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Teach Western Mass Awarded License to Certify New Teachers

SPRINGFIELD — Teach Western Mass (TWM) was recently ​approved as a sponsoring organization for teacher licensure ​by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to train and certify new teachers in the region through the Teach Western Mass Residency. ​TWM completed a rigorous program-approval application process that demonstrated it is able to meet all the requirements for teacher-preparation programs, ​and expects to certify 20-50 aspiring special-education and ESL teachers annually to serve in partner schools in Holyoke and Springfield.

Launched in 2015, TWM represents a network of 29 schools serving more than 11,000 students in Western Mass. Collectively, TWM and partner schools work to recruit, prepare, and support effective teachers in the region.

The TWM Residency was established in 2018 in partnership with the nonprofit education organization TNTP and funded by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help build high-quality, diverse teacher pipelines for hard-to-fill teaching positions.

“Here in Western Massachusetts, we’ve been working hard to improve our schools — but we need to do even more to ensure that all our students get the world-class education they deserve,” said Pema Latshang, founding executive director of TWM. “Though Massachusetts leads the nation in overall student performance, too many students are not getting the level of education they deserve, and this program has huge potential to transform access and outcomes for kids in our region.”

The TWM Residency is an accelerated, affordable alternative to traditional certification programs. The program targets recent graduates, career changers, and professionals already in the education sector, including paraprofessionals and substitutes, seeking to earn their initial teacher certification.

Once accepted into the program, participants will complete an intensive summer training and teach in classrooms under the guidance of an experienced coach. Their training is focused on the most important skills they’ll need to be successful in their first year of teaching and beyond. Only those who show that they’re on the way to mastering those core instructional skills at the end of training will be recommended for certification.

The application for the 2019 cohort launches on Nov. 1​. Aspiring teachers can apply for the program by visiting ​www.teachwesternmass.com​.

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