It is well known that Minnesota has continuously struggled to retain teachers of color, and as Minnesota’s student population continues to diversify, it is extremely crucial and critical to provide communities of color new avenues to becoming a licensed teacher within the state of Minnesota. The Pathway to Classroom initiative was inspired by the Grow Your Own initiative which is administered by the Minnesota Department of Education. The Grow Your Own initiative encourages more Black, Indegenious, and people of color to join the teaching profession.
Through this new initiative, New Millennium Academy (NMA) will provide 6 to 8 current paraprofessionals and school staff members the opportunity to become licensed teachers within the state of Minnesota. The initiative is a 2-year commitment that is exclusively open to any NMA staff members who currently have a substitute teacher’s license, a tier 1 or 2 teaching license, or are willing to work towards receiving a teaching license. If selected, the NMA staff member will receive a scholarship to fund them throughout school. NMA will also provide 100 paid hours of classroom experience including any student teaching hours. After completing the Pathway to Classroom initiative and receiving their Minnesota teaching license, newly-licensed teachers are expected to commit 4 years as a teacher to the NMA community and their students.
Kevin Xiong, NMA’s Executive Director and CEO, shares “NMA is one of seven Hmong charter schools in the Twin Cities, and it is imperative that we cultivate Hmong teachers and specialists. It’s so important that our teachers look like our student demographic and this program will help us diversify our teachers to look more like our community.”
Through this initiative, NMA hopes to invest in many committed staff members. In the near future, NMA aims to open up this initiative for parents and community members.