COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., June 16, 2022 — The Sachs Foundation, an organization that has supported Black Coloradans since 1931, and Teach For America (TFA) Colorado, the state branch of a national organization that expands educational opportunity for children by recruiting and training educators, are partnering to offer Black college graduates in Colorado an opportunity to make an impact as an educator. The organizations intend to build a community of Black educators through cohort groups and supplement salaries to address the shortage of Black teachers in Colorado.
The number of Black educators in the US has been in decline since schools were desegregated, but data confirms that representation matters to students. Johns Hopkins research shows that the presence of just one Black teacher in grades 3-5 increases low-income Black boys’ interest in college by 29% and lowers the high school drop-out rate by 39%. However, 150 of Colorado’s 178 school districts have no Black teachers at all. The Sachs Foundation launched its Teacher Development Program in 2020 to improve educator diversity in Colorado schools, a mission that matches the TFA’s goal of increasing diversity in the teaching ranks to better reflect student populations.
Working together, the organizations are intentionally building a community of Black educators in Colorado. TFA Colorado is taking the lead on identifying, recruiting and training teachers since that expertise is the organization’s area of, and Sachs is providing financial support for Black teachers working in Colorado who are part of the program, drawing on its experience of providing scholarships for Black Coloradans. Both organizations emphasize the importance of a cohort (peer group) in program success. TFA Colorado says the partnership has already increased the number of Black educators who are able to teach through TFA by 150%.
One persistent recruiting obstacle is that Black students typically graduate with higher levels of debt than white peers and therefore have the incentive to enter more lucrative professions like business or engineering, even if they’re interested in teaching. The Sachs-TFA partnership addresses that challenge by augmenting teacher salaries. Another barrier is that potential teachers may be discouraged by the prospect of being the only Black educator at their school. The cohort aspect of the program addresses that by creating a community and providing peer support and networking opportunities.
“Teach For America is a well-known and widely respected national organization, so we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the TFA Colorado team,” said Ben Ralston, President, Sachs Foundation. “It’s a natural fit because we share the same values, and our capabilities are complementary. The Sachs Foundation has funds we can use to meet this challenge, and TFA has the critical teacher recruiting and training expertise to make it work. We’re hoping to expand the program eventually.”
The Sachs Foundation has already committed $165,000 to the program this year, and has announced it will continue to support participating Black TFA Colorado educators as they continue in their careers over the next three years. Sachs expects its investments to reach over $350,000 annually during that time. Teach For America will continue to recruit teachers, including talented Black graduates for teaching positions in Colorado, a task that is made easier by the financial resources and cohort element of the program.
“We’ve been committed to building a pipeline of diverse teachers for Colorado from the beginning,” said Executive Director of TFA Colorado Dr. Prateek Dutta. “Black teachers have overcome so many barriers, and this partnership is the perfect step in the right direction because now we have the resources to attract and retain black educators by addressing the two major challenges they face: lack of funding and isolation. With Sachs Foundation, we can make a huge difference for Black teachers and students in Colorado schools.”
Learn more about the Sachs Foundation at www.sachsfoundation.org. Find out more about Teach For America’s work in Colorado at www.teachforamerica.org/where-we-work/colorado.
About the Sachs Foundation
Founded by Pikes Peak resident Henry Sachs in 1931, the Sachs Foundation provides scholarship programs designed to help Black Coloradans overcome discrimination and reach their full academic potential. Over the decades, the Foundation has helped thousands of talented Black students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees at universities throughout the United States, dispersing millions in funding through its unique education approach. Learn more about the Sachs Foundation, student success stories and how to apply for scholarship grants at www.sachsfoundation.org.
About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of 66,000 alumni and corps members working in more than 9,000 schools nationwide in the pursuit of a profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit http://www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.