Consultant for Teach For America
Teach For America
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Kansas City Missouri School District, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Make Move to Bring Selective National Teaching Corps to Kansas City in 2008KANSAS CITY, Mo. , October 3, 2007—
Together with the Kansas City Missouri School District (KCMSD) and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Teach For America announced today its expansion to Kansas City, Mo., with plans to bring up to 50 teachers to the region's highest-need schools for the 2008-09 school year.
Teach For America is the national corps of top college graduates who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity. In its 17-year history, Teach For America has placed 17,000 talented teachers focused on improving student achievement and built a force of more than 12,000 alumni who continue to work within education and from all other sectors to level the playing field for children and families in low-income communities. More than 60 percent of Teach For America alumni remain in the field of education, where they are starting schools, becoming principals and district administrators, and winning accolades as teachers, including two state teacher of the year awards in 2007.
Today, 5,000 Teach For America corps members are teaching in 26 urban and rural regions across the country as part of the organization's ambitious growth plan, which calls for a corps of 7,500 to be teaching in 33 regions by 2010. For the 2008-09 school year, Teach For America plans to field a corps of some 6,000 members in 29 regions, including Kansas City.
Kansas City was chosen as an expansion site based on the support of the school district and community. With an executive director already in place, Teach For America-Kansas City is actively recruiting outstanding college graduates from the region and across the country to teach in KCMSD schools next fall.
Teach For America's expansion to Kansas City has been made possible by a $2.5 million challenge grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, supporting the new site in its first two years. Teach For America-Kansas City has also received generous support from the Hall Family Foundation and Major Brands CEO Todd Epsten.
"The Kansas City Missouri School District continually strives to be an asset to the community and offer a quality education to the next generation of Kansas City's most responsible and productive citizens," said KCMSD Superintendent Anthony Amato. "The Teach For America program and its corps members are a valuable addition to our community, our schools, and our vision for the future."
"The Kauffman Foundation supports innovative programs aimed at improving the academic achievement of Kansas City–area students, especially those who are most disadvantaged," said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. "We are thrilled to be able to bring Teach For America to Kansas City's public schools. Teach For America's approach is a natural fit for our mission of creating tangible results for students that help them grow into productive citizens and leaders."
"Kansas City is an area with great potential for educational reform," said Allyson Jasper, executive director of Teach For America-Kansas City. "We are pleased that the Kansas City Missouri School District and the Kauffman Foundation have invited us to the area to help fulfill that potential and share our vision of providing the opportunity for an excellent education to every child in Kansas City."
The national problem of educational inequity is starkly evident in the Kansas City area. Missouri Assessment Program results show the achievement gap between KCMSD students— approximately 80 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch—and their peers just 30 minutes away in a school district where only 10 percent of students are considered low-income. Less than 29 percent of KCMSD students scored proficient or higher on the MAP communication arts test, compared with 53 percent in the more affluent district.
Jasper has firsthand experience with the challenges facing teachers and students in our country. She joined Teach For America in 2003 as a corps member, teaching elementary special education in St. Louis and Kansas City for four years. She received her master's degree in special education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2005.
Teach For America selects its corps from outstanding recent college graduates and young professionals of all academic majors and career interests. Members of the 2007 corps earned an average GPA of 3.6, and nearly all (95 percent) held leadership positions in their schools or communities. This year's corps members were chosen from a pool of more than 18,000 applicants from some of the country's most respected colleges and universities, including 11 percent of the senior classes at Spelman and Amherst; 10 percent of those at University of Chicago and Duke; and more than 8 percent of the graduating seniors at Notre Dame, Princeton, and Wellesley.
Both Missouri and Kansas are prolific sources for Teach For America corps members. Among last year's applicants were nearly 200 students from the University of Kansas and University of Missouri-Columbia, and more than 7.7 percent (118 students) of the senior class of Washington University in St. Louis.
In addition to receiving intensive training at Teach For America's summer institute, Kansas City corps members will receive ongoing training, professional development, and support from Teach For America throughout their corps commitment.
About Teach For America
Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. This year, more than 5,000 corps members are teaching in over 1,000 schools in 26 regions across the country, and more than 12,000 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