NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Teach for America Greater New Orleans and Entergy Corporation are teaming up to celebrate 30 years of commitment to educational excellence for students in the Greater New Orleans area.
Although 2020 marked 30 years of impact for Teach For America Greater New Orleans (TFA GNO), the organization delayed the celebration of this milestone to put all available resources towards supporting local teachers, students, and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “As Teach For America Greater New Orleans reflects on its 30th anniversary amidst the challenges of the past year, I’m also reflective of our learnings over that time,” says TFA GNO Executive Director Joy Okoro. “I’ve seen incredible acts of leadership and a steadfast commitment to creating more equitable systems for our students and families. We need to take this moment to reimagine what education could look like for our kids to continue fueling the incredible progress we’ve seen in Greater New Orleans since 1990.”
The theme that the campaign will explore is “30 Years of Transformation: Service, Solidarity, and Solutions,” honoring TFA GNO’s dedication to and leadership in our local education system since 1990 and celebrating the vision, innovation and forward-looking evolution of the Teach For America mission in the years ahead.
“Teach for America has been one of our strategic partners in education for 20 years for one simple reason: TFA has a proven track record for helping students succeed,” said Patty Riddlebarger, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Entergy Corporation. “In New Orleans, where almost 90 percent of schools are impacted by TFA teachers and leaders, high school graduation rates have increased from 54 to 78 percent, college attendance has increased by 24 percentage points, and academic proficiency gaps between students in Orleans parish and students statewide have been virtually closed. Much work remains to be done, but TFA’s presence has been a critical factor in driving this progress.”
The campaign will spotlight at least 30 voices who will tell the story of transformation in the Greater New Orleans public education system through the TFA GNO “30×30 Transformatino” storytelling series. The series begins with a podcast interview with Teach For America and Teach For All founder Wendy Kopp who shares her insights on TFA’s service and impact in Greater New Orleans since she founded the organization in 1990. “It is really inspiring to me to think about Teach For America’s three decades of service in Greater New Orleans,” said Kopp. “I know you’ll create a truly equitable and excellent education system because so many of the hearts and souls in New Orleans are and have been committed to the work for so long.”
Other stories will explore “solidarity” in how individuals, organizations, and funders from Louisiana and across the country exercised collective leadership to support students and families during times of crisis such as after Hurricane Katrina and in the current COVID-19 pandemic – and the lessons our community has learned along the way. The series will conclude with exploring potential “solutions” to current challenges through hosting community conversations in an effort to reimagine the future of education in Greater New Orleans.
With the addition of over 120 corps member teaching in schools across Jefferson, St. Bernard, and Orleans parishes this school year, TFA GNO has brought over 3,000 teaching corps members to the region since 1990. The organization is proud that almost 90 percent of the almost 1,100 local TFA alumni are working in education or adjacent industries serving and impacting children in historically underserved or low-income communities. To put that statistic in deeper perspective, over 400 alumni work directly in schools, including 280 alumni teachers, 45 school leaders and 18 school system leaders. TFA GNO leadership is encouraged and excited to continue building upon its legacy of progress.
The organization seeks to set the stage for further evolution and empower a new generation of teachers, leaders and students dedicated to improving New Orleans for the next three decades and beyond. To join the celebration and view the 30×30 Transformation storytelling series online, visit tfagno30.com or on social media at @tfa_gno on Instagram and Twitter, and @TFAGreaterNewOrleans on Facebook.