League of Education Voters’ role in the Spokane Future Educators of Color Consortium (SFECC) falls into two main categories, facilitation and support. The Spokane Region Field Director co-facilitates all meetings, creates agendas alongside Maria Esther Zamora, and takes lead on most follow-up and outreach. As a facilitator, we also help to share the story of the SFECC and attract new members. There is overlap between facilitation and support as we work to make sure that Maria Esther is supported in her role as founder and co-facilitator. Thus far, we have also been the main financial supporter for the SFECC and host all meetings in our facilities or coordinate meeting spaces.
The Spokane Region Field Director spends an average of 10-15 hours each week, focused on supporting and facilitating the SFECC. As the SFECC has grown, Maria Esther and the Spokane Region Field Director have started to share their work outside of the City of Spokane and have presented at one conference and plan to present at more moving forward.
League of Education Voters Spokane Region Field Director co-facilitates and co-organizes the Spokane Future Educators of Color Consortium (SFECC) with Maria Esther Zamora, a teacher in Spokane Public Schools. Together they have created a large membership of invested community members representing a wide variety of interest groups, including university staff and faculty, K-12 educators, parents, Spokane school board members, Spokane City Council members, and other invested community members. The larger group meets regularly every other month to share updates on the work of diversifying the educator workforce and to talk about different ways we can get the community involved in this work.
The SFECC has also convened a working group of hyper-invested community members representing Spokane Public Schools HR directors, Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, Spokane Community College, WA Charters, and a local leader in early childhood education. The Action Committee’s role is to engage the larger Spokane education community in order to understand why BIPOC educators are choosing to leave the region and what can be done to make the community safer (culturally, physically, and emotionally) in order to retain our BIPOC educators.
The Spokane Future Educators of Color Consortium is currently engaging in or has plans to impact the following focus areas:
- Career navigation & advising;
- Dual Credit and accelerated learning;
- Student success and related data supports.
Career Navigation and Advising: a good portion of our larger membership are adults who are considering becoming teachers, or who were teachers in their home country and are trying to find a pathway to teaching now that they are in the US. We serve as a connector helping those who are looking for employment connect with local districts or finding education programs to find a pathway to employment. We are also working with the education organizations in the Spokane Region to create programs for future educators of color to be exposed to the education profession at every level of education. This includes pushing for CTE credit for teacher programs in high schools.
From the beginning of the SFECC, an educator pipeline program for students of color to become teachers of color has been centered in our work. Currently, the SFECC is creating an action group with representatives from the community, all higher education institutions, Spokane Public Schools, and Educational Service District 101 to push for policies that would create a pipeline program for local educators and guaranteed efforts to hire and retain educators of color.
Committees and Membership Commitment:
The SFECC is divided into two groups, the main coalition and the Action Committee. The main coalition is made up of community members representing many different impacted groups and invested organizations. The large coalition is a low commitment group that meets regularly every other month and serves mostly as a sounding board and community discussion group. Membership in this group does not require any formal commitment but has stayed regular over the last three years of the SFECC.
The second group, the Action Committee, is a smaller group made up of hyper-invested community members representing Spokane Public Schools, Educational Service District 101, Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, Spokane Community College, members from the early learning sector, public school teachers, and impacted community members. The Action Committee members have committed to meeting at least once a month and are dedicated to retaining educators of color who are currently working in the Spokane area while also building pathways to further diversify the educator workforce. The Action Committee has two smaller subcommittees, one focused on diversification and the other focused on retention. These subcommittees allow us to serve future educators of color by working to make public education a safer place for current BIPOC educators while working to diversify the educator workforce at the same time.
- Continue to work as a conduit between community members and school districts in an effort to diversify our educator workforce.
- Host networking events and the beginning and end of each school year.
- Host bi-monthly large network meetings and monthly action committee meetings
- Leverage representatives from higher education and local school district partners to push for hiring and retention policies of educators of color.
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