Oklahoma's history is rich with obstacles overcome. From the Dust Bowl to the oil booms (and busts), Oklahomans pride ourselves on banding together, rising to meet our challenges, and coming out stronger and smarter than we began. And the challenges facing children in poverty in Oklahoma are considerable.
Surveys taken in the middle of the 2014-2015 school year indicated that Oklahoma schools reported over one thousand teacher vacancies, with most of those vacancies concentrated in the state’s two largest and most urban districts. These districts serve nearly 90,000 students and almost 90% of those children are on free or reduced lunch. Together, the Oklahoma corps, alumni and staff strive to eliminate educational inequity in our state by promoting rigor, accountability, respect and a social justice perspective. We also are committed to building a lasting pipeline of leaders who have the conviction to show Oklahoma and beyond what is possible in historically underserved communities.
Teach For America – Oklahoma is one of the younger regions in the organization, arriving in Tulsa in 2009. Two years later, our region expanded to include the state capital, Oklahoma City, allowing us to participate in exciting collaborative efforts for change in two of the state’s major metropolitan areas. In the six years since our founding, Teach For America - Oklahoma has grown from 75 teachers to a corps of nearly 400 – making us one of the largest regions in the country. We also have nearly 400 alumni in our state with 59% of them still teaching in classrooms, and over 80% of them still involved in the education ecosystem full time in some capacity.
Although Teach For America is still relatively young in its contributions to helping ensure educational equity for all students in Oklahoma, by establishing meaningful relationships with district and community partners who are working to drive change, we have already seen dramatic results in classrooms throughout the region. Our teachers, alumni, and staff have adopted Oklahoma's spirit of partnership, grit, and determination and are working relentlessly to ensure the students of our state have the opportunities they deserve.