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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 18th, 2015) – More teachers are coming-in from all over the country to help fill needs in local classrooms through the nonprofit organization, “Teach for America.”

This school year, 85 new TFA teachers are joining 85 second-year teachers in schools around the Indy area, focusing on the lowest income communities and helping with teacher shortages. At the beginning of this summer, there were about 180 open Indianapolis Public School jobs. TFA helped fill some of those positions in IPS and in other charter schools as well.

“Even with the 85 new teachers, there are still vacancies throughout our city,” said Teach for America Indianapolis Executive Director Rebecca Thompson Boyle.

“We’re excited to be playing a critical role in the city and we’re grateful for the partnership with traditional educators and school systems that have welcomed us here, but the need is high in the communities we serve,” she said.

Thompson Boyle says about a quarter of the new TFA teachers this year have STEM backgrounds (science, technology, engineering and math), helping to bring those skills to schools in need, and 75% were brought-in from different areas around the country through a very selective process: TFA only accepts 15% of their applicants. Last year, they had more than 40,000 people applying for 4,300 spots.

“We have become the primary provider of diverse teachers and leaders in the city, which we’re really proud of, so about 30% of our corps members are teachers of color, which we think it so critically important. We feel teachers who share the same racial, ethnic or socioeconomic background as our students serve as living proof of what’s possible,” Thompson Boyle said.

TFA has only been in Indianapolis since 2008, but Thompson Boyle says their alums are already making a big impact on the area.

“56% of our alumni work in a K-12 building which is pretty phenomenal, and these are folks who would’ve never gone into education had it not been for TFA, I think the most compelling statistic that we share right now is that one out of every six principals in Center Township is a Teach for America alum,” she said.

This year, TFA also added 15 early childhood education teachers, which is part of a larger city-wide goal to help more young kids start out on the same playing field. If you’d like to learn more about Teach for America Indianapolis, click here.