115 local teachers supported with 95% tuition funding for M.S. Ed. degrees

115 local teachers supported with 95% tuition funding for M.S. Ed. degrees

Supporting Educators’ Academic Literacies and Enhanced Discourse (SEALED)

October 1, 2017 - September 30, 2020

"The SEALED project is no longer recruiting participants"

The University of Miami (UM) along with partner Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) worked together to support teachers and improve K-12 student learning in schools serving high-needs populations (H-NPs; defined as culturally and linguistically diverse and/or Special Education students) in inclusive, regular, or special education secondary classrooms. The Supporting Educators’ Academic Literacies and Enhanced Discourse (SEALED) Project addressed:

  • Absolute Priority 1: Supporting teachers in effective schools with high concentrations of high-needs students: b) Providing professional development activities to current teachers that will improve pedagogy or content knowledge; and c) Providing professional enhancement activities to teachers, which may include activities that lead to an advanced credential.
  • Competitive Preference Priority 1: Promoting Diversity in the Educator Workforce: a) Providing educator development activities designed to improve cultural competency and responsiveness skills that contribute to an inclusive school culture; and b) Improving the recruitment, support, and retention of educators from diverse backgrounds.
  • Competitive Preference Priority 2: Support for Personalized Learning Environments: Improving teachers’ college and career ready strategies to: a) systematically use student data to inform instructional decisions; and b) increasing students’ engagement, voice, and choice in their learning

This project builds on a similar effort during 2002-2007 in which UM and M-DCPS collaborated to implement an Applied Graduate Education (AGE) model of professional development, including job-embedded support to practicing teachers enrolled in a Reading/ESOL M.S. Ed. program. The SEALED Project included a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the AGE model, and incorporated focal areas for course curriculum and classroom implementation: Engagement, Culturally Relevant Teaching Practices, Academic Literacies (including Discourse), Problem-based Learning, and Data-driven Instruction. Learn more about the SEALED Project here.


  1. Recruit 120 practicing teachers (60/cohort during Years 1 and 2) in targeted schools to enroll in UM’s Education and Social Change, TESOL, or Special Education M.S. Ed. programs;
  2. Provide job-embedded supports to 60 randomly selected participating teachers (30 per cohort) to empirically investigate M.S. Ed. programs as teacher professional development;
  3. Improve teachers’ knowledge and practices of reading/academic literacy instruction for HNPs, emphasizing data-driven, culturally responsive, and problem-based learning driven by the Florida Standards;
  4. Improve H NPs’ academic achievement and engagement in school and community;
  5. Better understand the obstacles and affordances of teacher-H-NP engagement practices;
  6. Quasi-experimental study of M.S. Ed. degree programs.


Dr. Mary A. Avalos, Project Director/PI, University of Miami, Teaching and Learning Department, P. O. Box 248065, Coral Gables, FL 33124; 305-284-6467, mavalos@miami.edu