Teach For America Launches New Site in Seattle-Tacoma, Joining Local Efforts to Expand Educational Opportunity


Seattle, WA, January 19, 2011 - National Nonprofit To Bring Dedicated Teachers to Highest-Need Schools This Fall

For Immediate Release

Contact: Rebecca Neale | Teach For America
202.906.9207 | rebecca.neale@teachforamerica.org

SEATTLE, January 18, 2011— Teach For America announced today that it is expanding to Seattle-Tacoma, with plans to bring at least 35 top college graduates to teach in some of the area's highest-need schools for the 2011-12 school year. Teach For America recruits, trains, and supports outstanding recent graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in under-resourced schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity.

Teach For America's charter Seattle teaching corps could be as large as 50 if additional school district partnerships and funding commitments are secured this spring.

“Across the nation, shortages of math and science teachers are forcing school districts to use creative strategies to search for highly qualified staff,” said Robert Neu, superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools. “Teach For America provides a strategy for Federal Way Public Schools to identify certificated teachers in the areas that we need.”

“We want to welcome Teach for America to the Seattle-Tacoma region,” said Dr. Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. “Teach for America is an excellent resource that will help us strengthen and deepen the hiring pool to ensure we can hire the best teachers to close the achievement gap at our low-performing schools — a key element of our strategic plan, Excellence for All.”

In its 20th anniversary year, Teach For America fielded 4,500 corps members from an applicant pool of more than 46,000 to teach in urban and rural school districts across 31 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 250 Teach For America corps members from Washington State are teaching in other Teach For America regions across the country.

“We're thrilled to expand Teach For America's impact to the Seattle-Tacoma area and to build on the region's strong commitment to closing the achievement gap,” said Wendy Kopp, chief executive officer and founder of Teach For America. “We are also grateful for the generosity of all of our community partners and supporters, whose efforts will enable us to strengthen the pipeline of leaders working across the Puget Sound to ensure that every child receives an excellent education.”

Teach For America selected Seattle-Tacoma as its first expansion site for the coming school year based on the community's remarkable leadership and innovative vision for closing the academic achievement gap, and on support across the region that will enable Teach For America's presence to be sustained over time. Teach For America corps members will apply for open positions in high-need schools in the Seattle and Federal Way school districts.

A broad coalition of supportive community groups, corporations, local philanthropists, and school leaders made Seattle-Tacoma an ideal location for Teach For America. The organization has raised nearly $5 million to date, thanks in large part to lead investors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bezos Foundation, Raikes Foundation, The Seattle Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, philanthropists Ali and Hadi Partovi and Susan and Jeff Brotman.

“Teach For America has a 20-year track record of recruiting effective teachers for high-need classrooms,” said Lisa Macfarlane, co-founder of the League of Education Voters. “We know that excellent teachers are key to a student's academic success, and we're thrilled that Teach For America will bring more excellent teachers to our classrooms.”

Teach For America corps members will be certified teachers upon entering the classroom this fall, and they will enroll in continuing education classes at a partnering local university. Teach For America is in conversations with universities in the Puget Sound area in order to secure this partnership.

A growing body of rigorous research demonstrates that Teach For America corps members are highly effective in the classroom. In 2010, the Tennessee State Board of Education found that Teach For America teachers in the state made a statistically significant, positive difference on student achievement in every evaluated subject, and had a greater impact on student achievement than other new teachers. A 2010 study from the University of North Carolina found that corps members added the equivalent of an extra half-year of learning in middle school mathematics. Additionally, an Urban Institute study published in 2008 and updated in 2009 found that high school students taught by Teach For America teachers outperformed their peers, even those taught by fully certified teachers.

Teach For America's network includes more than 20,000 alumni across the country who are working from within education and every other professional sector to level the playing field for children and families in low-income communities. Washington State is home to nearly 350 Teach For America alumni. Nationally, more than 13,000 Teach For America alumni remain in education, with more than 550 serving as principals and school leaders. Additionally, hundreds of alumni are winning accolades in the classroom, including the 2005 National Teacher of the Year and nearly 550 others who have been named teacher of the year at the state, district, or school level.

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, more than 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.

Additional Remarks from Supporters

“The Bezos Family Foundation is honored to help bring Teach For America to the Seattle area. We are confident that students will benefit greatly from the energy and commitment these teachers will bring to their classrooms.” —Jackie Bezos, president, The Bezos Family Foundation

“Bringing Teach For America to Seattle is a critical step forward toward ensuring that every child has excellent teachers who will prepare them to excel in college and beyond. Susan and I welcome them to Seattle and look forward to seeing the positive impact they will have in the lives of students.” —Jeff Brotman, co-founder and chairman of the board, Costco Wholesale

“Teach For America teachers bring innovation and energy to their classrooms, and a commitment to ensuing the academic success of their students. My brother, Ali, and I are honored to offer our support for Teach For America’s expansion to Seattle and their efforts to help provide every child with an excellent education.” —Hadi Partovi, entrepreneur and philanthropist

“Teach For America brings diverse, driven young leaders to high-need classrooms who can serve as mentors and examples of what's possible through education and hard work. The Raikes Foundation is proud to be a part of the movement to bring innovative solutions to Seattle to help prepare students for success in college and in life.” —Tricia Raikes, co-founder, Raikes Foundation

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 movement to end educational inequity. Today, 10,600 corps members are teaching in 50 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 37,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.