Updated: Mar 21, 2019
When you think back on your education, what do you remember? What made the biggest difference?
More than likely, it was not the governance structure of your school, the amount of technology in your classroom, or test prep courses.
If you’re like most people, it was your teachers who shaped your education. If you were lucky, you had teachers who got to know you and could draw you into lessons and subject matter at a level where you could thrive. They knew how to slow down when you needed time, and when to allow you to accelerate. They probably hugged you, and they probably called you out when you were trying to slide by.
Teachers, we know, are the single biggest difference maker in the education of any given student.
To limit the possibility of getting the right teachers in front of our students —by geography, access to preparation, or cost of living— is a disservice. Educate 210 aims to connect great teachers and the classrooms that need them.
Like many urban markets across the country, San Antonio faces a teacher shortage; our current teacher preparation programs are not preparing enough teachers to meet the hiring needs of local school systems. According to the Texas Education Agency, local school systems hired 2,290 first-year teachers in 2017, while teacher preparation programs in our Bexar County graduated roughly 1,300 new teachers.
National research confirms particular challenges staffing schools urban schools serving low-income students, with some of the greatest challenges concentrated in certain hard-to-fill subject areas like STEM and special education.
We know the pool of teachers for urban schools needs to grow. Master teacher programs, graduate programs, and residencies are great ways for teachers to enhance their craft while on the job, filling the needs that already exist and encouraging retention.
For this reason, City Education Partners has made significant investments in school-leader residency programs who prepare educators locally within the context in which they will teach and lead. At the same time, we aim to recruit more educators to our urban school through the Educate 210 campaign.
In 2019, we asked ourselves the questions, “what if we built a platform for educators hoping to work within our city’s urban public schools so that they might easily connect with schools seeking talent. Then, what if we provided incentives to help these educators choose San Antonio and overcome barriers associated with relocation. Finally, what if we intentionally designed events to build community and network among educators in our city?” Could we show educators that San Antonio is the place to do the work that changes the trajectory of a child’s future?
Other cities, including Memphis, Detroit, New Orleans, Dallas, and Houston have recently launched similar projects to recruit and champion educators in their communities. We launched Educate210, aiming to learn from what has worked in these communities and show educators that San Antonio is the place to make an impact.
We want educators to look at San Antonio, and get here as quickly as they can. Educate 210 will facilitate travel for interviews, job fairs, and moving costs if a school finds their ideal candidate outside the market, and we host networking and community-building events for current educators in San Antonio throughout the year.
Every teacher—whether they find their dream job through Educate 210 or not—deserves to be treated like a rockstar in San Antonio. The perks and benefits available to all teachers through Educate 210 aim to create local VIP status. Free coffee and discounted rent in premium housing is great, but with it comes the appreciation of local business owners. They are participating in our teacher perks because they get it: they can’t thrive without great teachers! San Antonio is going “all in” on teachers because for our city to thrive in ten and twenty years, we need amazing teachers in every classroom today. We need the all-stars, the specialists, the masters, the innovators, and the dreamers to come and join the work in San Antonio where the whole city is ready to cheer them on.
Rachel began her career as a high school teacher and Teach for America (TFA) Corps Member in New Mexico. After TFA, she worked for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, where she assessed the financial and outcome performance of state agencies, resulting in policy changes and state investments to improve outcomes for New Mexicans. Before joining City Education Partners, Rachel worked as a district administrator in Houston ISD.