Penn remains a top source of Teach for America recruits
This year, about 6 percent of Penn seniors applied to TFA and 40 of them will join the 2013 corps
September 10, 2013, 1:15 am·
Felipe Matsunaga | DP
For the fifth year in a row, Penn has ranked on Teach For America’s top contributors list of schools with the most graduating seniors who become members of the teaching corps.
Tied with Georgetown University, Penn has placed third on the list of medium-sized schools and falls behind only Harvard and Vanderbilt universities.
Penn first debuted on the top contributors list in 2009, and has consistently sent many graduating seniors to the program. This year, about 6 percent of Penn seniors applied to TFA and 40 of them will join the 2013 corps.
TFA’s Regional Communications Manager Shawnee Cohn called this an “incredible accomplishment.” She explained further that it’s a “testament to the fact that [Penn’s] graduating seniors really continue to be deeply committed to our mission.”
By joining TFA, a non-profit organization, graduates would have to teach for a minimum of two years at urban or rural public schools. However, many continue to make an impact by becoming classroom teachers, principals or superintendents.
“Our alumni go on to become leaders in the movement to expand opportunities for kids,” Cohn said.
Penn alumni are no exception, as almost 500 Penn alumni have taught as corps members since the organization was created 23 years ago.
Deirdre McShea, TFA’s Recruitment Manager at Penn, states that its long-term mission is to “enlist leaders in the classroom who will fight for kids and communities.”
By searching for those who demonstrate leadership, commitment to educational equity and a “deep respect for diverse experiences and backgrounds,” TFA recommends that principals employ teachers who make a positive impact on education and the lives of students.
Not only do Penn students and professionals come from a wide range of backgrounds, but they also possess characteristics that “allow them to get creative in the classroom,” TFA Campus Campaign Coordinator Lucas Salzman said.
A program called Graduate School and Employer Partnerships — where Penn graduate students receive benefits such as two-year deferrals and internships — is also available for students in joining TFA.
The majority of students who join the corps, however, hope to become leaders in education.
Many applicants are interested in being part of the “solution to the problem of educational inequity,” Salzman said.
“I think students who are passionate about their work really see the role that they can and need to be playing in being a part of a really large movement in our country to reform education,” McShea added.
The next application deadline for the 2014 teaching corps is this Friday, September 13. Subsequent deadlines will follow in October, January and February.