Algonquin should prioritize hiring racially diverse staff


Sahana Sivarajan

Assistant Online Editor Sahana Sivarajan writes that there should be more racially-diverse staff members at Algonquin.

Sahana Sivarajan, Assistant Online Editor

In all the six years that I have attended the Northborough-Southborough Public Schools, I’ve never had a non-white teacher. As a student of color, this has impacted me and my education. Even though all my teachers that I’ve had were wonderful, I never felt represented.

Diversity is critical; without diversity in places such as schools and offices, key voices are not being heard and that is our loss. At Algonquin, minority students are constantly looking through windows and never through a mirror, which is not ok. 

This data in the infographic shown by the School and District Profiles of student population and School and District Profiles of teacher population reveal that our school district has a lot of work to do to make sure all students are being seen and represented.

Research from the Learning Policy Institute shows that all students benefit from having teachers of color. Increasing teacher diversity will not only improve learning for all students, but it will also close achievement gaps which will lead to less differences in success rates among students. 

Research shows that a diverse faculty has never been here. However, all districts want to have a more racially diverse faculty.”

— Principal Sean Bevan

Diversity is extremely significant for students of color. It is especially important for them to have someone to look up to and see representation. The same research shows that students of color will have higher test scores and are more likely to graduate high school when they have teachers of color. 

Now, looking back from this year, many key events like George Floyd’s death have opened people’s eyes to discrimination and brutality. Algonquin has made commendable efforts like having the theAnti-Defamation League (ADL) teach kids to become peer leaders. However, if we want to make minority students feel welcome, we should hire a more diverse staff to make them feel represented.

Principal Sean Bevan shares this same philosophy.

“It is incredibly important to recruit teachers of color at Algonquin,” Bevan said. “Research shows that a diverse faculty has never been here. However, all districts want to have a more racially diverse faculty.”

Additionally, there is evidence that minority teachers leave their field at higher rates than white teachers. Some teachers report feeling isolated and misunderstood in schools where they are the only, or one of few, teachers of color. 

Bevan acknowledges this same sentiment.

“We do have few educators of color; however, they are not with other teachers of color so they may feel isolated,” Bevan said.

Selvi Oyola, an English Learning teacher, is one of the few teachers of color at Algonquin. 

“I don’t feel any differently than my previous employment,” Oyola said. “I work with multicultural students every day. I feel happy and privileged to be doing this work. I do feel that if students are educated in an environment with role models, they will reach further in their lives. I feel welcome and included in the Algonquin faculty.”

One of the reasons why Algonquin might have few teachers of color is because of our mainly white towns. Due to less diversity in Northborough and Southborough, teachers of color may choose to work in other towns and cities at schools with a more diverse community population. 

Heather Richards, the Executive Director of Human Resources of the Northborough-Southborough Public Schools, is striving to make a difference and recruit teachers of color.

“One of the things that I have done is creating a Linkedin presence since that is the premier professional networking site and the district uses this tool to assist in recruiting educators and staff of color by visibility in specific groups as well as 1:1 recruiting,” Richards said. “We also advertise in diverse publications [online and print] such as The Banner and El Mundo to increase visibility with opportunities.” 

According to Richards, the District has recently applied for diversity grants with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to provide resources to assist in increasing the staff of color. 

Richards is one of the many people striving to make a difference in our school. However, is this enough? I think that the district is certainly trying to hire teachers of color, but a lot more work needs to be done.

Our community is filled with great people working together to make the world a better place for now and for tomorrow. To make sure that all perspectives and experiences are valued and for more students to be able to see themselves reflected in the educators, our district should make every effort to hire more teachers of color. Additionally, we should continue to include public reporting on the diversity of students and faculty.

All students, faculty, administrators and community members should embrace the idea that diversity is crucial in schools along with believing that academic excellence depends on a diverse faculty. If both adults and children make it their mission to cultivate inclusion and celebrate diversity, we can become an even more inclusive school where every student thrives.