AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - To respond to diversity issues within Amarillo ISD, the school board met Thursday evening for their first ever diversity training session.
A facilitator from the Texas Association of School Boards talking about how to approach diversity within the school district.
The biggest issue the school board thinks the district faces is a lack of minority teachers.
They're brainstorming ideas on how to increase that number, but board members said it's a challenge they don't yet know how to tackle.
All agreed on a need to find more minority teachers, but it's not an easy process.
"What do we do to find more black teachers, more Hispanic teachers?" asked School Board President Jim Austin. "Are we recruiting in the right place? Are we handling the teachers, potential teachers that are coming out of WT right? Are we compelling? Do you want to come to our district?"
The answer seems to be "no."
Austin noted that Amarillo is competing with Dallas, Houston, and other big cities for the same qualified teachers, and these teachers are going to bigger places and not Amarillo.
"[We need to] make sure that they realize that our district is interested in their staying and being a part of our community."
The facilitator told the board that black or Hispanic student is more likely to connect better with a black or Hispanic student.
That suggestion had mixed reactions among the board.
"I'm a little hesitant in saying that because I think that our view is we try not to look into color, we're trying to serve the students," said Austin. "But we are sensitive to those needs."
Board member James Allen, who asked for the diversity training for the board, suggested creating incentives to keep and bring more teachers to Amarillo.
No action was taken Thursday, but the board will begin working on concrete plans to increase the number of minority teachers in the district.