Teaching Here

Why Choose the Greater Delta?

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Allie Osborne
Greater Delta: Mississippi & Arkansas 2010
My husband and I moved back to Mississippi because we loved our time in this state. Living here allows us to live a life we want: own a house, build strong ties to our community, and travel.
Seon Britton
Arkansas 2013
My passion has not just led me to a career path, but a life path. Waking up every morning to be in a classroom in which I learn as much as my students continues to ignite the fire in me that will drive me to fight for the rights of others.
Brittaney Boyd
Greater Delta: Mississippi & Arkansas 2016
I choose to live and work in Mississippi not just because I’m from here, but because Mississippi children are unique individuals that deserve the right to an equal education.
Maggie Hess
Arkansas 2015
Every day I have the chance to learn something new about my small, Southern town and the people who live here in a way that shows I'm new but I'm welcome.

What You Need to Know

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Salaries range from $32,000 to $36,000

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Required

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Online programs available, not required

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Two years

Becoming Certified to Teach

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  • Overview
  • What costs are associated with certification?
  • Is a Master's degree required?
  • If I have a bachelor’s degree, but was not an education major and do not have a teaching license, can I still be a member of Teach For America - Greater Delta?
  • What if I will already have a teaching license from another state?

Teach For America is a state-approved route to alternative certification in both Mississippi and Arkansas.

All corps members have the opportunity to become fully certified in at least one subject during their corps years, and initial licensure is dependent upon passing a test or tests that must be taken before the summer programming. Upon your acceptance and confirmation into the Greater Delta region, you will be given preparation resources and step-by-step directions on registering and taking your exam(s). These exams can be taken in various locations across the United States, and do not require travel to our region in order to complete.

The Mississippi and Arkansas Departments of Education also require corps members to participate in all of Teach For America - Greater Delta’s professional development activities, including summer programming.

Reach out to Hannah Whisler at hannah.whisler@teachforamerica.org with any questions about certification or testing in Mississippi and Arkansas. 

Your initial certification is free. However, in order to teach, you must pass Praxis test(s) that range in cost from $120 to $600 and submit official college transcripts (most teachers pay about $120 for required tests). In order to obtain a standard license to be used beyond your corps commitment, additional testing and an application may be required—costs may range from about $200 to $350.

No. Many teachers will choose to seek advanced degrees on their own, but it is not a requirement to teach through the Teach For America program. In the Greater Delta, you can be certified through Teach For America without incurring the large costs of graduate programs. Many corps members who are interested in a Master’s degree choose online programs such as those offered Johns Hopkins University. Others start a Master’s program at a traditional brick-and-mortar institution during their second year, or if they stay in the Greater Delta beyond their corps commitment.

Yes! Since Teach For America - Greater Delta is an alternative certification agency, you can earn your teaching license by completing the Teach For America program and passing a series of required certification exams, provided that you have obtained a bachelor’s degree, have at least a 2.7 GPA, and clear all required background checks

 

If you have a license to teach, we can almost always help you transfer that license to the state of Mississippi or Arkansas through a process called “reciprocity.” In the rare instances in which reciprocity is not possible, we are still able to certify you by your completion of the Teach For America program and through your passing of required certification exams.

 

Subjects & Grade Levels

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The Greater Delta offers the opportunity to teach in almost every subject, across all grade levels P-12. Please note that some subjects/grade-levels are unique to Mississippi or Arkansas. Reach out to Hannah Whisler at hannah.whisler@teachforamerica.org with questions. 

Greater Delta corps members teach the following subjects:

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Early Childhood
  • Elementary
  • English Language Arts
  • French
  • General Science
  • Math
  • Music (Band, Choir)
  • Physics
  • Social Studies
  • Spanish

Placement School Locations

Get to Know Our Communities

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  • Clarksdale, MS
  • Greenville, MS
  • Jackson, MS
  • Marks, MS
  • Helena-West Helena, AR
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Marianna, AR
An old brick building with a neon sign that reads, "Ground Zero Blues Club."

Clarksdale, Mississippi

Clarksdale, Mississippi, is known as the home of the blues—some legends suggest that the famous crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul are on the edge of town. Live music still echoes from “juke joints” nearly every night; in April thousands of international tourists arrive in town for one of the state’s biggest blues festivals, with musicians playing in the town’s impressive array of art galleries and restaurants. Challenges remain: economic opportunities are limited and de facto segregation persists. But over the past decade, community members, including corps members and alumni, have launched important ventures that help sustain the beating heart of this legendary region.

A road going over a high bridge in Greenville, MS.

Greenville, Mississippi

Nestled on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, Greenville is a literary haven and home to numerous authors, as well as Mississippi’s fourteenth largest school district. After five decades of outmigration, Greenville is poised for rebirth. New leadership, a growing arts community, and a burgeoning population of young professionals ensure a bright future. Many alumni and corps members live and teach in Greenville, where they take pride in its people, its history, and, of course, its food (the town hosts a Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Festival each October).

A group of historic brick buildings, see at dusk.

Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, as the state’s largest city, is a center for art, culture, food—and politics. Much of the work to reform the state’s education system is centered here, at the state capitol, including an ongoing discussion about the state’s new charter schools. An affordable city, Jackson has attracted waves of artists and chefs, especially to the Fondren neighborhood, which hosts a monthly block party and houses many of the state’s finest restaurants.

Marks, Mississippi

Rural Quitman County, one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s stops on the Poor People’s Campaign, faces the same issues as many of Mississippi’s farming communities: mechanization has decimated the number of farm jobs available; the population has plummeted; and many of those who remain—nearly a third—live in poverty.

Yet its schools are thriving. More than 90 percent of Quitman County third graders passed the new elementary reading test last year, matching statewide averages—and showing marked improvement over recent years. Despite its rural location and a statewide teacher shortage, the county’s high school has attracted a highly qualified staff.

What makes the difference? An investment in leadership and community. For years, school leaders, including our alumni, have been intentional about building a strong culture of collaboration and support between students and teachers. In preparation for the reading test, Principal Cynthia Guynes mobilized teachers and instructional coaches to increase the amount and rigor of reading instruction. The school has also received ongoing support from the Barksdale Reading Institute, an organization committed to improving public education in Mississippi. There is also a local culture of excellence; when educational issued are being discussed by politicians, parents and families show up to advocate for their students—and for the positive changes being made.

Helena-West Helena Farmer's market

Helena-West Helena, Arkansas

Helena-West Helena, a town of 11,000 people on the skirts of the Mississippi River, is a warm and vibrant community. Helena boasts both a traditional public school district, Helena-West Helena Public Schools, and a charter school system, KIPP Delta Public Schools, and Teach For America has long partnered with each in its efforts to ensure their children have access to rigorous and enriching educational opportunities.

Beginning with its first corps in 1991, corps members and alumni have become valued and active members of this incredible community with many moving into school leadership positions. Many have chosen to make Helena their long-term home while others, like Michelle Kuo, author of Reading With Patrick, continue to draw inspiration and learnings from their two years here even after moving away. Helena is truly a unique place to live and teach.

From local start-up programs for new entrepreneurs to the monthly Cherry Street Fair to the famous annual King Biscuit Blues Festival, Helena is a town in its renaissance and reflects so many of the opportunities you can find in the Arkansas Delta.

“Look at Helena and one can see the broad reach of TFA beyond the school walls to the communities and neighborhoods where TFA’s presence has helped energize growth.”

—Chintan Desai, 2010 Arkansas alumnus

Little Rock River Market

Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock, named by Forbes in the top 15 cities for young adults, has served as a national catalyst for change throughout our history. It is our newest placement and most urban site: we currently place in nine schools and serve over 1,300 students. A city of 200,000 with a small-town feel, Little Rock boasts an abundance of outdoor activities, a rich and complex history, and an up-and-coming community for young professionals.

Our alumni in Little Rock serve across all sectors, including law, policy, graduate school, medicine, non-profits, and education.

“There's something special about Little Rock and its people. I've never experienced such a combination of opportunity and intimacy. What better place to challenge yourself and grow than a community committed to doing the same?"

—Kelly Shi, California native and 2016 corps member

Joe's Barbeque

Marianna, Arkansas

Marianna, located in Lee County, is our oldest placement area and one of our smallest communities. Our teachers have lived and worked in Marianna for 25 years, taking initiative in and outside the classroom with coaching sports teams, starting after-school clubs, and organizing college visits for students. With a population of 3,500, Marianna is situated on the edge of St. Francis National Forest, is home to James Beard award-winning Jones Bar-B-Que, and is a short drive to Memphis.

Lee County is deeply committed to education. Starting in 2017 they established a partnership with Forward Arkansas with the purpose of strengthening their teacher pipeline from within the community.

Alondra Jimenez, 2015 Arkansas alumna and Lee County High School teacher, describes her experience teaching and living in Marianna: “As a Lee County educator and Teach for America Corps Member, I really appreciate the opportunity to teach in a small town surrounded by a close community. I’m grateful for the opportunities for professional development offered by Teach for America and the Lee County School District. I am hopeful that additional opportunities to continue my development as an educator will present themselves so that my skills outside of the realm of education are beneficial to my students and their families.”

“When I get off the freeway and see the sky and stars—it’s just not something you’re used to if you grew up in the city,”

—Jessica Pontoo, 2011 Arkansas alumna

Regional Expenses

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What's Left Over
Ongoing Certification Costs
You may be able to offset ongoing certification costs with an AmeriCorps education award. Learn more.
One Time Summer Start Up Costs
Estimated Start Up and Certification Costs