How many members are serving at this site? During the 2016-2017 school, there was one Teach For America teacher and AmeriCorps member working at Oliver Elementary School, Bibi Tillery, who was in her first year teaching. In addition, we have 4 Teach For America and AmeriCorps alumni members working at Oliver Elementary School. Another AmeriCorps affiliated program, Jones Valley Teaching Farm, also places members at this site.
What is your organization’s goal at this site? Our goal is continue to partner with Oliver Elementary School and Birmingham City Schools to provide excellent teachers where they are needed and positively impact academic outcomes and opportunities available for students. Teach For America has partnered with Oliver Elementary School for several years, and it is one of the schools that feeds into Woodlawn High School, where several other Teach For America teachers and alumni work. Recently Ms. Tillery, along with the rest of her grade level team, received their feeder pattern’s award for outstanding accomplishments in literacy. One of our organization’s main goals is to deliver results that open doors for students, and through high quality literacy instruction we are seeing opportunities expand for students at Oliver.
What is something exciting that has happened at this site? Throughout the year, students at Oliver Elementary School have participated in hands-on learning through an on-site partnership with Jones Valley Teaching Farm. Jones Valley has an urban farm behind the school where students plant seeds, grow fruits and vegetables, and learn more about the world around them. Students benefit from working with Jones Valley in a variety of ways, including participating in a weekly student-run farmers market, engaging in cooking lessons held in classrooms, and exploring outdoor student engagements that are aligned with each grade level’s learning standards.