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Strategic Initiatives

Diverse and Culturally Responsive Workforce

A growing body of research has found that having a single teacher of color can boost academic achievement, high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and social-emotional well-being for students of color. In 2019, in alignment with Commissioner Riley's "Our Way Forward," DESE prioritized the recruitment and retention of a diverse and culturally responsive Massachusetts educator workforce.

Bar graph showing the percentages of students, educators, teachers, and superintendents of color in Massachusetts in fiscal year 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. The percentage of students of color went from 41.1 percent in 2019 to 44.2 percent in 2022, the percentage of educators of color went from 10.4 percent in 2019 to 12.7 percent in 2022, the percentage of teachers of color went from 8.2 percent in 2019 to 9.7 percent in 2022, and the percentage of superintendents of color went from 3.6 percent in 2019 to 7.3 percent in 2022.

Here are some of the ways we're supporting that work:

Aspiring Principals Fellowship

The Massachusetts Aspiring Principal Fellowship is a one-year program for aspiring school leaders that seeks to cultivate a strong and diverse pipeline of effective school principals who are committed to championing culturally and linguistically sustaining learning communities, equity-driven leadership, and anti-racist practices.

Teacher Diversification Pilot Program Grant (for schools and districts)

A pilot program that provides competitive grant funding to support local school and district efforts to strengthen and diversify existing teacher recruitment and retention programs.

Massachusetts Public K–12 Educator Diversification Grant (for non-profit organizations and institutes of higher education)

This competitive grant supports non-profit organizations and institutes of higher education efforts to diversify the Massachusetts public K–12 educator workforce by supporting the development of new and/or existing programs and partnerships with local schools and districts.

Teacher Diversification Professional Learning Community

A network that supports and enhances school and district understanding of the components needed to develop and implement a comprehensive talent diversification strategy (recruitment, selection, and retention) centered on cultural proficiency.

Teacher Diversification Guidebook

This guidebook provides a framework to help district and school leaders design and implement a teacher diversification strategy to improve student achievement and create equitable outcomes.

InSPIRED Fellowship

The InSPIRED Initiative connects current educators to work with DESE to help cultivate, support, and retain a culturally responsive and diverse educator workforce in Massachusetts schools.

Influence 100

A fellowship program designed for current administrators to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of superintendents in Massachusetts and create more culturally responsive districts and leaders.

Policy for Identifying Home Mortgage Assistance Programs

This policy was developed to further support educator recruitment and retention efforts in Massachusetts. The policy allows DESE to identify non-profit entities that may provide home ownership resources to prospective and newly hired teachers and administrators.

Other Agency Efforts/Resources

Last Updated: March 26, 2024

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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