Mansfield City Schools’ Workforce Diversity Team is “serious and laser-focused” in its efforts to attract employment applicants of all races and ethnic backgrounds, board of education member Gary Feagin said Tuesday evening. Feagin was one of six team members who spoke during the board’s semi-monthly regular meeting at the Raemelton administration building.
Assistant Superintendent Mark Manley, who also serves as human resources director, introduced the discussion, recalling that the district’s diversity plan was adopted unanimously by the board a year ago. “Not many districts in Ohio have a plan,” Manley said. “We are committed to following through to promote equal employment opportunity and increase the pool of diverse and qualified applicants. We are here tonight to talk about what we have done and where we are going.”
Nationally, Manley said, 18 percent of teachers are non-white. He said the lower percentage of minority teachers is a state and national issue “not unique to Mansfield.”
Kevin Uhde, grant manager in the adult education program, said the team is continuing to compile statistical data to create a benchmark for future analysis.
Uhde said the district’s current certified (teaching) staff of 352 is 72 percent female, 28 percent male. By race, the staff is 84 percent white, 5 percent African-American and 3 percent Hispanic with the remainder divided among smaller declarations. The classified (support) staff is 69 percent female, 31 percent male; 70 percent while, 17 percent African-American, the remainder non-specified. Uhde said the district’s student enrollment of 3,400 is 51.5 percent white, 29.21 percent African-American, 16.68 percent multi-racial and 1.9 percent Hispanic.
Teresa James, an executive assistant in the human resources office, outlined diversity workforce initiatives that are in place, including the addition of computer software to streamline recruitment efforts and wider distribution of job openings. Social media and other technology platforms are being used to recruit a qualified pool of applicants, she said, while diversity and sensitivity training has been provided to staff at all levels.
“This committee is passionate about working with you,” James told the board.
Two key goals of the diversity team are still in the development stage. One is a district video with the working title “The Best of Mansfield City Schools” to be used in recruitment efforts. The other is a Grow Your Own program in which students would be encouraged to pursue education study in college, then return to Mansfield to teach.
“I am excited about producing the video during the 2018-2019 school year,” Feagin said. “I think Grow Your Own is where we can make our biggest strides but it won’t happen in a year or two. It takes time. We have to continually put in students’ minds that they can come back here and teach.” Feagin said the district also might consider signing bonuses as another means of attracting qualified diverse candidates.
Team member Pam Williams Briggs, who said she represents the community, said much work needs to be done. “The numbers are way off in regard to the number of minority employees versus the number of minority students,” she said.
Williams Briggs questioned why some past minority applicants were not hired. “I have knowledge of applicants who are home-grown but were not hired,” she said. “I don’t know everything but they appeared to be qualified.”
Alice Williams wrapped up the team’s presentation. “Diversity is beneficial to all students, especially to the majority,” she said. “We will continue to work toward the diversity goal.” Williams said the district should look to African-Americans who have college degrees but not in education. Encouraging them to complete requirements for teaching certificates would be faster while Grow Your Own is developed.
Source, Photo: Mansfield City Schools