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BC Ranks 4th Among Mid-Sized Schools For TFA

53 Graduates From 2012 Enter TFA Corps

For The Heights

Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Earlier this month, Teach For America released its fifth annual ranking of the colleges and universities that contributed the greatest number of graduating seniors to its teaching corps. This year, Boston College ranked fourth among all medium-sized schools, contributing 53 of its seniors to the organization.

Teach For America is part of the broader movement to end educational inequality in the United States. Its goal is to ensure that all students are provided with equal educational opportunities, and the organization is one of the most successful of its kind. Over the past two decades, Teach For America has gone from the idealistic senior thesis of one Princeton student to a national non-profit with an annual budget of $212 million.

Teach For America corps members are top college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. The hope is that these dedicated young graduates will help to minimize the disparity in educational opportunity between children of low-income communities and their wealthier peers. The organization seeks strong leaders who cannot only inspire in the classroom, but also work with communities to help students and their families break the cycle of generational poverty.

This fall marks the first time more than 10,000 first-and-second year corps members will be teaching in high-need classrooms. This represents a 10 percent increase over last year’s total corps size. The 5,800 first-year corps members earned an average GPA of 3.54 and represent more than 1,500 colleges and universities across the nation.

Angela Callado, the Recruitment Manager at Teach For America in the Greater Boston area, emphasized that the two-year commitment is “actually just the start of a lifetime commitment to this social justice movement to end educational inequality.”
After seeing what is possible in the classroom, many teachers are compelled to become lifelong advocates for the social justice movement.

Callado explained that at the beginning of the academic year, her students had trouble identifying the main idea of a simple historical passage. By the end of the year her students outperformed one of the highest achieving public school districts in the nation by over 20 percent. Callado’s memorable classroom experiences are usually not the exception among teachers but rather the rule—67 percent of Teach For America teachers end up working full-time in education in some way or another long after they have fulfilled their two-year commitment.

BC has a long history with Teach For America. The University made its debut on the list of top contributors in 2009, and throughout Teach For America’s 22-year history, over 307 BC alumni have taught as corps members.

Organization officials believe that BC’s success, as compared to other medium-sized institutions in the country, lies in its Jesuit roots as being “men and women for others.”
 “I think BC as an educational institution has a strong commitment to service and reflection, which are of course two things that we look for among candidates,” Callado said.

BC students are among the best candidates for Teach For America because they typically already have had meaningful experiences working with low-income communities and have spent time reflecting on their own privileges and what they can do to serve as an advocate, mentor, and teacher in the community.

Looking toward the future, the organization will strive to find top leaders on the University’s campus that reflect the racial and socio-economic background of the students in the classrooms. Callado believes that by sharing the background of the students, graduates can have a profound impact in the classroom.

“Our students need to see more direct role models. They need to know that individuals like themselves that may have come from immigrant parents, or were born in the same neighborhoods as them, have successfully graduated from a four year college so that our students can see what is possible by having a quality education.”
Above all, Callado hopes that the organization will continue to build relationships with the University’s talented leaders and inspire them to bring their knowledge, skills, and passion to a classroom of students who need it most.

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