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Teach for America influences programs

Amanda Michaels | Thursday, November 13, 2003

Fourteen years after the conception of Teach for America, hundreds of similar organizations have been chartered to help combat illiteracy and raise the level of education in the United States and around the world.

The Center for Social Concerns is a clearinghouse for many such programs, connecting students interested in dedicating their post-graduate years to service.

Programs modeled after the Alliance for Catholic Education, which decided to help others start similar organizations rather than expand its own, are among such large-scale service projects. While ACE is still the most popular teaching service organization on campus, such groups as the Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education, the Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers and a variety of others attract as many as five graduates each year.

With 168 graduates in service, two-thirds of those ND/SMC students, ACE is by far the most popular post-grad service organization for Domers. Established by Father Tim Scully and Father Sean McGraw in 1994, ACE provides an intensive program that allows students to work toward their Masters of Education degree in the summer, while accruing hands on experience as full-time teacher during the school year.

ACE teachers receive health insurance, a monthly stipend, travel reimbursement and an education award of $4,725 from Americorps, said Andrea Smith Shappell, director of senior transition programs for the CSC.

Seventy-seven percent of ACE teachers stay in education after the required two years, and 56 percent of those stay in K-12, with the rest becoming coaches or principals or taking other education-related occupations, said Christian Dallavis, associate director of ACE.

“About 10 percent of seniors apply to ACE each year,” said Dallavis, “and what I think it comes down to is an interest in teaching others and the desire to do service.”

The success of the ACE and Teach for America projects has spawned a number of other long-standing teaching programs, through which volunteers are able to earn credits toward a Masters degree. The Inner-City Teaching Corp in Chicago, Response-Ability in Philadelphia and other locations around the country and Teach for America are examples of such organizations.

The national movement of the Nativity Prep Academy, whose mission it is to provide tuition-free education to at-risk, impoverished children also draws graduates to one of its many locations – the most popular of which is San Diego. David Rivera, a 1999 Notre Dame graduate, founded the organization.