UMass CESL promotes learning for life-long, engaged citizenship, partnering with communities on and off campus to work collectively for a more just society.

Equity in Education

Schools are integral not only to preparing all children to be full participants in society, but also to be full participants in this country's ever-tenuous experiment in democracy. That this vision has yet to be fully realized does not mean it should be abandoned.” - Rethinking Schools

UMass Amherst has a long tradition of partnering with local school districts and community organizations to improve educational equity in neighboring communities.  Our partnerships support students from a wide range of backgrounds, including underrepresented minority and low income students, in succeeding at all grade levels, earning a high school diploma or GED, accessing higher education, and successfully completing undergraduate degrees. In 2012 UMass was awarded a $1.2 million dollar grant to support Upward Bound in Springfield, Massachusetts.


What we do at CESL

CESL supports an array of courses and programs, both within CESL and across the campus, focused on educational equity by building and maintaining long-term partnerships with community organizations and school districts, consulting with faculty, and preparing student leaders.   Initiatives supported by CESL include tutoring/mentoring K-12 students in after school programs and local schools, mentoring youth as “Little Brothers and Sisters”, supporting adult learners with earning a GED or improving their English language skills and advancing school-based technology skills for school administrators, teachers, staff and students.

In the words of one student:

Lauren DuBois (UMass ’11)

In the fall of 2009, I was accepted into the year-long Student Bridges (SB) service learning course as a Tutor/Mentor in an after-school program in Springfield, MA at the South End Community Center.   The focus was on Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) and college positive activities, reaching youth ages 11-14.  In the SB course I learned how race, class, and other factors impact student access to quality education and through my service I witnessed first-hand the importance of educational programs such as the SET program.

In the fall of 2010, I was hired by SB as a Site Coordinator to run the SECC Site.  The responsibilities I had that year pushed my confidence and shaped my future goals. I knew that I wanted to remain a core member of the community partnerships in order to promote, organize and deliver educational programs.

In the fall of 2011, I was hired as that 4-H Extension Educator to oversee the Springfield SET program. Working with Student Bridges and the Massachusetts 4-H Extension Youth Development Program has been a life changing experience. I now have a career that pushes me to grow positively every day. I am doing what I love.

Service-learning is all about relationships. In the process of building those relationships one is also building a relationship with themselves and the world around them.

Related Courses/Programs

EDUC 377 – Introduction to Multicultural Education (Nat Turner, Laura Valdiviezo)
EDUC 497I/597R – Tutoring in Schools - TEAMS Project (Sharon Edwards, Robert Maloy)
HONORS 499C/D  Informational Technology Capstone (Carol Soules)
JOURNAL 394C – Community Journalism (Nicholas McBride)
SPANISH 398A – Holyoke Practicum (Gloria Bernabe-Ramos, Jose Ornelas)
SRVCLRNG 292M – Mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters (Thomas McGuire)
SRVCLRNG 293 –Learning Through Community Engagement - Student Bridges (Markeysha Davis, Beth Mattison)
SRVCLRNG 398A – Athletes as Mentors (Carol Soules, Tamara Drummond, Joan Hopkins)

For a list of our Educational Partner Organizations, please click here.