Millersville’s University’s Color of Teaching Mentoring Program is getting statewide recognition, thanks to the newly released PA Educator Diversity Consortium’s Diversifying the Teacher Pipeline Toolkit.
The toolkit features the Color of Teaching Program and Project Teacher Development.
Dr. Miriam Marguerita Gomez Witmer is an education professor at Millersville and the advisor to the University’s Color of Teaching program. The toolkit featuring her work is designed to recruit and retain students of color in the teacher preparation program. It also includes case studies from other state universities.
The Color of Teaching Mentoring Program is a student-run organization, led by co-presidents Anna Milner and Taylor Crehan. The program trains Millersville students as mentors and pairs them with local 7th-12th grade students from the School District of Lancaster as well as other surrounding districts. Together, the pair form a mentor-mentee relationship. Witmer says, “The relationship helps students reach their full potential by building confidence, encouraging self-development and learning together.”
This is accomplished by monthly events such as lectures, game nights, or first Fridays downtown. Mentees who come to campus report that they can see themselves as future college students which is one important goal of the program. Recently, the Color of Teaching Mentoring Program hosted 65 8th-12th grade students at the 16th Teacher Education Day. Keynote speaker, Dr. Richard Warren- 2019 Maryland Teacher of the Year, inspired the students to pursue careers in education.
The Color of Teaching program is the backbone of Project Teacher Development, a larger group of programs that aims to recruit and prepare teachers. Witmer shares, “I would like to thank Dr. Jeffrey Wimer, the Educational Foundations department and (recently retired) Dean George Drake for their support with helping to bring Project Teacher Development to fruition.” As a pre-professional organization, Millersville mentors have presented at numerous conferences including International Mentoring Association, University of New Mexico Mentoring Institute, and PA Chapter of the National Association of Multicultural Education. The organization has also won awards for Outstanding Student Organization of the Year and Community Service. Witmer was named Millersville University Advisor of the Year in 2020.
Color of Teaching officers Alison Curran and Lauren Fuchs plan the events for mentors and mentees each month. Witmer says, “The goal of these events is to build the mentoring relationships, acclimate the mentees to a college campus, set academic, personal and career goals, and to have fun.” General meetings are held the first Tuesday of the month at 8 p.m. via Zoom. Interested students should request membership on Get Involved or email email@example.com. Witmer says, “We always need more college student mentors and you do not have to be an education major to join.”
The Color of Teaching often collaborates with other student organizations on campus, such as the team building effort at the ropes course. In January 2020 six Color of Teaching mentors traveled to Puerto Rico to serve as teacher’s aides in a local school. Additionally, the program hosts a Scholastic Book Fair on campus each semester and then chooses an elementary school every year to raise funds for. These funds are used to buy every student a new book. Since the program began, Color of Teaching has donated over 4,600 books. This year’s adopted school is ER Martin in the School District of Lancaster.
Millersville students who are interested in mentoring must complete a brief training course, as well as have clearances on file. For a copy of the PEDC Toolkit or for more information contact Miriam.Witmer@millersville.edu. Follow the organization on social media: Instagram @color_of_teaching and Facebook Color of Teaching Mentoring Program https://www.facebook.com/groups/279471928747000/ or visit: https://www.millersville.edu/edfoundations/coloroft/