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INDIANAPOLIS ā€” Parents, educators, state legislators and Indianapolis Public School commissioners spent Saturday morning discussing the importance of racial diversity in the classroom.

Building a diverse teacher pipeline was the main topic of conversation. Statistics collected by Rise Indy say 70% of IPS students are minorities and 70% of full-time educators in the district are white.

A panel discussion and Q and A focused on ways to improve diversity in the classroom and personal experiences.

“I know first hand as a parent raising my children, it’s been difficult for my children not to be in their classroom that looks like them, that’s educating them and I’ve had to bridge that gap,” parent and community advocate Amanda Boyd said.

Rise Indy has several recommendations for IPS, including strengthening the grow-your-own program, recruiting and retaining a diverse teacher pool and waiving expenses for testing for those teachers.

“When you have folks that are teaching you and they look like you, there’s a natural empathy and sympathy that goes along with that,” Rise Indy founder Jasmine Shadheed-Young said. “It really transcends any sort of subject, but it’s really seeing a person as a human and that connection, like it did for me, helps any other student.”

Read more from WRTV here