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WS/FCS considering Teach for America
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Local school district looking
at creative ways to fill
teacher vacancies .
BY TEVIN ST1NSON
Aug. 29 is the first day of school for the
2016-17 school year. There could be more
significance to that day than usual.
In an attempt to bring young, exciting
teachers to the area, and fill the growing
number of vacancies, the Board of
Education is considering bringing Teach
for America (TFA) into Winston
Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
"As many of you know, we have faced
a teacher shortage here in Forsyth County,
so we are trying to find creative new ways
to fill those vacancies," said Matt Dixson,
WS/FCS chief operating officer for human
Dixson, who is the former principal at
Southwest Middle School, said qualified
teachers will help the district reach the
goals they already have in place.
"We want to make sure qualified teach
ers are in front of our students, and Teach
for America is one of the ways we are try
ing to do that."
TFA is a national teacher corporation
of recent college graduates who commit at
least two years to teach and effect change
in the communities they work in.
According to the TFA official website, the
mission of the organization is to enlist,
develop and mobilize as many as possible
of the nation's most promising future lead
ers to grow and strengthen the movement
for educational equity and excellence.
If approved by the Board of Education,
TFA's partnership with Winston
Salem/Forsyth County Schools will begin
at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
Upon approval, with the help of board
members, TFA will create a placement
plan and use the 2016-2017 school year to
recruit possible teachers.
During a full board meeting held on
Tuesday, June 28, Piedmont Triad TFA
executive director Nafeesha Irby made a
presentation showing board members the
impact the program has had on classrooms
across the state.
Irby said that since partnering with
North Carolina, TFA has been focused on
building a strong pipeline of teachers into
the most vulnerable schools, and closing
the opportunity gap.
She also mentioned the program has
proven to bring more diverse group of
teachers into the classroom.
Of the 44,000 applications TFA
received in 2015, more than 50 percent
came from teachers of color. Irby also
noted that more than half of the applicants
are Pell Grant recipients, which is a key
indicator that they come from low-income
"Teach for America has served as one
of our nations most
diverse teacher prep
programs. For years,
we have been a top
recruiter for teachers
of color across the
nation and here in
North Carolina." she
While TFA is cele
brating its 25th
anniversary, the pro
gram is still fairly new
to the Piedmont Triad. In 2014, the teach
ing initiative began a partnership with
Guilford County Schools (GCS). In just
two years, TFA has brought 50 teachers
into struggling secondary schools in
Guilford County and is expected to add
another 30 in August to impact students in
primary or elementary schools.
According to a survey conducted on
principals in Guilford County who had
TFA teachers at their schools, 100 percent
were satisfied with the performance of the
teachers. Irby mentioned the recruitment
process helps ensure teachers are placed in
schools where they can make an immedi
ate impact on the students as well as the
"We recruit people who have an unwa
vering belief in the potential of all stu
dents, who have demonstrated leadership,
perseverance in the face of challenges,
strong critical thinking and organizational
skills, and exceptional interpersonal
skills." Irby said.
"This has helped us to build a strong
movement toward educational equity."
In addition to possessing die above
mentioned character traits, college gradu
ates who are looking to join TFA must pass
the Praxis II Series Professional
Assessment before being interviewed for
any position. Teachers will also receive
ongoing support and professional develop
ment during their tenure.
"We welcome Winston-Salem/Forsyth
County Schools," Irby said.
While the decision is not yet final,
future educators are excited about the pos
sibility of the partnership between TFA
and the local school system. Shannon Hill,
a Winston-Salem State University educa
tion major and city nadve, said although
she plans to attend graduate school after
receiving her bachelor's degree, TFA
seems like a good second option.
"This definitely sounds like something
I would be interested in," said Hill. "It's
good to know that there is a program out
there that helps students who want to be
"In this area where we have so many
failing schools, it is good to see the school
board trying new things to change that nar
rative. I'm excited to see what happens
with this partnership.
For more information on TFA, visit
School resource officer wins statewide award for heroics
Officer Travis McFadden,
a school resource officer
for the Kingswood School
at the Children's Home,
will receive the 2016 Hank
Snyder "Beyond the Call
of Duty" award from the
N.C. Association of School
Resource Officers for his
actions in rescuing a tod
dler from a crashed auto
McFadden will be pre
sented the award on July 11
during the Association's
annual convention at
Sunset Beach, N.C.
The Hank Snyder
"Beyond the Call of Duty"
award honors a school
resonrce officer who goes
above and beyond the call
of his or her everyday
The award is named in
honor of Hank Snyder, a
retired instructor at the
N.C. Justice Academy.
On the morning of Oct.
21, 2015, McFadden was
traveling on Northwest
Boulevard on his way to
Kingswood School at the
Children's Home, where he
serves as the school
resource officer, when he
saw that a car had run off
The vehicle was sus
pended in mid-air strad
dling the entrance to a
pedestrian tunnel that pass
es under Northwest
Boulevard. The transmis
sion was still engaged and
the wheels were turning,
making the position of the
vehicle very unstable. The
driver had gotten out, but a
2-year-old child was still
inside, fastened in a car
that the child might be
killed or suffer a serious
injury if the unstable vehi
cle shifted and fell into the
tunnel entrance, about 10
feet down. McFadden
climbed into the suspended
vehicle through the back
door and removed the
child, who was not injured.
received the Police
Department's Medal of
Merit for his actions.
Let us Know
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