Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo
We upgraded to the Education Security Portal! If you are encountering any issues, please see our Education Security Portal Online Help and Resources.
Educator Effectiveness

Supporting New Educators

Spotlight on Racial Equity

Building Supportive, Anti-Racist Workplaces for New Educators

  • As schools and classrooms open their doors to more new and diverse educators than ever before, they have the opportunity to fundamentally shift the way novice teachers are supported, sustained, and positioned to thrive. This is especially true for new educators of color who have the potential to improve outcomes for all students in meaningful and significant ways, and yet are more likely than white educators to leave the profession: 80.3% of teachers of color stayed in MA public schools in the 2021-22 school year, compared to 86.8% of white teachers.
    • From 2019 through 2021, administrative leadership is one of the top three reasons that educators of color identify as a reason they left the profession in Massachusetts.
  • This MA data aligns with national data on the need for strong, relationship-based, supportive school cultures that affirm and celebrate the identities of educators of color. This work begins on a personal or adaptive level, with leaders learning about the many ways racism can show up in schools and in their own mindsets and actions, adopting ongoing, adaptive personal and professional reflection, and taking concrete steps toward equitable action.
  • The DESE Induction and Mentoring Handbook for Novice Principals supports this adaptive work and its connection to school practices and policies.
  • In spring 2021, the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign (OCSSR) conducted a case study on Massachusetts charter schools to identify promising strategies for recruiting and retaining culturally responsive educators of color. In spring 2022, the OCSSR hosted a webinar to share results of the case study and hear from a panel of charter school leaders about lessons learned and how they have successfully recruited and retained educators. For questions about the report email Jacqueline Chavez .

COVID-19 Considerations

Supporting New Educators on Emergency or Provisional Licenses

  • Emergency License Educator Preparation Partnership Grant: This grant program supports the implementation and/or expansion of licensure pathway and pipeline programs for Emergency licensed educators. During the 2022-23 school year, ten sponsoring organizations and their partner districts will be supporting approximately 600 Emergency licensed educators advance to a Provisional or Initial license. More information about the grantees is available on DESE's Grant Allocations & Awards webpage.
  • In the 2022-23 school year, your school/district may employ novice educators who did not have traditional preparation experiences, including educators with emergency licenses and those who completed student teaching in a remote or hybrid setting. As you identify and elevate the unique strengths and experiences that these educators bring to your school/district, consider additional supports they may need to be successful in their new role. This may include guidance for developing routines for an in-person classroom, opportunities to observe experienced educators teaching full-sized classrooms, and mentorship (see Best Practices below).
  • Consider holding listening sessions or gathering targeted feedback from new and novice teachers working in your school or district. What helped them feel supported, and what do they need now to continue their growth and development?
  • DESE has launched pilots for 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.

Flexible Staffing Models

  • Now is the time to reimagine and embrace flexibly-designed staffing structures that leverage experienced teachers’ skills and competencies, provide targeted supports and resources to new and novice teachers, and do so in explicit service of meeting student learning needs. Consider working with your local union partner to explore:
    • Mentor Teachers who oversee and facilitate collaboration and instruction for other educators
    • Co-teaching models, which hold promise and opportunity particularly in meeting the needs of students with disabilities and English learners
    • Differentiated roles working in teams: Break apart all the jobs individual teachers are each currently all doing and assign a specialty focus to each for a cohort of students (e.g., Planning Expert, Family Coordinator, Feedback & Check-ins, Differentiated Support)
  • Additionally, consider these additional flexibilities to promote flexible staffing in 2022-23:
    • Licensed educators can teach up to 50% out of field
    • Individuals with a bachelor's degree can serve as long-term sub for full school year
    • DESE will consider waiver applications
    • Cap on retiree income has been lifted through December 31, 2022

Best Practices

Induction and Mentoring

Induction and mentoring programs are especially important for supporting new and novice educators, and particularly for educators of color.

  • Differentiated Coaching and Mentoring: Differentiated coaching and mentoring models can support novice educators based on their preparation experience.
    • Educators on emergency and provisional licenses may benefit from additional hours of coaching and opportunities to observe more veteran teachers.
    • Adopt a blended approach. Virtual observations, coaching, and mentoring can yield more options for differentiation and are associated with increased feelings of efficacy, as educators often appreciate the flexibility and support they provide.
  • Mentoring to Support New Educators of Color: From 2019-2021, 22% of Massachusetts teachers of color leaving the profession identified inadequate mentoring as a major factor in their departure.
    • Given the unique challenges of being an educator of color, consider pairing new and novice educators of color with mentors who also identify as people of color. When done thoughtfully and in a way that ensures the mentor is compensated for this added responsibility, this relationship can support new and novice teachers of color to navigate the profession both within and outside of the classroom.
    • If your school faces barriers in pairing educators of color in mentoring relationships, consider cross-school mentoring relationships within your district, or thoughtfully identifying white educators who are invested in the ongoing work of dismantling racism and white supremacy in themselves and their work.
    • Affinity spaces can also help new teachers of color to process their experiences in a supportive and responsive environment. The Retention section of this guide provides additional resources about affinity spaces.
  • Induction and Mentoring for Novice Principals: DESE has released a model Induction & Mentoring Handbook for novice principals , which includes evidence-based, actionable learning modules for use in implementing an Induction and Mentoring program for school leaders that underscores the role of the principal in supporting effective instructional talent within a building, and cultivating an anti-racist, culturally responsive teaching and learning environment.

Equitably Assigning Teachers & Students

  • Equitable Student Assignment: As you assign new teachers, examine the presence of inequitable student/teacher assignment practices that may compound over time for individual students or specific student groups. Consider assigning students who are economically disadvantaged, persons of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities to teachers who have already demonstrated strength in order to narrow opportunity gaps, and ensure that these teachers are receiving equitable assignments, too. Taking the opportunity to assign students more strategically within schools can narrow critical equity gaps.

    Resource: See the Student Learning Experience Report for your student assignment data.

Leveraging Federal Funding to Support New and Transition Educators

As districts continue to manage staffing shortages, many school leaders are looking to support existing staff in accessing training (including coursework and/or practicums that lead to degrees and/or licensure) in specialized areas given the ongoing need for this expertise. This is particularly true with respect to meeting the needs of students with disabilities and English learners. Existing streams of federal education grant funding can be used to directly support educators, including:

  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER I, II, and III)
    U.S. Department of Education Secretary Cardona has expressed the commitment to support districts and schools in addressing teacher and staff shortages, minimizing disruption to in-person learning, and meeting student needs. In particular, he encourages the use of these funds to make investments into the educator pipeline, including:
    • Providing loan forgiveness, grants, or service scholarship programs that significantly underwrite the cost of postsecondary education in exchange for a commitment to teach in a high-need field or school for a minimum number (e.g., four) of years
    • Developing and implementing high-quality comprehensive teacher residency programs that provide extensive clinical experience, which have been shown to increase teacher retention and effectiveness; and
    • Developing and implementing professional development programs and mentoring models, particularly for newer teachers, that emphasize building effective instructional strategies and provide time for ongoing collaboration.

    See also Quick References Guides for ESSER I , II , and III and ESSER Covid Relief guidance documents.

  • Title II, Part A, Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants
    These funds may be used to support course reimbursement, professional development, or any kind of educator development to support teacher/educator recruitment and retention, especially if it expands access to teachers in high-demand areas: teachers of children with disabilities, English learners, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or other areas where the State experiences a shortage of educators. The IIA statute underscores the use of Title IIA funds for developing mid-career professionals from other occupations, paraprofessionals, former military personnel, recent graduates, etc., in the field of education. See also Title II, Part A: Quick Reference Guide — Fund Code 140

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding
    From DESE's IDEA guide to allowable costs includes:
    • College credits — special education coursework: IDEA funds may be used to reimburse staff or the LEA for the cost of higher education credits related to special education instruction and related services.
    • Tuition for special education staff: Tuition is allowed as a fringe benefit for special education instructional staff to advance their degree, if related to special education or related services, or, as a means to train staff to become qualified to teach special education.

Questions to Consider

  • How are my fellow school and district leaders and I building authentic and affirming relationships with new educators, particularly new educators of color?
  • How are we planning to orient and build culture among new and novice educators in our community this fall?
  • Am I strategically leveraging staffing models and student/teacher assignments to position new teachers for success?
Additional Resources


For their contributions to this module, we’d like to thank the following individuals:

Darryl Delzie

Darryl Delzie, 6th Grade History Teacher, Springfield

Ricardo Dobles

Ricardo Dobles, Assistant Principal, Barbieri Elementary School, Framingham

Dejour Hollins

Dejour Hollins, Grade 7 ELA Teaching Fellow, Bridge Boston Charter School

Alicia Thomas

Alicia Thomas, Manager of Teacher Development, Teach Western Mass

Jariela Cruz Caliz

Danilo Ferro

Danielle Phillips
Program Coordinator
Paradigm Shift


Goldhaber, Dan, and Matthew Ronfeldt. "Sustaining Teacher Training in a Shifting Environment." EdResearch for Recovery, 2020.

Motamedi, Jason Greenberg, and David Stevens. "Human Resources Practices for Recruiting, Selecting, and Retaining Teachers of Color." 2018.

TeachPlus and The Education Trust. "If You Listen, We Will Stay: Why Teachers of Color Leave and How to Disrupt Teacher Turnover." 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: March 14, 2023

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

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


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.