Teach For America to recruit and train record number of math and science teachers in Houston with $125,000 grant from ExxonMobil

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kaitlin Gastrock | Teach For America
646.315.1396 | kaitlin.gastrock@teachforamerica.org

HOUSTON, February 7, 2011 – Students at an HISD Apollo 20 school will get a rare opportunity to learn math from a geoscientist on Tuesday when ExxonMobil announces a grant to help Teach For America attract and train more math and science teachers in high demand.

Houston’s Teach For America will receive $125,000 from the ExxonMobil Foundation to recruit, train and support science and math educators in Houston schools.

The grant will help draw more Teach For America educators like those at HISD’s Dowling Middle School, where 6th grade math teacher Imani Gooden will welcome Stephen M. Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company, on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 10:30 a.m. The duo will work together with students on a hands-on math lesson.  Dowling is located at 14000 Stancliff, 77045.

Ms. Gooden decided to teach after her own “wake-up call” when she discovered her high school education had not adequately prepared her for the rigor of college. “I felt cheated,” she said of her experience. “I did really well in high school and then I went to college and that success didn’t transfer. It became apparent that I was very far behind, especially weak in math and science. So when Teach For America offered me the chance to help students get college-ready in those critical subjects, it resonated and I jumped at the opportunity.”

Houston schools welcomed a record 300 new teachers like Ms. Gooden this fall, boosting the number of local Teach For America teachers to more than 500 in classrooms today.  Together, these teachers will impact more than 38,000 students, including nearly 14,000 secondary math and science students, in Houston’s highest-need schools this school year.

“Innovative and highly skilled math and science teachers are vital to the next generation’s success,” said Greenlee.  “Teach For America teachers step up to go into schools in most need and help students prepare to meet and exceed the challenges of college and careers that await them.  ”

The ExxonMobil Foundation will also give $125,000 each to Teach For America in Dallas, Washington, D.C., and South Louisiana, for a $500,000 grant total.

“We are proud to recruit many of the top emerging leaders in our nation’s universities to work as dedicated educators in public schools,” said Terry Bruner, executive director at Teach For America-Houston. “ExxonMobil’s grant will help recruit and train talented math and science teachers to Houston’s low-income middle schools. From professional development to one-on-one mentoring and more, the training for our teachers will be invaluable to support them in the classroom.”

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, there is a 27-point gap in math skills between low-income students and their higher income peers in the eighth grade.  Independent research has repeatedly shown that Teach For America teachers have a positive impact on their students’ achievement, particularly in math and science.

About ExxonMobil Foundation

ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of the Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States.  ExxonMobil supports initiatives to improve math and science education at the K-12 and higher education levels.  Additional information on ExxonMobil’s community partnerships and contributions programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.

About Teach For America

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. Today 8,200 corps members are teaching in 39 regions across the country while 20,000 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.