VCSC, Terre Haute NAACP leadership discuss ways to create a more diverse school staff

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Yzabel Tio is a Vigo County studying education at Butler University to become an elementary teacher.

Being a minority, she says some difficulties could be created depending on a school’s staff.

“Children that are African-american and children of color, they sometimes don’t connect well to teachers that don’t look like them, that don’t have the same experiences as them,” Tio said.

Monday, leadership with Vigo County schools met with the Greater Terre Haute Branch of the NAACP to discuss plans of making their teaching staff and school’s more diverse.

According to Jackie Lower, president of the Vigo County School Board, some of these efforts to find teachers from all ethnic groups are already underway.

“We’ve always reached out to ISU and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and Ivy Tech particularly, and we’re going out from our regular boundaries and even going to other states,” Lower said.

Lower says a drop in the number of students in school’s of education has made it more difficult to attract teacher’s to Vigo County, but the school corporation is looking to become more proactive in their search for a diverse staff.

“It’s become a competition and it’s a whole new marketplace but I think we’re going to add diversity to our team that goes out to do the recruiting,” Lower said.

Terre Haute NAACP president, Sylvester Edwards, says he is optimistic following discussions with school officials.

He says he believes bettering young people’s lives is a product of the schools.

“Our kids, our children, are our future. We want to make sure good things are happen with them and to them in the community, and it starts at the school,” Edwards said.

Last year, Vigo County schools diversity chair retired and the position has not been filled since but Lower says they are working to bring back the position.

Lower hopes to open the position will be opened to applicants within the next month.

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