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Awarded for Recognizing Diversity in the Classroom

Center for Urban Education leaders gear up to receive an impactful award

On Friday, Feb. 16, UNC’s Center for Urban Education (CUE) leaders along with the dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences will be presented an award that celebrates the center’s success in preparing teachers who are culturally, racially and linguistically responsive. Last month, the AACTE (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education), a leading organization committed to elevating education nation-wide, announced that the CUE is the recipient of its 2024 Increasing Educator Diversity: Promising Practice Award.  

The inaugural award recognizes CUE’s demonstrated outcomes and advocacy related to building a workforce that mirrors the demographics of the learners in the Denver metropolitan area. Over 70% of the center’s teacher candidates are individuals of color. 

“Teachers who graduate from UNC’s Center for Urban Education make a big difference in our city,” said Denver Mayor Mike Johnston. “As someone who was once a student at UNC’s Center for Urban Education, I can attest to the impact their graduates make as teachers in Denver. These graduates help to meet the need for more diversity among our educators in the region.” 

A key aspect to the center’s success is its Grow Your Own (GYO) program, where teacher candidates work as paraeducators in local schools during the mornings and complete their teacher prep courses in the afternoons and evenings giving them nearly 3,000 hours of on-the-job experience. 

“Working in a middle school while earning my undergraduate degree is an approach that works for me,” said Janai McDonald, a current CUE student. “It gives me the skills and experience I need to be successful. Growing up, I was that student. When I looked around, my teachers didn’t look like me, so I am thankful that CUE exists to help prepare a generation of educators for our students today.” 

“While school districts and universities across the country often prioritize increasing educator diversity, CUE has acted, created a successful pathway and demonstrated results for educator diversity in Colorado,” added John Youngquist, Denver Public Schools Board of Education Director. 

Jared Stallones, Ph.D., dean of UNC’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Rosanne Fulton, Ph.D., director of CUE and Joanna Ross, assistant director of CUE, will be presented with the award during AACTE’s 2024 Annual Meeting Feb. 16–18 in Denver.

About AACTE   

Established in 1948, AACTE is the leading voice in educator preparation. AACTE’s member institutions and programs prepare the greatest number of professional educators in the United States and its territories, including teachers, counselors, administrators and college faculty. These professional educators are prepared for careers in PK-12 classrooms, colleges and universities, state and governmental agencies, policy institutes, and non-profit organizations. The AACTE alliance of colleges and universities and educator preparation programs collaborates with members and partners to advance the field of education by prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and engaging in research-based inquiry, advocacy, and innovative practice. Learn more at aacte.org.   

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