San Antonio is truly a City on the Rise.
Steeped in a rich cultural history, exemplified by the World Heritage Site San Antonio Missions, the Alamo City also has its eye on the future and designs on how to shape it. San Antonio is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States because of its attractiveness to both the tech and business industries and its small-town feel. With a myriad of organizations devoted to community growth and enrichment, San Antonio’s level of community engagement sets an example for the nation.
Teach For America-San Antonio is among those working towards a better tomorrow for our city. Over the past five years, we have brought over 500 teachers to work in San Antonio’s inner city and our region is currently a home to almost 300 alumni. In addition to the many teachers that remain in the classroom, our alumni serve on school boards, manage local nonprofits, and lead schools as principals and administrators. In only a few short years, our network has become a force for transformation.
The engine for change is driven in part by stark dualities for city residents, particularly those living in San Antonio’s urban core. According to the Pew Research Center’s report, The Rise of Residential Segregation by Income (2012), San Antonio is the most economically segregated city in the United States. These inequities are clearly exemplified in classrooms across the city. While 17 school districts comprise Bexar County, the lowest-performing school districts are in San Antonio’s urban core. The urban core is also home to disproportionate percentages of students of color and students growing up in poverty. Indeed, San Antonio ISD (SAISD), the school district in the heart of the urban core, serves a 97 percent Latino and African American student body, 93 percent of which are considered economically disadvantaged. Students growing up in the urban core face significant and persistent challenges that impact their ability to obtain an equitable education.
Recently, SAISD earned District of Innovation status from the state of Texas allowing for more flexibility and creativity in the construction of the educational experience. This designation, coupled with new initiatives focused on community partnerships to infuse rigor and offer multiple opportunities for students, are critical components of SAISD’s five year plan to align the district with the vision of SA2020.
SAISD comprises approximately 80 percent of TFA-SA’s corps member placements, and our alumni often continue their work in SAISD classrooms or move to leadership roles within the district. TFA-San Antonio is a critical partner and leader in this work, deliberately fueling the talent pipeline in San Antonio’s urban core.