DESE Awards BHELS Contract to Lead Teacher Diversification Training

DESE Teacher Diversification Professional Learning Community

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Chooses the William James College Center for Behavioral Health, Equity, and Leadership in Schools (BHELS) to Lead Diversity Training for Massachusetts’ Educators

(Newton, MA) The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has awarded William James College’s Center for Behavioral Health, Equity, and Leadership in Schools (BHELS) a one-year, $425,000 contract to support the development of a diverse and culturally responsive educator workforce across the Commonwealth. The Teacher Diversification PLC vendor contract has renewable potential for 3 years of service with a $1.175 million dollar value.  The BHELS Center will partner with DESE’s Center for Strategic Initiatives to further innovate and implement a comprehensive professional development series that began in 2019 and is designed to recruit, retain, and create inclusive school communities. William James College was among a respected group of institutions invited to submit a proposal to DESE.

This initiative will focus on improving the number of diverse educators across the Commonwealth and preparing a workforce that engages in “teaching and learning that is antiracist, inclusive, multilingual, and multicultural; that values and affirms each and every student and their families; and that creates equitable opportunities and experiences for all students, particularly those who have been historically underserved.” 

Commissioner Jeff Riley has made teacher diversification one of his top 3 priorities as outlined in his 2023 educational vision and The Center for Behavioral Health, Equity, and Leadership in Schools is the primary vendor for leading the Teacher Diversity Professional Learning Community (TD PPLC).There is a maximum of100 districts who comprise the TD PLC, which includes charter schools, career/vocational technical education schools, and public school districts across the state. District teams include educators, school leaders, district leaders and school committee members focused on improving outcomes for all students by creating a diverse learning and working environment for all.

Dr. Kris Taylor, Director of Educational Leadership and DEI at BHELS, is the project lead facilitator of this collaboration, which includes a team of content experts, co-facilitators, researchers, and coaches to design and implement this timely program which will be launched in January 2024.

“This program is a natural extension of William James College’s efforts to cultivate and diversify the education workforce while providing meaningful training and professional development opportunities for educators in every corner of the state,” said Taylor.  We welcome the chance to partner with DESE in support of their mission, vision, and long-range goals.”