It is with excitement that we welcome our 2020 corps to their first days teaching virtually in Nashville and both in-person and virtually in Chattanooga. Welcome back to school to all our alumni teachers, administrators, school leaders, and everyone who has been planning and prepping in anticipation for students returning to classrooms. We cannot express enough gratitude for the time and heart that you have put into developing a new way of attending school while combatting the equities that already existed in our education system. This work is incredibly difficult, and we’re so grateful for your commitment to our students. This year also brings with it the necessity for continued reflection on Teach For America’s role and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. It has been inspiring to see so many of you taking action to fight anti-Blackness, call for equitable policies in our community, and promote culturally relevant pedagogy in classrooms. While the national conversation about these issues has greatly expanded, we have also heard stories of pain and trauma and know there is much more work to be done, starting with our own organization. As your alumni team, we are committed to facing our role in the historical and current inequities that we have perpetuated with our own structures, which were built within the confines of oppressive systems. Nationally, initiatives and efforts have been underway and were shared in this recent message from our CEO, Elisa Villanueva Beard. They include a reimagined selection model, an anti-racist educator curriculum at this summer's virtual teacher training, and a new partnership with Racial Equity Institute. Regionally, our staff must commit to fundamentally shifting how we work in order to create the organization and an educational system that actively dismantles White Supremacy, racism, and oppression in its many forms. This includes honestly identifying the areas where we have fallen short of our commitments to antiracism and allyship but also committing to actions that will result in a clear and substantial change. For the alumni team, we will start with decentralizing power and leadership this year through the founding of our regional Alumni Board. The alumni board recently kicked off work with their first meeting on August 22nd. Additionally, we believe that those who are most effective by inequity have a critical role in the movement toward educational equity. We are so grateful to our alumni of color of our Collective Steering Committee who will create the vision and priorities to formally launch The Collective in our region again. We know that many of you share our passion for a diverse corps, and one that is increasingly developed in antiracism and culturally relevant pedagogy. Our regional Teacher Leadership Development team is working to expand upon this development this year. In order to better support our corps members, who are entering classrooms unlike any other we’ve seen or imagined, we invite you to support the leadership development of our corps through our Corps Member Mentorship Program. We know this is only one part of the steps we must take to create an inclusive and just society beginning with education, but we will continue to pursue this aspiration alongside you. In Solidarity, The Alumni Team (Rachel, Colby, and Juanpa)
BACK TO SCHOOL RESOURCES Back to School 2020: Building Community for Connection and Learning Teaching Tolerance: Learning Plan Builder Completing Your 2020-2021 Reopening Plan: A Practical Workbook for School Leaders
NEW REGIONAL WEBSITE PLATFORM
We'are launching a NEW regional website platform that will enable our TFA Nashville-Chattanooga corps members and alumni to be connected with your network. Check it out and don't miss all the opportunities and resources we have for you.
CORPS MEMBERS & ALUMN MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
The impact our corps members will have on their students will also depend on how deep they connect and adapt to their communities. The Mentorship Program pairs corps members with alumni to promote connection, network, and professional development intended to cultivate the leadership skills and mindsets we need in our region's effort to One Day. Learn more about this unique opportunity here.
BOOK CLUB - COLLECTIVE ACTION MICROGRANT
Join our alumna Sally Foster who has put together a book club for our community. The book will be "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo. The first 18 people who join will receive an electronic copy of the book. All the book discussions will be virtually, and the book will be broken into sections to dive deeply into the topics. Sign up here! Learn more about the Collective Action Microgrant here.
YOUR NEXT STEP
TFA Nashville-Chattanooga Job Board: Find our most recent education openings Talent Matching Questionnaire: Share which opportunities you're seeking and be the first to know about new roles TFA Connect: Find employers throughout the world looking to hire TFA alumni Wishing your open role was included in this alumni newsletter? Submit the role here to make sure it's included next month.
In this section, we highlight resources related to our mission and community. Click here to submit your community event for the next alumni newsletter.
EDUCATOR DIVERSITY ADVOCACY COUNCIL
The Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance and The Education Trust in Tennessee are launching and co-chairing the Educator Diversity Advocacy Council today, which will be composed of current and aspiring educators, policy leaders, and advocates. The Educator Diversity Advocacy Council will identify and analyze the challenges and opportunities to craft a policy and advocacy agenda that supports the recruitment and retention of educators of color.
If you are an aspiring or current classroom teacher working in Tennessee who is committed to increasing teacher diversity and racial equity, we encourage you to consider this opportunity.
Learn more and apply here.
THE EDUCATION TRUST IN TENNESSEE
Ed Trust released a report this week on Social, Emotional and Academic Development, which draws on existing research and a series of focus groups with students and families to make the case that for students to thrive in schools, school leaders and educators must focus on changing adult beliefs and mindsets. The report concludes with six policy recommendations ranging from diversifying the leadership and teaching workforce to engaging students, parents, families, and communities as full partners and a digital toolkit.
HOMEWORK HOTLINE TN
Hotline's tutoring is always free for Tennessee students. Their teachers can help with anything from teaching you concepts from the beginning to checking your work to make sure you remembered all the steps.
More information here or give them a call at 615-298-6636 or 901-416-1234!
Take a peek at what we've been reading, watching, listening to, and talking about around the water cooler.