Teach for America, the national corps of new college graduates who commit to teach for at least two years in urban and rural public schools, will bring in 40 teachers each of the next three years to high-needs schools in the Twin Cities.
The teachers will go to traditional and charter public schools in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center and charter public schools in St. Paul.
It should be a high-level crew. The organization says its incoming crop of 4,100 teachers was selected from an applicant pool of more than 35,000. These applicants included 11 percent of all Ivy League seniors, 11 percent of graduating seniors at Macalester College, 8 percent of those at Carleton College and 3 percent of those at the University of Minnesota. Those selected earned an average GPA of 3.6 and almost 90 percent held leadership positions on their college campuses.
Teach For America officials said they decided to expand to the Twin Cities because:
- The community has a compelling vision of how the organization’s presence will help to close student achievement gaps;
- There’s a feasible alternate route to teacher certification, thanks to the leadership of the Minnesota Board of Teaching;
- The school districts agreed to place a critical mass of corps members across the range of subject areas and grade levels;
- Community support that will enable Teach For America to fund the new site in a sustainable way.
The organization is expanding elsewhere, too, and hopes to have 7,500 corps members teaching in 33 regions by next year.
Funding for the program comes from the Medtronic Foundation and the General Mills Foundation, both founding investors in Teach For America’s Twin Cities site with pledges of $600,000 over three years. Additional support in the Twin Cities comes from the McKnight Foundation, the Minneapolis Foundation, the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children, the Frey Foundation, the Carlson Family Foundation, Best Buy, TCF Bank, the St. Paul Foundation, the Bigelow Foundation, the George Family Foundation, the Carolyn Foundation and Steve Mahle.