Teach For America and Buffalo Public Schools partner to build capacity in local schools

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, December 23, 2013

Teach For America and Buffalo Public Schools tonight announced a partnership agreement slated to begin next fall. Under the agreement, Teach For America would recruit, train, and develop up to 30 new teachers per year for high-need schools and subject areas in the city’s public schools.

The Buffalo Board of Education voted in support of the partnership by a 6-2 vote at tonight’s board meeting. The measure was carried by board member and vice president of academic achievement Theresa Harris-Tigg.

“We know that we must continue to invest in strengthening our teaching force, particularly to meet the need in high-demand areas like math, science, and English as a second language, as well as in high-need schools,” Harris-Tigg said. “We’re looking forward to tapping into a diverse source of talent to work alongside other committed educators in the BPS.”

Teach For America recruits top college graduates and career-changing professionals to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong advocates for educational equity.

In each year of the new partnership, Teach For America and the BPS would work together to determine the number of Teach For America candidates to be recruited, trained, and developed, based on teacher vacancy, resignation, and retirement projections.

Teach For America teachers would be eligible for open positions at high-need schools and would be hired in accordance with the district’s hiring procedures, which are governed by the Buffalo Teachers Federation collective bargaining agreement. Teach For America teachers would be BTF members.

“I’m pleased to welcome Teach For America to join us in the effort to ensure that all of our students have access to a world-class education that will prepare them for college and careers,” said Superintendent Pamela Brown. “The focus of the organization on intensive in-service coaching and mentorship, as well as their emphasis on building relationships with colleagues, parents, and students will be a tremendous benefit.”

The agreement is the first step toward a multi-year partnership. Teach For America now begins local fundraising efforts in order to recruit, train, and develop teachers for BPS. The first year of the partnership will be funded by a grant donation to the Buffalo Public Schools Foundation by M&T Bank.

“We’re thrilled by this important first step in our partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools and grateful for the support of board members, district leaders, and community members who have welcomed us to Buffalo,” said Katie Campos, managing director of community engagement at Teach For America. “We are eager to get to work alongside the many committed educators, civic leaders, and families here to give local students the excellent education they deserve. We’ll be working over the coming months to ensure all the pieces are in place for our first group of teachers next fall, and we can’t wait for them to get started.”

Teach For America trains more teachers to teach in low-income communities than any other organization or institution in the country. It is also among the nation’s most-studied teacher-preparation programs. The most recent study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, found that Teach For America teachers have a positive impact on student achievement in math. Additionally, earlier this year the Tennessee Higher Education Commission report cardidentified Teach For America as one of the state’s most effective sources of teachers for the fourth consecutive year. These findings are consistent with similar statewide studies in North Carolinaand Louisiana.

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 individuals of all academic disciplines to commit two years to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. Today, 11,000 corps members are teaching in 48 urban and rural regions across the country while 32,000 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. 

About the Buffalo Public Schools

The Buffalo School District is regarded as one of the premiere urban school systems in New York State. Serving 34,000 students in 60 facilities, the district strives to bring exemplary teaching practices and unparalleled opportunities to its diverse student population. More information can be found at www.buffaloschools.org