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August 28, 2015 | News

Foundation Grant Helps Bring Teach For America To Central Florida

The Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation has committed to helping Teach For America end educational inequity in Orange County. Thanks to a three-year, $375,000 grant from the Foundation, Orange County has become only the third county in the state to have a Teach For America partnership. The grant supports the recruitment, training and ongoing professional development of a diverse group of highly-effective teachers (called corps members) hired by Orlando’s most challenged public schools. “Teach For America is excited to partner with Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation to ensure that all students have the opportunity to thrive. This is imperative for students and for the health of our city,” says Lauren Chianese, Executive Director of Teach For America – Orlando.

The 2015-2016 school year is the first in the partnership between Orange County Public Schools and Teach for America. At this time, 18 corps members are teaching in classrooms throughout Central Florida. Mollie Ray Elementary, Rock Lake Elementary, Carver Middle and Meadowbrook Middle are just a few of the nine schools benefiting from the partnership.

As the 11th largest district in the country and the fourth largest in Florida, Orange County Public Schools has been recognized for the progress they have made towards expanding educational opportunity for students in their schools. Even so, 60 percent of eighth graders living in poverty in the district are not considered proficient in reading. Foundation President David Odahowski says, “Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation is committed to working with Teach For America, its community partners and Orlando alumni to help create innovative civic solutions to educational inequity in Central Florida.”

Established in 1989, Teach For America believes that everyone has a right to learn. However, it is often the student’s zip code or their family’s income that decides what kind of education the student will receive.  Teach For America has set out to right that wrong by enlisting diverse and passionate teachers to spend their first two years teaching in low-income classrooms, where teachers not only teach their students, they learn from them. Teach For America’s mission is to “enlist, develop and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence.” Teach For America alumni are teachers, attorneys, non-profit leaders serving as advocates and mentors in the communities in which they live and work.

For more information on Teach For America, visit