Dominican University of California has received a $300,000 grant to fund a new scholarship program designed to address the shortage of teachers of color working in Marin County’s public schools.
Established by anonymous donors, The Marin Teachers of Color Scholarship is to be used for scholarships to benefit underserved students, with preference given to African American and/or Latinx students living in Marin County who intend to teach, or currently teach, at a Marin County public school and are working on the Teaching Credential portion of the MS Education degree.
According to a 2018 report by Canal Alliance, there are only 5.6 non-white teachers per 100 non-white students in Marin. “This is an imbalance in representation of significant proportions,” the report noted.
As the inaugural scholarship recipient, Dana Dacus is ready to transition from private school to public school teacher.
“It is basically the most perfect scholarship I could have gotten because it supports my education, and it will help lead me in the direction that I want to go in my career,” says Dana, who is seeking her MS in Education and Teacher Preparation.
“It really couldn’t be more perfect.”
The scholarship award is renewable while the student is completing the Teaching Credential courses provided the student maintains a 3.0 minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA).
Currently the award amount covers 50% of tuition in a semester while the student is completing the Teaching Credential portion of the MS in Education degree. It’s awarded as a scholarship to the student and goes directly to the student’s account towards tuition charges for the term. A student can receive both this scholarship and a Graduate Admissions Scholarship if selected for the former and if they meet the qualifications at time of admission for the latter.
“We are grateful that a generous donor provided this opportunity to our students of color who want to teach in Marin schools,” says Vickie Alleman, vice president for enrollment and marketing. “As Marin County demographics continue to shift it’s important for students to have teachers who reflect their values and culture.”
Dana has been teaching in private schools for 23 years ever since she graduated from San Francisco State in 1995 and entered into the Multi Cultural Alliance, an organization which helped place teachers of color in private schools. Dana, who graduated from Novato High School, attended public schools in San Rafael and Novato growing up in Marin. She now yearns to pass on her positive public school experience to others.
“I would like to go back to my roots and to be able to teach children who I feel are more in line with how I went to school,” Dana says. “Private school has been wonderful for me, but I am feeling the need to teach in public schools and support children in the community who share similar experiences with my upbringing.”
Dana was determined for a chance to get her teaching credential and master’s degree. Initially she looked at online programs. Dominican was convenient – she lives a seven-minute drive from campus – so she attended a graduate programs open house and “fell in love with the campus and the program. I told myself I am going to do whatever I can to go there.”
Now Dana is back on the path to earning her teaching certificate and master’s degree.
“I started in 2004 newly married getting my credential, but never finished my last semester because I had my first child,” she says. “My oldest son is now 13 and I was finally at the stage in my life that was able to go back to school. In order to teach in public school, I really need to get my credential. I could stay in private schools without a credential, but it’s not really the direction I want to spend the next 20 years of my career.”
Dana at first was wary that she might not be able to afford to attain her dream, but the Marin Teachers of Color Scholarship changes everything. When she met with a counselor in the Admissions office, Dana was alerted about the new scholarship.
“This is maybe my last experience going back to school and I really want it to be a positive one,” Dana says. “I have only eight people in both of my classes. It’s phenomenal. I am just so thankful to have this experience and be able to be here. It has been such an overwhelmingly positive and beneficial experience.”
November 22, 2019