TU to host Teach For America teacher training institute in 2012

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Corps members to live on campus, teach at Tulsa Public Schools and Community Action Project

Teach For America has announced it will open a teacher training institute in Tulsa starting in June 2012. During their institute training, Teach For America teachers, also called corps members, will teach summer school programs in Tulsa Public Schools and Community Action Project while attending courses and living at The University of Tulsa.

teach for america upham

The Tulsa institute will be the ninth Teach For America training location, joining Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, the Mississippi Delta, New York City, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. Teach For America recruits, trains, and supports outstanding recent college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in schools in low-income communities and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity.

“The University of Tulsa and its School of Urban Education share Teach For America’s focus on the needs of underserved urban students,” said Steadman Upham, president of The University of Tulsa. “Hosting 650 Teach For America teachers and 120 Teach For America staff members is an extension of TU’s mission of community service. We are honored to support this effective education model, which continues to make a difference in children's lives here in Tulsa and throughout the country.”

While in Tulsa, the majority of the corps members’ time will be spent on site at TPS schools and with Community Action Project programs. The TFA institute will utilize TU campus housing and dining facilities, with a small number of TU classrooms during the evenings. Campus recreational facilities will be available to them during their limited free time.

The institute prepares Teach For America corps members to be effective teachers while they work under the close supervision of veteran educators and Teach For America staff members to measurably increase the academic performance of students in summer school classrooms. The 650 corps members at the Tulsa institute will impact more than 3,000 students in Tulsa Public Schools and Community Action Project. Additionally, corps members complete interactive courses and clinics to build knowledge, deepen skills, and apply their learning in the classroom.

“The teachers and students of Tulsa Public Schools join me in thanking Teach For America for this wonderful gift to Tulsa,” said Keith Ballard, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. “By hosting Teach For America’s institute, we are giving the summer program at Tulsa Public Schools a tremendous boost, not just in helping to positively impact student achievement, but also an emotional boost for our staff and students. There is something energizing about this group of young people that is infectious. We can’t wait to get started.”

Teach For America has been placing teachers in Tulsa since 2009, and announced this month that it would place teachers in Oklahoma City for the first time this fall. During the 2011-12 school year, the 50 corps members in Oklahoma City and 150 corps members in Tulsa together will impact more than 13,000 students.

teach for america group

“I am incredibly excited about this new partnership with Tulsa Public Schools, Community Action Project, and The University of Tulsa, which will give 650 corps members the opportunity to start their teaching careers in Tulsa,” said Lance Tackett, executive director of Teach For America-Oklahoma. “This partnership would not have been possible without the deep commitment of the leaders at Tulsa Public Schools and Community Action Project, who will welcome our teachers into their classrooms starting next summer. I am also grateful for President Upham’s leadership and for the generosity of the philanthropic community in Tulsa.”

A growing body of rigorous research demonstrates that Teach For America corps members are highly effective in the classroom. In 2010, the Tennessee State Board of Education found that Teach For America teachers in the state made a statistically significant, positive difference on student achievement in every evaluated subject, and had a greater impact on student achievement than other new teachers. A 2010 study from the University of North Carolina found that corps members added the equivalent of an extra half-year of learning in middle school mathematics. Additionally, a 2009 Urban Institute study found that high school students taught by Teach For America teachers outperformed their peers, even those taught by fully certified teachers.

“I am so proud of the efforts Tulsa is making to seek out innovative programs like Teach For America,” said Secretary of Education Phyllis Hudecki. “Teach For America’s institute will accelerate our students’ learning and growth while preparing Teach For America teachers for the challenges they will face as teachers in schools across the country.”

Beyond their corps commitments, Teach For America alumni continue to advocate for children and families in low-income communities as public school teachers, principals, and leaders across all professional fields. Oklahoma is home to some 30 Teach For America alumni. Nationally, more than 13,000 alumni remain in education, with more than 550 serving as principals and school leaders.

About Teach For America

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. Today, more than 8,200 corps members are teaching in 39 regions across the country while 20,000 Teach For America alumni continue working from inside and outside the field of education for the fundamental changes necessary to ensure educational excellence and equity. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.

About The University of Tulsa

The University of Tulsa is a private university providing comprehensive educational opportunities to more than 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Ranked among the Top 100 universities by U.S. News &World Report, TU maintains a vibrant, residential campus environment that celebrates diversity and encourages cultural enrichment. Students from across the nation and more than 60 countries enjoy TU’s personalized attention, small class sizes and low student-faculty ratio.

Support For Teach For America’s Tulsa Training Institute

“Oklahoma is on the cusp of a renaissance. A key element to that end is a quality workforce. Teach for America aims to eliminate educational inequality and will result in enhancing the school system and improving Oklahoma.” –Todd Lamb, Lieutenant Governor, Oklahoma

“This is a proud moment for Tulsa, as we continue to make great strides toward improving public education and student achievement in our city. Tulsa students have already greatly benefited by having Teach For America corps members in some of our classrooms. We are excited they are coming in far greater numbers to train as part of the summer institute program. The impact they will have on students and Tulsa Public Schools staff is immeasurable. We are fortunate to have them, and I know my fellow Tulsans welcome Teach For America corps members with open arms.” –Dewey Bartlett, Mayor, Tulsa

“Teach For America’s experience and well-developed approach to teaching in urban areas will greatly benefit not only our summer school students, but also Tulsa at-large. Teach For America will bring best practices and education tools to Tulsa that will have a great effect on our community. I’m confident it will be immensely beneficial to have Teach for America here for their summer institute, and the positive effects of their presence are sure to be felt for some time.” –Mike Neal, President and CEO, Tulsa Metro Chamber

“Just two years ago, many from the private sector banded together to ensure Teach For America would come to Tulsa. Children at Tulsa Public Schools, Community Action Project and YWCA have benefited from the more than 150 exceptional corps members who have come into our classrooms. Now, we celebrate the fact that 650 corps members will have the opportunity to experience Tulsa’s culture and charm during Teach For America’s institute. Having these bright and talented graduates living in our city will pay dividends for many years to come. My thanks go to all who made this possible, especially our philanthropic community’s great partners like Tulsa Public Schools, The University of Tulsa and Community Action Project, not to mention the great people at Teach For America.” –Phil Lakin, Chair, Board of Directors, George Kaiser Family Foundation

Photo captions:

TU President Steadman Upham speaks at a May 19, 2011 press conference announcing Tulsa's selection as a Teach For America Summer Institute site starting in Summer 2012.

Participating in the May 19, 2011 press conference were, from left: Keith Ballard, Superintendent, Tulsa Public Schools; Lance Tackett, Executive Director, Teach For America-Oklahoma; Phil Lakin, Chair, Board of Directors, George Kaiser Family Foundation; Mike Neal, President and CEO, Tulsa Metro Chamber; Phyllis Hudecki, Secretary of Education, State of Oklahoma; Steadman Upham, President, The University of Tulsa; Cecilia Robinson, Senior Director of Early Childhood Programs, Community Action Project; and Marissa Alberty, Corps Member, Teach For America-Oklahoma.