Amherst Regional Public Schools

You are

  • A Black or Latinx paraeducator or teacher-on-waiver

  • A college graduate with a bachelor's degree or higher

  • Currently employed by the Amherst Regional Public Schools

  • An aspiring teacher

Quick Contacts

Amherst Regional Public Schools Contact

Damany Gordon, Diversity and Equity Specialist

(413) 362-1872


Mount Holyoke College Admissions Contact

Amy Asadoorian 

Admissions and Communications Coordinator




Mount Holyoke College Program Director

Catherine Swift, M. Ed.,

Director, Teacher Licensure Programs


Mount Holyoke College Financial Aid

Taryn Dunaj,

Associate Director, Student Financial Services


Paradigm Shift Program Coordinator
Danielle Phillips



Your Path: Amherst Regional Public Schools

Paradigm Shift is here to help you become a licensed teacher.
Here are the steps you need to follow:


Step 1. Learn More & Apply

The first step is to learn more about the process of becoming a teacher by contacting the Mount Holyoke College Admissions and Communications Coordinator. If you are interested in taking the next step, you would complete and submit the provided application to the Diversity and Equity Specialist at the Amherst Regional Public Schools. You will be asked to include a Personal Statement to convey why you would like to become a licensed teacher. In addition to the application, you must submit:

  • Your resume.
  • An official transcript for each college/university you attended. You can request an official transcript from the school where you earned your degree.
  • Two letters of recommendation—one from your principal and/or direct supervisor and one personal recommendation. Personal recommendations may be from friends and/or work colleagues.
In addition, you must have received good evaluations for the two prior school years. This means you must:
  • Be in good standing with the district.
  • Have consistently displayed commitment to the district and students.
  • Have not been notified of ethical, moral, behavioral or attendance concerns by school administration.
Finally, you must commit to teaching in the Amherst Public School system for three years following receipt of your teaching license.

Your application and accompanying documentation will be received and reviewed by Amherst Regional Public Schools administrators. There are five openings available per year. For those whose applications are complete, acceptance is first come, first served. Amherst Regional Public Schools Diversity and Equity Specialist Mount Holyoke College Admissions and Communications Coordinator

Step 2. Prepare, take and pass Communication and Literacy Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure® (MTEL®)

The MTEL Program was initiated by the Massachusetts Department of Education and includes tests covering communication and literacy skills as well as subject matter knowledge. The tests are designed to ensure that Massachusetts educators:

  1. Can communicate adequately with students, parents/guardians and other educators.
  2. Are knowledgeable in the subject matter of the license sought.

Once your application has been accepted by the Amherst Regional Public Schools, you must pass the Communications and Literacy MTEL. Passing the Communications and Literacy MTEL is a prerequisite for admittance to the Mount Holyoke College licensure and graduate program.

Once you have been accepted to Mount Holyoke College and chosen your licensure area, you can consult our MTEL Resources for a list of subject matter test requirements for your particular license. Paradigm Shift will also reimburse your MTEL test fees. Simply send a completed W9 form and a copy of your MTEL receipt to the Paradigm Shift Program Coordinator. You will receive a reimbursement check within two weeks' time.

Step 3. Apply to Mount Holyoke College Graduate School

To apply to Mount Holyoke College, contact Mount Holyoke College’s Director, Teacher Licensure Programs, who will guide you through the application process. Once you apply, you can set up an appointment with the Admissions and Communications Coordinator to review your transcript. You will find out how many prerequisites you will need to complete the program and how long the program may take.

Once accepted into Mount Holyoke College, you will automatically be admitted to the Amherst Futures Program, through which the Amherst Regional Public Schools provides $3,000 toward tuition.

Step 4. Enroll and Attend Courses at Mount Holyoke College

Once you have chosen your field of study, or licensure area, you will receive a course list to obtain your license. The Masters of Arts in Teaching Licensure Program at Mount Holyoke College requires 36-38 credits and is typically completed on a part-time basis over two years. Your Mount Holyoke College advisor will review this with you. Then, you will enroll in courses for the semester ahead.

Once you have enrolled in your courses, your Mount Holyoke College advisor will explain all of the academic resources and support available to you, such as tutors, mentors and study sessions. You will also participate in a Paradigm Shift Orientation Session to learn about additional resources available to you. For example, as a Paradigm Shift participant, you will be supported by a teacher who has followed a similar path.

For help enrolling in courses, contact
Catherine Swift, Director, Teacher Licensure Programs 413-538-2464
To learn about academic support available, contact
Danielle Phillips, Paradigm Shift Program Coordinator

Step 5. Prepare, take and pass relevant subject matter Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure® (MTEL®)

While you are taking your graduate courses at Mount Holyoke College, you must also prepare for and pass your subject matter MTELs. Your Mount Holyoke College advisor or graduate programs coordinator is also happy to help.

Step 6. Complete Your Practicum

The practicum is the supervised practical application of your coursework. Once you have passed your MTELs and during your coursework, you will participate in a full-time student teaching practicum for the entire spring semester. Over the course of the semester, you are expected to demonstrate that you can assume responsibility for planning, implementing, and assessing 3 subject areas/classes/instructional blocks under the mentorship of your Supervising Practitioner for an entire semester. You will gradually take over one subject area/class/instructional block at a time starting in February, and have full responsibility for three areas/classes/instructional blocks for the remainder of the year (if pursuing licensure for middle/secondary level) or culminate in a two-week lead teaching takeover in late April (if pursuing licensure for early childhood/elementary level). Teacher candidates will work with both classroom teachers and college supervisors to address the Professional Teaching Standards and, specifically, the Candidate Assessment of Performance as required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For more information about completing your practicum, contact
Catherine Swift, Director, Teacher Licensure Programs

Step 7. Apply for your Initial License

Once you have completed your MTELs, coursework and practicum, you can apply for your Massachusetts Initial License. Once you receive your license, you are a fully qualified teacher. Your license is valid for 5 years and may be renewed only once. After three years teaching, you can choose to work toward earning your Professional Teaching License. The professional license expires every five years but can be renewed as many times as you'd like.

Mount Holyoke College provides a seminar and one-on-one assistance as needed to complete the Initial License application. It takes one to four weeks to receive your license.

Congratulations! You did it! Amherst Regional Public Schools and the children you serve are fortunate to have you!


Amherst Regional Public Schools Financial

and Academic Support

In addition to federal and state financial support, there are opportunities for financial and academic support available specifically for Amherst Regional Public Schools' paraeducators and teachers on a waiver working to obtain their initial teaching license.

Hvordan betale jeg?

Ved privatkunder skal alle oppdrag gjør opp etter at jobben er ferdig. Du kan betale med bankkort, bankoverføring, kontant eller vipps. Ved bedriftkunder sender vi faktura med 7 dagers betalingsfrist eller etter avtale.

Kan dere hente samme dag?

Ja, vi kommer ofte samme dag for henting. Vi prøver å hjelpe alle våre kunder så langt det lar seg gjøre.



What is the full cost of teacher preparation?

The total cost to obtain a Massachusetts Initial Teaching License is different for each person. We have included a worksheet in the Paying for Grad School section that you can print and complete as you gather financial information from the college you will attend and explore financial support that may be available to you. You will receive approximately 30% in tuition reduction from Mount Holyoke College. You will also receive an additional $3,000 toward tuition. Be sure to review the section titled Amherst Regional Public Schools Financial and Academic Support.

When would I have to pay for my college courses?

You must pay, or have made arrangements to pay, for your classes by the deadlines posted on the “Graduate Tuition, Fees, and Billing” page on Mount Holyoke College’s website.

Would free tutoring be available to me?

Yes. There is abundant free academic and MTEL tutoring that would be made available to you. Once you have enrolled in your courses, your Mount Holyoke College advisor will explain all of the academic resources and support available to you, such as tutors, mentors and study sessions. Paradigm Shift offers free MTEL tutoring. Simply complete and submit the online Request a Tutor Form. You will be contacted within the week by a prospective tutor. Paradigm Shift also offers free test preparation courses.

How do I get reimbursed for MTEL test fees?

Paradigm Shift will reimburse your MTEL test fees. Simply send a completed W9 form and a copy of your MTEL receipt to the Paradigm Shift Program Coordinator. You will receive a reimbursement check within two weeks' time.

How do I find out how many and which MTEL tests I have to take?

Our MTEL Resources page provides extensive information about MTELs, test preparation, and exams by popular licensure programs.
Our PS Test Prep Support page offers information about test prep.
Your academic advisor at Mount Holyoke College is also happy to help.

What is Amherst Futures?

The Amherst Futures Program is a collaboration between Amherst Regional Public Schools and Mount Holyoke College that recruits paraeducators from underrepresented populations in the district. The paraeducators are supported with a tuition discount and a district contribution to become fully licensed teachers within the district.

Still have questions?