Some Thoughts and Updates on Normandy and Riverview Gardens

Happy first week of school for so many of you! Whether you’re in the classroom, in other roles in our schools or working from other sectors, we know all of us have been feeling the energy as kids head back and our newest corps members get under way.

With all the first day excitement, this year’s back to school season has also brought considerable anxiety around the situation in Normandy and Riverview Gardens, where the possibility of student transfers has raised concerns not just for those kids who choose to leave but for those who opt to stay. We have certainly been feeling this at the TFA office and I wanted to share a quick update on what we know now and what we’ll explore moving forward.

Our team is working to be part of productive conversations around this situation in two ways. First, because this change has significant implications for our students, we have been coordinating with partners across the city to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to advocate for our kids, wherever they choose to enroll. You may have seen our editorial in a recent Post-Dispatch that served as our collective declaration of belief in all kids.

Second, along with the best interest of students, recent coverage has focused on the financial implications of the transfers. It has been suggested that, as students leave and money follows, districts will struggle to make ends meet. It’s still too early to know what financial challenges districts may face this school year. To ensure we’re prepared for whatever comes, we’re working every day to understand the situation and to work with city and county leadership to advocate for smart decisions for our kids and the system as a whole.

Given your connections to our region and its students, we will continue to share updates as we hear them and hope you’ll reach out with questions, concerns or suggestions. In the meantime, we hope you’ll join us in sending thoughts of encouragement to our corps members and all St. Louis area educators as they get to know the new groups of children that came into their lives this morning. Thank you for all you do and we look forward to connecting soon.

Brittany N. Packnett
Executive Director
Teach For America – St. Louis

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