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Bay Area

The Bay Area is the land of innovation—where bold ideas become everyday realities. From liberation movements of the likes of Dolores Huerta, the Black Panthers, and Harvey Milk to technological advancements taking place in Silicon Valley, transformational change starts here.
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About Us

A stark reality exists for too many students in low-income communities here in the Bay. Only nine students in 100 will graduate from college. Pivoting away from a world of luck to a world where every student has access to opportunity is the challenge Teach For America corps members, alumni, and partners are taking on across the Bay Area.

And there is reason to believe this is possible.

The last decade has seen a surge in the number of schools closing the achievement and opportunity gap for students locally and across the country. We have 50 schools locally who are defying the odds for Latinx and Black students from low-income backgrounds.

We now have an entire generation of practitioners who have experienced what it looks like—year after year—to graduate 100 percent of their students, and to have more and more of their students graduate from four year colleges. All of these insights and perspectives are informing our lessons about what it will take to accelerate progress. These insights help make it easier:

  • to amplify the voices of parents who are demanding great schools for their kids
  • to inform policy that’s more responsive to the needs of our students and families
  • to allow the next generation of school leaders to make an impact

We are proud to be part of this growing coalition of leaders collectively refusing to accept the status quo and holding higher expectations for our community schools and systems. 

“When we have outcomes that are as low as we have for low-income kids, I think that’s educational malpractice. And I feel a deep commitment to change that.”

Larissa Adam

Chief Talent Officer, Education for Change Public Schools in Oakland

Bay Area Corps Member 1993

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Our Community

Change is happening across the Bay Area.

Take Richmond, for example. Over two decades ago, the Richmond Unified School District went bankrupt and planned to close all of its schools. Concerned parents, led by Tom Butt, had to sue California to keep the schools open, which required the state to lend the district $29 million. At a 5.7 percent interest rate, however, the district continued to struggle. To help turn the tides, Wendy Gonzalez, a concerned first-year teacher, and others marched to Sacramento on a hunger strike to lower the rates. Even with lowered rates, Richmond became the first district in California—and possibly the nation—to be taken over by the state.

After 21 years of receivership, the district has successfully repaid all of its debt and renamed itself the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD).

Currently, Teach For America alum Matthew Duffy (New York Corps '95) leads WCCUSD as superintendent. He works closely with our United Teachers of Richmond (UTR) President Marissa Glidden (Bay Area Corps '13).

Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has been named the most improved urban school district in the state of California. Longtime community organizer Ron Snyder, executive director of Oakland Community Organizations, believes the bonds Teach For America corps members and alumni have forged with the community have played a vital role in Oakland’s burgeoning turnaround. “They began to work with teachers and parents,” he says of their efforts, “house to house, school to school, church to church—creating an appetite for improvement."

From Oakland to Richmond, South Bay to San Francisco, the Bay Area is ripe for corps members like you to pull up their sleeves and work in tandem with leaders in the community to answer the question, “What does a quality education look like for all students in this community?”

Meet One of our Alums

“For many of us, what started as a two-year commitment has turned into a lifelong mission. Whether in the classroom, or in union and system leadership, or work in education technology, you see a passion among our alumni to do whatever it takes to eliminate the inequities our children face every day.”

Paymon Zarghami

Former Trustee, San Jose Unified School District Board

Bay Area Corps Member 2003

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Living in The Bay Area

The Bay Area is home to approximately 7 million inhabitants spread out across 101 cities within 6,900 square miles filled with mountainous land, beaches, and world-renowned bridges. The geographic scale grants our Bay Area corps members the opportunity to explore and teach in 54 traditional schools and 53 charter schools within Richmond, Oakland, San Francisco, and South Bay.

One of our favorite things about the Bay Area is the cultural wealth that the many residents bring to the land. This rich diversity translates into incredible experiences through art, food, dance, festivals, and more!

A view of San Francisco with fog rolling in.
“You can find me all the way south enjoying the delicious Vietnamese food of San Jose, the nightlife in Oakland, the hip and vibrant scene of Berkeley, or the beautiful sites and parks of San Francisco.”

Ngyuen Huynh

Bay Area Corps Member 2017

Neighborhood Highlights

Corps members teach in Oakland, Richmond, and South Bay. Learn about some of the unique neighborhoods they and their students call home.

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Support Our Work

With support from our generous donors, we recruit, train, and develop teachers to expand learning opportunities for kids in the Bay Area.