Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation recently granted $100,000 for Salem State University’s School of Education to launch an Educator-Scholars of Color program. This grant continues the two North Shore institutions’ longstanding partnership to advance education, equity, and community across the region.
With the grant, Salem State will pilot this program over the next two years, inviting people of color majoring in early childhood and elementary education into supportive cohorts led by faculty members who will advise and help build community among these students throughout their college journeys. The program will also provide the selected students with monetary awards—both designed to help them succeed in obtaining bachelor’s degrees while breaking down racial and socioeconomic barriers to higher education.
The new Educator-Scholars of Color program will focus on increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the teacher pipeline, initially focusing on the Gateway Cities of Salem, Lynn, Chelsea, and Revere, where Salem State School of Education graduates often serve as teachers and where white educators far outnumber educators of color.
“The School of Education has made it a priority to diversify our own faculty and staff members and prepare them to train our students in a culturally responsive way,” said Joseph Cambone, dean of the School of Education. “With Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation’s generosity, we’re continuing this work to give today’s Salem State education students of color equitable access to obtain their degrees so that they may teach and inspire children across the region.”
Nancy Stager, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation’s president and CEO said, “This latest grant to Salem State University furthers both organizations’ increased commitment to addressing racial inequities, achieving social justice, and eliminating issues that perpetuate income and wealth gaps across our communities. It is an honor for Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation to help Salem State University launch the new Educator-Scholars of Color program and advance our shared commitment to breaking down racial and social inequities while creating greater opportunity for future educators and child care professionals.”
According to Salem State University’s School of Education Associate Dean Nicole Harris, the awards provided by the grant will also help students of color to access and complete Massachusetts’ many requirements for becoming a teacher.
“Individuals preparing to become educators face many out-of-pocket costs—including unpaid work as student-teachers and fees associated with the MTEL and other mandatory tests,” said Harris. “The new Educator-Scholars of Color program alleviates the financial burdens of these requirements and supports our students so that they are well-prepared to excel not only on their tests, but also within the early childhood and elementary school classroom settings where they practice their teaching skills.”
Ultimately, Salem State University hopes to grow this pilot program into an initiative that supports and encourages all School of Education students of color whose teaching interests span the K-12 education spectrum. For now, the three faculty members leading the new Educator-Scholars of Color program will focus their energy on piloting the initiative among students studying early childhood and elementary education.
“Thanks to Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, Salem State University can expand its legacy of championing learners and leaders from all backgrounds,” said Cheryl Crounse, executive director of the Salem State University Foundation. “This legacy began when Charlotte Forten became the school’s first African American graduate in 1856 and the first African American public school teacher in Salem in 1857. As we reflect on how we can all better support students, faculty, and staff of color, the Salem State community keeps Ms. Forten’s spirit alive with the new Educator-Scholars of Color program. We appreciate Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation’s unwavering support of our mission to make a quality, affordable education accessible to everyone.”