The impact of Teach for America's summer institute on first-year TFA's experience in the Kansas City public schools
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] In an effort to enhance teaching and student achievement, Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) partnered with Teach For America (TFA) for new teachers and expected its summer institute's preparation to be a silver bullet. But TFA's inception into the KCPS has presented numerous concerns about TFA teachers' preparedness to work with urban students. In addition to the intensive summer institute's training, many principals invest additional time developing TFA teachers, but find that only about 30% of them remain after their second year. It is believed that many of them do not remain because of their lack of adequate preparation for teaching high-poverty urban youths. Inadequately prepared teachers assigned to the poorest and most vulnerable students is certainly not that silver bullet. The study found that even though first-year TFA teachers completed an intensive summer institute, they felt inadequately prepared to work with high poverty urban youths because of the lack of training in culturally-relevant pedagogy, and basic social skills that prevented effective mediation with low-performing students. This study represents the perceptions of a small percentage (24%) of the target first year TFA's who have taught for one year in the KCPS system. This study provides implications for curriculum expansion for TFA teacher training and recommendations for professional development for KCPS and other urban districts that partner with TFA.
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