Teacher Accelerator Program Launches at University of Miami offering graduates a guaranteed teaching position in Miami-Dade Public Schools

TAP Students Talking over a project
Achieve Miami Program Prepares College Seniors to Enter the Education Field, Promises Solution for the Deepening Teacher Shortage

The University of Miami is teaming up with Achieve Miami, an educational nonprofit working to level the playing field for Miami students, and Teach for America, a nonprofit that prepares college graduates for jobs as new teachers, to launch the Teacher Accelerator Program (TAP), which will propel graduating UM seniors into a career in education after college and is a multipronged approach to combating the national teacher shortage.

Kicking off during University of Miami’s spring semester, TAP will fill 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 will complete a one-semester course (TAL 590) focused on teaching fundamentals and instructional skills which are vital in K-12 classrooms, followed by a paid summer internship with Teach for America or Achieve Miami, professional teaching certification and full-time employment contract with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Enrollment is now open to UM seniors on track for graduation in the spring of 2023.

During the summer internship, TAP participants will earn $5,000 and experience working alongside veteran educators. The program culminates with a full-time employment contract with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. TAP participants will then be mentored throughout their first year of teaching through Achieve Miami and Teach For America.

“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,” says Achieve Miami Founder Leslie Miller Saiontz. “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 is significantly impacting communities in Florida and beyond. Hundreds of Miami-Dade County classrooms are currently without an assigned teacher, raising the stakes for schools and students – and underscoring 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,” 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., 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.

About the Teacher Accelerator Program 

The Teacher Accelerator Program (TAP) creates a clear pathway for college seniors not in the field of education to graduate and enter the teaching profession. The pipeline begins at the University of Miami with a one-semester undergraduate course, followed by a paid summer internship with Teach for America or Achieve Miami, professional teaching certification and full-time employment contract with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 

About Achieve Miami

Since its founding in 2015, Achieve Miami has supported thousands of students, bolstered programming for 60+ local schools, and engaged thousands of volunteers. Achieve Miami is dedicated to fostering a transformational education ecosystem in Miami. Together with partners from the public and private sector, Achieve Miami designs and manages programs that bring together members from various parts of the community to extend learning opportunities for students, teachers, and community leaders.

About University of Miami

The University of Miami is a private research university and academic health system with a distinct geographic capacity to connect institutions, individuals, and ideas across the hemisphere and around the world. The University’s vibrant and diverse academic community comprises 12 schools and colleges serving more than 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 180 majors and programs. Located within one of the most dynamic and multicultural cities in the world, the University is building new bridges across geographic, cultural, and intellectual borders, bringing a passion for scholarly excellence, a spirit of innovation, a respect for including and elevating diverse voices, and a commitment to tackling the challenges facing our world.