Carroll County Public Schools continues to struggle when it comes to diversity in teacher hires, the most recent numbers from the school system show.
CCPS hired 111 educators from Sept. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018. Of those 111, 21 were men, representing 18.9 percent of the newly hired educators, and four were minorities, representing 3.6 percent of hired educators, according to information presented at the November school board meeting.
Chantress Baptist, CCPS director of human resources, said in an interview with the Times on Wednesday, Nov. 21 that despite the fact that CCPS has been actively working to recruit and maintain more minority and male educators, numbers continue to lag.
“We’re pretty stagnant,” Baptist said.
Of the four minority educators who were hired, according to the report, two were Asian and two were African-American.
But, Baptist said, while CCPS was able hire four minority educators, the school system lost four minority educators this year, too — three of whom were African-American — leaving Carroll with a net gain of zero, she said at the November school board meeting. It is the second year in a row Carroll has hired four minority teachers, but also lost four. The CCPS strategic plan lists a performance target for 2018-19 to increase minority recruitment to 5 percent and to bring the retention rate up to 70 percent.
One of the teachers left to move back to the area they were from, one was because of financial reasons, but the other two said they left because of negative experiences with colleagues, she said at the meeting.
In an interview with the Times, Baptist said the two who left due to issues with colleagues cited culture in the school and county as reasons for leaving.
“We did try to provide them with options to go to other schools,” she said, adding that one was an elementary school teacher and the other a high school teacher.
Baptist said CCPS offered to allow those educators to go to any school in the district in a position they were certified to teach.
“They still elected to go elsewhere,” she said.
Baptist said CCPS knows it’s still not getting there in terms of hiring more men, and increasing educator diversity. But the school system is continuing to try to make changes that will bring in more diversity.
CCPS is trying to focus on encouraging minority students in the school system who may have an interest in teaching to come back and work for Carroll, she said. Carroll also continues to recruit in different places, and put out CCPS information into publications that educators of color may be looking at.
Baptist also said she hopes the fact the CCPS has added diversity and diversity hiring to its strategic plan — a place where measurable goals are set and tracked — and the hiring of Jason Anderson as the new executive director of school performance, equity and accountability, can help.
“[This] helps give us other avenues,” she said.
Baptist said she’s optimistic, adding that while change has not come yet, CCPS is putting pieces in place to help drive the change they need.
“I know it is not a sprint,” she said, “it’s a marathon.”