Teach For America To More Than Triple Number of Its Miami Teachers

With the Help of a $6 million Knight Foundation Grant

Video caption: Miami-Dade TFA Corps Educator Kimberly Williams addresses an audience in Miami at which Knight Foundation's $6m grant was announced.

MIAMI (Feb. 26, 2010) Teach For America, which helps raise educational standards in Miami-Dade’s highest-need neighborhoods, will more than triple its number of local teachers, thanks in part to a $6 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. By 2014, some 350 Teach For America educators will reach more than 25,000 local students, the national nonprofit announced today.

“Miami-Dade children are our future economic, cultural and civic leaders. We owe it to them – and this entire community – to provide them with the knowledge and skills to improve our collective future,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation’s Miami program director. “Teach For America, with its proven track record of raising educational achievement, is the right fit for Miami-Dade.”

“Teach For America has seen that, when students are held to high expectations, their growth is exponential,” Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, executive director of Teach For America Miami-Dade, said. “Every child can achieve, and with Knight Foundation’s support, and ongoing fundraising, we are going to make that a reality.”

Teach For America’s teachers and alumni work to eliminate educational inequity in low-income communities nationwide. Through the program, top college graduates and professionals commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools, and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity.

Since expanding to Miami-Dade in 2003, the program has produced tangible results. For example, the typical Miami-Dade student in a Teach For America teacher’s classroom advances 1.5 reading grade levels over just one academic year. Those same students have also improved their FCAT scores.

At Central Senior High, Teach For America’s Kimberly Williams has quadrupled the number of her students passing the FCAT “retake.” As a result of her leadership, her students who previously failed the FCAT are on a different life path.

Due to the organization’s impressive impact, the Florida Department of Education has said Teach For America is a top way to raise achievement for students living in poverty.

“Miami-Dade is home to some of the best teachers in the nation and under the leadership of Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, they have achieved great academic success with their students,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “The expansion of Teach For America through this generous grant from Knight Foundation is going to push that progress even further. I anticipate positive results as these proven educators bring their expertise to the area’s struggling schools.”

“We are thrilled with our growing partnership with Teach For America and we see our working together as critical to raising achievement in our most fragile schools,” said Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Knight Foundation’s grant will help Teach For America jumpstart more local fundraising to fuel its expansion and defray the costs of recruiting, training and supporting each new teacher. For more information about supporting Teach For America in Miami-Dade, contact 786-245-8407.

About Teach For America

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. Today, 7,300 corps members are teaching in 35 regions across the country while 17,000 Teach For America alumni continue working from inside and outside the field of education for the fundamental changes necessary to ensure educational excellence and equity. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.  

Media Contacts:

  • Marc Fest, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677; fest@knightfoundation.org
  • Emily Del Pino, Teach For America, 615-242-6263 x2612; emily.delpino@teachforamerica.org

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.