What's it like to live here?
When many people think of Texas, they imagine cowboys riding the range through a desert of tumbleweeds. While we're incredibly proud of our rodeo (it's the world's largest, after all), Houston has so much more to offer. The nation's fourth largest city, Houston is sprawling, diverse, and urbane. Demographically, it is one of the first American cities to become "all minority," in that no one racial or ethnic group constitutes more than 50 percent of the city's population. More than 90 languages are spoken within the city limits, and Houston has recently become the most ethnically diverse city in the nation. This tremendous diversity leads to an eclectic and vibrant culture evidenced in thousands of restaurants, hundreds of arts venues, and more parks and green space than any other major U.S. city.
What makes Houston a great place to live?
With one of the youngest populations in the nation and the lowest cost of living of any large U.S. city, Houston is particularly well-suited for life as a young professional. Affordable apartments and homes in a variety of neighborhoods are available, and corps members have no trouble finding housing in a community that appeals to them.
Where do corps members teach?
Corps members in Houston teach in traditional and charter public elementary and secondary schools in the city proper and in outlying areas such as Spring Branch. Roughly one third of corps members teach in either KIPP or YES Prep schools, two public charter school networks for youth growing up in poverty founded by Teach For America–Houston alumni.
What You Need to Know
Becoming Certified to Teach
- What Master's degree programs are available?
- What's the difference between Induction and Institute?
- What can my AmeriCorps award be used for?
- What school districts does TFA Houston partner with?
Corps Members coming into the program without prior a teaching certification are required to join an alternative certification program. The certification program partners with districts and Teach For America to give you a path to getting certified in the state of Texas in one year.
Prior to enrolling in any certification program, each candidate must take and pass a content exam prior to arriving in Houston for Induction. Upon your acceptance and confirmation into the Houston region, you will be given resources to study for and step-by-step directions on registering and taking your exam. This exam can be taken in various locations across the United States.
We currently work with two alternative certification partner in Houston. Placement in these certification programs is dependent on which school district you will teach.
Teaching Excellence (TE)
Provides rigorous and relevant training and individualized support that increases the path of development for new teachers. Proven and adopted by schools aiming for higher standards, TE is responsible for more than 200 teachers serving YES Prep, KIPP Houston, NCI, and Spring Branch ISD.
Effective Teaching Fellowship (ETF)
Houston Independent School District's Alternative Certification Program for novice teachers is dedicated to recruiting individuals from non-educational backgrounds and careers who are passionate about students and teaching and learning.
Teach For America – Houston partners with two graduate programs to offer our corps members a Master's degree in the field of Education. These programs both offer rigorous learning and classes that are relevant to your teaching, and immediately applicable to your classroom.
Need help deciding? Compare both programs
Houston is fortunate to host both Induction and Institute in our very own city.
When you arrive for Induction at the end of May or beginning of June (dates TBD), you will get a chance to learn about our city and the work that is being done here.
Immediately after Induction, you will start your Institute training where you will gain the knowledge and skills to be successful in the classroom.
This is one of the most commonly asked questions we get!
You can use your award to pay for the following:
- Repaying qualified student loans
- Paying all or part of the current education expenses to attend a qualified institution of higher education (including certain vocational programs)
- Paying expenses while participating in an approved school-to-work program
You cannot use your award for the following:
- Reimbursing yourself for out-of-pocket costs to pay for certification coursework
- Your first education award cannot be redeemed until after you’ve completed the service term.
- Education awards can only be accessed via payment request directly to a qualified school or lender.
- You must use the education award within 7 years of the date you earn it.
Our corps members are placed in schools within the following districts. We are proud to partner with each district to work towards One Day in Houston.
Spring Branch Independent School District
SBISD, is a school district serving portions of western Houston. SBISD’s mission is to increase student achievement and develop a culture of high expectations for all students.
KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program
KIPP is on a mission to develop in underserved students the academic skills, intellectual habits, and qualities of character necessary to succeed at all levels of pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, college, and the competitive world beyond. It is a public charter system founded by two Houston Teach For America alumni.
Provides students with high-quality, college-preparatory education that prepares them to compete in the global marketplace and give back to their communities. It also is a public charter system founded by a Teach For America alumnus.
Neighborhood Centers Inc
NCI, ensures students and families have access to resources that support their needs inside and outside of the classroom. Their goal is to develop both the academic skills and character traits that ensure every student has access to the future of their choice. This charter system focuses on wrap-around resources to help the success of each family.
The Houston Independent School District
HISD, is the city’s largest employer with 30,000 team members and the state’s largest school district. Their goal is to make HISD the best public school district in the nation.
Placement School Locations
Subjects And Grade Levels
- Early Childhood
- Social Studies
- English Language Learners
Located in northwest Houston inside "The Loop" of Interstate 610 that encircles the city's downtown, Houston Heights, or simply, the Heights, is a welcoming tree-lined neighborhood conveniently located near Houston's center. Corps members living in the Heights often share restored Victorian homes or live in one of the historic community's more recently constructed buildings. Independent business are the norm in this neighborhood, where corps members can frequently be found lesson-planning at their favorite local coffee shops, grabbing some boillios at a Mexican bakery, or shopping at a farmer’s market on the weekends.
Get to Know Gallegos Elementary School
Located in the Magnolia Park neighborhood of Houston's East End, Gallegos Elementary School educates approximately 600 children from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade in monolingual as well as bilingual classrooms. A member of Houston's Independent School District (HISD), Gallegos was an underperforming elementary school for much of the early 2000s. Hired as principal in 2006, Dr. Xochitl Rodriguez-Davila quickly changed this reality. Gallegos became a Texas Education Agency "exemplary" campus for the first time in 2008-09 as 70% of students passed each TAKS test. Rodriguez-Davila's partnership with Teach For America was a pivotal factor in this tremendous turnaround. From 2007-2009, nine Teach For America corps members began working for Gallegos. In addition, Gallegos became a school at which new corps members taught summer school during Teach For America's summer institute.
Current principal, Jessica Tejada, considers Teach For America a critical factor in the school's success. Dozens of corps members have served at Gallegos. Today, six corps members and alumni teach in and hold leadership positions at the school. Catherine Presley (Houston ’09) is the assistant principal and Allison McBride (Houston ’10) is the campus reading coach.