UM and Achieve Miami Launch Program to Address Teacher Shortage

The initiative guarantees a teaching position in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for graduates

The University of Miami partnered with Achieve Miami to launch the Teacher Accelerator Program (TAP) to provide a pathway for graduating UM seniors into a career in education to combat the national teacher shortage. The program will begin during the University of Miami’s spring semester. The goal entails filling vacant teaching positions in Miami by equipping graduating seniors with the education and certification required to enter the classroom as teachers in the fall of 2023.

Participants in the program will complete a one-semester course (TAL 590) focused on teaching fundamentals and instructional skills. They will then enroll in a paid summer internship with Teach for America or Achieve Miami. During the summer internship, TAP participants will earn $5,000 while working alongside veteran educators and will receive a full-time employment contract with Miami-Dade County Public Schools once completed. Enrollment is now open to UM seniors on track for graduation in the spring of 2023. receive a professional teaching certification

“The Teacher Accelerator Program is a practical, privately-funded solution to one of our country’s greatest challenges: a chronic shortage of teachers who are ready and able to educate our youth,” Leslie Miller Saiontz says, Founder of Achieve Miami, a nonprofit organization working to level the playing field for Miami students. “By opening young adults’ eyes to the benefits of a career in education, we have the potential to develop a new generation of teachers while eliminating the learning gaps that have become prevalent in our schools.”

The launch of TAP coincides with a teacher shortage that significantly impacts communities in Florida and beyond. Hundreds of Miami-Dade County classrooms need an assigned teacher, increasing the importance of recruiting new educators into the profession.

“If our community and country are serious about properly staffing our classrooms and affording students the educational opportunities they deserve, then we must look beyond traditional methods of enlisting and developing teachers,” Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood says, professor and dean of the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Miami. “TAP has the potential to address teacher shortages in school districts across the U.S., and we’re eager to launch the program in one of the nation’s most diverse communities.”

TAP is the first initiative of its kind in Florida, and Achieve Miami is already in preliminary discussions with other universities interested in expanding the program nationally. The launch of TAP is entirely privately funded through funds raised by Achieve Miami, including a portion of the more than $2.6 million contributed by nearly 500 donors during the Miami Foundation’s 2022 Give Miami Day.

Photo (from left to right): Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood, Leslie Miller Saiontz, Jasmine Calin-Micek

SFBW Staff
sfbw@lmgfl.com
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