PORTLAND, Maine (PRESS HERALD) - In the whitest state in the nation, Portland’s schools stand out as one of the most diverse populations in Maine. More than 40 percent of the students in Portland classrooms are people of color, and more than 60 languages are spoken.

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But the teaching staff is still 95 percent white.

A new course at the University of Southern Maine, created in partnership with district leaders, aims to balance that out by inviting people of color who are interested in becoming teachers to take the course. Over the next five weeks, about 45 students – some of whom were teachers in their home countries – will spend four days a week in Portland summer school programs, and one day a week at USM discussing their experiences.