Rob Knox, TMCF Senior Director of Strategic Communications
(Black PR Wire) WASHINGTON, D.C. – From its first Summer Institute in 2009, Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Teacher Quality and Retention Program (TQRP) has provided high-caliber training and mentoring to aspiring, pre-service and new teachers from publicly-supported HBCUs and PBIs across the country.
The result of lessons learned from a 2006 Gates School Reform grant and the Teacher Prep Program Pilot in 2008, TQRP has emerged into a robust, research-based program that has impacted over 600 Program Fellows over the last ten years across 20 states and 45 TMCF member schools.
Implementing the TQRP program is one way that TMCF has done a quality job of addressing the nation’s teacher shortage and increasing the number of minority instructors in the classroom. One of the goals of TQRP is to create a more equitable world by providing high-quality pre-service training and personalized support once teachers enter the classroom.
This has ensured student success by promoting educational excellence and preparing the next generation of workforce talent through leadership development. In addition, the TQRP fellows are also uplifting communities and generations of their families.
TQRP Fellows have impacted over 31,000 K through 12 students nationwide in high-need urban and rural areas. Historically Black Colleges and Universities play an outsize role in producing teachers of color in the U.S., where only 7% of teachers are Black, compared with 15% of students.
TQRP is a five-year fellowship supporting new and aspiring teachers. TQRP provides high-quality, pre-service training and personalized support once teachers enter the classroom. Fellows are a part of a close-knit network of diverse teachers passionate about teaching in high-need urban and rural communities.
Fellows have access to year-round professional development and attend an intense 10-day summer institute that presents content from a culturally responsive, trauma-informed social-emotional learning approach. TQRP supports three individual areas of focus: HBCU Males, STEM, and New Teachers in developing sound pedagogy and research-based educational practice– all with the goal of becoming future teacher leaders.
Black men account for just a fraction of the teacher workforce at about 1.3% for the 2020-21 school year, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, even though 50% of students in public schools are Black. Yet, only 7% of teachers are Black. In Maryland, 4% of the public-school teacher workforce are Black men, though 17% of students are Black and male, according to the state Department of Education.
In a recent Baltimore Sun article, research demonstrated that Black students are more likely to graduate and attend college when instructed by educators who look like them. Having one black teacher in elementary school lowers the high school dropout rates of low-income black boys by 39%, and it raises the college aspirations of low-income black students, both male and female, by 19%.
TQRP provides a forum for aspiring African American male educators to learn from, support, and share experiences with peers and experienced faculty. Only 8% of all teachers with three or fewer years of experience are Black. TQRP recruits STEM majors and provides training and support to increase the population of minority STEM teachers in high-need schools.
The latest TQRP summer institute, held July 10-21, 2022, in Houston, Texas, was a great success. The theme was “Quality Retained, Crafting Culturally Responsive Educators for Today’s Diverse Classrooms.” The annual cohort featured approximately 70 fellows with an average grade point average of 3.6, representing 55 cities, 26 states, and 29 HBCUs, four of which were UNCF schools.
Fellows received content sessions ranging from social-emotional learning and instructional technology to culturally responsive teaching, standards-based math instruction, classroom management, and data-driven instruction.
According to a recent news report that aired on NBC Washington at the end of February, a recent study of elementary school students in North Carolina found Black students performed better in math when taught by an HBCU-educated teacher.
The impact of TMCF’s TQRP program has been significant and necessary.
Fellows are granted enough resources and training to become effective educators for their communities. Fellows are taught to learn about their students and culture so that they intentionally and compassionately connect with them. In addition to fostering positive relationships with students and helping them to make learning gains, TQRP fellows were also able to utilize digital platforms to make STEM lessons more engaging and authentic for their students.
TQRP is helping to change that narrative and place more teachers of color inside the classrooms. For the first time in TQRP history, ten fellows and alums (five of whom were Teachers of the Year this past school year) received a $5K TQRP Educational award.
TQRP offers professional development and support for TMCF member-school students and alums, beginning with their pre-service training and continuing until their third year in the field. Fellows participate in thought-provoking, interactive sessions to learn how to educate the whole child in an engaging, rigorous, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed manner.
TQRP is one of many ways that TMCF is making a difference in helping to increase the number of minority teachers.