City Schools Ok Teach For America Pact

August 13, 2009|By Olivia Bobrowsky | Olivia Bobrowsky,olivia.bobrowsky@baltsun.com

The Baltimore City school board approved a contract with Teach for America on Tuesday night that will allow up to 200 teachers into the city's public schools during the coming school year.

The cost to city schools of $450,000 includes recruitment, selection and training of new teachers, who commit to their posts for two years. Schools chief Andr?s Alonso said the contract only covers one year because of the current economic climate.

"Given the changes in the market with regards to teachers in Baltimore City, we need to be careful of the commitments we make in the long term," he said.

School board member Robert Heck said he is a "great supporter" of Teach for America, a national corps of teachers that sends recent graduates from elite colleges to urban and rural public schools nationwide. There are currently about 175 corps members in Baltimore, and 164 more will be added for the 2009-2010 school year.

Those teachers are already getting ready for the fall, using this week to speak with local principals. Next week, the teachers - many of them from outside the state - will report to their new schools and familiarize themselves with the surrounding neighborhoods.

That's a crucial step, Heck said, "so they have an understanding of not just the school and the children and the academics, but also the greater community in which they serve."

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