There is an urgent need for excellent teachers in Charlotte. High-poverty schools in Charlotte face an acute teacher shortage. In fact, there were over 450 teacher vacancies across CMS about a month before the first day of the 2018-19 school year.
Teach For America-Charlotte works to fulfill Charlotte’s urgent need for educators by finding, developing, and supporting a diverse network of leaders who expand opportunity for children. Research at the state and county level has found that teachers recruited and trained by TFA are the most effective in the state.
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In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Teach For America's collective network of 700 corps members and alumni impact more than 25,000 students every day – 1 in 3 low-income students in CMS.
Students taught by TFA-Charlotte educators have significant academic growth, and TFA teachers are held to rigorous standards for their students’ achievement. As an example, in the 2016-17 school year, TFA teachers grew their students an average of 1.3 academic years in one school year. Currently, 17 TFA alumni serve as principals and assistant principals in CMS, and TFA's network of leaders have proven to be a consistent, reliable source of talent to Charlotte’s education landscape.
“We have a strong network of leaders who have proximity to the problem of educational inequity and its complexity", said Crystal Rountree, TFA-Charlotte's Executive Director. "Whether it’s teaching and leading at CMS, Project LIFT, the Beacon Initiative, Heart Tutoring, Profound Gentlemen, DigiBridge, Read Charlotte, or Renaissance West – you can find a Teach For America corps member or alumni at the heart of all of Charlotte’s key educational initiatives. Given their strong desire to shift our educational system beyond the status quo by demonstrating what’s possible, our network of corps members and alumni – in partnership with many others at their schools and in our city more broadly – are poised to lead the next chapter towards educational equity in our community.”
TFA-Charlotte is part of the larger Teach For America movement of recent college graduates who commit to two years of teaching in low-income communities. TFA was founded in 1989 and now has an alumni base of 50,000, 65% of whom work full-time in education. TFA nationally has a rigorous selection process focused on leadership ability, perseverance and a deep commitment to expand opportunities for students.
Nationally, TFA’s goal is to end educational inequity, such that 95% of children growing up in low-income communities graduate from high school prepared for success in college and career. TFA knows that potential is equally distributed across lines of race and class, but opportunity is not. Too often, the circumstances of a child’s birth predict the opportunities she has in life. While no single solution is sufficient to bring about an equitable and excellent education for all children, a great teacher can make a significant difference.
Since 2008, The Belk Foundation has invested $490,000 in TFA-Charlotte.