Teach For America
Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for at least two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. In the 2009-10 school year, more than 7,300 corps members will teach in over 1,600 schools in 35 regions across the country while nearly 17,000 Teach For America alumni continue working from inside and outside the field of education for the fundamental changes necessary to ensure educational excellence and equity.
Teach For America's Charlotte region has played a significant role in reforming public education in North Carolina since 2004. In that time, hundreds of Teach For America teachers, called corps members, have taught in underserved schools in Charlotte, changing the life prospects of thousands of students. Teach For America will place more than 100 new teachers this fall in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district, reaching thousands of students in more than 50 local schools.
With the help of community leaders and generous donors like Speedway Children's Charities, Teach For America has been able to place corps members like Justin Yan and Tara Harrington in classrooms in some of Charlotte's most underserved schools. With the support of his fellow teachers, Justin revived his school's science fair after a five-year hiatus, engaging his students in the process of creating their own experiments. His students excelled, including one sixth grader who began the school year comprehending science at a third-grade level and finished the year working at a seventh grade level. Tara, a high school biology teacher, helped 95 percent of her students reach proficiency on the end-of-course test, nearly triple the rate for the previous year.
Beyond their impact in the classroom, Teach For America alumni in North Carolina are working as teachers, principals, and leaders who continue to advocate for children and families in the state's lowest-income communities. Aaron Pomis (Eastern N.C. Corps '02) is the founding science teacher at KIPP Charlotte, a public charter school focused on sending students from low-income communities to college. As a School Board Fellow for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, he wrote a report on the needs of teachers in Charlotte's low-performing schools. Lela Baldwin (Eastern N.C. Corps '97) is principal of Granville County's Creedmoor Elementary School which is exceeding state averages in multiple subject areas.
In America today, 9-year-olds growing up in low-income communities are already three grade levels behind their peers in high-income communities. Half of them won't graduate from high school by the time they're 18, and those who do will read and do math, on average, at the level of eighth graders in high-income communities. Teach For America believes this unequal outcome in education is our nation's greatest injustice and are honored to support Speedway Children's Charities' mission to give children who, without help, would have limited or no opportunities. By 2010, Teach For America will have placed nearly 500 teachers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and produced more than 350 alumni leaders in the state, giving more than 50,000 students the educational opportunities they deserve. Speedway Children's Charities is playing an in important role in helping Teach For America work toward its vision that one day all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.
For more information about Teach For America - Charlotte, please visit: www.teachforamerica.org/about/regions/charlotte.