GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Teach For America Detroit has launched a program to invest in and retain over 700 teachers across the state.
The program, called TeachMichigan, will focus on “high-impact” teachers in Detroit, Kentwood, Saginaw, Sault Saint Marie, Traverse City and Benzie County, according to a Friday release. TeachMichigan aims to develop and retain more than 700 teachers over a period of five years, which will help over 200,000 students in under-resourced schools.
“Research suggests that the most important school-based factor for our students is the teacher in the classroom,” Kevin Polston, superintendent of Kentwood Public Schools, said. KPS is one district that will be partnering with TFA Detroit for the new program.
Polston told News 8 that many teachers in Michigan have left the profession.
“There’s thousands of educators doing incredible work every single day, and we have to value these educators at a much higher level as a state,” said Armen Hratchian, executive director of TFA Detroit.
Accordingly, Hratchian told News 8 that a few years ago, TFA Detroit shifted its focus from recruiting teachers to retaining them.
“Our goal here is to ensure that educators around the state in these specific communities feel valued, that we’re investing more deeply into them,” Hratchian said.
“We want to honor (teachers’) work, support them so they can make a difference for our kids,” Polston said. “This is all about our kids.”
Hratchian told News 8 that TeachMichigan hopes to focus on “dedicated educators” who produce good outcomes for their students and invest in their school communities.
“They’re the ones whose doors are open and they’re supporting other teachers, mentoring other teachers in their buildings,” Hratchian said.
Teachers who participate in the program will join one of three cohorts. The first will focus on new teachers, the second on teachers hoping for certification and the third on experienced teachers who would like to become school administrators. Some will be eligible to receive financial awards and specialized training.
TeachMichigan is modeled on successful work TFA Detroit has done in the past. It is funded by a $30 million commitment from the state of Michigan, as well as contributions by several other groups.