NYSUT and three local unions will use a three-year $322,000 grant to assist early career teachers to better recognize and proactively address racial and social injustice.
The grant from the National Education Association's Great Public Schools Fund will enable NYSUT to work with local unions in Kingston, Schenectady and one other district to help redesign and expand their mentoring programs for teachers just beginning their careers.
Working collaboratively with school boards, superintendents and administrators, the union-backed initiative will assist early career educators to better understand issues like racial inequality, diversity, fair wages, equitable funding, women's rights and environmental justice. The program aims to empower teachers, students and their school communities to develop student-centered strategies to address inequality and injustice.
Faculty at the University at Albany's School of Education will help direct the pilot program, including evaluating its effectiveness. Alex Pieterse, a professor in educational and counseling psychology, and Kathryn Schiller, a research expert, are both members of United University Professions, the union representing faculty and academic staff at SUNY. In addition, experienced trainers from NYSUT's Education & Learning Trust and programs such as the New York City-based Border Crossers will present professional development sessions.
The goal is to help early career educators see themselves as change agents," said NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango. "Once we learn what works best, we'd hope to replicate some of the most successful components in other districts across the state."