7 ways after-school staff can join a more diverse teacher workforce

Nontraditional programs rarely recruit teaching candidates with after-school experience and little data exists on outcomes
By: | July 22, 2021
(AdobeStock)

After-school staff seeking to become classroom teachers often enroll in nontraditional development programs designed to diversify the education workforce.

However, these programs rarely recruit these teaching candidates and little data exists on outcomes, according to “A Natural Fit: Supporting After-School Staff of Color in Teacher Pipelines,” a new report by The Education Trust.

“This is a missed opportunity, as after-school/out-of-school-time employees are a racially and ethnically diverse workforce who have experience leading groups of young people,” the researchers wrote in the report.

The programs that have reduced structural barriers to teacher credentialing offer these teaching candidates test preparation and customized financial supports. They also partner with districts and universities to develop instruction and connect participants with future jobs, mentors and coaches.

However, the programs can rarely tailor instruction to this population because they don’t track after-school experience, the report says.

Because states oversee teacher credentialing, the report details the following ways officials can better support after-school workers of color in their efforts to become teachers:

  1. Allocate resources to strengthen recruitment relationships between non-traditional teacher preparation programs and after-school/out-of-school-time (OST) service providers.
  2. Increase investments in scholarships, loan forgiveness, and tuition reimbursements for these teaching candidates, with a particular focus on candidates of color, and grow your own programs.
  3. Adopt statewide guidelines for nontraditional preparation programs to include licensure test preparation, and at least one year of mentoring and coaching before participants enter classrooms.
  4. Develop guidance on effective programming based on programs that successfully attract and support candidates of color.
  5. Put after-school/OST candidates in the paraprofessional category when defining who is eligible for state support when obtaining certification.
  6. Fund retention supports for alumni of nontraditional preparation pathways, including efforts to create and sustain affinity groups and professional learning communities.
  7. Require nontraditional teacher preparation programs to track individuals with afterschool/OST to developing evidence-based practices for supporting these candidates.