Teaching Here

Why Choose Massachusetts?

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A photo of a young African American man at graduation, wearing a red cap and gown and kneeling down.
Kwame Adams (Massachusetts ’14)

I was born and raised in Boston (I grew up in Mattapan), and I attended Boston Public Schools. I always saw an education as one of many routes to success.... It is also important for me as a man of color to be a force in the education movement because many of the decisions made that impact students in under resourced communities are not made by people who reflect the backgrounds and experiences of those in the communities the policies most directly affect.

A headshot of a young white woman with long blonde hair.
Samantha Curtis (Massachusetts ’12)

I love the mixture of ‘old’ and ‘new’ in Boston - native Bostonians mixed with recent out-of-state transplants, tradition mixed with a spirit of innovation. This cultivated a mindset in me of holding onto my roots while still being open to new solutions and ways of thinking.

The Homegrown Program

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Our Homegrown Program is an exciting initiative to identify and develop the next generation of leaders in the fight for educational equity. To realize this vision, our Homegrown Initiative seeks to cultivate, recruit, and support talented individuals who grew up in the communities we serve and who are share the backgrounds of the students we reach. This innovative effort cultivates and supports applicants to the Massachusetts corps, from the application stage through their leadership as alumni.

Read more about some of our Homegrown Program participants and contact Mariel Novas to learn more about the program.

 

Massachusetts 2015
Not only am I teaching in my home community, but I’m also teaching at the same school I used to attend many years ago. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well I say it takes a community to help mold a teacher. Co-workers who used to be my teachers have embraced me… Without them, I would not have achieved the same level of success in the classroom that I enjoy today.
Massachusetts 2016
I currently teach in the community I was raised in and I find that sharing a similar background as my students makes relationship building easier, and “get back in the game” conversations more effective. “Homegrown” teachers of color also serve as strong role models. We are proof that our students can also overcome adversity.

Get to Know Our Communities

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Teach For America- Massachusetts partners with districts and schools across the commonwealth. Our region is divided into three distinct sub-regions, each with their own character, challenges, and opportunities. Each represents a dynamic, exciting place to make your mark in the fight for educational equity.

  • Greater Boston
  • South Coast
  • Western Massachusetts
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The Greater Boston sub-region includes schools in Boston neighborhoods, as well as in the nearby cities of Chelsea, Salem, Lynn, and Lawrence.

Full of history and a true “college town,” Boston boasts one of the most exciting education ecosystems in the country. At its core, a strong traditional school district led by Dr. Tommy Chang (Los Angeles ’97) is taking new and innovative approaches to making lasting improvements to the nation’s oldest school district, while some of the nation’s strongest charter public schools outperform their affluent suburban counterparts. A vibrant nonprofit sector, including local organizations like One Goal and Union Capital Boston, supports our students and their communities with a wide range of resources.

Beyond city limits, many smaller Massachusetts cities face tough challenges, but without some of the resources that Boston can access. From the beginning, Teach For America – Massachusetts has partnered with schools and organizations in these cities to effect lasting change – and in these much smaller communities, the impact can quickly be significant.

Lawrence Public Schools, under the leadership of Jeff Riley (Baltimore ’93), is in the midst of a dramatic effort to prove what’s possible at the district level. In 2011, after years of consistently low academic results, the district became the first to be placed into receivership by the state. Today, the innovative and multi-faceted partnerships between the district, education nonprofits, the teachers’ union, and community organizations have yielded incredible results – the district is achieving some of its highest proficiency rates in local history.

"One of the many benefits of working in Lawrence is the direct effect schools have on the community. Obviously this happens in every community, but because of the small geographic nature of Lawrence and the deep pride residents have for their city, you can both see and feel the impact school decisions have on students and families daily. It's a city where everyone knows everyone and where optimism for the future of the city is high. People in the city feel a heightened sense of responsibility for this future, and I am humbled at the opportunity to serve the community and help lead positive change, specifically at the 9th Grade Academy."

Elijah Heckstall (Massachusetts ’10) 
Co-Leader, 9th Grade Academy, Lawrence

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A former international maritime hub about an hour south of Boston, the South Coast of Massachusetts is full of rich history and culture. Corps members and alumni alike enjoy the tight-knit community of the South Coast, home to proud Portuguese and Azorean heritage, while also accessing a comfortable lifestyle.

The cities of Fall River and New Bedford present exciting opportunities to create dramatic change in some of our region’s most underserved schools, in places small enough to move the needle quickly. A dynamic charter sector, including Alma del Mar Charter School, City on a Hill – New Bedford Charter School, and Argosy Collegiate Charter School are combining innovation and time-tested practices to provide a transformational education for South Coast kids. At the same time, leaders of the New Bedford and Fall River districts are taking bold steps towards improving student outcomes. In New Bedford, two schools received generous, competitive grants to expand their Extended Learning Time offerings. In Fall River, principal Magdalana Reis of Resiliency Preparatory Academy has launched innovative efforts to re-engage students with academic challenges and help them find both academic success and fulfilling career pathways.

In 2015, we launched the South Coast Alumni Fellowship in partnership with Teach Plus and Lynch Leadership Academy to deepen and accelerate the leadership of TFA alumni. Alumni fellow Wendi Bandi (Massachusetts ’11), a veteran teacher at Doran Elementary School in Fall River, was appointed to US Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s delegation for the International Summit on the Teaching Profession

“I firmly believe that no effective educator works in isolation from others, and so being a part of the South Coast Alumni Fellowship is a way to ensure that both teachers and students are getting the support they need to succeed. In short, I want to continue to be a part of the innovation and growth that is uniquely possible in the South Coast. “

Jessica Skoog (Massachusetts ’14)

 

 

An image of a bridge over the water in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Nestled alongside the scenic Berkshires, yet just a couple hours from New York City, the cities of Springfield and Holyoke present a unique combination of opportunity for impact and an affordable lifestyle in a beautiful setting.

In Springfield, where nearly 90 percent of students identify as low-income, only 62 percent will likely graduate from high school… and just four miles away in the affluent town of Longmeadow, 97 percent of students will earn their diploma.

But change is in the air in Springfield. The district has formed a partnership with Empower Schools to work with its struggling middle school in a new initiative called the Springfield Empowerment Zone (SEPZ). An influx of fresh talent is growing as school operators like Phoenix Charter Academy and UP Education Network leverage their learnings and resources from the Boston area for impact in Western Massachusetts.  TFA alumni leadership is fostering a new wave of successful schools at places like Springfield Prep and RISE at Van Sickle Academy. And community leaders in Springfield, thinking broadly about attracting top talent, have established an innovative opportunity for significantly discounted housing for all local educators in new, trendy downtown lofts. In nearby Holyoke, where our region has begun our newest partnership, Mayor Alex B. Morse is making moves to revitalize Holyoke as a national hub for entrepreneurs and empowering citizens to lead the city’s path to prosperity.  

Western Mass is an amazing place. Not everyone knows that. It's a bit of a secret. The region has so much to offer: art, music, nature, culture, community, history. I grew up here, and it's been rewarding to return as an adult and see the exciting and innovative changes happening, particularly in the field of education. Holyoke and Springfield are both committed to turning their schools around to serve their students and prepare them for the future. If you want to be part of the turnaround effort, Western Mass is the place to be!

Pema Latshang (NYC '03)
Founding Executive Director of Teach Western Mass

 

Becoming a TFA corps member in my hometown was a remarkably good fit with my background, experiences, and education… I feel a deep connection to my hometown and wanted to remain a part of it. Springfield is a diverse community with a rich history and immense potential. My familiarity with Springfield’s challenges, culture, and languages make me feel at ease and I think has helped me build relationships with students and their families.

Audrey Ortega (Massachusetts ’16)
Environmental Science Teacher, High School of Commerce (Springfield, MA)
Homegrown Corps Member

 

What You Need to Know

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Salaries range from $38,000 - $53,000.

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Strongly recommended

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Two-year program in partnership with Boston University

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Optional Master’s Degree track offered by Boston University

Becoming Certified to Teach

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  • Overview
  • Certification FAQs
  • Examination FAQs

Certification Requirements

Massachusetts corps members receive a five-year non-renewable Preliminary license prior to their first day of teaching. In order to qualify for the Preliminary license, all corps members are required to:

  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree
  • Pass the Communication and Literacy Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) prior to their first day of teaching
  • Pass a subject test MTEL prior to their first day of teaching—the subject test is determined by your content placement and our District & Schools Partnership Team will provide guidance for which test to register for and take
  • Pass the Foundations of Reading MTEL if you are a corps member teaching Elementary or Special Education
  • Earn their Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement through coursework during our Summer Institute prior to teaching
  • Pay a $100 fee to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for your first license application ($25 fee for subsequent license applications, Preliminary or Initial)

During their two years in the corps, all corps members will participate in the Teach For America-Massachusetts alternative certification program to complete licensure coursework through our university partner, Boston University, and earn their Initial license.

 

Master's Degree Option

Teach For America-Massachusetts partners with Boston University to provide corps members and alumni the opportunity to obtain a Master of Education (EdM) in Curriculum & Teaching. The Master’s degree is open to both current corps members and alumni. Whether you are preparing to be a teacher or pursuing research positions, the program allows students to craft a course of study that allows them to pursue educational issues which interest them the most.

The program is a total of 36 credits of coursework and takes corps members a total of two years to complete.

 

What types of certification does Massachusetts offer?

  • Temporary License
  • Preliminary License
  • Initial License
  • Professional License

Teach For America-Massachusetts is approved to endorse corps members for Initial licenses only.

 

What is the Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement?

English Language Learners (ELLs) are an important focus of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (ESE) Proficiency Gap Task Force. Closing the proficiency gap depends on teachers having the skills and knowledge necessary to instruct ELLs. Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) is an approach to teaching academic content in English to ELLs. Generally, but not always, ELLs are in the same classrooms as native English-speaking students. To better serve these students, all core academic teachers and those administrators who supervise and evaluate core academic teachers are required to obtain an SEI teacher or SEI administrator endorsement.

All Teach For America-Massachusetts must become SEI Endorsed prior to their first day of teaching. 

Source: Mass.gov website

 

I have a bachelor's degree. Can I teach?

If you can be certified, you may be eligible to teach. A bachelor's degree alone does not make you eligible for employment. You must have at least a bachelor's degree and be eligible for certification in some subject coverage.

 

Will you accept my transcripts without a degree conferral date?

At least a bachelor's degree is required for certification. As a result, we will not accept a transcript without a degree conferral date.

 

If I attain certification by completing the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) exams, do I still have to complete any professional development?

Yes, you have to complete licensure coursework through Boston University, attend regional professional development conferences throughout the year, and participate in the Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) during your second year.

 

What is the fee for certification?

A $100 fee is required for your first subject area application (Preliminary or Initial) and $25 for each additional application.

 

I obtained my teaching license at my college/university or another licensure program. Can I transfer my license?

You’ll need the following in order to be eligible for a license transfer application:

 

Can I enroll in a certification program through another university or online program?

No. Boston University is our sole state-approved partner for licensure in Massachusetts, and we require all our corps members to enroll at BU for their Initial Licensure. While we realize there are other universities that may offer online licensure coursework, we do not endorse them as a part of our corps program, and no other program can be considered valid as a part of our state-approved Initial Licensure program. 

Where can I get information about the certification examinations?

You can visit the MTEL (Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure) website or may call (866) 565-4894 (toll free) or (413) 256-2892. The tests are designed to ensure that Massachusetts educators can communicate adequately with students, parents/guardians, and other educators and that they are knowledgeable in the subject matter of the license sought.

 

How much do examinations cost? 

Total test fees will range between $200 and $400 depending on the number of tests required. The Communications and Literacy Skills test costs $125, while each subject matter test costs $155.

 

I have never taught before. I am interested in teaching. Do I have to take any examinations to become certified?

Yes. Teach For America-Massachusetts corps members need to take a minimum of two MTELs for certification—the Communication and Literacy MTEL and a subject matter knowledge MTEL.

 

What examinations are required for a Preliminary license?

All teachers must successfully pass the Communication and Literacy Skills MTEL, which tests teachers’ own reading and writing skills. Elementary teachers must also pass the General Curriculum subject-matter MTEL, while secondary teachers must pass the subject-matter MTEL within their assigned content area. Special education teachers have the choice of passing either the General Curriculum subject-matter MTEL or a secondary content area subject-matter test. Additionally, elementary and special education teachers must pass the Foundations of Reading MTEL, which tests reading pedagogy. 

 

How long do I have to complete the examinations?

You must pass your MTELs before you can being teaching. Those who do not pass may be unable to teach in Massachusetts and may need to request a deferral to join the corps.

 

Is there any help available to prepare for the examinations?

You can access test information, objectives and practice tests by visiting the MTEL (Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure) website. Upon confirmation of Teach For America-Massachusetts’ offer, corps members will be able to access our test preparation site with additional study resources and materials for each test.

 

Subjects And Grade Levels

  • Elementary
  • English
  • History
  • Math
  • Science
  • Elementary and Secondary Special Education
  • English Language Learners (ESL)

Massachusetts Regional Institute

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Regional Expenses

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What's Left Over
Ongoing Certification Costs
You may be able to offset ongoing certification costs with an AmeriCorps education award. Learn more.
One Time Summer Start Up Costs
Estimated Start Up and Certification Costs