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Strengthening the Teacher of Color Pipeline in Tribal Communities

This event was held on November 6, 2020

Virtual Grantmakers for Education Conference Session co-hosted by ECFC and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation

American Indian College Fund, Tribal College and University ECE Initiative
American Indian College Fund, Tribal College and University ECE Initiative

Place-based culturally responsive programming is vital to improving the education and health trajectories of young children and their families. In order to prepare our early learning and educational systems to respond to the changing needs of young learners, we must build a diverse pipeline of teachers who represent the culture and history of our learners.

While some foundations have embarked on the journey of embedding race and culture, we still have much to do to ensure that early childhood and education grantmakers are approaching their work with equity lens.   Especially as we face daunting challenges in this country – ensuring all kids and families are counted in the Decennial Census, and helping our communities rebuild education and early childhood systems following the COVID-19 crisis – it will be critically important in the next decade to prepare an early learning and education workforce that reflects our students and can advocate for their needs.

Virtual Session Recording:

ECFC Members login to access the session recording courtesy of GFE.  GFE Members and GFE-membership-eligible philanthropists can view this recording and other live virtual sessions via GFE.s Virtual Year-Round Conference.

Event Takeaways

This session featured the innovative work of the American Indian College Fund’s Early Childhood Education initiative funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and built on the principle that Native communities are the best educators of their earliest learners, and exploring key domains that guide the College Fund’s work: Teacher Quality; Intergenerational Family Engagement; and Native Language and Culture.

Early Childhood Education leaders from two Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) joined us to demonstrate the comprehensive, successful, and community-based systems of early learning they’ve developed with their respective Tribal nation communities through the College Fund’s ECE Initiative.

Lessons from this work hold important considerations for helping culture and linguistic heritage thrive, and embedding cultural and racial equity into internal and external practices.

The session explored:

  1. How integrating Native language and culture contribute to successful pathways from Pre-K to K-3 and beyond.
  2. Lessons and challenges in strengthening the pipeline of teachers of color, and how partners such as minority serving higher education institutions can support development of a culturally-matched workforce for our youngest learners.
  3. The role of funders in supporting and lifting up teacher education and preparation models that promote racial equity and culture an essential component.


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