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"Accelerator" program launched to address teacher shortage

"Accelerator" program launched to address teacher shortage
"Accelerator" program launched to address teacher shortage 00:27

MIAMI - In an effort to help Miami-Dade schools deal with teacher shortages, the University of Miami has teamed up with two local nonprofits to launch a privately funded initiative called the Teacher Accelerator Program (TAP).

Under the new program, beginning this spring seniors who are not education majors can take a one-semester undergraduate course focusing on education foundations and teacher certification support. The course is followed by a paid summer internship where TAP participants will teach in Miami-Dade County Public Schools before landing a full-time teaching position.

Those in the program will receive ongoing mentorship throughout their first year of teaching to support their professional development.

Miami-Dade's public school district has committed to hiring 50 teachers from TAP next fall, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

The TAP program was created by the UM School of Education and Human Development, Achieve Miami, and Teach for America Miami-Dade, a nonprofit that recruits college graduates to teach in low-income communities for at least two years.

Leslie Miller Saiontz, founder of Achieve Miami, which that tries to narrow divides among students in Miami-Dade County, told The Miami Herald if the program is a success it could be replicated around the country.   

"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," said Saiontz in a statement. 

"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," explained Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood, 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."   

The launch of TAP is entirely funded by money 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.  

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