There’s a staggering disconnect in Delaware public schools between the diversity represented among our students and the folks who lead our classrooms. One in five students are Hispanic, for instance, but just 2 percent of their teachers are.

We can change that—and students can lead the way.

On Friday, June 15, you’re invited to join a free community conversation with the Delaware Youth Advocacy Council: an ambitious group of high schoolers with a well-researched plan for putting diverse teachers at the front of the class.

A report release and community conversation

June 15, 2018 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
1 River Place
Wilmington, DE 19801

Click here to RSVP!

At the event, the
Youth Advocacy Council will unveil its first report, called REPRESENTED: A Student-Led Agenda to Increase Teacher Diversity. It’s the culmination of a year’s work, and hundreds of conversations with peers, teachers, policymakers and community leaders.

What’s the Youth Advocacy Council?

Gabrielle Thomas created the program as a statewide forum for high school students to learn about education policy—and how to lead their own winning advocacy campaigns to improve Delaware schools. During a 12-month training program, they learn important civic engagement strategies to leverage effective campaigns for social change.

This group’s focus: understanding why there aren’t more teachers of color in our public school classrooms, why that’s bad for all kids, and what can be done to solve the problem.

In REPRESENTED, the council digs into the diversity crisis and puts forth a series of well-researched policy recommendations—including successful approaches from other states that face the same disproportionate levels of representation in the teaching force.

I hope you’ll join us and hear what our students have to say.


“Students deserve an authentic seat at the table,” Gabby says, “and when they get one, they shed light on issues in a unique way that commands attention.”

“They want the power to fix the problems they experience in school. This report shows just that: the council chose to research teacher diversity by reflecting on their own experience—and that motivated them to make truly compelling recommendations for elected officials.”

The mission of the Youth Advocacy Council is to empower and prioritize student voice in a way that is adaptive to the times and holds the community accountable to our overall vision of equity. Delaware high schoolers are encouraged to learn more about the program by contacting Thomas at or (484) 888-5932. Leaders and policy makers in education are also encouraged to schedule a meeting with our YAC members or attend any of our training sessions.

The group measures success based on increased knowledge of civics and government, the state of education in Delaware and how to successfully lead an advocacy movement, from strong public speaking to policy drafting and research. Council members have spoken at education conferences, advocated for school funding policies that are fair and transparent, and more.

But it’s best to hear from the students directly—here’s what Marco had to say:

“The  YAC has  helped me  develop and  understand the  power of my voice  as a young Latino and  as a scholar at William  Penn High School. I have learned  the many problems that students and  teachers of color face in our current  education system, including the ‘giftedness’  and ‘college access’ gaps.”

DelawareCAN is a proud and excited partner of the Youth Advocacy Council, and we’re especially excited to share REPRESENTED with the community. When it comes to making better public schools, we should be listening to the people we built our schools for.

Atnre Alleyne is the executive director of DelawareCAN. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware.


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