Encouraging Future Black Male Educators with Darryl Diggs

Darryl Diggs

“The strength comes in understanding your voice and knowing that your pain and your authenticity will propel you into your purpose.”

Darryl Diggs

Welcome to Navigating STL Schools, a podcast.  

Today’s guest is Darryl Diggs, principal at Hardin Middle School in St. Charles County and cofounder of Black Male Educators of St. Louis (BMESTL). He also writes a blog, Catching Lightning, recounting his journey and experiences. In this episode, Darryl sits down with Staci to discuss Black Men in Education, the effects COVID-19 has had on St. Louis schools, and navigating education from the perspective of parents.

They discuss:

  • Darryl Diggs’ personal experience in education, from a student to an educator to an administrator
  • His work with Black Males in Education STL
    • Darryl only had three black male teachers in his entire K-12 and post-secondary school experience
  • BME STL promotes, recruits, supports and develops the slightly more than 1 percent of black male educators currently serving in Missouri
  • The black educators that inspire us
  • Education in the city of St. Louis
    • Covid has really forced us to see the inequities, the “have” and “have not” districts
  • We have to look at our history of oppression and acknowledge and learn about it
  • Finding strength and purpose
  •  Racism is nothing new for black male educators
    • This causes people to leave the profession
    • Discourages young black people from wanting to become teachers
    • This will be a thing until we change the narrative
    • Being intentional about inclusion, diversity, anti-bias
  • The role of black male educators and standardized testing 
    • Tests are made for a specific reason, to norm one group of people and to isolate another group
    • What are the results and rankings actually based upon?
    • The merit of testing is reading and comprehension
    • Teaching for the test is causing teachers to skim over important in depth lessons in order to focus on reading and comprehension
    • Why don’t we measure and accentuate other talents and strengths?
  • Education from the perspective of a parent
    • Do your research, do your homework about schools
    • Talk to people that you know, don’t just rely on the school district’s info
    • The best education and opportunities for our kids are worth sacrifice
  • Tools to know or questions to ask when navigating the school search
    • Ask for a tour of the school
    • Ask to check out an advanced level class
    • Is that where you want to see your child?
  • What can Navigate STL Schools do to prepare families for the journey and help schools grow and improve?