Join a community of innovative educators and limitless learners who are passionate about creating opportunities for kids in Nashville-Chattanooga.
In many ways, Nashville is a tale of two cities. On the one hand, Nashville is famous for its world-class music, food, and arts scene; we’re sometimes called the “Athens of the South” given our incredible local institutions of higher education, including a plethora of iconic historically black colleges and universities; we’re experiencing unprecedented economic and population growth as the nation’s “It City!” On the other hand, grave inequity persists here. Our economically disadvantaged students have an average ACT score of 17, and we have one of the biggest achievement gaps in the country when compared to the U.S’s 100 biggest cities. In short, far too often, demography predicts destiny for Nashville’s children. We view this as the moral crisis of our time.
Chattanooga, our newest placement community, shares a similar profile. Often referred to as “Scenic City” for its rivers, mountains, and trails, Chattanooga is a city experiencing tremendous population growth as the fourth largest city in Tennessee and the second-fastest growing big city in the state. A revitalized waterfront area and a billion dollar investment in downtown, Chattanooga is attracting young professionals, innovators, and the most creative minds from across the country. Home to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and to the fastest internet service in the western hemisphere, a thriving innovation business district and a booming downtown along the Tennessee River, Chattanooga has a lot to offer. Chattanooga also has a widening educational equity gap experienced by students along lines of race and class. The average ACT score for economically disadvantaged students in Chattanooga is 17, and 60% of Chattanooga third graders do not read on grade level. In 2018, Chattanooga saw many of its schools surface on the state’s priority list, being deemed some of the lowest performing schools in the state. The effects of systemic poverty and institutionalized racism continue to impact Chattanooga and its residents.
One Vision, One Region
Despite the challenges that both communities face, at TFA Nashville-Chattanooga, we know there is another way. Our TFA network in Nashville-Chattanooga now numbers over 1,000. Our nearly 500 corps member and alumni teachers score among the highest in the state year over year in leading their students to incredible academic growth. Our 26 public school principals lead some of the most game-changing schools in the state. For nearly a decade Teach For America has expanded opportunities to students and families in Nashville and will leverage that decade’s long history to support students and families in Chattanooga.
We work closely with Metropolitan Nashville schools and Hamilton County Public Schools to ensure that our corps members teach in schools where the need for excellent teachers is most critical. For instance, our corps members in Chattanooga work at schools that are a part of the Opportunity Zone, the 12 lowest performing schools in the district, to ensure that our efforts are placed where there is the highest need.
More than 150 corps members currently teach in more than 70 schools across Metro Nashville and Chattanooga. On average, 83 percent of students in our placement schools qualify for free or reduced lunch, and 17 percent of the students we serve are English language learners. In 2017, Teach For America Nashville-Chattanooga, in partnership with the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, expanded the Nashville Summer Academies to include middle school students, providing high-quality summer learning experiences to over 400 students while serving as a training institute for new corps members. Now in its fourth year of operation, the 2017 Summer Academy led students to grow 2.8 months in reading and recover 110 credits needed for high school graduation through a five-week summer learning program free of charge to Nashville students.
Nashville students achieved an ACT score in 2016 indicating preparedness for college or a career
Fourth grade Nashville students reading at or above grade level