Guilford County Schools participate with Teach for America

7:20 PM, Dec 5, 2013   |    comments
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Guilford County Schools is partnering with Teach for America to bring thirty new teachers into the district every year for the next three years.

Keep in mind, the district hires about 600 people every year, so this is a small number, but these are typically top notch people.

This year, 57-thousand people applied to be part of the program and only 14 percent made the cut. The teachers agree to stay in the district for at least two years.

The program places teachers in low income areas that often struggle to attract quality teachers.

Marshall Matson joined Teach for America back in 1991.

He moved to a tiny town in Northeast North Carolina and ended up staying there for a decade.

Now, he's the principal at Mendenhall Middle School.

He says his experience with Teach for America changed his life.

"I worked in a school with great teachers who took care of me," Matson said. "They took me in and taught me how to be a teacher along with all the other support I got from my core members and Teach for America as an organization."

Some Guilford County School Board members criticized the idea of bringing in the organization.

They said current teachers need more support and they fear the teachers will leave after two years.

60 percent of the teachers in the program leave the district after two years.

Plus, the program costs money, over three years, 735-thousand from the district and one point two million from the state.

But, Matson says there are no guarantees any teacher will stay in the district.

"Right now, with the state policy landscape, it's particularly difficult to be a teacher," Matson said. "They're not feeling supported by the state legislature and all the new demands on them."

Two local foundations pledged more than two million dollars to get the program started in Guilford County.

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