Educate 210: What's The Big Idea?

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.