Teach Plus Pennsylvania Launches Philadelphia Affinity Group Network With Support from Elevate 215 and The Pew Charitable Trusts
Teach Plus Pennsylvania Launches Philadelphia Affinity Group Network to Boost Retention of Diverse Teacher Workforce
With Support from Elevate 215 and The Pew Charitable Trusts, Teach Plus Will Engage Philadelphia’s Educators of Color in 30 Affinity Groups over Two Years
Press Release Issued by Teach Plus on August 31, 2023 — Teach Plus Pennsylvania today launched the Philadelphia Affinity Group Network, a two-year program that will create culturally affirming, supportive spaces for educators of color to help retain them in the profession and in Philadelphia’s schools. Research shows that teachers of color matter for all students, and especially for students of color. Philadelphia, where 34% of the educator workforce are teachers of color and 86% of students are people of color, has the highest teacher attrition rates in the state, with turnover the highest among teachers of color. Each affinity group in the Philadelphia Affinity Group Network will be shaped for and by educators of color. During the program, Teach Plus will work with Philadelphia district and charter school partners to select and train experienced teacher leaders of color as affinity group facilitators. Funded by Elevate 215 and The Pew Charitable Trusts, Teach Plus’s Philadelphia Affinity Group Network will serve at least 300 educators of color by summer 2024.
“By fostering safe, healing, and identity-affirming spaces for BIPOC educators, the Philadelphia Affinity Group Network will support educators of color in navigating and improving their school environments and addressing systemic issues in their school building and the profession,” said Laura Boyce, Teach Plus Pennsylvania Executive Director. “We hope that this work will lead to retaining these excellent educators of color in Philadelphia’s schools, to benefit our students and communities.”
Research by Teach Plus and The Education Trust has found that that teachers of color face unique challenges in the workplace that contribute to their higher attrition rates, such as experiencing an antagonistic school culture; feeling undervalued and isolated; being deprived of agency and autonomy; navigating unfavorable working condition; and bearing the high cost of being a teacher of color. The Philadelphia Affinity Group Network design includes a two-pronged retention strategy for teachers of color: authentic, inclusive, intersectional environments for all participants to connect, support, and inspire each other; and growth and leadership opportunities for affinity group facilitators.
As part of the program, Teach Plus will provide ongoing coaching and leadership development for the affinity group facilitators to develop them as leaders and support successful formation and facilitation of impactful affinity group spaces. Teach Plus will work with the facilitators and district and charter partners to determine the configuration and composition of each affinity group.
The Philadelphia Affinity Group Network is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts and Elevate 215, which have each awarded Teach Plus Pennsylvania a two-year, $250,000 grant, for a total of $500,000.