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City of Coral Gables Meets Academic Challenges with Project SUCCEED

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Adriana Medina of Project SUCCEED

In the quiet suburban city of Coral Gables, an epic battle against failure is well underway. In classrooms that become more diverse with each passing year, prospective teachers are being prepared to meet the challenges of being a Florida educator in the 21st century. Project SUCCEED — a unique partnership between a university, community establishments and a public school district — is providing future educators with vital hands-on experience and the resources necessary to confidently enter Florida's classrooms.

Project SUCCEED is a collaborative effort between the University of Miami, The United Teachers of Dade, the Miami-Dade County School District and the Miami Museum of Science designed to enhance the quality of teachers that enter the workforce. Each of these entities contributes to prospective teacher training by hosting summer institutes, offering internships, establishing learning communities and providing enhanced technology instruction.

Different schools throughout Miami-Dade County have been selected as professional development schools where a university professor in residence helps teachers acquire the "in-classroom" experience that so many new educators desire. Teachers are trained to understand a professional development continuum that takes them from recruitment and pre-service teacher education, to expert and mentor-teacher training. The University of Miami hopes to soon achieve all of its stated goals with Project SUCCEED, some of which include:

  • creating an exchange of ideas and best "practices" among faculty at the university;
  • meeting the needs of the Miami-Dade County school district;
  • improving student achievement by enhancing teacher quality; and
  • increasing the percentage of graduates that seek and retain employment in high-need urban schools.

One of eight professional development schools linked to Project SUCCEED, Coral Gables Senior High School sits in the shadows of the University of Miami, working hard to improve student performance and teacher production. Current activities at the school include developing a web site to assist faculty and students in FCAT preparation and the eventual implementation of a new supervision model for Associate Teachers.

Gables Graduate Assistant Adriana Medina believes the program will be a long-term success. "We're in the final year of our U.S. Department of Education grant, but the program has been great so far," said Medina. "With the continued work and dedication of the individuals involved with SUCCEED, the project will undoubtedly live up to its name for all Florida educators and students."

For more information on Project SUCCEED, vist www.education.miami.edu/succeed/home.html.