South High students asked for more teachers of color. Now, they’re training in a new ‘educator pathways’ program to become those teachers.

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“Seventeen-year-old Mariah Valenzuela sat on a blue carpet decorated with letters from the alphabet, helping a third-grader practice his reading at Minneapolis’ Folwell Community School.

He knew the shorter words: I can dig. In the.

But he stumbled over the longer word: sandbox.

‘What I like to do is break it up into two words and put it together,’ Mariah told the boy, covering the second half of the word with a manicured nail. ‘Sond,’ he sounded out.

‘Sand,’ Mariah said.

She covered the other half of the compound word.

‘Box. Sandbox,’ she said. ‘Do you feel confident in that?’He nodded.

Mariah, a senior at South High School in Minneapolis, helps the third-grade classroom once a month. It’s part of a program designed to encourage diverse high school students to consider teaching. While 37 percent of Minnesota public school students are children of color, only 6 percent of their teachers are.”

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