The Hilltopper

MH Staff Lacks Diversity

Akhila Annadanam, Editor-in-Chief

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An essential component for a fulfilling educational experience is a rich, culturally diverse community. While the Morris Hills student body offers this kind of diversity with a relatively equal proportion of students from each ethnic background, our staff does not match the student proportions. With 86% of our faculty being Caucasian, 12% Hispanic, 1% African American, and 1% Asian, it is evident that there is a very minimal cultural mix in our staff.

Diversity helps us gain valuable insight that cannot be taught through textbooks. Having educators from different backgrounds share their cultural experiences with their students allows our school as a whole to enrich our perception of the world. As teachers begin discussing more about their cultures, the student body would be inspired to embrace its own diversity, sparking an irreplaceable sense of connection amongst the entire school community. According to a recent report by the Brookings Institution, a growing body of literature suggests that outcomes such as test scores, attendance, and suspension rates are affected by the demographic match between teachers and students.  These benefits are apparent even when minority students have one same-race teacher.

MHRD Supervisor of Human Resources, Mr. Peter Lazzaro, understands the necessity of diversity and acknowledges its absence in the Morris Hills staff community. When asked if the recruiting/hiring department does anything to promote diversity, Mr. Lazzaro says that job listings are posted on a website called NJhire.com, which is accessible to people of all races; it provides an equal opportunity for all applicants. The school simply reads the applicants’ resumes and invites them in for interviews, and then picks the candidate that is professionally best fit for the job, regardless of racial background. Seeing that our school lacks staff diversity even with this equal-opportunity method, Mr. Lazzaro is open to accepting ways that specifically call attention to minority groups, one idea being to expand job advertisements to geographical areas that are highly concentrated with minority groups, which could potentially make them more likely to respond to the offers.

Mr. Lazzaro concludes that our school’s goal is to “create an inclusive, accepting environment” that celebrates racial diversity. He would like to see our staff’s ethnic background proportions match our student body’s, and he, along with the rest of the Morris Hills administration, is currently working on making small steps of improvement to help reach that point.

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MH Staff Lacks Diversity