HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) – School districts are working to make sure there is a qualified teacher in every classroom. A program that the Huntsville City School system uses temporarily puts college grads in the classrooms. But does it create a headache later? That program is Teach for America, it signs grads to one or two year contracts, creating a quick turn-around for school districts. The program aims to fight inequality by bringing recent college grads into the classroom.
“This was something initiated a couple years ago.” said Keith Ward with Huntsville City Schools. “It was a way to actually have some teachers that were effective and had new methods to come in and act as a collaborative hub for the entire school.”
“I think that bringing some of those students in can sort of bring fresh energy into a school. We all know, that when we’re twenty-something, we have a lot more energy than we do in our forties,” said Ann Kvach, the vice president of Huntsville Council PTAs programming.
With short term contracts for the TFA educators, it creates a cycle of teachers coming in and filtering out.
“It doesn’t cause any great adjustments one way or another for us,” said Keith Ward.
“I think with the amount of professional development they get from the school system plus what Teach For America gives them in professional development that it is helping them to be successful in the classroom and with the kids,” said Kvach. Huntsville City School officials say TFA comings and goings are no added burden, but just part of the turnover rate they face.
“We’ve had some excellent teachers that have come from that program, and we’ve had some that have come here and have decided to stay,” said Ward. School district officials say some Teach for America educators are products of the Huntsville City School system who find their passion in the classroom and stay beyond the time of their contract.