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TFA in the Community – Preparing for a New School Year – TFA

TFA in the Community – Preparing for a New School Year

September 1, 2021 by TFA Staff

Teach For America Metro Atlanta | Summer Impact Report | August 30th, 2021

Reimagining Teacher Training
The disruption caused by the pandemic led to significant shifts to our pre-service offering and accelerated innovations already underway in our approach to literacy, Special Education, DEI, and teacher wellness. What used to be a six-week experience (“Institute”) has been replaced by a 5-month pre-service experience that integrates virtual and live elements and continues through the first 90 days in the classroom. 

This summer, 47 incoming Teach For America Metro Atlanta corps members provided in-person instruction to 240 students, working alongside 48 educators through our summer school partnership with KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools and The Kindezi Schools. Our collective network of support led to student growth, teacher development, and broadly kindled a flame to ensure all children receive a quality education. When asked about their summer experience and connection to their corps, one 2021 corps member shared, “I had a great summer experience. The sessions and assignments were intense, but valuable. I learned a plethora of information that I was able to apply practically. This helped me to bridge the gap between knowing the information and teaching/implementing it through practice.”

Join us on September 21st, 2021 at 12pm for a virtual gathering with our executive director, Dave Howland, and head of program, Nautrie Jones, to learn more about Teach For America’s approach to teacher training and support. RSVP today at bit.ly/tfateachertraining.

Diversifying the Teacher Workforce

The 2021 Teach For America Metro Atlanta corps is a diverse, committed, equity-oriented group of dynamic leaders who, despite the uncertainty and challenges at hand, are inspired to make an impact in classrooms and communities across metro Atlanta. While only 21% of all teachers identify as people of color nationally, 68% of our 2021 Teach For America corps members in metro Atlanta identify as people of color. 79% of our 2021 corps members identify as coming from an under-represented background, meaning an individual identifies either as a person of color, from a low-income background, or is a first-generation college graduate. 

Fostering Safe & Inclusive Learning Environments

As schools reopened over the last few weeks, corps members and alumni have been prioritizing relationship-building with students and families. They are utilizing social emotional learning tools and mindsets, trauma-informed and anti-racist approaches to classroom management, and research-based tools and resources in order to create safe and inclusive learning environments. 

Meagan Naraine ‘17 and Tamir Mickens ‘14 are incorporating their students’ experiences into their science lessons at Banneker High School in Fulton County.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was an unforeseen challenge for us, however we found that it also allowed our creativity to bloom. It gave us the time to create engaging and inclusive content that we knew would keep our student demographic hooked. As we return to the classroom, we want to reach more students than just our own, so we launched our channel, Culturally Relevant Science (CRSCI). This online science platform intends to combat the underrepresentation various students currently feel in science by telling their stories, by making science affordable, and by including scientists relatable to them. ”

Anna Shutley ‘21 and Zjahkeria Russell ‘21 prioritize building a strong community and personal connections with their students at Forest Park High School in Clayton County at the start of the school year.

“Students are coming out of a year that was extremely difficult in every aspect, and even though we are back in school, we are not out of that difficult period yet, despite what we hoped. Our primary focus these first few weeks of school has been getting to know our students through games and team building activities, and making opportunities during each class for students’ voices and opinions to be heard. We built our classroom expectations together, and brainstormed with each other how we can show compassion to our classmates and how we can be good “citizens” of our classrooms. Re-engaging students in social activities and letting them just talk and share stories with the class is more important in these early days than rushing through content. Both of our classrooms are built on the value of being in community with each other, whatever that looks like this year.” 

Drew Fuller and the team at John Lewis Invictus Academy partner with community leaders and organizations to remove barriers to Scholars’ education.

“As a school team we have made it our mission to serve scholars who need us the most. We are heavily invested in partnering with our community leaders and organizations to remove barriers that our families experience. We believe that providing a loving environment where your essential needs are met and maximized with love that transformational change will happen. As a leader I aim to empower amazing teachers to foster a culture that allows our scholars to smile at the challenges of NOW. We as a school community believe that #NOW (no other way) is the urgency we must have to change the outcomes for scholars in our community. The village of the Bankhead community is of rich tradition and we owe it to our scholars and families to pay it forward.”

Support Our Work

To support our work, donate today at www.teachforamerica.org/donate. Read our 2020 Annual Report or reach out to our head of development, Renee Archawski, at renee.archawski@teachforamerica.org to learn more about our impact and ways to get involved.