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Silver Companies Foundation provides $30K in grants launching “Reflect Stafford”

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Schools & Education

From Stafford County Schools:

The Silver Companies Foundation has donated $30K to support six minority Stafford educators with a grant to support their completion of the training and professional learning necessary to earn licensure with the Virginia Department of Education. The six recipients will form the first “Reflect Stafford” cohort in Stafford, a fulfillment of the school system’s strategic plan promise to support and invest in all staff. The “Reflect Stafford” program aims to recruit and retain teachers of diverse backgrounds in order to better reflect the student body demographics.

“A diverse teaching workforce benefits all staff and students. When students see themselves in their teachers, whether it be a shared background or personal traits, magic happens in the classroom. We have so many amazing teachers in Stafford County already, I am excited to add a few more,” said Dr. Thomas W. Taylor, Superintendent. “Though Stafford Schools is considered a minority-majority school district, our staff demographics aren’t even close to our student and family demographics. We acknowledge that this is a barrier for some families and kids. The inaugural “Reflect Stafford” cohort is one of many steps we will take to strengthen our schools by adding instructors with backgrounds that better reflect our student population and provide them with a daily experience that promotes a culture of positivity and belonging.”

The 2023 “Reflect Stafford” grant recipients are:

Shantel Washington (Stafford MS), Reyna Romero (Colonial Forge HS), Dalton Henderson (Widewater ES), Jigna Davè (Conway ES), Jeniqua Adebayo (Conway ES), and Tara Daley (Falmouth ES).

“Every child should see themselves and their opportunity for success reflected in their teachers,” continued Dr. Taylor. “This initiative enhances our goal to #ElevateStafford not only through building professional learning opportunities for all staff, but also by investing in the well-being of our students. We are grateful to the Silver Companies Foundation for their support in growing a diverse teaching staff from within the school division that better mirrors our student population.”

Recognizing the tremendous value of experienced and dedicated staff, Stafford County Public Schools partnered with the Stafford Education Foundation to design a comprehensive program that facilitates financial assistance and provides a committed Human Resources and Talent Development representative to support staff in their journey to becoming fully licensed teachers.

“The Stafford Education Foundation is committed to supporting all educators in Stafford County,” stated Stephanie Johnson, Board President of SEF. “Having awarded nearly $80,000 in teaching grants to educators since 2017, the Foundation is excited to expand its support of staff to include non-licensed staff to become teachers.”

The Silver Companies Foundation President, Rabbi Josh Broide, and The Stafford Education Foundation President, Stephanie Johnson, hosted a reception and presentation honoring the recipients.

“The future of our Nation lies in the hands of our children. Their perspective is shaped by the world they live in today,” shared Dr. R. Pamela Yeung, Chair, Stafford County Board of Supervisors. “One contribution we can make is to provide them with teachers who reflect their backgrounds and experiences. This has a profound impact on their lives, influencing not only their academic performance but also their self-perception. It offers them a relatable figure to turn to when they need guidance, especially if they lack such support in other places.”

Reyna Romero, grant recipient and paraprofessional at Colonial Forge High School shared, “Everyone has been so encouraging. I loved being a paraprofessional, but I want to do more. I know the possibilities are endless – I want to be in the classroom and show that no matter your nationality or disability, you’re still complete and you can still achieve anything.”

With the launch of this innovative pathway, Stafford Schools reaffirms its dedication to fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth. The program’s emphasis on empowering staff members to become licensed teachers highlights the school division’s determination to elevate education standards and provide an exceptional learning journey for students and staff.

 

Photos courtesy Stafford County Schools

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