Get to Know Holmes Elementary

For the past six years at Holmes Elementary, Teach For America corps members have been teaching in each grade level from first through fifth. Two years ago, we analyzed our data and discovered that students who had corps members as teachers for multiple years significantly outperformed their peers on the FCAT reading exam. While the average passing rate for fifth graders at the school was 26%, the passing rate for fifth graders who had corps members as teachers for four years was 83%, and for those who had corps members as teachers for three years, it was 72%..

The faculty and administration at Holmes Elementary, as well as the parents and the students themselves, were proud of these revelations and impressed by the progress the students made. Based on these findings, we recognize the amplified positive impact our corps members as a group can have on school culture, teacher and principal satisfaction, and, most importantly, student achievement. Looking ahead, we are working to cluster multiple corps members at single school sites throughout the region so that many more Miami-Dade students will achieve the same level of success as their peers at Holmes.

Region Timeline

  • Five hundred and two voters elect to incorporate the City of Miami. One hundred of those who cast their ballots are registered black voters.

  • The population of Miami increases nearly sixfold from approximately 5,000 residents at the turn of the century to nearly 30,000 at the start of the 1920s. The population continues to boom—doubling from 1920 to 1923—as many are drawn by the city’s lax regulations on gambling and prohibition.

  • The Great Miami Hurricane strikes, leaving tens of thousands homeless and signaling the end of the city’s economic boom and the beginning of the Great Depression.

  • Hundreds of thousands of Cubans migrate to Miami and other Florida cities, many settling into the Riverside neighborhood which would later become known as “Little Havana.” The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 insures green cards for all Cuban immigrants who arrived after 1959.

  • The deadly beating of a black man, Arthur McDuffie, by Miami police officers incites the Liberty City Riots—three days of destruction that leave 18 dead, 850 arrested, and over $100 million in damages.

  • The Mariel Boatlift brings 150,000 Cubans to Miami. Unlike the 1960s exodus, most of the refugees arriving are poor. During this time, many middle class non-Hispanic whites leave the city. In 1960, Miami was 90% non-Hispanic white. By 1990, it will be only roughly 10% non-Hispanic white.

  • Miami becomes one of the largest ports of arrival for cocaine from South American countries, flooding the economy with billions of dollars and creating a surge in violent crime.

  • Hurricane Andrew causes more than $20 billion in damage to the city.

  • The United States and Cuba normalize immigration between the two countries.

  • A boom in high-rise architecture occurs, known as the “Miami Manhattanization.” Miami now has one of the tallest skylines in the U.S.


Teach For America believed in my potential to be a leader in the classroom and a voice against educational inequity. Through relentless support, motivation, and high expectations, Teach For America nurtured me into becoming the change I wanted to see in the world. Now every day I have the honor of helping high school students realize their potential and develop a voice to advocate against issues they are passionate about. Through relentless support, motivation, and high expectations, I am able to help them become the change they wish to see in the world.
Michelle Cunningham
Miami-Dade Corps 2012


08/18/2014 - 10:27am
Part of her work today, and the work of the 300 corps members TFA recruits and trains to be hired in schools across the county, is to end education inequality – from classroom to classroom and school to school.
08/18/2014 - 10:23am
When first asked by several students to organize a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at the high school where I work, I was reluctant. As a gay teacher who kept his personal life private, I was hesitant to attach myself to the word “gay.” But, won over by their conviction that the LGBTQ students needed a safe and supportive setting to meet, I decided to sponsor the group.
06/19/2014 - 10:26am
Thousands of students in struggling Miami-Dade schools made significant gains in math thanks to temporary educators recruited by a polarizing, alternative teaching agency, according to a new study.

Pass The Chalk: The TFA Blog

St. Louis district leader and TFA alum (Miami '05) outlines the keys to developing a great district.
If you change your mind, then you still have the option to go to college. You need to keep trying.