CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The Cedar Rapids School Board approved a diversity strategy at its meeting Monday night. It includes ways to attract and retain employees.
The strategy also looks at the the number of minority students and staff.
District research shows students feel more comfortable asking for help from teachers who are similar to them.
"Because we have large minority population we want to make sure our students have teachers who are part of that population as well," Executive Director of Talent Management Linda Noggle said.
Noggle says that research, performed last school year, is instrumental in adopting the diversity strategy. She expects the strategy to take at least three years to implement..
First, the district will work on recruiting strategies, with a focus on college students.
"So that would be our local universities here as well as out of states in which we can partner with them," Noggle said.
The district would like to send an employee to those campuses to encourage minority students to apply for jobs.
Nationally, fewer students want to become education majors. The most recent data from The Learning Policy Institute states teacher enrollment dropped 23 percent between 2009 and 2014.
But the district has an idea to solve that potential shortage. It's called "Grow Your Own" and is a new trend for education. The district plans to identify current students who want to become teachers, then create a mentoring program.
"So we can help them support them through the entire high school and college so sponsoring them, mentoring them or maybe even helping them financially and bringing them back to the district eventually," Noggle said.
Data from the district also shows minority teachers have a higher turnover rate than white educators. One idea the research suggests is to offer more advancement opportunities for minority teachers to become administrators.