Why #RaiseMiami? - Program Overview
Since 2003, TFA Miami-Dade has partnered with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the nation's fourth largest school system, to recruit and develop teachers who work solely in Miami's most underserved communities and schools. In the 2018-19 academic year, 168 corps members are working in 36 Miami-Dade County Public Schools and serving over 11,000 students. Roughly 80 percent of those students are black and 20 percent are Latino/Hispanic. There is a strong correlation across Florida, as in states across the country, between overall student achievement, race, and income level:
• Nearly 20 percent of Miami-Dade’s population live below the poverty line, with more than 1.1 million individuals qualifying for government assistance
• Students from low-income schools scored significantly lower than their more affluent peers in math and reading on the 2017 Florida Standards Assessments (FSA). Only 41 percent of African-American students and 55 percent of Hispanic students scored satisfactory or above on the Mathematics FSAs
• Over 5,000 Miami-Dade students (1 in 5) will not graduate this year and are thus 40 percent more likely to be unemployed
Lower overall educational achievement students adds to a city's underdeveloped workforce and perpetuates poverty. The prosperity of 260,000+ low-income Miami students is at stake. Teach For America is working to eliminate educational inequity in Miami by raising teacher leadership, student impact and collective action.
Raising Teacher Leadership - Regional Institute
Teach For America is fundamentally transforming the ecosystem of educational equity in Miami-Dade by developing teacher leaders who are invested in raising expectations for excellence of our students. We recruit promising college students from top-tier universities and professionals from industries across the nation to teach in more than Miami-Dade’s most underserved schools for two years. Our leadership force is unique due to its diversity. While the majority of public school students are students of color, only 18 percent of the traditional teaching force identifies as a person of color. More than 77% of Teach For America Miami-Dade teachers share the background of their students.
We make sure our teacher leaders are prepared to create profound impact. Developing our nation’s most promising educational leaders begins during Miami-Dade Institute, a five-week immersive and intensive teacher training experience. Institute is designed to blend professional development along with hands-on summer school teaching to ensure corps members gain practices, tools, resources, and convictions they need to excel in their own classrooms. Institute prepares incoming first-year teachers to be effective leaders as employees of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, while also providing summer school teaching for Miami-Dade's highest need students. This year's Institute provided summer learning opportunities for over 800 high-need students at two school sites.
Raising Teacher Leadership - Professional Development
This year, 168 corps members teach over 11,000 students in 36 schools in Miami-Dade. We seek for corps member classrooms to embody the environment and learning that ensures students are on a path of greater access to opportunity, including academic growth and personal growth for students. We support TFA Miami-Dade Corps Member development through year-round support including, but not limited to:
• MTLD Coaching - Through one-on-one support, corps members receive professional development plans and set student impact goals for the year.
• Nearpod Pathways Partnership - Our customized blended learning program with EdTech company, Nearpod, equips corps members with additional teaching skills to go above and beyond traditional expectations for student success, to advance the academic and personal growth of students, and help strengthen our school communities.
• All-Corps Development - Corps members come together with our broader network of alumni and community partners to network, collaborate, and learn together. These MeetUps include School Year Kickoff, Mid-Year Meetup, End of Year Celebration and Network Miami Events.
Raising Students' Hands & Hopes - Student Impact
An accelerated pace of learning is necessary for our students to close the opportunity gap. Our teachers excel in moving beyond traditional expectations for academic success for their students and equipping students to achieve transformational personal and academic outcomes. This means our children in Miami-Dade County Public Schools are now able to raise their hands and hopes in a fundamentally different way:
• On average, our corps members’ students achieve more than one years’ academic growth each year across core subjects, with 28 percent achieving more than 1.5 years' gains last year.
• An independent, quasi-experimental study found that in M-DCPS, students taught by TFA teachers demonstrated nearly two months of additional math growth, compared with other teachers in the same schools. Research finds that corps members outperform both novice and experienced teachers in the same schools. This is not to say that classroom experience is unrelated to student achievement. Our teachers and others must climb a well-documented learning curve during their initial years of teaching, but the body of research leads one to expect students in the classrooms of corps members—recruited, trained and supported by Teach For America—to learn as much or more than they would if assigned a more experienced teacher in the same school.
• Corps members also take on leadership outside of the classroom by leading extracurricular activities and tutoring at their school sites.
Raising Collective Action - Alumni Leadership Development
In order to create an educational ecosystem that is equitable and opens up a universe of opportunity for all children, we must raise a collective voice and mobilize leadership that approaches the problem from a variety of different perspectives. Teaching is a transformative experience that leads to profound insight into the issues our students face. Our development of leaders for educational equity does not end after a corps member’s initial two years of teaching.
Teach For America is inspiring, developing, and mobilizing a collective force of nearly 600 alumni leaders who take on critical leadership roles, including excellent teaching, school leadership, mission-aligned organizational leadership, civic leadership, entrepreneurship and social innovation. Some examples of alumni leadership initiatives include:
• The BENCH program through M-DCPS, prepares alumni for school administration.
• Policy fellowships through P.S. 305 and Leaders For Educational Equity engage teachers to advocate for policies affecting their schools and discover careers in civic leadership.
• The SIEL Accelerator, a partnership with The Knight Foundation through MiamiEdTech, encourages alumni to use technology to advance educational equity.
• The Achieve Miami Innovative Teacher Fellowship engages educators to solve a challenge in their school or community through innovation.
This year, 118 alumni are interested in or have already started their own social ventures!