Yasmin Young from the 2 to 6 Takeover (M-F, 2-6PM), talks with Dr. Kathy Wood from Buffalo State and Dr. Will Keresztes from Buffalo Public Schools
about the Urban Teachers Academy!

On Monday, April 3, Superintendent Kriner Cash of Buffalo Public Schools and President Katherine Conway-Turner of Buffalo State College announced the upcoming Urban Teachers Academy at McKinley High School.

The Urban Teachers Academy will accept its first cohort of students in fall 2017 at McKinley High School. Faculty members from Buffalo State and staff from the Buffalo Public Schools will develop the curricula for four college-level courses that will be taught as part of the academy. Academy students will also take part in activities at Buffalo State to help them prepare for college.

Students who successfully complete the Urban Teachers Academy courses—a total of 12 credit hours—will be accepted into Buffalo State’s teacher education programs.

“We look forward to collaborating with Buffalo Public Schools and McKinley High School on the Urban Teachers Academy,” said Conway-Turner. “Encouraging our local high school students to pursue the profession of teaching has the potential to benefit not just the Buffalo Public Schools but any school district with a diverse student body.”

Superintendent Kriner Cash said, “The need to build capacity and diversity into our teaching corps is immediate. I am delighted that we now have a way to infuse cultural relevance in teaching by ‘growing our own’ teachers from our talented and diverse student population. Our students will begin their college classes while still in high school, the District will have a widely diverse talent pool of teachers, and future BPS students will benefit from having teachers who mirror their background and culture. In addition, I know that students in the Urban Teacher Academy will add rich cultural context to Buffalo State’s teacher education classrooms.”

School districts across the country are struggling to recruit culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse teachers. To develop a more diverse pool of teachers, many districts have developed “grow your own” programs designed to encourage their students to become teachers and fill future teaching positions within that district. Buffalo Public Schools will encourage Urban Teacher Academy graduates who earn a bachelor’s degree in education from Buffalo State to apply for positions within the district.

Buffalo Public Schools Board Member and Vice President of Student Achievement Dr. Theresa Harris-Tigg is also an Assistant Professor in English Education at Buffalo State College. Dr. Harris-Tigg said, “As a college professor in English Education, former ELA classroom teacher, and current Board of Education member, Superintendent Cash and I have had many discussions regarding teacher preparation and diversity in teacher hiring. I am excited to see this work come to fruition and McKinley High School, under the leadership of Mrs. Crystal Barton is a great place to begin this academy. Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner and Dr. Kriner Cash will enhance teacher preparation and assistance in providing a more diverse candidate pool of teaching professionals in our region.”

Mckinley High School Principal Crystal Barton said, "A program of study such as this, is a jewel in Buffalo Public School's crowning opportunities of new and innovative programs of learning. How many times have we heard young children say, I want to be a teacher when I grow up? By establishing the Urban Teachers' Academy, in collaboration with Buffalo State College, Buffalo Public Schools is creating another pathway of learning, which will allow our students to realize their childhood hopes and dreams of growing up and becoming teachers, and in our school community no less." McKinley High School looks forward to being a partner in this awesome opportunity!

“We are pleased and grateful that McKinley High School has agreed to host the program,” said Kathy Wood, associate dean of the School of Education and a long-time proponent of the “grow your own” model. “The academy provides a sustainable, purpose-driven program to provide students with teachers that better reflect the diversity of the BPS student body.”

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