Teach for America makes an impact inside and outside of the classroom

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(Courtesy of elonpendulum.com)

By Monica Rodriguez

Teach for America has been operating nationally for almost 25 years; the program was created by Princeton University graduate Wendy Kopp. Raised in Highland Park, Kopp knows the value of education.

As of this fall, the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development has been named the official alternative certification partner for the Teach for America DFW region.

TFA’s DFW region was established five years ago, but as of last year, the Simmons School is where students in this region acquire their teaching certificate. Students are able to obtain a teaching certificate through 18-hours of coursework at the Simmons School.

“One of our missions here at Simmons is to prepare students well for the DFW classrooms and this is why we offer our full support to TFA members,” Simmons’ Dean David Chard said.

Chard also explains that SMU offers a discounted tuition rate for TFA members and alumni who are interested in pursuing a Master’s Degree in Teaching, Counseling or Educational Leadership. Tuition for TFA members or alumni who are enrolled in an Educational Master’s program at Simmons is about one-third of the regular tuition to attend.

SMU’s mission statement is “to create and impart knowledge that will shape citizens who contribute to their communities and lead their professions in a global society”. According to Ryan Buchanan, TFA’s recruiter based out of DFW, the mission statement seems to be exactly what SMU graduates are doing in their classrooms.

“This is the second year in a row that SMU has appeared on TFA’s top contributors list which means that more and more quality SMU grads are choosing to make a difference in education post-grad,” Buchanan said. “Additionally, SMU grads are making a strong impact in the classroom.”

TFA recruits members from all different majors including Business, Engineering, Sociology and Communications. According to Buchanan, TFA needs leaders who want to make an impact in their community by leading the underrepresented classroom.

The program currently has members in 35 states and 50 regions across the country. As a TFA member, one can enroll in AmeriCorp, a national service program that gives qualified members a $5,500 grant per year, which may be used to pay off qualified state and federal loans. Members also qualify for some state and federal loan interest forgiveness and/or forbearance.

Recent SMU graduate and first year TFA member Anthony McAuliffe is teaching middle school Spanish in Charlotte, NC.

“I’ve truly become a huge fan of TFA. Teaching hasn’t been easy, but TFA does a great job at preparing us to be excellent teachers,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe graduated from SMU with a triple major in Spanish, Communication Studies and Political Science.

The first application deadline of the year is October 24th. For more information contact the DFW region recruiter Ryan Buchanan via ryan.buchanan@teachforamerica.org.

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