Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today that his office will fund an investment of $3 million in Teach For America–Arkansas that will have a lasting impact on east and south Arkansas. This investment will fund the training and support of approximately 150 new teachers in rural school districts over the next three years and has prompted a match of $3 million from Little Rock philanthropists and business leaders to bring Teach For America teachers to Little Rock School District for the first time next year.
In rural communities, the state’s investment will grow Teach For America’s work to encourage more top candidates to teach in rural communities and build their careers in the area. The 150 teachers supported by the state’s funding will reach at least 9,000 students in rural communities, an estimated 86 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch. The funding will also accelerate Teach For America’s new initiative to recruit hundreds of Arkansas’ top college students and professionals to teach in Arkansas’ rural communities over the next decade. Additionally, the funding will enable Teach For America to expand its teacher and school-leader professional development to hundreds of participants across the state.
The private match of public dollars will bring approximately 65 new teachers to Little Rock School District over the next three years and will include up to 15 teachers for the 2016–2017 school year. These teachers will reach up to 4,000 students in Little Rock and will be hired in the district’s highest-need schools and subjects.
“Teach For America has been a community partner in the Arkansas Delta region for 24 years. During that time, more than two dozen Arkansas communities have worked with Teach For America teachers, and their track record is summarized by one simple fact: nearly every district leader who worked with them asked for more teachers from the organization,” Hutchinson said. “Many of these strong teachers have gone on to have lasting and transformational impact in schools across the state, from the classroom and beyond. We look forward to the continuation of that work and the opportunity to bring Teach For America’s outstanding educators to the Little Rock School District as part of the district’s broader efforts to help students here soar to new heights.”
Teach For America, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary nationally this year, has been a member of the Arkansas education community since 1991. This year more than 300 corps members and alumni are leading local classrooms and working from all sectors to expand educational opportunity throughout the state of Arkansas. This leadership force includes 20 school leaders and two former Arkansas state Teachers of the Year.
“We’re excited to have Teach For America corps members join school communities in Little Rock while continuing our longstanding commitment to excellent education for children growing up in rural communities,” said Jared Henderson, executive director of Teach For America in Arkansas. “We’re grateful to Governor Hutchinson for his continued commitment to expanding opportunity for kids in rural Arkansas and his ongoing support for our work toward that goal.”