GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Teach For America in Detroit has launched a $30 million program to invest in and retain more than 700 teachers across the state.

The program, called TeachMichigan, will focus on high-impact teachers in Detroit, Kentwood, Saginaw, Sioux Sainte Marie, Traverse City and Benzie County, according to a release Friday. TeachMichigan aims to develop and retain more than 700 teachers over five years, helping more than 200,000 students in under-resourced schools.

“Research shows that the most important factor in a school for our students is the teacher in the classroom,” said Kevin Polston, superintendent of Kentwood Public Schools. KPS is one of the districts that will partner with TFA Detroit for the new program.

Polston told News 8 that many teachers in Michigan have left the profession.

“Thousands of educators do incredible work every day, and we need to value these educators at a much higher level as a state,” said Armen Gratchian, executive director of TFA Detroit.

Accordingly, Gratchan told News 8 that several years ago, TFA Detroit shifted its focus from hiring teachers to retaining them.

“Our goal is to make the state’s teachers in those particular communities feel valued so that we invest more in them,” Gratchan said.

“We want to honor (teachers’) work, support them so they can make a difference for our kids,” Polston said. “It’s all about our kids.”

Gratchan told News 8 that TeachMichigan hopes to focus on “dedicated educators” who deliver good results for their students and invest in their school communities.

“These are the ones whose doors are open and they’re supporting other teachers, mentoring other teachers in their buildings,” Gratchan said.

Teachers participating in the program will join one of three cohorts. The first will be aimed at new teachers, the second at teachers hoping to become certified, and the third at experienced teachers who would like to become school administrators. Some will be eligible for financial awards and specialized training.

TeachMichigan builds on the successful work of TFA Detroit in the past. It is funded by a $30 million commitment from the state of Michigan, as well as contributions from several other groups.

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