NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Given the increasing COVID cases and positive test rates, NOLA Public Schools made the difficult decision to return entirely to virtual learning.  Teach For America Greater New Orleans (TFA GNO) has monitored these rates and is prepared to continue supporting teachers and students in all teaching and learning modalities. With 30 years of experience developing innovative education leaders for local schools, TFA GNO is committed to ensuring that all students are receiving high-quality instruction across any and all learning platforms.

The majority of Teach For America teachers (called “corps members”) have grown-up using technology, making them uniquely positioned to work in virtual environments. After completing Teach For America’s Virtual Summer Teacher Training program, their training in virtual and distance education has had a significant impact on education in Greater New Orleans during the 2020-2021 school year.

“Although this has been an incredibly challenging school year, I am so proud of the impact that our teachers have had on their classrooms and schools,” says TFA GNO Executive Director Joy Okoro. “This group of teachers is particularly well-positioned to use their insights as digital natives and equity advocates. They have supported students and colleagues all year as we have collectively navigated a digital learning environment. While this is not ideal, we are prepared to make sure that our students are not left behind.”

Throughout the year, our corps members have received mentoring and training in both virtual and in-class instruction and have demonstrated innovative approaches to leading their classrooms.  Alana Gans, a corps member teaching at McDonough 35, filmed scenes from Romeo and Juliet with her roommate to support online discussions on the text with her students through Google Classroom.  

Teach For America alumni are also using their experience and leadership to support students and families during these challenging times. Emma Merrill, a 2013 TFA alumna teaching at Carver High School, has helped students navigate a variety of challenges including setting-up telehealth appointments for families with COVID-19, translating calls to secure internet hot spots for non-English speaking families, and delivering Chromebooks and food to families in need. These are just two of the scores of stories of corps members and alumni going above and beyond to make sure that students are being supported through these challenging times.

“Our corps members’ and alumni’s commitment to their students during this ever-evolving situation has been exceptional,” said Managing Director of Regional Impact and Experience Tara Adams.  “Teach For America is committed to providing our corps members with the support they need to ensure that their students receive an equitable, high-quality education – regardless of whether it is in-person, virtual or a hybrid of both. While these changes are a challenge, our dedication to students is unwavering.”

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