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The Mankato School District in Minnesota saw its school board vote unanimously in December for a policy that may provide additional play exclusively to non-white teachers. The board voted to amend district policy, allowing non-white teachers to receive “additional stipends” to be mentors to other non-white colleagues.

The district believes the new measure is designed to “increase opportunity for collegial support” for minority teachers in an effort to boost the retention rate.

“The district may use staff development revenue, special grant programs established by the state legislature or another funding source to pay a stipend to a mentor who may be a current or former teacher who has taught at least three years and is not an improvement plan,” the amended agenda said.

Other initiatives using such funds may include:

*Additional stipends as incentives to mentors of color who are American Indian;
*Financial supports for professional learning community affinity groups across schools within and between districts for teachers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to come together throughout the school year;
*Programs for induction aligned with the school district or school mentorship program during the first three years of teaching, especially for teachers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups;
*Grants supporting licensed and nonlicensed educator participation in professional development, such as workshops and graduate courses, related to increasing student achievement for students of color and American Indian students in order to close opportunity and achievement gaps.

“To the extent the school district receives a grant for any of the above purposes, it will negotiate additional retention strategies or protection from unrequested leave of absence in the beginning years of employment for teachers of color and teachers who are American Indian,” the agenda item said. “Retention strategies may include providing financial incentives for teachers of color and teachers who are American Indian to work in the school or district for at least five years and placing American Indian educators at sites with other American Indian educators and educators of color at sites with other educators of color to reduce isolation and increase opportunity for collegial support.”

The state law does require districts to develop teacher mentoring programs, but notes they may offer additional stipends.

Author: Jacob Hall


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