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ASU partners with Teach for America

July 17, 2007

As part of its mission to prepare teachers and school leaders, ASU’s College of Teacher Education and Leadership has partnered with Teach For America (TFA) to tailor an existing master’s program designed to meet the specific needs of TFA corps members. The partnership combines TFA’s ability to recruit elite undergraduates with the college’s award-winning teacher preparation program.

Beginning this fall, TFA corps members will have the opportunity to attend ASU’s master’s degree in education with Arizona teaching certification (MAC) program, a graduate program offered by ASU. Though modified to meet the unique demands of TFA corps members, the rigorous curriculum and learning outcome of the MAC program remain intact.

The modified MAC program includes quality and supportive academic programs, professional development opportunities, and integrates corps members’ teaching experiences. The College of Teacher Education and Leadership will support TFA corps members by helping them develop excellent teaching skills and preparing them to meet the demands of the classroom.

“The College of Teacher Education and Leadership understands the importance of partnerships in preparing teachers,” says Mari Koerner, dean of the College of Teacher Education and Leadership at ASU’s West campus. “Our partnership with Teach for America is especially important, because we have joined resources to offer our preparation programs to corps members who will be teaching in schools across the Valley.”

As a cohort, TFA corps members will attend MAC classes over the course of two years and will work closely with ASU faculty, TFA experts, local school administrators, and Arizona Department of Education representatives. ASU faculty will serve as mentors and will visit corps members in their schools to provide guidance and supervision.

“Each of the highly qualified corps members who will participate in our MAC program have been carefully selected by TFA to participate in the program and to serve in the Phoenix area,” Koerner says. “We are very excited to be part of preparing them to be successful teachers.”

TFA supports 26 urban and rural regions across the nation. The Phoenix region is the fastest-growing area and is en route to becoming the third-largest region in the country, following Los Angeles and New York. In the upcoming school year, more than 300 TFA teachers will serve more than 25,000 students in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

“Teach For America provides us with a wonderful opportunity to bring new leaders to our community who are passionate about educational reform,” Koerner says. “Working together, we will reach our shared goal of improving the instruction for Arizona’s school children.”

The organization prides itself on selecting the best and brightest recent college graduates to teach in regions with the greatest need. Last year, nearly 20,000 applicants applied for Teach For America nationwide; 2,500 were accepted. After completing their two-year commitment, more than 60 percent of corps members stay in the field of education as teachers, principals, administrators, public policy-makers, or other agents of systemic change. The nonprofit organization is funded by a mix of public and private funding including individual gifts, corporate and foundation grants, a state-approved appropriation and federal support through AmeriCorps.