SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Licensed educators in Holyoke and Springfield are being offered a certified program to help develop a culturally relevant curriculum for students in the region’s highest-need schools.

Teach Western Mass has launched an official licensure one-year program for aspiring educators and licensed educators to excel at building relationships and connecting with students, by developing curriculum that is culturally relevant. The program also provides support to help teachers find jobs and excel in a classroom setting.

Informational webinars about the new program will be held on November 22 and December 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“We believe that teachers who reflect our students’ experience and identity can help them to attain educational success. Our programs provide current and aspiring educators in our community an accessible pathway into the classroom where they can make a real difference in the lives of students in Springfield and
Holyoke. We are already one of the most diverse pathways into the classroom across the Commonwealth, and we look forward to even more growth and impact,” said Pema Latshang, founding executive director of Teach Western Mass.

Teach Western Mass aims at reducing the barriers that people of color encounter when entering the work force by providing resources such as scholarships, support and networking opportunities. “Our Residency program has grown steadily over the past three years,” said Lisa Doherty, founding dean of the Residency. “We are excited to recruit our fifth cohort of Residents, and we are looking to build a cohort that is larger and even more diverse than in previous years.”

According to Teach Western Mass, the new partnership was founded by Holyoke Public Schools, the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership, and UP Education Network. They represent 27 schools serving more than 11,000 students in western Massachusetts.