Educational opportunities expand with grant

Dec. 27, 2012 @ 05:38 PM

Teach For America in eastern North Carolina recently received a $450,000 grant from the Oak Foundation, pushing forward efforts to expand educational opportunity in the Tri-County.

The money is expected to facilitate the design and implementation of a professional-development series, which will help corps members in Vance, Warren and Granville counties better understand and address the unique learning requirements of low-performing students.

According to statistics from Teach For America in eastern North Carolina, 25 percent of children in the state — more than 500,000 — live in poverty, and those rural communities are home to the highest concentrations of impoverished families.

Disparities in educational opportunities have been a result, with 47 percent of African-American students, 52 percent of Hispanic students, and 48 percent of economically disadvantaged students in grades three through eight performing below their grade levels.

Currently in Vance County Schools, there are 16 TFA core members, nine of which work in the public school system. The remaining seven teach at Henderson Collegiate, a public charter school.

For the 2012-2013 school year, Warren County has 11 second-year TFA teachers, and 16 first-year TFA teachers for a total of 27. Granville has three second-year TFA teachers and 13 first-year, for a total of 16 this school year.

“Enhancing our teachers’ ability to address the needs of each individual child is critical to our mission of educational excellence for all,” said Robyn Fehrman, executive director for Teach For America of eastern North Carolina, in a written statement. “The generous support of Oak Foundation will ensure that our teachers have the strategies needed to be as responsive as possible to the unique learning styles in their classrooms.”

A $100,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation was given to Teach For America of eastern North Carolina in November. That money is expected to support recruitment for a greater number of Teach For America teachers in the Tri-County area.

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com.