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Educator Effectiveness


Spotlight on Racial Equity

COVID-19 Considerations

Anticipating Staffing Needs

  • The effects of the pandemic on staffing are multi-faceted as you consider its impact on student learning needs, potential teacher turnover, and enrollment bubbles. Forecasting targeted needs relative to hiring will help school administrators prepare for this challenge.
  • There may be an increased need for districts to hire or supplement instructional support in the following areas:
    • Specialized instructional support personnel such as social workers, school psychologists, and licensed mental health counselors to address the social-emotional and learning needs as students transition back to in-person learning
    • ESL educators to support increases in the number of English language learners
    • Additional instructional staff to support potential co-teaching models, multi-classroom leaders, or mentor programming

Federal Stimulus Funding to Support COVID-Related Staffing

  • American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funding provides an estimated $1,647,115,000 for elementary and secondary schools in Massachusetts. Available for use into FY2024, these "ESSER III" funds can support the hiring and placement of multiple teachers in a given classroom. This type of intensified support can be critical, especially for traditionally marginalized students including students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities as they transition back to in-person schooling. Intentional and strategic additional hiring also provides the opportunity to expand and diversify your educator pipeline (e.g., by focusing on paraeducators and student teachers in teacher positions).
  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II (ESSER II) Funds can be also used to support COVID-related staffing, including:
    • Mental health services and supports
    • Providing principals and others school leaders with the resources to address individual school needs (e.g., hiring teachers to engage in remote instruction, hiring substitutes to cover classes for teachers who are absent due to COVID-19 exposure)
    • Activities necessary to maintain district operations and services and to continue employing existing district staff

Educators on Emergency Licenses

  • The Emergency license option allows individuals to enter the workforce without completing testing and coursework requirements necessary under normal circumstances for Temporary, Provisional or Initial educator licenses.
  • Individuals may continue to apply for Emergency licenses, which are valid through June 30, 2023 with some exceptions that require license holders to apply for an extension. Updated information about the Emergency license can be found on DESE's Licensure webpage.
  • This license may provide an opportunity to welcome educators of color who otherwise face inequitable barriers to entering the profession. Compared to the MA educator workforce, the educators employed on Emergency licenses are more likely to identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, or multiracial. About one-quarter of educators with Emergency licenses identify as people of color, compared to the statewide average of 9.2% in the 2021-22 school year.

Remote Hiring Practices

  • Certain remote hiring practices will continue to offer more efficient and equitable strategies to engage candidates. Consider which remote practices may become a permanent part of your hiring process, such as:
    • Virtual information sessions, which provide a space to welcome, connect, and share information with prospective applicants.
    • Virtual demo lessons using the mixed-reality simulations available through Mursion or reflections on practice by assigning a video in the OPTIC platform.
  • Gather feedback from educators who were hired remotely. Surveys, listening sessions, and 1:1 check-ins can help your team identify ways to strengthen the process and improve applicants' experiences.

Best Practices

Leveraging Existing Pipelines

  • Invest in student teachers and paraprofessionals. These educators are more likely to stay in your school longer than new hires and are more effective with students than the average first year teacher.
  • Consider offering referral bonuses or incentives to tap into current staff members' networks.
  • Use the Edwin Teacher Preparation Partnership Pipeline Report to identify the preparation providers currently pipelining into your district.

Building an Equitable Hiring Process

  • Include a diverse group of stakeholders, including educators, parents, and students to ensure broad input and to reduce the impact of individual bias in the hiring process.
  • Every single one of us brings biases to the table. Invite members of a hiring team to participate in implicit and explicit bias training, write down biases they're aware of and consider sharing lists with each other to create space for accountability when biases show up.
  • Create, review, and revise 'must-haves' and rubrics to help teams identify and mitigate biases in the process, while also ensuring that each candidate is being evaluated on the key criteria that position them to serve students and their school community well.
  • Share with candidates the tangible ways your school and district works to build an anti-racist, culturally responsive work environment. This can support candidates, including educators of color, to make an informed decision. For additional information about cultivating a supportive work environment for educators of color, see the Guidebook on Recruitment, Selection, and Retention Strategies for a Diverse Massachusetts Teacher Workforce.

Sample Hiring Resources from MA Charter Schools

  • Boston Collegiate Charter School tracks hiring data each week to ensure equitable outcomes.
  • Check out Community Charter School of Cambridge's hiring process, including job posting language and interview questions.
  • Draw from Baystate Academy Charter Public School's interview question list.

Supporting Job Candidates

  • Consider whether the language of your job postings is inviting. Some tips include explicitly welcoming members of marginalized communities to apply, translating job postings and application materials into multiple languages, and narrowing the required credentials to what is most necessary to do the job well, and avoiding a "laundry list" of preferred skills.
  • Share interview questions with candidates in advance. This can support those who need additional time to process, and signals that you are taking a welcoming approach to hiring educators.

Early Hiring

  • Studies suggest that districts that start the hiring process early are more likely to hire strong teachers.

Alternative Pathways to Licensure

  • DESE has launched pilots of alternative assessments for the Communication and Literacy Skills and several Subject Matter Knowledge MTELs. Stemming from the Commissioner's push to examine licensure practices and diversify the MA educator workforce, these pilots are intended to identify alternative mechanisms for assessing knowledge and skills and be responsive to feedback from the field while continuing to maintain a high bar for all educators.

Questions to Consider

  • How can we invite diverse stakeholders into our hiring process?
  • What intentional goals and actions will our team take to hire and create supportive environments for educators of color?
Additional Resources


For their contributions to this module, we'd like to thank DESE's Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign and the following members of the 2020-2021 Principal Advisory Cabinet:

Ashley Davis

Ashley Davis, Principal, Pauline A. Shaw Elementary School, Boston

Steven Moguel

Steven Moguel, Principal, Morgan Full Service Community School, Holyoke

Kristen Smidy

Kristen Smidy, Principal, Hampshire Regional High School

*Folx (as opposed to its traditional spelling, "folks) can signal intentional inclusivity, particularly of transgender and non-gender-binary individuals.


Booker, Chaka. Mastering the Hire: 12 Strategies to Improve Your Odds of Finding the Best Hire. Harper Collins, 2020.

Bruno, Paul, and Katharine O. Strunk. "Making the Cut: The Effectiveness of Teacher Screening and Hiring in the Los Angeles Unified School District." Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, vol. 41, no. 4, 2019, pp. 426-460.

Gleischman, Kelly. "A Guide to 3 Virtual Hiring Event Types." Nimble, 2020.

Goldhaber, Dan, Cyrus Grout and Nick Huntington-Klein. "Screen Twice, Cut Once: Assessing the Predictive Validity of Applicant Selection Tools." Education Finance and Policy, vol. 12, no. 2, 2017, pp. 197-223.

Jacob, Brian, Jonah E. Rockoff, Eric S. Taylor, Benjamin Lindy, and Rachel Rosen. "Teacher Applicant Hiring and Teacher Performance: Evidence from DC Public Schools." Journal of Public Economics, vol. 166, 2016, pp. 81-97.

Peters, Mark. "Womyn, wimmin, and other folx." The Boston Globe, 2017.

The New England Secondary School Consortium Task Force on Diversifying the Educator Workforce. "Increasing the Racial, Ethnic and Linguistic Diversity of the Educator Workforce ." 2020.

Superville, Denisa. "To Recruit More Teachers of Color, This District Posted a Unique Job Ad." EducationWeek, 2019.

Please contact us at with questions, feedback, or for additional support and partnership around any of the practices and resources included in this guide.

Last Updated: August 30, 2022

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