CPS summit aims to increase diversity among local teachers

A new Cincinnati Public Schools conference aims to highlight the importance of Black male teachers and develop strategies for supporting their success in the classroom. 

The inaugural Midwest Black Male Educator Summit will take place Feb. 24 at the CPS Education Center. 

From 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the expected 200 to 300 attendees will take part in workshops, information sessions and panels. They’ll hear from leading educators on the role of African American male teachers in improving the academic performance of students.

As a group, summit-goers will recognize the accomplishments of Black educators, while also discussing challenges to their recruitment to the field and job retention.

The goal is to promote an “open forum” for “candid dialogue,” said Iranetta Rayborn Wright, CPS’ superintendent and CEO.

“Representation in our classrooms is incredibly important, especially for our young Black male students,” Wright said.

Bringing more diversity to local schools

The summit is part of a national push to diversity in the classroom. A PBS NewsHour report showed that less than 2% of teachers were Black men during the 2020-2021 school year. By contrast, 61% were white women.

In CPS, roughly 4% of its teachers are Black males, per district data. That same data shows that approximately 30% of students are Black males.

The district incorporated increasing diversity among its educator ranks as part of its newly adopted strategic plan. CPS is working toward increasing the percentage of teachers of color as well as growing the percentage of students of color being taught by at least one teacher who looks like them.

To that end, CPS launched a campaign at the end of last school year to recruit more Black male teachers.

Bigger than a one-day event

Wright hopes the upcoming summit serves as a breeding group for important ideas surrounding this important topic. However, she doesn’t want the conversation to start or stop there.

Ahead of the summit, the district is hosting a series of related events on the topic. There’s a “barbershop talk” on Thursday, Jan 18 at Positive Vibes Barbershop and Studio on Goodman Avenue. The informal get-together is open to educators and those thinking about teaching. CPS plans to host three to four of these throughout the year.

The night before the summit, CPS is sponsoring a kickoff event Friday, Nov. 23 at Nostalgia Wine & Jazz Lounge in Over-the-Rhine. The free reception welcomes all attendees to meet and connect, and hopefully carry those relationships and insights into the following day and beyond.

Registration for the summit is now open. The event is free to CPS employees and college students. Tickets cost $20 for general admission. Proceeds from ticket sales will cover summit-related costs.

“It is our hope [to provide] an open forum for educational leaders to discuss student success, align on their needs for support and identify ways school districts, across the state, can increase the number of Black men in the field of education,” Wright said. 

Midwest Black Male Educator Summit


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