Multicultural Education Recruitment in Teaching (MERIT)

The MERIT project is a partnership between the University of St. Francis (USF), Joliet Township High School District 204, Joliet Public Schools District 86, Joliet Junior College, and the Joliet community. It is intended to help recruit, prepare, place, and induct a new generation of excellent teachers of color for Joliet schools – a teacher corps the more closely matches the demographics of the community’s student population.

MERIT provides scholarship opportunities to qualifying students of color who major in education at the University of St. Francis.

Why is the MERIT program necessary?

Local data has shown that there is a sharp contrast between percentages of minority students and percentages of minority teachers in Joliet's schools.
Research shows that all students, and particularly students of color, benefit from having a diverse teaching force.
Students are more likely to identify teachers as role models when they come from a similar cultural background.
Teachers may understand students more intuitively when they share similar cultural backgrounds.
Teachers who share cultural and community assets with their students can leverage those assets for learning in the classroom.
All teachers gain a variety of perspectives and teaching strategies from a diverse teaching staff.
Parents may be more comfortable with a teacher from a similar cultural background.

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