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Teach Western Mass Receives $250,000 Barr Foundation Grant

SPRINGFIELD — Teach Western Mass has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Barr Foundation that will allow the education nonprofit to make investments in strategic planning and capacity-building efforts. Launched in 2015, Teach Western Mass is a nonprofit organization focused on improving the volume, quality, and diversity of teacher candidates in Western Mass.

“It is critically important to scale our impact in a sustainable manner that will lead to long-term success as an organization,” said Pema Latshang, founding executive director of Teach Western Mass. “We have hit a nice balance this past year of growing while not compromising on our commitment to deliver on all three prongs of our mission: to a​ttract, prepare, and support ​high-quality and diverse educators so that students in Western Mass. can achieve transformational outcomes. We’re especially thrilled about this grant because the Barr Foundation is so aligned with this vision.”

Teach Western Mass (TWM) leads regional teacher-recruitment campaigns in collaboration with school and district partners. As a result, it is the primary source of job opportunities for prospective teachers in Western Mass., while also offering a high-quality, diverse talent pool for partner schools. In the last two years, TWM partner schools have accelerated hiring timelines and increased the percentage of incoming teachers who self-identify as people of color to 40%.

Teach Western Mass also offers four innovative and regionally based teacher-training programs that seek to address persistent talent and hiring challenges faced by partner schools, which include both district and charter schools.

“The Barr Foundation looks forward to learning from the Teach Western Mass team as they and their partner districts and schools pursue a strategic planning process,” said Kate Dobin, senior program officer, education at the Barr Foundation. “We are confident that this effort will develop valuable insights into what it will take to achieve the vision of developing and sustaining a strong and diverse pipeline of educators for the students of Western Massachusetts.”

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