Teach for America Combines Passion, Purpose

Author: Helios Education Foundation

May 1, 2017

Since its inception in 1989, Teach for America has grown to include 53,000 corps members in 53 regions across the country, including two in Florida.  One chapter is in Central Florida, located in Orlando, and a second chapter serves Miami-Dade County in South Florida.  Teach for America’s mission is to enlist, develop, and mobilize our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence.  

Teach for America recruits high performing college graduates, called “corps members,” to take on the ominous challenge of educating students in our nation's struggling schools.  However, for these individuals, the greater the challenge, the more firm their resolve.  “Teach for America and Helios Education Foundation are both committed to ensuring all students, regardless of zip code, receive a high-quality education,” said Braulio Colòn, Vice President, Florida Regional Student Success Initiatives.  “We are proud to partner with Teach for America to ensure that more first-generation, low-income and minority students have access to an excellent education.”

As Florida aspires to prepare our students for an increasingly globalize workforce, it is imperative that we view education as an investment and not an expense. The partnership between Teach for America and Helios Education Foundation is an investment in Florida, our students and our future.  

With support from Helios Education Foundation, Teach for America – Orlando is partnering with Orange County Public Schools in their work to provide every student with an excellent education.  This partnership starts with developing teacher leaders who have committed to spend two years teaching in high-need schools.  Ultimately, through this partnership, Teach for America – Orlando will recruit, train, and support up to 50 corps members to serve in high-need Orange County Public School classrooms. 

One such teacher is Aaron Buchanan, who is not only driven to succeed personally, he is driven to ensure the success of his students. As a first-year Teach for America Corps Volunteer and classroom educator in Orlando, FL, Buchanan led his middle school 6th grade students to meet benchmarks to which seasoned educators aspire.  Aaron is currently on track to have 50% of his students pass the 6th grade Math state exam, surpassing his school's (16%) and districts (43%) averages from last year. He also achieved the highest results in the entire district for the 6th grade Summative Midyear Assessment.

“There is no question that Teach for America has a positive impact on student success,” said Colòn.  “They are focused on results and positive educational outcomes, and we look forward to seeing how this partnership in Orlando helps to accelerate the great work that is already being done there.”

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