Buffalo Public Schools offers class to help diversify teaching force

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A group of 18 future teachers are already working towards their goals. All 18, are high school freshman.

Leaders with the Urban Teachers Academy call these students, “pioneers.”

Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash says fewer people are going into the teaching profession, and there’s a need for new teachers now. He said, “This is the time our young people, you need to consider going into teaching professionally. We’re getting ready to lose a lot of people in the next couple of years. It’s called a “cliff” where many, many teachers retire across the country.”

This is the first class at the Urban Teacher Academy at Mckinley High School.

They’re all  freshmen, and hope to diversify the future teaching ranks in the Buffalo Public Schools.

“I used to get frustrated and irritated with the teachers, but now I see what they actually go through, so I can understand it,” said Freshman Gabrielle Baldwin.

Students who finish the program will be given preference for jobs in the city schools. That’s In exchange for a five-year commitment to teach in Buffalo once they graduate.

For Baldwin, she better understands how tough this job can be, and empathizes with her teachers now. She said, “(You don’t have to put on a show to educate people.”

Students can earn up to 12 college credits and will receive a full-tuition scholarship to Buffalo State. And this diverse group of students says they’ll push each other to graduate.

Baldwin said, “To me it’s about family. All the kids here, we push each other to be our better self.”