Through a grant with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Avila University has partnered with the Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC). Avila University Associate Professor Stacy Keith, Ed.D., chair of the School of Education, and Alicia Murillo, director of assessment and accreditation, worked quickly and diligently to apply for the grant with LEC President and CEO Edgar Palacios and Deputy Director Susana Elizarraraz.
The grant’s purpose is to recruit students of color into the teaching profession. According to the LEC, Emerging data shows that when students are exposed to diverse teaching staff, educational outcomes improve. While 25% of K-12 students across the country identify as Latinx, only 8% of educators do; the LEC wants to close that gap. The LEC is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing and retaining quality Latinx education professionals in K-12. They create and implement culturally responsive recruitment and retention strategies designed to attract, support, enhance, and retain Latinx education professionals.
“Avila’s hope is that through this grant, we can bring more diversity to the teaching profession and provide a unique path for members of the Latinx community specifically, who may otherwise not be able to complete a teaching degree,” said Keith “We believe this partnership will enrich our program by adding more diverse perspectives and voices and provide more opportunities for K-12 students to have teachers that better represent their communities.”
“We hope that this partnership will bring more teachers to the classroom that can relate to the diverse life experiences of the K-12 students they are teaching,” said Murillo.
The Teacher Recruitment Grant sponsored by DESE is a one-time grant geared towards working adults in the LEC community interested in becoming educators. There is no prior coursework required, and there are a limited number of scholarships available.
The Avila School of Education is excited to enter into this new partnership with the LEC and is energized by the potential to continue it well into the future with other innovations and opportunities. “We have already begun conversations with our LEC partners about other ways that we might be able to tap into funding to continue to support students beyond the limits of this grant,” said Murillo.
Interested members may contact Keith or Elizarraraz with any questions.