Professional Development

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Building Education Career Pathways in Afterschool

Operating in partnership with NYC Men Teach, the cohort-based ExpandED Schools Pathways Fellowship program is designed to recruit, support, and train men of color interested in pursuing education or youth development careers.

Nationally, only two percent of teachers are men of color—one of many grim statistics related to racial and gender representation in teaching. ExpandED Schools launched the 10-month program in 2016, aspiring to create career pathways for afterschool workers and recruiting new talent into the education field.

With two decades of experience developing diverse leaders, ExpandED Schools recognizes the value of afterschool programs as work-based learning opportunities for new professionals and career-changers. The Pathways Fellowship aims to provide Fellows with foundational job experiences in afterschool programs, with added support including professional development, mentoring from certified teachers, and individualized career and education support. The program has graduated 44 educators and serves 30 Fellows this year. Of graduates, 98 percent have advanced their careers into teaching and youth development; of eligible participants, 80 percent became certified teachers in New York City district and charter schools. Others have progressed by attaining leadership positions within afterschool programs and returning to school to complete bachelor's degree- and graduate-level education programs.

The Pathways Fellowship empowers Fellows to be leaders in their classrooms, schools and the broader education world. They learn and build skills related to teaching, effective collaboration and communication, stress management and resiliency, conflict management, and advocacy on behalf of students and themselves. They increase confidence as educators, better positioning them as leaders, influencers and advocates for the type of learning we celebrate in afterschool and typically don't see during the traditional school day. For men of color who often report feeling out of place in the education sector, these skills are essential to long-term career success.

More than 80 percent of community-based partners indicate the program helped strengthen the relationship between afterschool staff and school leaders; over 50 percent reported staff retention improvement during the year—one of the biggest challenges facing the field.

Preliminary evidence suggests the program facilitates a teacher feeder system for schools with afterschool programs. In two recent cases, Fellows were hired as full-time teachers at the schools where they completed their field placements; both schools had fewer than two men of color serving as teachers in the 2017 – 2018 school year. These graduates continue to be employed by their schools' afterschool programs, as mentors and education specialists. The Pathways Fellowship model demonstrates the value of nurturing and grooming education leaders to be fierce afterschool advocates.

Building on the Pathways Fellowship success, ExpandED Schools has launched three other pathways initiatives geared toward recruiting, training, and supporting future STEM education professionals who represent the communities their schools and programs serve. The goal is to build education and youth development career pathways for 1,000 aspiring educators over the next five years.

For more information about ExpandED Schools and its pathways initiatives, contact Marissa Badgley at mbadgley@expandedschools.org. ExpandED Schools is a nonprofit organization dedicate to closing the learning gap by increasing access to enriched education experiences.

Written by Marissa Badgley, Policy & Programs Director, ExpandED Schools.

This article originally appeared in AfterSchool Today

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