Last week, we were honored to host the second annual installment What’s Next @ Teach For America, a nationally livestreamed event that highlights a Teach For America region and lays out what’s ahead for our organization’s work. After closing out a very successful fiscal year, we are excited for not only what’s next @ Teach For America, but especially what lays ahead @ TFA|STL!
Also, we’d love to hear #WhatsNext for you! Tweet @TFASTL and tell us how you will be supporting equity for kids in STL this year!
#ICYMI: Quick Facts on the State of TFA|STL
- Nearly 70% of our alumni were involved with Teach For America over the last academic year, volunteering time and talent to TFA or the broader community, attending one of over 60 TFA events/meetings this year, or having 1:1 meetings with staff.
- Many of our teachers made incredible strides in the classroom! This year, 11 corps members in SLPS were winners of the prestigious Pettus Award for excellence in teaching. Shaw VPA 1st Grade teacher Chelsea Addison boasts the highest reading growth across the entire grade level, and the 2nd highest growth in the school! Congrats to all of you and every teacher who made great gains with their students this year!
- In addition, our alumni teachers are creating incredible enrichment opportunities for their students. The Show Me Costa Rica project expanded to include students from another district, alums spearheaded incredible Black History Month programming at their schools (like Kaitlin Dauner, STL ’12 at Farragut Elementary) and the North City Book Project encouraged students to amplify their voices across the community.
- We expanded our reach in the education policy space. Joining Katie Kaufmann, a member of the Maplewood-Richmond Heights School Board are alums Charli Cooksey, co-founder and Executive Director of InspireSTL and new member of the St. Louis Public Schools School Board, and Kimberly Knox, an alumni teacher at Meremac Elementary and the newest member of the Normandy City Council! Additionally, Jim Triplett was honored by the St. Louis American at their Salute to Excellence in Education – an award DR. Nathalie Means-Henderson took home previously!
- Just two years ago, we began the 2013-2014 school year with 3 alumni school leaders. Last school year, we had 6 school leaders at the helm of charter and traditional public schools. Thanks to a collective effort of leaders across the region, we will excitedly begin next school year with at least 10 alumni school leaders in the 2015-2016 school year!
- Last summer and fall, all TFA|STL staff and over 50 local alumni volunteered with Teach For Ferguson, an effort to support academic learning for students who were unable to attend school due to unrest in the region. Alumni have continued to be critical voices, volunteers and leaders working to change the story of Ferguson from tragedy to change for our kids!
- This summer, 30 alumni (not including full-time staff) are training and mentoring our incoming 2015 corps members as part of our Summer Experience These alumni educators are getting phenomenal training and development in coaching and adult management, setting them up for future success in the classroom and education leadership positions.
- Speaking of alumni educators, we had 178 alumni educators (40% of our alumni base) working full-time in schools and district offices during the 14-15 school year. This doesn’t include the many additional alumni impacting education via nonprofit organizations and universities! With the addition of our brand new 2013 alums, we will have nearly 500 alumni living and working for change in the St. Louis community next year.
- Massive gains in alums serving in local education leadership roles—100% increase in associate superintendent roles, 100% increase in other district-level roles, 100% increase in school leader roles, 30% increase in mid-level leader roles and a 5% increase in alumni teachers.
- We’ve seen the full roll-out of the Alumni Educator Continuum of Support, with nearly 50 alumni educators participating in four pilot programs.
- Teach For America | St. Louis closed out our most successful fundraising year to date! We are so pleased that our partners and supporters have continued to lift up our work through phenomenal ways. Together, they helped us to raise just over $4.4 million, in support of our continued regional institute and increasing alumni leadership development work. We are proud that this includes a larger than ever grant from the State of Missouri. Together, Teach For America | St. Louis and Teach For America | Kansas City won a competitive $3 million grant specifically reserved for teacher preparation programs. This gift was split evenly between our regions.
- This year has been a challenging one for Teach For America’s national recruitment landscape. Applications to teaching roles, colleges of education and alternative pathways like ours are down significantly everywhere. Nationally, the corps is approximately 63% of the size it was at our peak. Locally, our reduced corps size reflects this shift, as our 2015 corps is approximately 60% of the size at our regions peak. The national recruitment team has already begun to roll out aggressive recruitment strategies, and our local Regional Recruitment efforts are already underway! We hope to continue to move back to increasing the size of our corps once again, and you can help in our efforts by referring great talent in our Rally For Referrals Campaign!
- Chelsea Osterby and the former members of ACT-STL founded the Alumni Buddy program a few years ago to support corps members’ transition into life in St. Louis and the classroom. A gap in alumni staffing caused a pause in the program, but we happily re-launched the Alumni Buddy Program last year, and for the second year in a row, we have fully matched every incoming corps member with an alumni buddy. Thanks to our alumni community for stepping up in tremendous ways to support every 2014 and 2015 corps member!
- We launched our Executive Leadership Circle, which gathers nearly 20 alumni working in executive positions across all sectors in St. Louis. Thanks to an idea from Alicia Herald, Founder + CEO of MyEdMatch and a Missouri Charter School Commissioner, this group gathers quarterly, and wants to ensure strong collaboration across St. Louis for the sake of our kids and our community.
- The Executive Leadership Circle is just one of several new alumni initiatives suggested and led by our alumni community. This year, Maggie Klonsky (Bay Area ’06) led the Parent Group, a brand-new initiative for TFA alumni parents to come together alongside their children for parenting speakers, playdates and great conversations about the considering educational equity when choosing school options for your own children.
#WhatsNext: The Road Ahead for TFA|STL
We are incredibly excited about the year ahead. We are not perfect-but to keep getting there, we need you! Read below about What’s Next @ TFA|STL and how you can engage!
- Our Alumni Leadership and Teacher Leadership Development teams are merging to become our Program Continuum Team! This will allow us to offer an unprecedented level of school-based support and development opportunities for alumni teachers. Please continue to send ideas about this new plan our way!
- Our Collective Leadership Team (including Natasha Dupee, Liz Peinado, Chris Robinson, DJ Rucker, Sam Smith and Kim Townsend) are ramping up impactful Collective programming for our alumni of color next year. In additional, we’ll be launching our first White Aspiring Allies Group, an opportunity for white alumni to come together for racial identity development work. Look for more details this summer!
- On February 6-7, 2016, Teach For America will host our 25th Anniversary Summit in Washington, D.C. We’ll have extensive scholarships available and are hoping to support a cohort of between 100-150 corps members, alumni and staff to attend the event bring new ideas, training and energy back to the region!
- This Fall, we’ll be hosting our first annual Alumni Summit, a day-long conference with presentations and interaction sessions from high-profile community partners and members of our own alumni community. Look for a “Save the Date” in the July blast, and plan to join us for an exciting day of learning and mobilization.
- We’ve received a grant from the Kern Foundation to host our first annual Alumni Hiring Weekend, an opportunity to recruit TFA alumni with ties to St. Louis back to our city to serve in local education leadership roles. This event is tentatively scheduled for March 4-5, 2016—stay tuned for details.