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Teachers can Change the Game in Baton Rouge
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Teachers can Change the Game in Baton Rouge
Unique teaching partnerships abound in Louisiana's up and coming capital city


If you ask any of the 600 or so alumni of City Year in Baton Rouge what they think of Louisiana’s capital, on any given day you might receive two very different answers. One day, they might be enchanted by the city’s southern charm and majestic oak trees, excited about visible economic development and neighborhood revitalization efforts, or immersed in the plentitude of festivities that can be found in every season of the year. Or, the next day, they might focus their answer on the real, tough problems facing this community- especially when it comes to education and the palpable division of opportunities for students based along racial and economic lines. They might tell you that this city needs as many people as possible working toward a better future for students, because here, with enough boots on the ground, change is possible. 

Both answers are true, and both answers are terrific reasons why City Year alumni around the country should consider launching or advancing their teaching careers in Baton Rouge. In the words of City Year CEO Michael Brown, “Baton Rouge has big city problems on a scale that is solvable.” And currently, City Year Baton Rouge is launching many unique talent partnerships with teaching programs to help provide a solution to those problems: a pipeline of alumni teachers who, through 1-2 years of service and extensive training as corps members, can add valuable talent for urban schools.

In Baton Rouge, only one third of all students have access to an “A” or “B” rated public school; only two thirds of students can expect to graduate from high school on time and on track with their peers; and in Louisiana as a whole, only 16% of ACT takers are prepared to face the rigors of college. In response to these challenges, City Year Baton Rouge has launched a collective impact effort with other area-leading education nonprofits to produce and recruit a pipeline of 1,250 excellent teachers to the city by 2020.

200 of these teachers will be alumni of City Year. Ryann Denham Sanchez, Executive Director for City Year Baton Rouge, believes corps members make some of the most effective teachers. “Corps members are well trained, they are diverse, they are highly talented, and they are innovative leaders. We are trying to be very intentional about translating their corps experience into a new wave of educators with the skills, experience, and mindset needed to create effective personalized learning environments for students,” asserts Sanchez.

These corps members and alumni can choose from a multitude of local partnerships that will help them launch or advance their teaching career. Working closely with Ashley Heard, Director of Talent Strategy and Innovation at New Schools for Baton Rouge, has opened the door for City Year alumni to access unique pathways at their particular point in their career.

“For new teachers, there are programs such as Relay Graduate School of Education and others, that will allow corps members and alumni to enter into a teaching residency after or during their corps year, become a lead classroom teacher in year 2, and receive their Master’s in education at the same time,” explains Heard. “For those who have experience teaching already, there are fellowship programs that will bolster the talent pipeline by maximizing leadership opportunities for highly effective teachers. We believe City Year alumni are uniquely positioned and qualified to take advantage of these opportunities.”

New schools entering the market in Baton Rouge are ready and willing to work with City Year in recruiting teachers and hiring alumni. Talent partners are eager to fill their program slots with our corps members. So the message is clear: the time is right now for young teachers to mobilize to Baton Rouge in order to be a part of transformation on the ground level, and to build their careers to become school and talent leaders themselves. City Year’s Vice President of District Innovation, Jeff Park, reflects, “Baton Rouge is widely recognize as being an up-and-coming community for reinventing public education. The opportunity to work with the students in Baton Rouge schools is one to prove just how important talent and commitment are to improving educational outcomes.”

Want to join the movement? Find out more about the unique teaching partnerships for City Year alumni by checking out the New Schools for Baton Rouge website or by contacting Ryann Denham Sanchez at