Lakeland Aims to Diversify Teaching Staff

Administrators would identify 20 eighth-grade students who have displayed leadership skills to participate in the program: 10 from Walter Panas High School and 10 from Lakeland High School. Credits: File

SHRUB OAK, N.Y.-Looking to diversify its workforce, the Lakeland School District is considering funding an eight-year program that would develop prospective teachers at the high school level, support their college educations and recruit them back to Lakeland as educators.

The program would specifically target “culturally diverse and economically challenged” students. Every year, administrators would identify 20 eighth-grade students who have displayed leadership skills: 10 from Walter Panas High School and 10 from Lakeland High School.

“It’s really in response to the need for more diversity in our staffing here in Lakeland,” Jean Miccio, the district’s assistant superintendent for education, said at the Feb. 15 school board meeting.

Sign Up for E-News

Students in the program—called Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers—would also be granted scholarships for college.

“I think that we see these students in front of us all the time,” Miccio said, “and for us to be able to identify them, tap them on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, we see some great leadership skills in you and we would like to help cultivate that and help to get you to college and get a career for yourself, and then to come back here to Lakeland and teach for us.’ It’s a wonderful program and a great opportunity.”

The program would be headed by Miccio and Frank Accetta, director of guidance and counseling. They are asking the Board of Education to annually budget $63,000, or $3,150 per student. Miccio said the program would be eligible for aid.

If the board agrees to fund the program, Miccio said, she could start identifying eligible students for the 2018-19 school year. Lakeland could also immediately begin hiring educators who have gone through the program at other schools.

Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by Dr. Bettye H. Perkins. According to its website, the program has grown from seven students in one Westchester County high school to nearly 880 participants across the United States. The program has created 150 teachers in nine states. There are 21 partnering colleges that have agreed to assist in supporting students with a minimum 50 percent tuition scholarship.

Partnering colleges include: Manhattan College, The College of New Rochelle, Manhattanville College, Fordham University, Marist College, University of Connecticut, SUNY Geneseo, Pace University, Iona College and Sacred Heart University.

In ninth grade, students in the program would shadow high school teachers; in 10th grade, they would shadow teachers and tutor other students; and in 11th and 12th grades, they would “co-teach” classes.

“Each year they do something new and more complex,” said Dr. Tammy Cosgrove, assistant superintendent for human resources. “During the summer, there are also seminars for them that they go to, to learn how to be teachers, how to be leaders.”

Students would be required to sign a contract, committing to return to work at a school that participates in the program.

Superintendent Dr. George Stone said the need for diversity was raised by students.

“The District Youth Council did raise the question about how we could become a more diverse teaching staff to mirror the multicultural nature of our population as it’s changing,” Stone said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


What Is Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica is a research organization. Apparently, it is funded by the Mercer family, second only to the Koch brothers on the liberal hit list. Both, through their philanthropy, spend millions on various needy organizations like hospitals. What makes them liberal targets is their funding of various conservative think tanks and candidates. I digress.

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook ...

The Best of the Best: Albert Capellini

In the spring of 1991, after answering an ad for a judicial race placed in the local Yorktown paper, I was talked into the unenviable position of running for Yorktown councilman as a Democrat in our then solidly Republican town.

Having been a practicing lawyer since 1974, I felt confident about my qualifications for the position of town judge, but being elected to the Town Board was quite ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

An Open Letter to the Yorktown Town Board

April 11, 2018

The Yorktown Chamber of Commerce proudly serves as the voice of Yorktown’s vibrant business community. A vital part of our mission is to help improve the quality of life for all Yorktowners.

The chamber’s Board of Directors is more ambitious than ever, as we work hard to find new ways to enhance our great community through marketing opportunities and smartly placed commercial and ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...

Why Do Kids Hate Math?

Dear Dr. Linda,

I am in second grade and have a problem about math. My teacher just keeps giving me homework and it’s driving me crazy. Because she keeps giving it to me on weekends and spring and summer breaks. And it’s only one level and it’s too hard. But the other people who have special needs get to be moved into a higher or lower group and they learn even more because ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, April 24, 7:00 PM

French Hill School Building - Cafetorium, Yorktown Heights

Save A life Mini Series: Underage Drinking

Health & Wellness

Thu, April 26, 1:30 PM

United Methodist Church, Shrub Oak

IBM Retirees Club

Community Calendar

Guiding Eyes for the Blind Launches Wag-a-Thon Fundraiser

April 18, 2018

On April 17, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating and supporting life-changing connections between people with vision loss and exceptional guide dogs, announced its first annual Wag-a-thon, a “virtual marathon in a month” fundraiser beginning on May 1.

The Wag-a-thon is a cumulative marathon that you and your dog can do anywhere, at your own ...