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New equity fellowship open to more Kent County teachers

Multiple Districts Area educators have a new opportunity to become Equity Fellows, trained in creating more equitable schools and classrooms.

Leading Educators, a nonprofit professional development group that has worked with Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Wyoming, Godwin Heights and Godfrey-Lee public schools over the past four years, is bringing more teachers into the fold to equip and empower them with knowledge about strengthening systems to better serve all students.

Despite the broad diversity of students in West Michigan, few students of color ever have teachers who share their racial or ethnic background. Explicit and implicit racism leads to outcomes for majorities of students who identify as Black, Latinx, multiracial, and recent immigrants that fall short of grade-level expectations, according to Mary Kay Murphy, senior director of networks in Greater Grand Rapids for Leading Educators. 

The new fellowship is designed to support educators to grow in ways that give students of color fair opportunities to succeed. 

There is room for 90 teachers to participate in the 30-hour virtual program that will run throughout the coming school year, from June 2021 to May 2022, Murphy, said. Interested educators are encouraged to read more and apply through the Leading Educators website by May 3.

“The big shift is this is now open to any teacher in Kent ISD, and they can decide for themselves if this is an area they are interested in, and they can decide to participate,” Murphy said.

Equity Fellows will participate in an equity-specific learning pathway, plus one of three content-specific tracks: math, K-2 English language arts or 3-12 ELA.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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