Teach for America – Alabama’s corporate partners and local donors are integral to ensuring that we are able to continue bringing phenomenal teachers and talent to the most in-need school districts across the state. As we close out another successful school year, it is a great time for community members and other supporters to meet our teachers and hear more about their work.
Tomorrow, many teachers, civic leaders and community supporters will gather together for Teach for America – Alabama’s 2014 Donor Reception to celebrate our 2013-14 teachers’ and their good work and to welcome new corps members. With the help of companies like Christian & Small, one of Teach for America – Alabama’s major corporate partners and our event co-hosts, we continue to work toward our mission to make sure ALL students in Alabama have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.
Christian & Small believes in this mission at its core. The firm has shown a high level of commitment to ensuring that Alabama students are afforded opportunities through its tireless support of many Teach for America – Alabama endeavors. In addition to being nonstop advocates for teachers and students, the firm has been a champion to our organization since we began working in Alabama in 2010 and has connected us to several other businesses and individuals that have been instrumental in helping us match our districts’ needs.
In addition to hosting this annual event, Christian & Small attorneys have led the way in terms of rolling up their sleeves and working alongside our teachers. They have supported additional initiatives teachers have created for their students such as the Birmingham to Beijing Project, the Higher Achievement Summer School program and the recent re-launching of the Carver Debate Team. Additionally, Christian & Small’s Nonstop Advocates Holiday Campaign and yearly corporate gift have allowed us to support at least two new teachers each year.
Over the past four years, Teach for America – Alabama has seen significant growth:
- 2010: 30 corps members, 6 districts, 1,900 students impacted
- 2011: 74 corps members, 9 districts, 7,700 students impacted
- 2012: 110 corps members, 11 districts, 13,800 students impacted
- 2013: 148 corps members, 11 districts, 19,000 students impacted
Since its founding in 1990, Teach For America (TFA) has impacted more than 4 million students across the United States through our 43,000 corps members and alumni. Five years ago, community leaders identified TFA as part of the solution to the educational challenges in Alabama. We have made great strides since then, and next year we plan to train and support 65 new teachers, for a total of 149 teachers who will make significant gains with the state’s most in-need students – those who live in poverty and whose schools operate daily without the most basic of resources.
At Teach for America – Alabama, we have three main priorities:
- The first is to recruit a talented and diverse corps. Our goal is for 50 percent of our incoming corps members to be either Alabama natives or to share the background of the students in the communities we serve.
- Secondly, we aim to maximize the impact of corps members on student achievement so that Alabama students graduate from high school ready for college. We measure student achievement in multiple ways including teacher-created assessments, school-wide assessments, and state and national assessments.
- And finally, we want to foster the leadership of our alumni as a force for change by building an engaged alumni base in Alabama. We currently have 113 TFA alums living in Alabama, with more than 60 still engaged in education in some capacity (teaching, policy, law, etc.). Our goal is to increase our alumni base in the state to more than 150 next year.
We’ve had six teachers named Teacher of the Year for their respective schools, and many teachers are engaged in extracurricular activities (coaching sports, debate teams, etc.). Many of our corps members and alumni also give up their free time to create and maintain summer learning opportunities like the R.I.S.E UP Summer Academy college prep program in Montgomery, a six-week ACT program in Huntsville called the STEM Summer Institute, as well as the Higher Achievement Summer School in Birmingham.
We are so thankful to all of our corporate partners, local donors and community supporters for their assistance as we work to achieve educational excellence throughout Alabama, and we look forward to celebrating those who help make this possible at tomorrow’s reception at historic Woodrow Hall in Woodlawn, a block away from our Birmingham office.
In the coming year, we’ll be celebrating Teach For America – Alabama’s fifth anniversary, and we look forward to many more successful years to come!