Miami University, Cincinnati Public Schools partner to address teacher shortage

Miami University and Cincinnati Public Schools announced Wednesday an expansion in their partner program that’s designed to address teacher shortages in the district and promote educator diversity.

The program, which has been dubbed as TEACh Cincinnati (or, Transformative Educators Advocating Change) was originally piloted at CPS’s Aiken High School. The goal was to create a direct pipeline that connected Cincinnati-area students who are interested in teaching to a free education at Miami University and then a guaranteed educator position at CPS.

The program was built in response to a teacher shortage, which was described by Jason Lane, the Dean of the College of Education, Health, and Society at Miami University, as a “national crisis.”

“We have both a teacher shortage right now affecting schools both nationally and in southwest Ohio,” Lane said.

And, that trend has been particularly evident in the amount of students who enter college in education programs.

“In Ohio, there has been approximately a 50% decline in education preparation enrollments over the last decade,” Lane said. “Miami has bucked that trend; we’ve actually seen growth in our programs. But, we’re one of the few.”

The program was also built with the intent of keeping local, aspiring educators in and around their hometown, Lane said. If an aspiring educator grew up around Cincinnati, they’re better equipped to relate with Cincinnati students, Lane explained.

“We’re trying to take a really focused look at, ‘How do we encourage more youths from Cincinnati — who will understand the Cincinnati environment, who will understand the challenges in Cincinnati for those students — to consider teaching?’” Lane said.

Lane said getting Cincinnati-area students to “be inspired to go back into Cincinnati and teach and be committed to their hometown as educators,” is an integral part of the program.

“For us, in working with CPS, we needed to find new and innovative ways to encourage more youth, in this case particularly from Cincinnati, to consider teaching as a profession, and to support them in completing that career path,” Lane said. “And, we have a need to diversify the teaching ranks to better reflect the changing demographics of our learners.”

The program connects with interested students as early as the eighth grade and provides them with mentors and support structures as they continue their high school education and consider extending their education.

Once students complete the program in high school, which includes College Credit Plus courses and other focused courses, they can then move on to Miami University, where they are likely to receive scholarships.

Lane said, to this point, Miami University has been able to grant full ride scholarships for the program’s students. The program’s students would work for CPS at some point in their education and, once they’ve graduated, those graduates would be given preferred hiring status at CPS.

TEACh Cincinnati’s first seven students just recently entered Mimi University, and the program is now extending to two more of CPS’s high schools: Withrow University High School and Oyler School.

“Based on what we saw today at the launch event, what has happened has really created a sense of energy and excitement among the youth, particularly at Aiken High School, about becoming teachers,” Lane said.

Lane said Wednesday’s event featured 20 excited, energetic and passionate students who are planning to enter the program.

“I think in the short run what we’ve done has really revitalized a sense of excitement around becoming a teacher,” Lane said. “In the long term, we’ll be able to place more high quality teachers back in Cincinnati — and they will then have a generational impact on learning in those schools.”

Eventually, the goal is to have the program at each of CPS’s 17 high schools in the near future, Lane said. He added that the university has been in talks to bring the program to other nearby cities, including Hamilton and Dayton.

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