Local Teachers Join Record National Corps of 4,100—the Largest in the Organization’s 20-Year History
DALLAS, May 27, 2009—Teach For America today announced that it will bring in nearly 100 new teachers this fall for the city’s highest-need public schools. These teachers, who will teach in the Dallas Independent School District and Uplift Education charter schools, are among 4,100 new Teach For America corps members, representing the largest incoming corps in the organization’s 20-year history. Teach For America corps members commit to teach for at least two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity.
Dallas will be the third Texas site for Teach For America, which has been placing teachers in Houston and the Rio Grande Valley since 1991. Including these three sites, corps members will teach this year in 34 regions across the United States. Dallas is one of six new Teach For America sites for 2009, along with Boston; Milwaukee; Nashville, Tenn.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Wilmington, Del. The 100 corps members in Dallas will reach more than 6,000 students.
“We are thrilled to welcome Teach For America’s corps members to Dallas,” said Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “Putting outstanding teachers in the classroom is the most important thing we can do to ensure that all students succeed. I look forward to Teach For America’s teachers joining our community’s efforts to increase student achievement.”
Teach For America recruits corps members on more than 450 college campuses, seeking graduating seniors and recent graduates from all academic majors and backgrounds who have demonstrated outstanding achievement, perseverance, and leadership. Dallas’s new corps members participated in a highly selective admissions process after a record 35,000 individuals applied to join Teach For America. At more than 130 colleges and universities, more than 5 percent of the senior class applied, including 11 percent of all seniors at Ivy League universities and 8 percent of those at Rice University. At Southern Methodist University, the number of seniors applying rose 33 percent from last year.
“We’re excited to bring 100 of our nation’s most promising future leaders to teach in Dallas, where they will join other results-oriented educators to expand opportunities for the city’s students,” said Wendy Kopp, founder and chief executive officer of Teach For America. “These talented new teachers will impact Dallas’s students, and down the road, will apply their insight and experience to lead efforts for fundamental, lasting change in our education system and our communities.”
Incoming Teach For America corps members earned an average GPA of 3.6 and a combined SAT score of 1333. The fastest-growing segment of corps members are college graduates who are looking to transition from other professional jobs into education. Almost one-third of the incoming corps are people of color, and one-quarter received Pell Grants. Nearly 10 percent are African-Americans, which is double the African-American enrollment at the colleges where Teach For America primarily recruits.
“Teach For America has already made a significant impact in raising student achievement in the Rio Grande Valley, in Houston, and across the country, and I am excited that today we are announcing that Teach For America will be bringing its successful formula of teacher recruitment, training, and support to Dallas to work with our own excellent teaching force to close the achievement gap,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. “As a longtime supporter, I am so pleased to see one of the most successful education programs in America coming here to Dallas.”
A broad coalition of community groups and local philanthropists, together with leaders from the Dallas Independent School District and Uplift Education, made Dallas an ideal location for Teach For America. The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of Texas; the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation; the Meadows Foundation; and Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. “Rusty” and Deedie Rose III are the founding investors in Teach For America’s Dallas site, pledging $1.5 million, $750,000, $600,000, and $900,000, respectively. The state of Texas also supported Teach For America’s Dallas expansion with a recent award of $4 million per year for the next two years to support the organization’s work in Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, and Dallas.
Significant support is also being provided by the Boone Family Foundation; the Rees-Jones Foundation; the Mike and Mary Terry Family Foundation; the Wachovia Foundation, Inc.; ExxonMobil Foundation; FedEx; GMAC; Jones Day; and the Abe Zale Foundation. Individuals supporting Teach For America’s expansion to Dallas include Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert J. and Tricia Besing, Mr. and Mrs. Todd and Abby Williams, Mr. and Mrs. George T. and Cathy Manning, Mr. and Mrs. J. and Beth Puckett, and Mr. and Mrs. J. McDonald “Don” and Ellen Williams.
“Teach For America is attracting and placing literally thousands of our nation’s brightest and most passionate young people into classrooms across the country, which is where we need them most,” said Todd Williams, a partner at Goldman Sachs who founded Williams Preparatory School in Dallas with his wife, Abby, and Uplift Education. “Abby and I have been thrilled to play a small part in bringing this outstanding organization to our community. We can’t wait to see both the near-term and long-term impact that these educators will have on our city’s children.”
Southern Methodist University will host Teach For America’s Dallas orientation this summer and provide corps members with opportunities for advanced degrees and professional development through the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. This partnership was made possible by the support of the Simmons School’s dean, Dr. David J. Chard.
Teach For America has named Charles Glover, a native of College Station and graduate of Texas A&M University, as founding executive director of Teach For America-Dallas. Glover was a Teach For America corps member in Durham, N.C., where he led his students to achieve significant academic gains and delivered district test scores 35 percent higher than those of all other social studies teachers in his school and among the highest in the district. Additionally, Glover served on the Durham Public Schools Middle School Reform Team, and as his school’s assistant head football coach, helped lead the team to a district championship while they maintained an overall GPA of 3.0. Most recently, he attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education to earn his master’s in education policy and management.
“I am inspired by the dedication that this community has to its schools and the students who attend them. It will be an honor to welcome our first group of corps members to Dallas this summer, where they will join many committed educators to ensure that all of our students have the educational opportunities they deserve,” Glover said. “With hard work and a passion for service, I know these corps members can make a real and lasting difference for our city’s students while having a positive impact on their academic and life trajectories.”
A growing body of research on Teach For America demonstrates the effectiveness of corps members in the classroom. In March, the Urban Institute released updated data from a 2008 study of the impact of Teach For America corps members teaching high school in North Carolina. The update, which employed larger sample sizes, confirmed that Teach For America teachers have a positive effect on student achievement relative to other teachers, including experienced teachers, traditionally prepared teachers, and those fully certified in their field.
Dallas’s new corps members will also contribute to the long-term impact of Teach For America alumni locally. Dallas is already home to more than 70 Teach For America alumni, including three teachers at KIPP TRUTH Academy, the city’s first KIPP school. Of the 14,400 Teach For America alumni across the United States, more than 380 are school principals or superintendents, over 500 work in government or policy, and more than 20 serve as elected officials.
About 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 2008-09 school year, 6,200 corps members are teaching in over 1,600 schools in 29 regions across the country while more than 14,000 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. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.
Contact: Kerci Marcello Stroud
Teach For America