For Immediate Release
City Leaders, The Mind Trust and Lilly Endowment join Teach For America to expand educational opportunity for students of Indianapolis Public Schools
INDIANAPOLIS, September 24, 2007—Together with the city’s top leaders, Teach For America announced today that it is expanding to Indianapolis, with plans to bring up to 50 top recent college graduates to teach in the city’s highest-need schools next fall. Teach For America received a warm welcome from Mayor Bart Peterson, Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eugene White and The Mind Trust Chief Executive Officer David Harris.
Teach For America is a national corps of top college graduates who commit two years to teach in under-resourced 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, committed teachers 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 2007 State Teacher of the Year Awards in two states.
Currently, 5,000 Teach For America corps members are teaching in 26 urban and rural regions across the country, and the organization is in the midst of an ambitious, five-year growth plan that 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 place some 6,000 corps members in 28 regions, including Indianapolis.
“I am excited to welcome Teach For America and its corps members to Indianapolis,” said Mayor Peterson. “Our city has been working hard to become a leader in education reform. I believe Teach For America corps members will play a key role in helping us positively impact our city’s highest-need students and make a lasting difference in education in our city.”
Teach For America selected Indianapolis as an expansion site based on the support of community partners, the willingness of the school district to adopt new programs and the potential for corps members to impact underserved students, not only as teachers, but also as alumni working to effect broader changes to increase academic achievement in the city’s public schools. Indianapolis Public Schools, which serves more than 37,000 students, has a high school graduation rate of 52 percent, according to the Indiana Department of Education. In contrast, the nearby Carmel Clay Schools has a graduation rate of 91 percent.
“Indianapolis Public Schools has embraced Teach For America as part of its strategy to ensure that all of its students have the opportunities they deserve,” said Wendy Kopp, founder and chief executive officer of Teach For America. “We are extremely grateful for the incredible support we have received from Mayor Peterson, Dr. White, Lilly Endowment and The Mind Trust. That support enables us to fuel their reform efforts by building a new pipeline of talented teachers and education leaders.”
The Mind Trust provided more than $2 million to support the expansion of Teach For America to Indianapolis Public Schools, with principal support coming from Lilly Endowment. Additional support was provided by the United Way of Central Indiana and local businessmen Randall Tobias and Rollin Dick.
“Lilly Endowment has long viewed education as one of the keystones of personal, civic and economic success,” said Sara B. Cobb, vice president for education at the Endowment. “We are pleased to support this collaborative effort to enhance the educational prospects for students in our community. We also are enthused that these distinguished Teach For America corps members will have an opportunity to call Indianapolis home.”
“Real change in education requires the right leadership, commitment and high expectations for students,” said Harris. “Teach For America embodies these values and has changed the face of public education across the country. Their expansion to Indianapolis is a great thing.”
With Mayor Peterson’s award winning education initiative and Dr. White establishing himself as one of nation’s most forward-thinking school leaders, Indianapolis is leading the charge to improve education. “Indianapolis has become a proving ground for some of the newest and most exciting ideas in education reform,” said Dr. White. “This time next year, Teach For America corps members will join us in our mission to become a model urban school system that is focused on tangible results and guided by standards of excellence.”
Teach For America selects its corps from top 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 (93 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 more than 8 percent of the graduating seniors at Notre Dame and more than 10 percent of those at Amherst, Dartmouth, Spelman, and Yale. More than 100 members of the 2007 corps come from Indiana institutions of higher education, including DePauw University, Purdue University and Indiana University-Bloomington.
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.