A new USM course for people interested in teaching — especially people of color with an interest in Portland schools — was spotlighted by the Portland Press Herald. The course is taught by Grace Valenzuela, a recent graduate of the PhD in Public Policy program.
Reporter Noel Gallagher described efforts by the Portland School District to broaden diversity among its teachers and the course co-created by USM professor Catherine Fallona, director of the Center for Education Policy, Applied Research and Evaluation.
About 95 percent of Portland schools' teaching staff is white, Gallagher wrote.
"A new course at the University of Southern Maine, created in partnership with district leaders, aims to balance that out by inviting people of color who are interested in becoming teachers to take the course," Gallagher wrote. "Over the next five weeks, about 45 students --- some of whom were teachers in their home countries --- will spend four days a week in Portland summer school programs, and one day a week at USM discussing their experiences.
"What is so incredibly exciting is the positive response from the number of people willing to come and participate," said Fallona, who helped tailor the course to the Portland school district. "It really gives you a positive feeling."
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