The Heart of Winooski Foundation Receives $25,000 Gift from Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation
The Vermont Community Foundation is pleased to recognize a gift to the Heart of Winooski’s “Uplifting the Winooski School District BIPOC Educator Workforce Program” from an anonymous fund. This initiative will enable current Winooski School District (WSD) professionals and members of the Winooski community to translate their certification and/or work experiences from their country of origin to the Vermont Teaching Licensure standards so they’re able to teach in Vermont schools.
Approximately 51 percent of Winooski Middle and High School students identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), however, only 6 percent of the district’s teachers identify as BIPOC. There are current staff members and community members from WSD students’ countries of origin and US-born People of Color (BIPOC) who do not hold teaching or administrative positions due to educational and financial barriers to licensure.
“The Winooski School District (WSD) is committed to having our workforce better reflect our student population,” says Sean McMannon, Winooski School District Superintendent. “This gift is an investment in the Winooski community, school district, and in the individual lives of our students.”
The need for this investment is supported by the WSD/City of Winooski Equity Audit, which was released in April 2022 and found “a lack of structures and resources at the schools that would enable them to recruit more diverse teachers.”
Mohamed Diop, WSD’s Multilingual Programs Director, said, “This gift of tuition and a living stipend will enable talented and committed members of the WSD team who often already have a teaching license from another country to earn their teaching license in Vermont. Investing in the BIPOC staff that the district already employs is consequential because students of all races experience greater levels of success and are better prepared to work and live in an increasingly diverse and connected world when racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse educators are present in their school.”
“The Vermont Community Foundation and our fundholders are dedicated to creating communities where anyone feels like they belong and they have the opportunity to succeed,” says President and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation Dan Smith. “This generous gift from one of our fundholders will help pave the way to more certifications and more representation in Winooski schools that will strengthen the sense of belonging for underrepresented individuals.”
Members of the community are invited to make a gift to the Heart of Winooski’s “Uplifting the Winooski School District BIPOC Educator Workforce Program” at howvt.org.