Teach For America Welcomes 60 Local Teachers to Classrooms This Fall, Marking 5 Years in South Carolina as the Organization's National Leadership Force Tops 50,000

Diverse and Talented Incoming South Carolina Teaching Corps Joins National 25th-Anniversary Corps of 4,100 Emerging Leaders Committed to Expanding Educational Opportunity

Body

North Charleston, S.C., September 10, 2015—Teach For America will welcome 60 new teachers to local schools this fall as part of its national 25th-anniversary corps of 4,100. As Teach For America in South Carolina marks five years of partnering with the community to expand educational opportunity, the organization’s national leadership force tops 50,000 corps members and alumni across 52 regions.

The incoming national Teach For America corps is as accomplished as ever, and among the most diverse in the organization’s history. By maximizing the diversity of its teaching corps, Teach For America ensures that it is enlisting the country’s top talent, whether they share the backgrounds of students affected by educational inequity or come from backgrounds of privilege. Known for its high admissions standards, Teach For America admitted 15 percent of applicants this year. The incoming national corps has an average GPA of 3.4 and includes more than 50 student-body presidents, more than 165 NCAA Division 1 athletes, more than 90 prestigious scholarship recipients, and more than 50 Phi Beta Kappa members. Wofford University is one of the top providers of corps members among small-sized schools nationally, contributing seven graduates.

Among incoming local corps members, over 20 percent identify as people of color; 16 percent identify as African American; 37 percent come from low-income backgrounds; nearly 25 percent are the first in their family to graduate from college; almost 30 percent applied as professionals or graduate students; over 20 percent have backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, or math; 28 percent have ties to South Carolina; and 2 percent are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces or spouses of active or veteran members of the military.

Teach For America has become an important partner in the local effort to ensure that every child has access to an excellent and equitable education. The organization recruits top college graduates and professionals; prepares them to teach in urban and rural public schools, where they work for at least two years alongside other faculty to make a meaningful difference for their students; and develops them as leaders in education and other fields who are committed to ensuring that our country lives up to its highest ideals for every child.

Teach For America corps members go through the same hiring process and are paid in the same way as other new teachers. Most corps members also receive an AmeriCorps education award, which can be used to repay student loans or certification costs, or to pay for further education costs. Additionally, through AmeriCorps, corps members can put qualified loans into forbearance while teaching.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our fifth group of incoming corps members. This year’s corps is a great group of college graduates, young professionals, and career-changers who are dedicated to seeing strong student achievement in all of South Carolina,” said Josh Bell, executive director of Teach For America–South Carolina. “With even more of our corps members having ties to South Carolina, we look forward to seeing the long-term impact these leaders will make in local communities.”

As it welcomes the new corps of 60, Teach For America–South Carolina is poised to enter its fifth year of partnership in the Palmetto state. Always evolving, the organization’s teacher and leadership development are rooted in the South Carolina communities it serves to help ensure that all of South Carolina’s students have access to a great education. 

"Teach For America corps members and alumni are valuable partners in this work, helping us to meet the needs of our students,” said Craig Washington, principal of Southside Middle School. “We have welcomed corps members who are knowledgeable, professional, and committed to enhancing the learning environment for students. They are not afraid to step outside the box and try innovative strategies and techniques that support today’s learner. Teach for America candidates have been responsible for starting new clubs, and courses at my school like Italian, photography, Google Club, and an award-winning recycling club. Currently, our Teacher of the Year is a Teach For America corps member."            

Nationwide, Teach For America will mark its first quarter-century this fall with a diverse community of 50,000 leaders committed to expanding opportunities for students and addressing the systemic barriers to educational equity. A total of 8,800 Teach For America corps members will be teaching in 52 urban and rural regions while more than 42,000 alumni of the program are working from an array of sectors to ensure that all children have an equal chance in life. Locally, 80 percent of Teach For America alumni work in education, including Cait Clark, who is a fourth year teacher in Marlboro County; Cara Mitchell, who serves as the program director for WINGS for kids; and Ed Chambers, a twenty-plus year veteran educator who teaches English at Columbia High School.

Among new Teach For America corps members nationally, nearly half identify as people of color (compared with less than 20 percent of teachers nationwide); 47 percent come from low-income backgrounds; 34 percent are the first in their family to graduate from college; one-third applied as professionals or graduate students; more than 20 percent have backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, or math; and almost 20 percent will be teaching in the region where they grew up. The national corps includes graduates of nearly 830 colleges and universities across the country.

Teach For America saw a strong and diverse applicant pool of more than 44,000 this year. Applicants hailed from more than 1,800 universities across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.

Teach For America remains one of the country’s most studied educational-leadership-development organizations, with a growing body of research indicating the positive impact of corps members and alumni in classrooms, schools, and communities. 

About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, 8,800 corps members are teaching in 52 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 42,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

###