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 to recruit more teachers of color. School districts nationally and locally are dealing with a shortage of teachers overall as well as teachers of color.
Teachers of color make up only 5 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 said the partnership is filling a need.
"It is important for students to see someone who looks like them," he said.
The agreement will ease the path for Metropolitan State University students looking to start teaching at Osseo Area Schools by giving students preferential consideration when applying for positions. 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. Osseo Area Schools employees also will be able to apply.
"Effective teachers who are culturally responsive is mission critical for Osseo Area Schools," Superintendent Kate Maguire said at the event.
Minneapolis teachers show signs of support
Teachers and staff at South High in Minneapolis stood outside school doors Tuesday morning with signs reading "Immigrants make America GREAT" and "NO ONE is ILLEGAL" as students walked into the building after a long weekend. At Marcy Open School, about 20 people, including teachers, staff, parents and students, held welcoming signs outside school.
It was students' first day at school since President Donald Trump announced the ban on refugees from some countries. Minneapolis schools Superintendent Ed Graff said in a statement Monday that the district backed immigrant students and families.
"We view our diversity as one of our greatest strengths," he said.
Four teachers led the effort for the Tuesday welcome at South High, said the school's public relations coordinator Lisa Ramirez: Corinth Matera, Mary Manor, Rob Panning-Miller and Corbin Doty.
Ramirez said about 40 to 50 staff members, mostly teachers, participated. Teachers and staff lined the school's entryway.
Marcy is a kindergarten through eighth-grade school with about 18 percent English language learners, said Principal Donna Andrews.
"I really support the idea of letting kids know that they are all welcome here, all the time," Andrews said.
New Eastern Carver chief comes from within
The Eastern Carver County school board approved the promotion of Clint Christopher, former associate superintendent, to District 112's top post, effective July 1.
Christopher joined the district in 2014 after moving his family from Moline, Ill. He began his career as an elementary schoolteacher. At District 112, Christopher's duties include principal supervision, oversight of teaching and personalized learning.
"Clint's most impressive quality is his quiet confidence," said Board Chairwoman Lisa Anderson. "He's a humble leader who has put the needs of the district above his own."
Christopher will spend the next six months shadowing Superintendent Jim Bauck, who retires in June. The three-year contract has a starting salary of $199,500. He also could earn performance pay.