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Recruiting Washington Teachers – Bilingual Educators Initiative (RWT-BEI) is a high school teacher academy program to recruit, prepare, and mentor bilingual students to become future bilingual educators in the state of Washington.
The mission of RWT is to create a teaching workforce more reflective of Washington State’s students while diminishing the teacher shortage, and increasing educational opportunities for historically underserved students. RWT-BEI focuses on the same mission, while also developing bilingual teachers and counselors, creating resources for supporting teacher academies with a bilingual focus, and incorporating the Seal of Biliteracy into teacher academy work. RWT-BEI program sites use the RWT curriculum, which emphasizes the importance of cultural identity and equity in the profession of teaching. Program sites also use the RWT student program code (45) in the data management system, CEDARS.
Current pilot site grantees
Through a competitive grant application process, PESB has awarded funding to RWT-BEI pilot sites. These sites act as learning laboratories, through which PESB develops best practices and resources to share across the state.
Everett and Marysville consortium
Consortium name: Educator Pathways Workgroup
Partners: Everett Public Schools; Marysville Public Schools; Everett Community College; and the University of Washington, Bothell.
The mission of the Educator Pathways Workgroup is to develop and sustain cross-institutional partnerships that support seamless academic student pathways for underrepresented communities. The consortium works to achieve this goal by actively reducing cultural and bureaucratic barriers within and across their organizations through strengthened collaborations and cross-institutional program design.
Established in 2015, this collaborative centers equity as a core value. They pursue the reduction of ‘social determinants’ and regard the following key dimensions of equity: aspiration, access, achievement, economic progress, and engagement. The program commits to maintaining multiple voices in their work and seeking continuous feedback from the communities they strive to support. Thanks to the RWT-BEI grant, both districts offer teacher academy programs focused on building cross-institutional support, increasing student representation from systematically disadvantaged communities while developing civic leaders in the teaching field. Dually enrolled 11th and 12th graders learn about educational equity and apply this knowledge in fieldwork experiences as mentors for local middle school students.
Highline Public Schools
Program name: Bilingual Teacher Fellows
Partners: Highline Public Schools; Skagit Valley College; South Seattle College; Western Washington University, Woodring College of Education
Highline’s Future Bilingual Teacher Fellows program recruits and develops bilingual teachers, many of whom have studied in Highline’s Dual Language programs. The program addresses the need to hire staff that can support Highline’s bilingual/biliterate goal for all students and increases the district’s capacity to provide Dual Language programming for ELL qualified students. Additionally, these future teachers come from the community; their entry into teaching directly addresses the need to develop a teaching workforce that reflects the community.
The program works to boost students’ academic achievement and levels of biliteracy, as well as develop students’ positive multilingual identities and sustain and support traditionally marginalized language-minority communities. These goals require partnerships between the district and local community to ensure community representation and responsiveness. Growing students from within local communities into teachers reinforces these partnerships and equips schools with teachers capable of supporting these socio-cultural goals, in addition to academic and language-focused goals.
Pasco School District
Program name: Pasco RWT-BEI teacher academy
Partners: Pasco School District; Columbia Basin Community College; Washington State University, Tri-Cities; Central Washington University; Eastern Washington University; College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP); Boys and Girls club of Pasco; Action Team Partnerships (ATP); Helping Parents Achieve Communication (HPAC); Families Unidas de Frost (FUF); Migrant and Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee (PAC); Pasco School District PEAK partners
The goal of Pasco’s RWT-BEI teacher academy program is to provide a long-term sustainable pathway for bilingual students to become educators in the district by expanding bilingual initiatives. The program works to achieve this goal through the following activities:
- Recruitment and identification of bilingual/biliterate 7-10 graders in established advisory and leadership programs in the district.
- Provide intentional opportunities for bilingual/biliterate 9-12 graders to participate in practical experiences in the elementary schools to work with students so that they can see for themselves the need for bilingual educators in the community.
- Recruit students through the previous avenues into the teacher academy in grades 11 and 12, which will expose them to the current issues of the shortage of bilingual educators, inequities within the educational system, and cultural biases experienced by students from bilingual backgrounds.
Students in the teacher academy program have access to multiple pathways to obtain a degree or certification beyond a high school diploma and dispel the notion that it is unobtainable due to obstacles such as financial, cultural, or language barriers.
Quincy School District
Program name: Quincy RWT-BEI teacher academy
Partners: Quincy School District; Eastern Washington University; Big Bend Community College
Quincy’s RWT-BEI teacher academy program works to address the underrepresentation of their diverse population in education by recruiting, developing, and supporting students from the community as they become educators. The teacher academy equips students with tools to become successful educators through mentoring, culturally relevant curriculum, leadership opportunities, support for goal setting, and connections with post-secondary institutions. The work of the program includes building relationships with bilingual students and promoting interest in the teaching profession, beginning as early as middle school.
The program addresses the issue of underrepresentation of people of color in teacher education programs and throughout the educator workforce. Specifically, RWT-BEI works to counter the institutional racism experienced by people of color in order to create pathways that bring teachers into the classroom that reflect the community. In addition, the program provides the needed pathway for underserved and underrepresented students to view their cultural background and language as an asset for a future career in education. The RWT-BEI grant has been a powerful tool for providing equitable opportunities for bilingual students to see themselves as future educators.
Previous pilot site grantees
Grant awardees were: Everett and Marysville consortium; Highline, Pasco, and Quincy consortium; North Thurston School District; and Wahluke School District.
Planning and development year grant awardees were: Everett and Marysville consortium; Highline, Pasco, and Quincy consortium; and Mount Vernon and Burlington-Edison consortium; North Thurston School District; and Wahluke School District.