The District’s partnership with Teach For America (TFA) is a critical part of the overall pathways utilized to identify the quality and diverse teacher candidates necessary to ensure that 100% of schools have great teachers. Teach For America specifically identifies and supports promising leaders to seek out positions in high-need schools and in high-need content areas. The District’s current contract authorizes up to 38 first year and second year teachers (corps members) teaching at District schools in networks 2, 4, and the Acceleration Network, primarily in North and West Philadelphia, as they have done for the last two school years -- networks that historically have the highest number of teacher vacancies at the start of and during the school year.
TFA teachers undergo a rigorous selection process, pre-service training in the Teach For America Institute and provides ongoing support for the in-classroom experience to Teach For America corps members. Corps members earn their teaching certification through an alternative route to certification program, receive ongoing professional support from a coach to rapidly improve their pedagogical, cultural competence, and content skills, and have the option to earn their Master’s degree in Education while they are teaching. Teach For America corps members teach for a minimum of two years, and Teach For America-Greater Philadelphia works with their alumni to encourage them to stay in the classroom and directly serve students in the District beyond their two year commitment.
Teach For America teachers are some of the most racially diverse in the nation, with an average of 45% of corps members in Philadelphia over the last seven years identifying as teachers of color (compared to 30-35% of the district’s new teachers). Additionally, over 50% of the corps members in Philadelphia come from a low-income background.
Teach For America began placing teachers in Philadelphia in 2003, and has worked closely with the School District of Philadelphia since that time. Since 2003, over 1,000 corps members have served as teachers in a School District of Philadelphia-led school.