SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Springfield College AmeriCorps member Keri Cecilia was recently accepted to the Teach for America program that places teachers in low-income communities for two years. Cecilia was one of more than 40,000 candidates with only one in every five applicants being accepted to Teach for America.
“Keri is an exceptional student and AmeriCorps member and her sensitive approach to educating and mentoring young children who are at risk makes her a perfect candidate for Teach for America,” said Springfield College AmeriCorps Program Director Shannon Langone. “We know she will have a positive and meaningful impact on the children she teaches in Baltimore, Md., starting next year."
Cecilia is a senior at Springfield College majoring in recreation management with a concentration in therapeutic recreation. As a member of the Springfield College Student Success Corps, she has been serving as a literacy tutor at Mason Square Head Start in Springfield, where she helps implement an early literacy intervention model developed by the Minnesota Reading Corps. Cecilia is one of 12 Springfield College AmeriCorps members serving as a literacy tutors in six pre-kindergarten classrooms in Springfield.
"Teach for America has been a dream of mine since my sophomore year,” said Cecilia. “I value this position and I am so excited to be a part of the movement to ensure that children growing up in poverty get an excellent education. I know it will be challenging and that there is still a lot I have to learn, but I am excited for that exact reason. I can't wait to meet my elementary students in Baltimore and teach them so that they can achieve at the highest levels. At the same time, I am also excited for all that they will teach me. I truly couldn't have asked for a better opportunity after graduating from Springfield College and am thankful that Springfield and the staff here have prepared me to go out and make a difference."
Teach for America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates and professionals who teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. The goal of Teach for America is for its corps members to make an impact on their students in addition to becoming lifelong leaders in pursuing educational equality. Teach for America teachers are full-fledged faculty members at their schools, receiving the normal school district salary and benefits.
Springfield College Student Success Corps is a program funded by a three-year, $1.5 million AmeriCorps Grant, focused on meeting the critical educational needs of Springfield youth. The grant supports 60 participating Springfield College students per year who become AmeriCorps members, with each individual contributing either 900 or 450 hours of community service in Springfield pre-schools, middle schools, and high schools. The goal of the program is to increase academic engagement and success by identifying at-risk students and using targeted interventions to address risk factors for dropout, including poor early literacy skills, low attendance, course failure, and behavioral/disciplinary issues.