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Teach Western Mass Awarded Grant to Develop Diverse Group of Teachers

SPRINGFIELD — Teach Western Mass recently announced its selection as a member of the Diverse Teachers cohort at ​NewSchools Venture Fund​, supported by the Walton Family Foundation.

Teach Western Mass is one of 14 organizations in the cohort. Each cohort member is committed to enhancing the recruitment, development, and retention of underrepresented teachers (including Black, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American/Alaskan Native teachers). In addition to financial support, NewSchools will provide management assistance and create a community of practice for the cohort members.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of 14 innovative initiatives increasing teacher diversity in classrooms across the country,” said Pema Latshang, founding executive director of Teach Western Mass (TWM). “We believe that teachers who reflect our students’ experience and identity can help them to attain educational success. Our students are some of the most diverse in Massachusetts, and this new investment is a perfect match for the incredible diversity in Holyoke and Springfield schools.”

The TWM Residency is a customized 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 for students in the region’s highest-need schools. The program aims to reduce barriers to entry into the teaching profession for people of color and career changers.

“I am proud of NewSchools’ commitment to this work,” said Frances Messano, a senior managing partner at NewSchools Venture Fund who leads the Diverse Leaders strategy. “Today’s students are the most racially diverse in the history of this country, and it’s time to have teachers who match that diversity. We, with support from the Walton Family Foundation, are eager to support this new cohort focused on diversifying the teaching force. This cohort is an impressive group that will make a difference.”

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