Bringing together multiple voices, organizations, and community members, Jacksonville has taken action to improve education in its city and ensure that every child receives the opportunity of an excellent education. Duval County Public Schools’ (DCPS) 8th graders from low-income communities are half as likely to be proficient in reading and math as their affluent peers. This is just one of the facts that fuels the community’s efforts to ensure that educational equity can be a reality in Jacksonville. When describing the educational landscape in Jacksonville, Gary Chartrand, Florida Department of Education State Board of Education Chair, said: “It’s reform-minded and it has energy behind a movement to make sure that all our children get a quality education. And that’s not only the district itself, but also the community at large that there’s a movement going on here in Jacksonville and there’s really good momentum to make sure we have one of the best large urban school districts.”
Joining forces with numerous organizations and programs, Teach For America – Jacksonville (TFA – Jax) has been a leading teacher recruitment and development partner for hard-to-staff, high-poverty schools across Duval County Public schools (DCPS) since 2008. “[Jacksonville’s greatest opportunities have] been an infusion of people coming in that love Jacksonville and bring in new ideas, actually contributing in a way that one could conclude is for the most part positive,” said Nathaniel Glover, Edward Waters College President and Jacksonville’s first elected African American Sheriff. And over the last seven years, TFA-Jax has endeavored to attract and retain just those people, growing its enrollment over 50 percent, and continuing to bring passionate teachers (corps members) to serve and lead in DCPS schools and call Jacksonville home.