Part 1: Understanding the Representation Gap
Rebecca Haessig
Nov. 12, 2019
Set the Schools Free: A Kansas City Public Education Blog







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