Professional Educators

In Kentucky, Training for Teachers Sought by Diverse Community Audience

The latest community outreach activity by the Jefferson County Teachers Association in Louisville, KY began when staff and leaders there decided members could benefit from new programs on the subject of diversity. For assistance, they turned to the National Education Association’s training on the subject; a proprietary series of modules that help educators build awareness of the diversity in their lives and classrooms and manage their own actions and relationships with others.

JCTA wanted “to take a shared approach to help members manage diversity issues with other faculty and in the classroom; and to help forge relationships with principals and the school district,” says Patricia Wright, a senior policy analyst with NEA and coordinator of the organization’s National Diversity Training Cadre.

But an interesting thing happened after a select group of JCTA members completed the rigorous NEA “training of trainers” and began work – they attracted clients outside the education world.

“We have a number of community outreach activities we do, but we were thinking of this much more in terms of our own internal professional development offerings, but we found after we trained the cadre that it went well beyond the Association and others involved in the community have been interested in participating,” said Brent McKim, JCTA president. “It’s been a little bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one.”

In addition to inviting community members into trainings, the Association has been approached about providing training to corporate and foundation groups in Louisville.

Interviewed this week at the summer meeting of the National Council of Urban Education Associations, McKim said, “I think it’s critical for the Association to reach out to the community and certainly our diversity training cadre is a great way of doing that. It allows us to make connections, it allows the community to see the role we play in helping to improve the quality of instruction. It improves the sensitivity of our members to the diversity that makes our schools the rich places they are – and it really just allows us to showcase the good work that we do.”

– Steve Snider

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