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Strategic Initiatives

Promising, Recruitment, Selection, and Retention Strategies for a Diverse Massachusetts Teacher Workforce (Guidebook)

The purpose of the Guidebook is to support district and school leaders to design and implement a teacher diversification strategy in service of achievement and equitable outcomes for students. Engaging more staff of color requires intentional, reflective, and open-minded practices that are grounded in both the technical work of revising talent activities and the adaptive work of exploring individual identity and the manifestation of biases. As the Guidebook outlines, a talent diversification strategy requires an approach to both reevaluating and revising current practices around recruitment and selection while also taking steps to create a more inclusive culture through ongoing cultural proficiency work across the district.

The development of the Guidebook is grounded by the theory of action below:

Diagram: An increased focus on cultural proficiency and talent strategy leads to recruitment and retention of a more diverse workforce, and, ultimately, improved, culturally responsive, educational experiences and improved outcomes for all students, particularly students of color.

The Guidebook proposes four (4) key steps to building and implementing a talent diversification strategy:

  1. Understand why teacher racial and ethnic diversity matters to your students and district: Naming your 'why' and aligning commitments, communications, practices, and policies to reflect that 'why' is key to building a coherent approach to building a more diverse workforce.
  2. Audit your current talent management processes, understand the experience of your stakeholders, and set goals: Investing in a data-driven review of the current practices across the talent cycle will support both the understanding of gaps and barriers in the current practices and inform strategic short- and long-term efforts.
  3. Adjust your talent practices: Armed with a clear understanding of the gaps in current practices, changes can immediately begin across areas of recruitment, selection, and retention.
  4. Create a long-term diversification strategy: Building on learnings from the first three steps, create a long-term strategy of continuous improvement that elevates the role of diversification in the district's commitment to equity, integrating ongoing work toward a more inclusive, culturally sustaining culture across all talent practices.

As teams engage with this Guidebook, it will be evident that decision-making must be grounded in the work of understanding the experiences of students, families, and staff of color. The reflective work of exploring our individual dimensions of identity and the intersection with unconscious bias also illuminates the importance of elevating more voices and perspectives to better understand the challenges and opportunities available. Creating a more racially and ethnically diverse teacher workforce is not just about updating recruitment and selection models; we must attend to retaining teachers of color to ensure that students and communities benefit from the sustained impact of more diversity at the front of the classroom.

Last Updated: January 14, 2021

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