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SPRINGFIELD — Teach Western Mass (TWM) recently hosted a party to recruit diverse, quality educators to Springfield and Holyoke. Local school partners, elected officials, fellow nonprofits, and aspiring teachers gathered at Level 5 restaurant in Springfield to learn more about how to become a part of what Teach Western Mass is calling a teacher-recruitment movement.

The event showcased the Teach Western Mass residency program as a pathway to teaching within one of the 30-plus Teach Western Mass partner schools. The residency is a customized, state-approved credentialing program training new teachers to be effective in the classroom while building strong relationships in their school communities and developing standards-based and culturally relevant curriculum steeped in anti-racism for students in the region’s highest-need schools.

The residency program reduces barriers to entry into the teaching profession for career changers as well as aspiring educators of color. The program offers a one-year, accelerated certification route for aspiring educators, with the specific goal of increasing the diversity of the teacher workforce in Western Mass. The application (click here) is now open for anyone interested to enter the profession by next fall. The residency program is recruiting its sixth cohort and begins training in June 2023.

“Our residency program has created a much-needed option for future teachers who are looking for a supportive environment in the region that focuses on practical skills and culturally responsive teaching practices that will make first-year teachers have an impact on learning on day one in their classroom,” said Lisa Doherty, dean of the residency program.

Pema Latshang, founding executive director of Teach Western Mass, added that “I am grateful to our community and funders for supporting this important work. We know that teachers who reflect our students’ experience and identity can help them to attain educational success. Our residency program provides adults in our community, who may not have considered or been able to afford a career in teaching, an accessible pathway to pursue their license and make a real difference in the lives of students in Springfield and Holyoke.”

Teach Western Mass will be hosting informational sessions about the residency program on the first and third Wednesday of every month starting Wednesday, Nov. 2 at varying times to accommodate interested teaching candidates. Individuals looking to learn more about the residency program can pre-register for these events online through the Teach Western Mass website by clicking here. Anyone interested in joining the teacher-recruitment movement can refer eligible candidates by clicking here.

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