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“University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Education faculty have received a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare and license paraprofessionals, particularly those of color, to help diversify the teacher workforce in the commonwealth.

“The partnership includes UMass Amherst early childhood faculty and representatives from the Educator Preparation office, University Without Walls (UWW) Interdisciplinary Studies program, Holyoke Public Schools (HPS) and Springfield Public Schools (SPS).

“The Para-to-Teacher (PtT) Pathway Program for Early Childhood Education (ECE) Licensure in Massachusetts (Pre K-2) will establish a tested, accessible and sustainable model for paraprofessional educators to become highly-qualified ECE teachers. Members of the project team will also outline how to scale the program across Massachusetts.

“A key feature of the program is to recruit and prepare educators of color to diversify the teacher workforce in the commonwealth, while simultaneously providing professional development for the teachers that will mentor these future educators along their journey.”

“ ‘For several years now, Springfield Public Schools has been engaged in the important work of diversification of our educator pool,’ says Daniel Warwick, SPS superintendent. ‘Our paraprofessionals, one of our most diverse employee groups, are dedicated and caring educators with the potential to become highly qualified teachers and that is why we are beyond excited for this partnership with the University of Massachusetts.’ ”

“UMass Amherst to Partner with area public schools on $2.2M Teacher Preparation Grant,” by Signe Dugger, University of Massachusetts Amherst, October 12, 2023