By: Rann Miller

Many people agree the districts across the country need to hire more teachers of color. But without a deep dive into what goes into the hiring process, district leaders cannot make the hiring process a just and equitable one. That starts with living as a district of equity. Prospective teachers of color can gauge the equity of a district and/or school (at least at a surface level) by they communicate on their website.

What a district communicates on their website or social media can encourage (prospective) teachers of color to apply to a school and/or district for employment. Districts must make sure that they and their schools show and promote equity in the procedures, policies and activities to attract teaching candidate of color.

The next step is ensuring intentionality when it comes to equity, with respect to the application and interview process. This means for the application, that asking questions on the application that show equity and justice as priorities for the school district. For the interview process, it means ensuring that equity and justice is expressed in the questions asked and in who’s asking them.

These things displayed in application and interview questions, as well as who’s involved in the interviewing process are smoke signals to prospective teachers of color that equity and justice may very well be a priority of a school district; the same way lacking such may very well show the opposite. It’s important for districts to fall on the right side of such signaling.

After holding interviews, candidates are selected. A diverse selection of candidates depends on the diversity of the group selecting them. But also, it depends on what the district did prior to this point to attract candidates of color. Student demographics should also be a factor. While all students benefit from having students of color, a district whose students are mostly students of color should have a faculty reflective of that.

Teacher candidates invited to conduct demo lessons should have to display a level of success handling the content, managing student behavior while teaching the content, and also doing both in a way that is culturally responsive: that it is prioritizing academic performance, cultural competence, and socio-political/critical consciousness. This is a signal to teachers of color as well; expressing that a district is about the work of empowering students to confront a politically charged world that awaits them.

This is not an absolute plan, but it can serve as a guide for how to frame hiring practices for a district looking to attract current and prospective teachers of color. Before you can hire them—even before you recruit them—you must ensure that the processes are in place to show them that you align with the mission of supporting all students in the way of equity, inclusion and justice.