Portland Public Schools Receive National Funding to Diversify Staff


Hana Tallan, a Current Teacher at East End Community School, who started her Career at the Portland Public Schools as an Ed Tech and Became Certified to Teach After Many Years.

Portland Public Schools, (PPS) has received a grant in the amount of $175,000 to support educational technicians in their process of becoming certified to teach.  The grant is from the New Schools Venture Fund.

Julia Hazel, the PPS Director of BIPOC Career Pathways and Leadership Development, will coordinate this work for the district.  The grant also provides opportuniies for Ms. Hazel to connect with and learn from other educators and organizations around the country that are launching or growing similar initiatives.

The PPS have experienced profound demographic shifts in the last 30 years.  In 1989, fewer than 10% of PPS students identified as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC).  By 2010, that percentage had grown to 35%.  This school year, 49% of students identify as BIPOC.  Like many districts in the US, the demographics of teachers employed by PPS has not kept pace with its student population.

Many ed techs working in the district are immigrants who were teachers before coming to the US.  Often, these paraprofessionals need to have foreign transcripts analyzed in order to determine the coursework or other requirements necessary to become fully credentialed in the US.  In other cases, working as ed techs has inspired interest in becoming certified classroom teachers.  This grant will provide services such as foreign transcript analyzing, payment for additional coursework towards certification beyond what is normally reimbursed by the district, expanded mentoring by PPS teachers and other supports.

“When I talk to students they often tell me how important it is to them to have a faculty that more closely reflects their experiences and backgrounds,” said Superintendent Xavier Botana.  “This has been a priority for us as a district for the past five years and while we’ve made gains, we have a great deal more work to do.  I am grateful to the New Schools Venture Fund for their support and partnership in our efforts.”

Superintendent Xavier Botana announced earlier this week at a School Board meeting that he will be leaving his post at the end of the 2023-2024 school year.   That’s when his new two-year contract is up.  He’ll have been with PPS for eight years at that time.