MCPS Launches Bold Teacher Workforce Diversity Initiative

December 9, 2014

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is launching a four-part initiative to drive the district’s efforts to increase the diversity of its teacher workforce.

“We believe our students need to experience the rich variety of perspectives that come from having a diverse teaching force,” said Dr. Joshua P. Starr, superintendent of schools. “Our community is stronger and our schools are better when we learn together as a diverse community.”

Dr. Starr announced the MCPS Teacher Workforce Diversity Initiative at the December 9, 2014, Board of Education meeting. The school system is seeking to recruit and retain high-quality teachers that reflect the diversity of its student enrollment, including teachers of color and others with backgrounds, skills and experiences that are underrepresented in the current workforce, such as those who are multilingual. Dr. Starr said a more diverse workforce will strengthen the outstanding work MCPS does every day to prepare students for success in their future.

“We have an exceptional workforce that cares deeply about our children and has produced excellent results,” Dr. Starr said. “We want to build on that success and create even more opportunities for our students to be well prepared to live in our diverse community and the world beyond by learning from teachers that come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.”

For many years, MCPS has worked to recruit and develop a more diverse workforce, but the efforts have not been as effective as hoped.  In 2014, for example, white teachers make up more than 76 percent of the total teacher workforce.

The initiative, which is the result of collaboration across the system including the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), SEIU Local 500 and the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals, is focused on making rapid and significant changes to increase the diversity of the workforce.

"Our students need to see a diversity of people in all roles in the school system so that they see that their aspirations are possible," said Doug Prouty, president of MCEA. "While we are certain that any and all of us are capable of teaching all of our students, the fact is that it is important for our students to work with educators who share their backgrounds in our schools."

The Teacher Workforce Diversity Initiative includes strategies in four key areas—recruitment, selection, retention and internal talent development.


MCPS will make recruitment a year-round process that taps into college and university alumni networks and partnerships that exist in the school system to enhance recruitment of teachers with diverse backgrounds. This will include:

  • Debuting a new marketing campaign that emphasizes why people should teach in MCPS over other districts and raises awareness about the diversity of the school system and the county.
  • Establishing an ambassador program that leverages a diverse spectrum of MCPS teachers and administrators to recruit teachers of color and others through alumni relations, college and university visits, campus organization partnerships and direct networking.
  • Developing new incentives that encourage teachers to choose MCPS, and promoting the existing benefits and opportunities that the district has to offer.


The teacher selection process and timeline will be redesigned to ensure that MCPS is competitive in today’s job market. This will call for:

  • Accelerating the selection timeline for new and veteran teacher candidates to MCPS.
  • Increasing the number of open contracts to high-quality candidates in hard-to-fill certification areas.
  • Creating a diverse applicant pool for every open teaching position in MCPS.
  • Auditing the district’s hiring process to identify and eliminate any systemic barriers to successfully hiring teachers of diverse backgrounds and experiences.


MCPS will work to establish itself as a desirable, diverse and sustainable place to work and build a career. This will include:

  • Implementing comprehensive cultural proficiency training and development for all MCPS employees.
  • Enhancing formal mentoring and expanding networking programs that offer support networks for all new teachers, especially those with backgrounds and experiences that are underrepresented in the workforce.
  • Establishing partnerships with the local real estate and business communities that will promote affordable housing options for teachers.

Internal Talent Development

Creating strong local teacher pipeline programs will be essential to diversifying the MCPS workforce and providing a sustained talent pool for years to come. This will be accomplished by:

  • Expanding programs such as CITE—Creative Initiatives in Teacher Education—to support yearly cohorts of paraeducators and support services staff to pursue their teaching certification.
  • Growing the MCPS resident teacher program, an alternative certification program for hard-to-fill areas and for those who want to become leaders.
  • Developing a STEP program—Student to Educator Pathway—that establishes a career pathway for a yearly cohort of MCPS graduating seniors of diverse backgrounds who want to return to MCPS for a teaching career.

Teacher Workforce Diversity Strategic Plan

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