Pinellas looking to partner with Teach for America
The Pinellas school district is looking into the possibility of bringing Teach for America teachers into its high-needs schools, and will try to find grant money to make it happen, Pinellas Superintendent Julie Janssen told The Gradebook yesterday.
"They'd be hired with the understanding that these are the schools they would work in," Janssen said, referring generally to high-needs schools that have teaching vacancies and high turnover. "You can't force (other) teachers to work there."
Janssen and other district officials met with TFA representatives last week to explore options. She said the district was thinking of no more than 75 TFA teachers (the district normally hires 400 to 600 annually, she said), and was aiming for this fall. But she also said it depended on grant funding, with TFA teachers costing about $4,000 extra because of mentors and other costs.
Rebecca Neale, TFA's regional communications director, said in an email that the group is exploring an expansion in Florida. Right now, it has members in the Miami-Dade and Duval school districts, but community leaders in Pinellas and Orange counties have expressed interest in a partnership, she said.
"We're excited by the support we've received so far, and we're hopeful that the pieces come together for us to expand to the region," she wrote. She said the group has a site selection process where it explores several sites each year and typically selects three or four. She said it'll make a decision about expansion plans this spring.