MILWAUKEE, WI - Teach for America (TFA) Milwaukee wants its corps members to learn the city of Milwaukee and its education system sooner this year than in years past.
This summer, the group rolled out a new way to train its Milwaukee corps members for the upcoming school year, training them in the city for the first time while also pairing them with MPS teachers who serve as mentors.
“This is my first year with Teach for America as a corp member," said Jeremy Ault. "I've been living in Milwaukee for about eight years now.”
Ault is now preparing to teach where he lives after having trained in the city too. He's working as a special education teacher assigned to spend the school year at Rocketship Southside Community Prep, a city of Milwaukee public-charter school.
“We are focusing a lot on teaching skills," Ault said. "And a lot on best practices in the classroom to help our students obtain a high level of learning.”
However, in order to achieve such goals in the classroom, Ault and his fellow TFA corps members had to do a little learning of their own. The group spent seven weeks over the summer training in two Milwaukee public schools while working alongside MPS teachers in a way that hasn’t been done at TFA-Milwaukee before.
“What’s different about this is the training and the focus of the training," Ault said. "And how close I can be as a teacher to the community and how close I feel to the students."
Typically in year's past, the Milwaukee corps members were sent out of town for training.
However, the goal of pairing the corp members with seasoned MPS teachers over the summer is two-fold: Not only did the mentorship program give MPS teachers an additional opportunity for professional development, but it also gave corp members a chance to familiarize themselves with the city of Milwaukee and its educational system before the first school bell of the new school year sounds off.