Educators Prepare for Upcoming Academic Year

Teach for America helps newcomers tackle COVID-19 effects, other present-day challenges

Teach for America has welcomed nearly 100 first-year teachers to Dallas ISD for the fall to train through the organization’s new hybrid instructional model.

The program included virtual and in-person teaching components covering hot topics in education today following the pandemic’s effects: instruction, learning environments, leadership development, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Raquel Butner, a corps member for TFA, said one of the anticipated challenges this year is the continuing effect of COVID-19, including returning to the classroom for teachers and students. Still, this training was designed to ease that transition.

The training has allowed us to really have a good understanding of different ways to help out different students in the classroom.

Raquel Butner

“I think it’s just going to be a matter of doing the best that we can with our resources,” Butner said. “And just making sure we have a differentiated classroom so that all students’ needs are being met, whether they are behind or up to speed or if they’re needing to be challenged.”

Learning from Dallas ISD veteran teachers and TFA corps members, the rookie teachers had the opportunity this summer to better understand the North Texas community, schools, and students as they look toward the upcoming year.

“The training has allowed us to really have a good understanding of different ways to help out different students in the classroom, so I think that’s what we’re going to be able to bring to Dallas ISD,” Butner said.

Dallas ISD’s partnership with TFA allows future classroom leaders to develop, gain inspiration, and prepare to empower the next generation, said Sharla Hudspeth, Dallas ISD’s executive director of extracurricular and extended learning opportunities.

This summer program is part of TFA’s nationwide, multipart pre-service experience that began in May and will extend through the first 90 days of school for all 2,000 new TFA educators. 

“Teach for America really [places] an importance on making sure that we’re doing everything we can to help the community,” Butner said. “We’re not coming in with our own plans and saying what we want; we’re listening to the community and doing exactly what it is that they need.”

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