Partnering with Fidelity to Launch our New Microgrants Program for Prospective Teachers
June 9, 2022
Earlier this month, we were matched with Fidelity through Common Impact, a national leader in skills-based volunteering, for its annual Impact Week event. During this event, volunteers spent 5 hours immersed in a design challenge to help solve a pressing issue. Fidelity volunteers partnered with us to provide recommendations for developing a new microgrant program ($500 each to prospective NM teachers). Their partnership considered the minimum viable product for the process, application and metrics to help ensure an equitable and successful program launch.
Over the last year, we’ve evolved our strategic focus at TFANM to hone in on strengthening and diversifying the New Mexico teacher pipeline through several new initiatives. These initiatives include a microgrants program that will award $500 grants to professionals seeking to transition into teaching. From supporting hundreds of corps member teachers over the years, we get how costs to pursue teaching can add up and be a barrier to entry, in particular for teachers who are first-generation college students and who come from low income backgrounds.
This program will prioritize BIPOC individuals and help financially support them to work in a low-income/high-needs community. Research shows that students of color are more likely to achieve higher learning outcomes and graduate on time when they’ve had at least one teacher of color in their K-12 experience. While financial support and incentives currently exist for prospective teachers, they’re currently aimed at addressing tuition costs, and less so the upfront costs that pile up when pursuing a pathway to teaching. We’re excited to launch the program later this calendar year with an initial 20 microgrants. The inaugural year will also foster quantifiable insights for our broader efforts to address educational inequity in New Mexico.
We’re looking forward to launching the program in the fall with many of these recommendations. If selected, prospective teachers will be awarded $500 to spend costs associated with the transition to teaching. In New Mexico, these include a $150 licensure application, multiple background checks, application fees, Praxis assessments, and ordering transcripts, not to mention the cost of training.