Teacher Leadership Summit: Attracting, Retaining, and Developing a Diverse STEM Teaching Workforce

Teacher Leadership Summit: Attracting, Retaining, and Developing a Diverse STEM Teaching Workforce

To tackle the issue of underrepresentation in STEM education, the Smithsonian Science Education Center and Shell Oil Company hosted a Teacher Leadership Summit at Howard University in Washington, DC on February 24-26, 2017. At this summit, teams of educators created plans for attracting, retaining, and developing a diverse STEM teaching workforce in their districts to become catalysts for systemic change.

By increasing representation among STEM teachers, we will in turn increase the diversity of STEM students and subsequent career opportunities available to them. Architect, teacher, astrophysicist, nurse, video game developer. Every child in our classrooms should feel empowered to be anything they want to be. But to make this a reality, students need role models who look like them to pave the way, proving they can achieve anything they set their minds to. According to the American Association of Colleges for Teachers of Education, 45% of America’s PK-12 population are students of color whereas the teachers that look like them make up only 17.5% of the teaching workforce. What’s more, while STEM-related jobs are growing rapidly, only a small fraction of students graduating with STEM degrees come from underrepresented populations.

Photos taken by O.B. Grant, Fulltone Photography.

About the Movement

The Smithsonian Science Education Center in collaboration with Shell Oil Company is working with a "Steering Committee" of experts on minority participation in teaching careers. The Steering Committee is composed of education thought leaders, including representatives from FSG Consulting, Howard University, Shell Oil Company, and the Smithsonian Science Education Center along with experts on PK-12 and postsecondary education, Minority-Serving Institutions, and others.

Three areas of work have been identified by the steering committee in pursuit of increasing, training, and retaining minorities in STEM teaching:

(1) Developing a playbook for school district-level systems change.
(2) Implementing school district-level systems change.
(3) Advancing teacher leadership development with a summit in Washington, DC to engage leadership teams from promising districts through the U.S. who have identified problems of practice related to attracting, retaining, and developing a diverse STEM teaching workforce.

To learn more about this work contact Katie Gainsback, Program Specialist at gainsbackk@si.edu.