In the fall of 2010, Christian & Small made the decision to pool its resources and support one of local not-for-profit organization. After a great deal of research and consideration, the firm chose Teach For America – Alabama.
Teach For America is the national corps of top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.
Teach For America’s national network includes more than 8,200 corps members teaching in 39 regions across the country and 20,000 alumni working from within education and many other sectors to create the systemic changes that will help end educational inequity.
In 2010, Teach For America brought 32 teachers to 6 low income rural school districts in Alabama. Two-thirds of these corps members teach secondary math or science because of the extreme need in these districts. Their hard work in the classroom coincides with their dedication outside of the classroom, as many teachers coach sports, found clubs, and lead their students to success at academic competitions throughout Alabama.
In Perry County, a first year corps member partnered with a veteran teacher to found a robotics team, which placed fifth out of 25 schools at its first competition. Additionally, three teachers from three different school districts are partnering with the University of West Alabama, Sumter County Schools and Superintendent Fred Primm, and Indian Springs School to start, plan, and fundraise for High Achievement Summer School. The school will provide four weeks of rigorous English and Math instruction for twenty 8th graders from the Black Belt, in addition to various cultural experiences during their three weeks in Birmingham.
Christian & Small is supporting these corps members through a variety of strategic efforts. For the 2010 Holidays, Christian & Small created a unique giving campaign that provided our clients with the opportunity to support a charitable organization. One of these three organizations was Teach For America – Alabama. More than 100 of our clients chose to support Teach For America and, in turn, helped Teach For America corps members reach approximately 53 students.
In addition to our financial support, Christian & Small team members have found unique ways to partner with corps members through their sponsorship of the 5 teachers in Sumter County. Christian & Small assigned one attorney to work with each corps member to make them feel welcome in Alabama and learn more about what is happening in school districts throughout Alabama.
Through those partnerships, the attorneys at Christian & Small have learned first hand, through classroom visits and conversations with those teachers, about the challenges facing students in rural school districts, and the ways that they work every day to overcome them. As a result of these visits and conversations, Christian & Small organized a firm-wide supply drive that brought ink cartridges, copy paper, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other materials to in-need classrooms. Christian & Small also played host to Teach For America-Alabama’s December professional development Saturday, and hosted a welcome reception for the 2011 incoming Teach for America corps members.
In addition to continuing our work with Teach for America-Alabama, we are partnering with individual TFA teachers bringing amazing opportunities to their classrooms. These include the Birmingham to Beijing project and the Higher Achievement Summer School.
Christian & Small is dedicated to supporting Teach For America’s efforts in Alabama now and for the long run because we believe that only through deep commitment and partnership can we truly ensure that every child in Alabama receives an excellent education.