Superintendent Kate Maguire and Metropolitan State University President Virginia Arthur sign a joint agreement at Osseo Senior High School Monday. 

Osseo Area Schools and Metropolitan State University officials formalized their partnership to create a more diverse workforce during a signing ceremony Monday.

Osseo Area Schools is collaborating with the university’s school of urban education as part of an effort to recruit more teachers of color.  School districts national and locally are dealing with a shortage in teachers overall as well as teachers of color.

Teachers of color make up only five percent of the teacher workforce in Osseo while students of color account for 55 percent of students, according to the district. 

Waleid Hassan, who grew up in the school district, is one of two teachers of color at Osseo Senior High School, he said. Hassan along with staff from the district and Metropolitan State University attended the signing event Monday.

Hassan said the partnership between his two former schools is filling a need.

“It is important for students to see someone who looks like them,” he said.

The agreement will ease up the path for Metropolitan State University students looking to start teaching at Osseo Area Schools by giving students preferential consideration when applying for positions in the district.  Students, who graduate from the university’s urban education program and obtain a position at the district, will receive full pay and benefits along with additional protection from layoffs.

Under the agreement, Osseo Area School employees will also benefit from the partnership if they choose to apply to the university’s urban education program.

“Effective teachers who are culturally responsive is mission critical for Osseo Area Schools,” Superintendent Kate Maguire said at the event.