Duval County Public Schools scored a big touchdown on Monday when the announcement was made about a new partnership with Teach For America. Teach For America is a national corps of top college graduates who commit two years to teach in under-resourced public schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity.
The opening of a Jacksonville site is scheduled to get underway at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. This would not have been possible without the support from Delores Barr and J. Wayne Weaver, who have committed to a financial gift of $1.2 million allocated as a challenge grant to help bring Teach For America to Jacksonville.
"Wayne and I are proud to call Jacksonville home, however, we are concerned that many of our children are not receiving the quality education they deserve," said Delores Barr Weaver.
"Much work is already being done to assure that all children receive the opportunity for a good education, and we are confident that the young people who represent Teach For America will enhance that work. We are very proud to welcome Teach For America to our great community. Thank you for the faith and trust your early designation implies."
In addition to the Weavers' financial support, the Chartrand Foundation has followed in their footsteps with a contribution of $1 million earmarked towards the grant.
Jeff Chartrand, executive director of the Chartrand Foundation says, "Teach For America corps members have a well-earned reputation of elevating school culture as well as proven methodology in closing the achievement gap. We are thrilled that they have chosen to come to Jacksonville and believe their presence will be invaluable to our overall goals of education reform."
By start of the 2008-2009 school year, some 50 teachers selected from an outstanding corps of recent college graduates will be starting their teaching careers in some of Jacksonville's highest-need schools.
"We have been touched and tremendously gratified by the incredible welcome that we have received from the city of Jacksonville and the Duval County Public School system," said Wendy Kopp, founder and president of Teach For America.
"The support and perseverance of Dr. Wise, the Duval County School Board, Mayor Peyton, the City Council, and of course, Wayne and Delores Weaver, the Chartrand Foundation, and the rest of our early key financial supporters made our decision to expand to Jacksonville an easy one."
Established in 1990, Teach For America is the national corps of top recent college graduates of all academic majors who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity. They are building the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation's most promising future leaders in the effort. Their vision is that one day, all children in this national will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.