Catherine Wong, director of Urban Outreach Initiatives

Catherine Wong

Recruiting and retaining teachers of color is a challenge in Massachusetts, as exemplified in cities such as Cambridge, where students of color nearly triple the number of educators of color. Catherine Wong, the Lynch School’s director of Urban Outreach Initiatives, says Lynch has partnerships in place to help teachers of color succeed in the classroom, which will lead to longevity in the profession.

One of the Urban Outreach Initiatives is the Charles F. Donovan Urban Teaching Scholars Program—an intensive one-year master’s in education program leading to teacher licensure. The Donovan Program prepares K-12 teachers to work effectively with students and families in urban schools throughout the country. Each year the program recruits nationally for a diverse cohort of up to 30 graduate students, many of whom were educated in urban schools themselves, who aspire to give back to their communities in constructive and lifelong ways. 

Wong works closely with Kevin Dua, M.Ed. ’12 (a former Donovan Scholar), a history teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School who was named the 2017 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year; Ramon De Jesus, M.A. ’12 (Higher Education), the program manager for diversity development in the Cambridge Public Schools; and Zina Hodge, assistant director of Urban Outreach Initiatives on a pipeline focused on recruiting and retaining Donovan scholars.

In a WBUR news story, Dua spoke about his work with students and De Jesus discussed what it will take to increase the number of teachers of color in the district.