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Teach for America

The inaugural fellows of the Teach for America Graduate Fellows Program at Delta State include: (front row, left to right) Javier Peraza, Sarah Hawley, Jena Howie, Kandace Lewis, MacKenzie Stroh Hines, (back, l to r) Matty Bengloff, James Forte, Jon Delperdang, Boyce Upholt and Jeremiah Smith.

TFA graduate fellows kick off program at Delta State

By | Community, Graduate and Continuing Studies, Students, Teach for America | No Comments

Delta State University’s Graduate and Continuing Studies department recently completed its inaugural week-long immersion experience for the new Teach for America Graduate Fellows Program.

Teach For America and Delta State University are piloting the new innovative two-year fellowship program to teach 10 Teach For America alumni how to launch and run a social venture in the communities they serve while also completing a graduate degree program of their interest.

During the immersion week, the cohort refined their leadership skills while also being introduced to entrepreneurial perspectives when tackling social problems.

“We offered the cohort tangible tools for them to use by providing a framework and space to plan out the implementation and design of their projects,” said program coordinator Harrison Wood. “During our week together, we weaved in aspects of school leadership, Mississippi Delta history and community engagement. Our week was met with unbelievable success. The fellows were able to foster a ‘think-tank’ like environment, which will enable them to use one another as a resource throughout the length of the fellowship, and hopefully longer, as they each continue to positively impact Mississippi.”

The week opened with Dr. Samuel Jones, a professional keynote speaker and author who specializes in the area of leadership development. Participants then had the opportunity to take part in a Delta tour with The Delta Center for Culture and Leaning to gain a greater understanding of the Mississippi Delta culture and history.

For the next two days, the schedule focused on the expansion participants’ proposed social entrepreneurship projects. The facilitators for these days included Spud Marshall and Alexis Taylor. Marshall is the chief catalyst for co.space, an international network of homes for change-makers that launched in State College, Pennsylvania. He is also the co-founder of New Leaf, a nonprofit social innovation incubator in State College. Taylor, of Austin, Texas, is the program manager and facilitator for 3 Day Startup, an international non-profit organization that builds entrepreneurial capabilities in students and employees at colleges, corporations, organizations and governments.

On the final day, the cohort visited KIPP-Delta and the Thrive Center, both operational social enterprises in Helena, Arkansas. This trip provided the fellows an opportunity to visualize and learn from fruitful social ventures positioned in a rural area. The week closed with an afternoon canoe trip on the Mississippi River with John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company, fostering a team-building experience for the participants.

Fellow Boyce Upholt was thrilled to begin the program.

TFA graduate fellows spent the week introducing entrepreneurial perspectives and social issues.

TFA graduate fellows spent the week introducing entrepreneurial perspectives and social issues.

“Immersion week was a great chance to get to know the other fellows in the program, and to begin to thought partner about how to accomplish our goals,” said Upholt. “Our projects are in varying states of development, from kernels of ideas to already operational programs, but we all walked away with tangible next steps, as well as inspiring examples of what entrepreneurship can look like in this region.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to partner with the fellows, our support staff, and the faculty in my academic program. I’m aiming to use storytelling to better connect Deltans with one another, and with their local landscape, and I can’t think of a better program for doing so.”

To complete the fellowship, each participant will focus on social entrepreneurship, while simultaneously completing a graduate degree at Delta State. The cohort will regularly convene to share experiences in a collaborative environment, allowing participants to develop goals.

The project is funded through a grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. The principal goal of the foundation is to contribute to the overall economic advancement of the state of Mississippi by making funds available to four-year colleges and universities and graduate professional schools located in the state.

Applications for the 2017 cohort will open Jan. 1, 2017. For more information on the program, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/graduate-and-continuing-studies/tfa-graduate-fellows-program or call 662-846-4700.

TFA

Delta State prepares for 7th TFA Institute

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Delta State is making preparations for TFA’s 7th institute that will be housed on campus. Approximately 350 corp members and staff are set to arrive June 12 to begin the 2016 Teach For America Delta Institute.

“We are excited to welcome Teach For America back to our campus again this summer,” said Leigh Emerson, assistant director of Communications and Marketing at Delta State. “A few of the TFA operation directors have been here before, so they have knowledge of how everything works. I am very grateful that the Delta State team has been here since 2010 when TFA first came to campus. They know what needs to be done, and they do a great job of working with their TFA leaders.”

This year’s corp members will come from Appalachia, Arkansas, Louisiana Delta, Mississippi, South Carolina and South Louisiana.

“We hope the Cleveland community will welcome them back to the Mississippi Delta,” added Emerson.

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors and career interests who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity. These corps members work in school districts challenged by poverty, geography or other issues. Their training to teach begins at summer institutes and Delta State is one of the 10 institutes across the nation.

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Hearin funds university and TFA graduate program

By | Academics, Community, Faculty/Staff, Graduate and Continuing Studies, President, Students, Teach for America | No Comments

Thanks to continued support from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation, Delta State University and Teach For America-Mississippi are proud to announce the Teach For America Alumni Retention Assistance Program at Delta State.

The Hearin Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Jackson, has supported Delta State through numerous grants over the years. The organization backs Mississippi higher education and economic development.

The retention project strengthens and expands the partnership between the university and TFA by creating a pathway for TFA alumni to advance their education while simultaneously addressing community and economic development issues in the region and state.

The program encourages TFA alumni to stay in Mississippi after completing their two-year teaching commitment by providing opportunities for educational and professional development, while building professional relationships with businesses, communities and government leaders.

TFA alumni will engage in summer internships with local organizations immediately following their TFA service commitment. This engagement with local entities will enable alumni to use their skills and talents in areas such as economic development, community engagement, project and program management, event planning, creating economy initiatives, public relations, governmental relations, political areas, youth development and research.

In addition to supporting the internships, the Hearin grant will also provide funding for graduate school scholarships and graduate assistantships for 10 selected alumni each year who will attend graduate school at Delta State.

“While Teach for America-Mississippi certainly has a growing number of alumni staying, buying property, starting a family, educating their kids, and following their passions and leading on a variety of fronts here in Mississippi, the ongoing trend of exporting talent simply follows the current local and regional trend for college-educated, young professionals from the Delta,” said Barbara Logan Smith, executive director of TFA-Mississippi. “Instead of losing talent to New Orleans and Nashville, by partnering with the Hearin Foundation, Delta State University, members of the Mississippi Economic Council and others, we posit that we can foster, incubate, retain and attract at least 10 alumni per year who feed off one another’s passions and energies — and who then launch some social entrepreneurial idea or venture here that improves the quality of life of Mississippians.”

Delta State University President William N. LaForge could not be more pleased with the opportunities that will arise for all parties involved.

“This is a win-win-win. It’s a win for TFA alumni who have had great experiences teaching in the Delta for two years and are now looking for the next career move,” said LaForge. “We’re giving them opportunities for internships, graduate programs and graduate assistantships. The second win is for TFA itself. This grant underscores the value of the TFA and perpetuates the cross-cultural experiences that it fosters by bringing in people from other parts of the country. And closer to home, this is a huge win for Delta State, the Delta and Mississippi. Delta State will be bringing in students who otherwise would not matriculate here, and the goal is for them to find a career niche in the region.”

Robin Boyles, director of the Office of Institutional Grants at Delta State, echoed the president’s praise for the program.

“Delta State University recognizes the individual and collective value that Teach For America brings to the Mississippi Delta,” said Boyles. “We are excited that through this grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation, we will be able to offer this opportunity for TFA alumni to remain here in the Mississippi Delta following their teaching commitment, and continue to contribute to the community and economic development of the Delta communities.”

LaForge was quick to thank the Hearin Foundation for its continued faith in the university. The foundation has also backed groundbreaking programming such as Delta State’s International Delta Blues Project.

“This is yet another amazing partnership with the Hearin Foundation, and I am very grateful for their confidence and trust in us to put this sort of program in operation,” said LaForge. “This program has wonderful potential, and a big thanks goes to the Hearin Foundation. This will boost the value of our university and will bring in some amazing talent.”

All parties remain hopeful of the longlasting results this program will have on economic development, education and social impact in the region.

“We believe that this opportunity with Delta State University has the capacity to create an exponential win-win for the state through the deepening of established partnerships, the mobilization of new hearts and minds determined to highlight the great assets of our state, and address the challenges while living with us as neighbors — and a focus on making Mississippi a preferred destination for living, learning and leading,” said Smith. “We are excited about this new investment in Mississippi and our opportunity to be a partner in such an important endeavor.”

The program will be coordinated through Delta State’s Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies under the leadership of Dean Beverly Moon.

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About Teach For America:

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. Today, 10,600 corps members are teaching in 50 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 37,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.

 

 

Teach For America recently met with officials from Delta State University to prepare for the 2015 Teach For America Delta Institute,  to be housed on campus this summer.

TFA and Delta State prepare for institute

By | Delta Center, Faculty/Staff, Teach for America | No Comments

Representatives from Teach For America recently met with officials from Delta State University in preparation for TFA’s sixth institute housed on campus. Over 500 corps members and staff are set to arrive on Delta State’s campus June 7 to begin the 2015 Teach For America Delta Institute.

“We are excited about our continued relationship with Teach For America.” said Leigh Emerson, coordinator of Executive Services at Delta State. “The TFA operation directors are mostly new to their roles, but they came through the institute here on our campus, so they have knowledge of how our systems work.

“I am very grateful that most of the Delta State team has been here for all six years, so they know what needs to be done and they do a great job of working with their TFA leaders. It is always great for the two teams to meet and spend some time together before the group’s arrival in June. The total number of participants will be about the same or slightly higher than it was last year, and we are looking forward to another great summer with our TFA colleagues.”

This years corps members come from Appalachia, Arkansas, eastern North Carolina, the Louisiana Delta, Mississippi and South Louisiana.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning also provided a tour to the TFA staff.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning also provided a tour to the TFA staff.

The TFA crew also participated in a Delta heritage tour, led by Lee Aylward of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning. 

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors and career interests who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity. These corps members work in school districts challenged by poverty, geography or other issues. Their training to teach begins at summer institutes.

Teach For America recently met with officials from Delta State University to establish a two-year contract renewal for the Teach For America Delta Institute.

TFA and Delta State reach agreement

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Representatives from Teach For America (TFA) recently met with officials from Delta State University and the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce to finalize plans for a two-year contract renewal to continue TFA’s training institute hosted by Delta State each summer. Over 600 corps members and staff are set to arrive on Delta State’s campus June 8 to begin the 2014 Teach For America Delta Institute.

“We are excited to host Teach For America’s Delta Institute for the fifth year,” said Leigh Emerson, coordinator of Executive Services at Delta State. “We enjoyed getting to know TFA’s new operations directors, as well as to re-unite with returning staff members. It was great for the two teams to spend some time together before the group’s arrival in June.

“We will host corps members from Alabama, Appalachia, Arkansas, Louisiana Delta, Mississippi and South Louisiana this year. The total number of participants will be reduced this year, but we are looking forward to another great summer with our TFA colleagues.”

Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors and career interests who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity. These corps members work in school districts challenged by poverty, geography or other issues. Their training to teach begins at summer institutes.