Public Schools, and 24 percent of the district’s 46,000 students are bilingual speakers. To meet the increasing need for bilingual Seattle Public Schools has teachers in both general and special education classes, retainer with the state’s Professional Educator Standards Board, the Seattle Education Association and City University to provide a dual certification program for the district’s paraprofessionals.
Cultural competence provides a set of skills that professionals need in order to improve practice to serve all students and communicate effectively with their families. (SOPS, 2011). Cultural competence training would give teachers the opportunity to confront their stereotypes and biases that they hold that directly affect the way teachers see, and teach their students. Biases and stereotypes within a teacher’s classroom can actively affect the achievements of his/her students. One of the ways this program will be funded is through the SEA membership.
The SEA membership believes in closing the academic achievement gap and that having classroom teachers that reflect our student population will help in accomplishing that goal,” comments Wendy Kimball, President of SEA. “Support for paraprofessionals and secretaries/office personnel is critical given the difficulty of going back to school to earn a teaching certificate and working full time. ” Kimball continues, “SEA is committed to supporting staff with the resources of time and money hey can earn a certificate.