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DragonsTeach Middle Years

Supported by the Philadelphia School Partnership

Project led by: 

Penny Hammrich, PhD
Mary Jo Grdina, PhD

When the School District of Philadelphia announced a shortage of certified middle school teachers, Drexel answered the call. Building on the success of the DragonsTeach program, Drexel’s School of Education now leads the innovative “DragonsTeach Middle Years” initiative. The program is a true “2 for 1,” Drexel undergraduate students can earn PA teaching certification in grades 4-8 without having to change their major or pay additional tuition. Students gain teaching experience through inquiry-based classes and by completing a student teaching co-op at one of Drexel’s partner schools.

DragonsTeach Middle Years is supported by a $1.2 million grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership. The program aims to graduate 40 teachers per year, putting more certified teachers into the pipeline, and giving Drexel students more career options after they graduate.

Dragons Teach Middle Years was created in partnership with The New Teacher Project (a national leader in practice-based teacher preparation) to directly address the decline in certified teachers, particularly in urban settings. According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the number of students who completed teacher certification programs dropped from nearly 12,000 in 2012, to 8,555 in 2014. The creation of a new “Middle Years” (grade 4-8) certification category in Pennsylvania in 2013 has made this problem particularly acute in middle school. The goal of DragonsTeach Middle Years is to put more high-quality middle school teachers into schools that need them.

Learn more about DragonsTeach Middle Years