Delta State University has been selected as a finalist to host the 2010 Teach For America Charter Summer Institute.
Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates and professionals 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.
If awarded, Delta State will host over 800 participants for eight weeks of intensive teacher training in the summer of 2010.
In a January letter, Mississippi Superintendent of Education, Dr. Hank Bounds, urged Teach For America to send over 200 corps members to the Delta in 2009, making it the largest incoming corps in Teach For America’s 18 year history.
“This is an opportunity for leaders with compelling ideas to help the Delta prosper,” stated Bounds. “This is an opportunity for you to be the leaders that Mississippi Delta children need and deserve.”
Admission to Teach For America is highly selective with just over 10 percent of the more than 35,000 applicants representing over 500 of the nation’s top colleges and universities earning acceptance into the 2009 corps.
“In 2009, approximately 4,100 new teachers from across the country will train in seven regional institutes,” said Ron Nurnberg, Executive Director for Teach For America -Delta. “In 2010, the number of regional institutes will increase to eight. The location of the eighth institute has been narrowed to two finalists. It will be either the Delta or Denver. We want Delta State to host that eighth institute.”
According to Nurnberg, if awarded, Delta State will be the first and only institute located in a rural area. Other institute locations include Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York.
Approximately 160 corps members are currently teaching in the Delta region which stretches some 150 miles from Forrest City, Arkansas in the north, to Greenville, Mississippi in the south.
A growing body of research demonstrates that Teach For America corps members are highly effective in the classroom. An Urban Institute study published in 2008 and updated this year found that high school students taught by Teach For America teachers outperformed their peers, even those taught by other fully certified teachers. The positive impact of having a Teach For America teacher was three times that of having a teacher with three or more years’ experience.
“We’re enthusiastic about a partnership with this important program,” said Delta State President, Dr. John M. Hilpert. “It would be good for Delta State, good for our community, and, most importantly, good for the students of the Delta. We believe that we can offer Teach For America staff and new corps members outstanding facilities and a meaningful training environment.”
Teach For America’s existing network includes 6,200 corps members in 29 urban and rural regions and more than 14,000 alumni who work from every professional sector to level the playing field for children and families in low-income communities. About two-thirds of Teach For America alumni remain in the field of education, where they are starting schools, serving as principals and district administrators, and winning accolades in the classroom, including 2007 teacher of the year awards in two states.