News: Featured Stories

July 16, 2016

UMass Boston partners with Boston Public Schools to provide additional training for minority women educators


  • Boston
Coaching Program Builds Upon Existing Program That Puts BPS Teachers in UMass Boston’s Educational Administration Programs

UMass Boston is partnering with Boston Public Schools on the new Women Educators of Color (WEOC) Executive Coaching Program, which started in May. The 15-month program provides minority women educators with mentors, peer support, and the opportunity to take classes in UMass Boston’s educational administration programs for credit.

Jack Leonard, an associate professor and director of graduate programs in educational administration at UMass Boston, says over the course of the program, the 20 participants will take three UMass Boston courses: leadership, organizational analysis, and a practicum support class.

The women can take the courses for credit, and apply them toward UMass Boston’s master’s degree in educational administration or, if they already have a master’s degree, a certificate of advanced graduate studies (CAGS) in educational administration

The goal of the program is to retain educators of color and open up career pathways for them. According to BPS data shared in 2014, while 86 percent of BPS students identify as black, Latino, or Asian, only 37 percent of their teachers are people of color. A 1985 federal mandate requires that 25 percent of teachers across the district be black and another 10 percent be of other minority groups.

"We are thankful to the partners that helped to support this program," said BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. "When our workforce is representative of our students' cultures and ethnic backgrounds, our students can see themselves being future educators, doctors, lawyers, artists and more. We're pleased to make this investment in our district's future because it reflects our values and goals as a school system."

Leonard first teamed up with Ceronne Daly, BPS’s director for diversity programs, last year. They signed a memorandum of understanding to enroll Boston Public Schools teachers in UMass Boston’s educational administration programs (the master’s program and the CAGS program). The teachers pay a discounted tuition rate that BPS negotiated, and they take their classes at BPS with UMass Boston professors. Of the 20 teachers in the first cohort accepted last year, 19 were teachers of color. The teachers in the first cohort are set to graduate in May 2017, with 16 new teachers joining the program this coming fall.

“We had been looking for ways to diversify our student cohorts. Typically, our cohorts are 25 percent diverse and I kept thinking, ‘Why is this?’ I asked the faculty and the students and talked with the Black Educators' Alliance of Massachusetts and they led me to [retired BPS administrator] Carroll Blake and Ceronne Daly. I came to Ceronne to say, ‘How can we work with you?,” Leonard recalled.

UMass Boston is also a partner in the expansion of the Male Educators of Color Executive Coaching Program, which launched in 2014. Leonard says in addition to mentorship opportunities, men in this program will get to take three UMass Boston classes, just like the women in the new WEOC Executive Coaching Program.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit