During a March 4 PfISD board workshop, several parents spoke during public comment about the lack of diversity at Riojas Elementary and the implications a lack of teacher diversity can have on white and nonwhite students alike.
During the 2020-21 school year, Riojas Elementary had 63 total teachers: 39 white teachers and 24 Hispanic or Latino teachers. The last time the campus employed a full-time Black teacher was during the 2010-11 academic year, when there was one Black teacher, six Hispanic or Latino teachers and 23 white teachers out of a total of 30 teaching positions.
Chief Human Resources Director Willie Watson Jr. led the board's staff demographics discussion April 1 and said new hires are an area in which PfISD can make more concerted efforts to diversify its hiring initiatives. He said a goal the district is striving for is to create a more equitable academic environment where the demographics of teachers mirror those of their students.
While there is not currently a full-time Black teacher on Riojas Elementary's staff, Watson said PfISD placed two Black student teachers on the campus in January.
In the 2010-11 academic year, white students made up the majority of students at Riojas Elementary, with 221 white students out of a total student population of 447. There were 131 Hispanic or Latino students, 31 Asian students, 45 Black students, four American Indian or Alaska Native students, one Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander student and 14 students who identified as two or more races, per district data.
During the 2020-21 school year, there were 359 Hispanic and Latino students enrolled at Riojas Elementary out of a total of 881, surpassing the 298 white students enrolled. The remainder of its students included 94 Asian students, 79 Black students, four American Indian or Alaska Native students, and 47 students who identified as two or more races.
In the 2010-11 academic year, PfISD employed a total of 1,538 teachers, with 1,071 of them identifying as white. The remainder of PfISD's teaching staff included 30 Asian teachers, 122 Black teachers, 269 Hispanic or Latino teachers, five American Indian or Alaska Native, six native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 35 teachers who identified as two or more races.
During the 2020-21 academic year, there are 1,939 teachers employed at PfISD, with 1,187 white teachers, 39 Asian teachers, 168 Black teachers, 497 Hispanic or Latino teachers, seven American Indian or Alaska Native teachers, five Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander teachers, and 36 who identify as two or more races.
For campuses with notable diversity concerns, Superintendent Douglas Killian requested April 1 that Watson and the human resources department work with those campuses throughout the hiring processes. In situations where a campus's hiring committee, made up of campus staff, lacks adequate diversity and representation, Killian requested the campus work with HR and Parent Teacher Organization members to help ensure a more diverse hiring process.