SEL Awardee

Danielle Hayes

Holyoke Public Schools
Holyoke, MA
“Our current request seeks to continue a new youth leadership opportunity to the award-winning Holyoke Public Schools Ethnic Studies (ES) Program. With your support, we will launch year two of an 'Ethnic Studies Student-to-Teacher Pathway' where we will continue to engage Program alumni by offering paid Fellowship opportunities. Building this pathway is critical in Holyoke, where over 75% of students are Black and Latinx, but they are taught by a teaching force that is only 26% teachers of color. Our ES Program, which serves 1050 students in grades 7-12 across the district, intentionally and seamlessly integrates culturally-affirming social and emotional learning into our pedagogy and curriculum. We provide opportunities for students to understand themselves in solidarity with others and as a result, support them to grow empathy and establish positive relationships within their community. Modeled after the successful alumni fellowship program created by our colleagues in the Holyoke High School Pa'lante Restorative Justice Program, the Ethnic Studies leadership pathway is a natural extension of our approach and vision and is a 'win' on multiple levels: 1) Alumni Fellows benefit from resume-building professional experience, 2) Ethnic Studies students benefit from roles models who share some of their life experiences, 3) our district takes concrete steps to actualize a commitment to intentionally diversify our teaching staff, and 4) the field of Education gains a pool of future teachers, counselors and administrators grounded in culturally affirming pedagogy and practice.”
Tags: District, High School, Students Affected by Suspensions, Suburban, Traditional Public School