Close your eyes and imagine your life after graduation.
What do you see?
A party to celebrate all your accomplishments. And then?
Perhaps you’ve decided to become a teacher—to do the essential work of building a better society from the ground up. If you go down this path, no doubt you’ll use all of your talent and drive, but will you change the world?
Yes, but only if you serve the children who need you most.
As you read these words, African American Teaching Fellows are completing coursework to earn their teaching licenses. They will use their skills as community leaders and cultural role models to shatter historical stereotypes, to teach all students to thrive in diverse environments and eliminate the achievement gap in our hometown.
In both the city and the county, there is an achievement gap of roughly 20 percent between the performance of white students and the performance of black students in English proficiency tests. In math proficiency tests, the gap is more than 30 percent.
As African American faculty members, our Fellows help eliminate this achievement gap. They serve as role models for all students, encouraging young people in our community to thrive, to recognize cross-cultural similarities, and to collaborate in the pursuit of academic excellence.
They’re making a difference. They’re making a profound impact on the world.
And so can you.
Who We Look For
At AATF, we provide a variety of important resources—including community, financial and professional support—to our Fellows. We stand by them during their job searches and the early stages of their teaching careers. Ultimately, however, we exist to serve the children of Charlottesville and Albemarle, and we look for individuals who have the potential to become great teachers and community leaders for the kids in our local schools.
In keeping with our organizational values, we seek candidates who demonstrate the following:
- Excellence: a proven record of achievement both in and out of the classroom
- Relationships: a demonstrated ability to collaborate with diverse stakeholders and the belief that all children can succeed
- Commitment: a history of perseverance and willingness to join the Charlottesville-Albemarle community
If you think this sounds like you—if you love to make a difference, to rise to a challenge and overcome it, if you strive for excellence and compassion on a daily basis—read on.
Where We Are
The City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County are nationally recognized as leaders in education, music, arts, and history. This vibrant setting provides unparalleled opportunities for our Fellows to grow, learn, and become leaders in the effort to change students’ lives.
The small size of the community gives our Fellows easy access to leaders such as superintendants, members of both school boards, and city and county officials. They also have the chance to engage in Charlottesville’s ongoing Dialogue on Race, a citizen-led discussion series on race and racial disparity, and to visit or volunteer at Jefferson City School Center, a community hub that honors generations of African Americans and houses many nonprofit groups, including the African American Heritage Center and Carver Recreation Center.
At their heart, however, the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County represent the perfect proving ground for change agents like you. The culture is progressive, its young professionals active and engaged. With an African American student population of nearly 4,000, growing diversity, and a persistent achievement gap, our school systems need the work of our Fellows.
They need people like you.
Why We Do It
AATF puts relationships first. Our Fellows learn about students as individuals and become members of the community in which their students are growing up. This allows Fellows to address students in context and make learning relevant to their lives. Students not only learn the material covered on standardized tests but they also use this knowledge to explore and improve themselves and the world around them.
In this way, education extends beyond the classroom. In Charlottesville and Albemarle County, African American Teaching Fellows not only promote diversity in action but they also serve school communities, develop new leaders, and improve the quality of life for everyone.
What Happens Next
The future is coming faster than you think, and once you graduate, the world will be yours to shape. As you decide how to change the world, a generation of children is growing up without diverse role models, without understanding that skin colors may speak to our roots, but we succeed through the strength of our spirits.
You have the courage, the excellence, and the heart, so perhaps you’ll join us in our mission to change that. You’ll dedicate yourself to AATF and this cause worth fighting for.
And one day, you will meet a child who looks at you and smiles. She will recognize the spirit behind your eyes; he will see himself in you. Suddenly, everything will look different—brighter, and clearer, and full of hope. You will be the change in his or her life because of the action you take today.
This is your chance.