Taylor Ballinger, Community Partnership Director for Teach For America – Appalachia, was the guest speaker at the Floyd County Chamber of Commerce networking luncheon meeting on July 8, at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. Ballinger’s very informative presentation focused on the Teach for America partnership with area schools and especially their efforts in the Floyd County school district.
Teach for America was founded in 1990 and recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals of all academic disciplines to commit a minimum of two years to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to provide educational equity to all students. Through their partnership with schools, districts, and communities, Teach For America – Appalachia, has brought more than 50 new teachers to the eastern Kentucky region over the last 3 years, including 13 in Floyd County. Many of Teach For America’s corps members teach in the critical shortage areas of math, science, and foreign language, and at the secondary level. About half of Teach For America – Appalachia’s current corps members and alumni have a connection to the region – meaning they grew up in eastern Kentucky, went to school in the area, or have familial ties to the region. The other half come from across the country.
With 23 years’ experience in preparing corps members to be successful teachers in low-income classrooms, Teach For America is at the forefront of teacher training and professional development. Corps members receive intensive pre-service training and ongoing professional development from experienced instructional coaches throughout their two-year commitment. Like many of their traditionally-trained peers, corps members work relentlessly to ensure their students are given the educational opportunities they deserve.
In the past year, Teach For America – Appalachia has placed increased emphasis on identifying eastern Kentuckians who have an interest in working in their home region, and partnering with local universities as an additional pipeline of local teaching talent. The organization has worked diligently to retain teachers beyond their two-year commitment, with over 80% of the 2011 corps of teachers remaining in their original placement schools for their third year teaching, including 100% in Floyd County.
The next Chamber membership networking luncheon will be held in September. If interested in becoming a member of the Floyd County Chamber of Commerce, please contact the Chamber office at (606) 886-0364 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.