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‘The teachers of our future’: How Miami is combating the local teacher shortage

This semester, Miami University welcomed seven CPS students into the TEACh program.
This semester, Miami University welcomed seven CPS students into the TEACh program.

Miami University and Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) announced the expansion of their partnership within the Transformative Educators Advocating Change (TEACh) Cincinnati program this fall. The program addresses the teacher shortage within CPS and nationwide, while also contributing to the growth and development of student education. 

Through the program, CPS high school students are exposed to careers in education while preparing for college by working with Miami faculty. The program’s goal is to encourage the students to apply for Miami’s teacher education program. After completing the program, if these graduates return to the CPS district to teach, they will receive preferred hiring status.

“These grow-your-own, build-your-own programs are so critical because these are the teachers of our future,” said Emily Monroe, college manager for CPS.

TEACh was first piloted at Aiken High School and will expand to Oyler School and Withrow University High School this year. CPS students in the TEACh program can complete College Credit Plus courses before attending Miami and earn scholarship funding and field experiences.

They are able to be a part of this program by keeping a GPA of 2.5 or higher in ninth and 10th grade and a 3.0 GPA from 11th to 12th grade. Every student’s eligibility is reviewed each semester. 

Miami first reached out to CPS with the program idea during the 2016-2017 school year, starting with connections and a simple conversation.

Denise Taliaferro Baszile, associate dean for diversity and student experience in Miami’s College of Education, Health and Society, said the program has grown since then. Both administrative teams have turned it into an incredible possibility, opportunity and solution for CPS students, their district and the university. 

“The Cincinnati Public School leadership team, the Aiken leadership team, and our leadership team at Miami University began ... really working and imagining and putting the program together as a collective,” Taliaferro Baszile said.

Baszile also said that CPS students within the program have the opportunity to visit Miami’s campus as much as possible. 

“We know that Miami can be a challenging environment, and so we want them to feel as much at home, a sense of, ... this is my campus, when they finally arrived at Miami,” Baszile said.

This past fall, Miami welcomed seven students from CPS, including four from Aiken. Teri’Ana Joyner, a first-year integrated social studies education major, is one of them. Joyner was interested in nursing, until hearing about the TEACh program her eighth grade year and the opportunity it could hold for her future.

She started her involvement in the TEACh program in ninth grade and was inspired by her previous Aiken High School history teacher, Rachel McMillian, to create change and make a difference. 

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“She is the best teacher that I have ever had,” Joyner said. “She definitely got me interested in it more, just because she’s made a change in people’s lives and you can definitely see it.”

Joyner also said she wants to ignite the same motivation in her peers and her future students that she started to feel a few years ago. 

Her passion to become a teacher and return to the CPS district revolves around an overarching reason: she wants to change the world. Joyner wants to be an advocate for change within the African American community and make the topic of diversity a normality. 

“I want to make that change in other students’ lives, especially students that look like me,” Joyner said.

Reflecting on the possibility of a nursing career, Joyner emphasized her desire to help enact societal change.

“It’s not about me taking care of people, but it’s about making a difference,” Joyner said. “I feel like a lot of students need opportunities, especially coming from public school, especially ... being born into poverty, or being born [into parents] who haven’t gone to college and couldn’t go to college.”

Miami’s TEACh incorporates diversity as a very significant role in the teaching process and allows CPS students to know they can acquire an educated future.

Along with the goal of diversity, Moroney describes the program’s goal as a school district.

“The all encompassing goal from the student lens ... is that students feel prepared, excited [and] supported,” she said. 

She hopes students “believe that [they] can be, not only a teacher, but a really good and impactful teacher because of how [they’ve] been impacted by this program.” 

TEACh Cincinnati and Miami’s administrators hope to reach every CPS high school within the next five years through determination and student interest. Every future Miami student will have the opportunity to be inspired, feel passionate and make a difference as “the teachers of our future.”