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    Teach For America - Memphis Among Tennessee's Top Teacher-Prep Programs

    For Third Straight Year, Study Finds Teach For America Produces Some of State’s Most Effective Beginning Teachers

    Teach for America -

    MEMPHIS, Tenn., November 1, 2012The Tennessee Higher Education Committee (THEC) released findings today that Teach For America in Memphis and Nashville are among the most effective teacher-preparation programs in the state. The analysis of Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) and end-of-course (EOC) results indicate that Teach For America teachers have a positive impact on student achievement in more evaluated subjects than teachers from any other program.

    The analysis places Teach For America in Memphis and Nashville among just five programs in the state that are producing teachers with higher student-achievement gains than other beginning teachers. They are the only programs to rank among sources of the state’s most effective teachers for three years running.

    “Since 2006, Teach For America has been contributing to a growing community of great educators here in Memphis,” said Ronnie Mackin, head of schools for the Achievement School District. “Working in close partnership with parents, communities, school leaders, and veteran educators, Teach For America corps members are helping to open additional doors of opportunity for the children and families in our public schools.”

    In 2007, as part of bipartisan reforms aimed at improving the state’s educational system, the Tennessee General Assembly began requiring the State Board of Education to report on the effectiveness of teacher-training programs. The resulting robust analysis from the THEC allows preparation programs like Teach For America to use data to better prepare teachers for success in the classroom.

    “Beyond empowering us to continually refine and improve our program, the commission’s report has sparked an invaluable conversation on public education here in Tennessee,” said Athena Turner, executive director of Teach For America in Memphis. “We are thrilled to see a third year of positive impact for our corps members, and to be part of a growing number of programs across the state preparing teachers to be the effective educators our students need.”

    Teach For America provides a two-year continuum of ongoing development for teachers in high-need classrooms in Memphis. According to the THEC report, Teach For America corps members in Memphis lead students to greater gains than average beginning and veteran teachers infourth- through-eighth-grade TCAP math, TCAP social studies, and overall TCAP performance, as well as in high school English I EOC results.

    “These results allow organizations like Teach For America to celebrate excellence, spread best practices, and move quickly towards better outcomes for more students,” said Tequilla Banks, executive director of teacher talent and effectiveness for the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative. “By striving to better prepare our teachers, we better prepare our students.”

    Tennessee is one of three states, along with Louisiana and North Carolina, to assess the effectiveness of beginning teachers from various preparation programs. Each state has found Teach For America to be among its most effective teacher providers.