DALLAS — The first day of school is approaching for Dallas Independent School District. Teachers and staff on campuses across DISD are working hard to prepare classrooms for students.
”I love being in the classroom,” said Jerimy Mask, a teacher at Marsalis S.T.E.A.M. Academy.
The Richmond, Virginia native is part of a unique program working to place more Black and Latino male teachers in classrooms across Dallas ISD.
“Every school that I’ve worked at, just to see how the students receive you, is something that is fulfilling,” Mask explained.
Dallas ISD launched its Black and Latino Male Teacher Residency Program in 2020. The focus is on helping those male teachers develop skills, linking them with mentors, and earning certification while placing them in classrooms at schools that have a high population of minority students.
“Statistics have shown that students who have a teacher that looks like them in the classroom, will be more than likely to graduate from high school and their matriculations through college and be successful in their careers,” said Steven Jackson, Director of Recruitment for Dallas ISD.
The original cohort started with 12 individuals. So far, about 42 teachers have completed the program. Leading into this new school year, 25 Black and Latino male teachers are in the paid residency program.
“When I walked into the classroom and introduced myself, I can tell all the kids were looking at me. It was kind of a stare. Like, wait, this is a male in here,” said Collin Hawkins, a science teacher.
Teachers in the residency program say some students connect to seeing them in the classroom.
“A lot of these kids don’t have a male figure in their life. So, them coming to school, seeing that male figure putting that impact on their lives, really furthers their education,” Hawkins explained.
Educators say, nationwide, there has traditionally been a shortage of male teachers in the classroom. Especially in the primary school setting.
Dallas ISD leaders say they want to see the Black and Latino Male Teacher Residency Program continue to grow and provide opportunities for educators and for students.