Teach For America: The Bay Area Expansion (A)

By Debbie Choy, Justin McNabney, James Phills, Erica Vaughan, Yubo Zhou
2006 | Case No. SM149A
Founded in 1989, Teach for America (TFA) was a nonprofit organization that placed highly qualified college graduates into 1,000 under-resourced urban and rural public schools across the country to teach for two years. The enthusiasm of the founding members inspired thousands of college graduates to take up the mission of eliminating educational inequalities throughout the country. Applicants for fall 2001 were twice what TFA had expected and applications for spring 2002 would be exceptionally high as well. Without drastic efforts to expand the number of placements, however, the organization would probably not be able to place all of the admitted applicants. Thus, the national office was asking many of its regions—and especially the Bay Area because of its popularity with applicants—to accommodate as many new corps members as possible. The Bay Area region placed its corps members into two local school districts and although relations with both were very positive, each district only held capacity to take approximately 40 corps members each year, for a total of 80 placements. Bay Area staff immediately realized that to grow up to 150 placements for the next year, they would need to expand the TFA program to a new school district. San Francisco Unified (SFUSD) seemed like a good candidate. SFUSD had recently hired a new superintendent (a long-time supporter of TFA) and served an incredibly diverse student population, much of which consisted of low-income, underprivileged children—exactly the kind of students TFA targeted. Expanding to SFUSD posed challenges as well and TFA Regional Staff had to determine the best option for quickly creating a large number of new placements.
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