TFA ATT $10,000


(Harlan, Ky.) – Representatives from AT&T and Teach For America-Appalachia (TFA) were at Harlan High School recently to provide funding to support the continuation of Future Forward Coaching (FFC) at Harlan High School. The Future Forward Coaching (FFC) partnership works directly with at-risk students to provide near-peer mentoring, advising, and support around post-secondary readiness and success. The partnership benefits students in grades 9-12 at Harlan High School to build individualized plans for economic mobility, utilizing a variety of in-person/digital tools, and experiences to give students customized support.

Stephanie Devine, Executive Director of Teach For America – Appalachia, noted the value of at-risk students working one-on-one with successful peers from their own community, “Mentoring is a powerful tool to support students as they navigate the next phase of their college or career journey. Being able to support our Future Forward Coaches to care for and sustain students will play a critical role as students embark on these new experiences. We believe that having a Future Forward Coach who has navigated the same challenges, walked the same hallways, and attended the same schools as the students will be empowering for the students.” 

 Teach for America - Appalachia recruits, hires and trains Future Forward Coaches with an emphasis on selecting coaches who are current or very recent college graduates who have overcome significant obstacles to graduation. School counselors match Future Forward Coaches with at-risk and “near-miss” students who often may have been missed by traditional interventions. Students who are on the cusp of meeting ACT and College and Career Ready benchmarks are targeted for coaching. 

 Coaching takes place in the evenings or weekends and is done virtually or on-site in a one-on-one format for up to 40 at-risk students. Sessions focus on financial, career, and post-secondary planning. Additionally, they support students academically, provide tutoring, and connect them to other academic supports and/or organize test prep sessions while also introducing them to community agencies and/or services to support their overall wellness and mental health. 

Both AT&T and Toyota provide financial support to fund programs at Harlan High School, Prestonsburg High School, and the Floyd County School of Innovation. Their ongoing support in future years will help sustain the programs at these schools and increase the ratio of Coaches per school. 

 Harlan High School Principal, Britt Lawson, emphasized the benefit of having strong strategic partnerships to help ensure every student gets supported. “We are a small school district that makes every effort to know our students really well. It is one of the reasons we believe our students excel in the classroom, but we recognize that having key partners is also a critical piece to a successful transition for students. The extra support and resources provided by TFA and others like Toyota and AT&T only make our schools stronger.” 

 Teach For America Appalachia has partnered with Harlan Independent since 2011. After nine years of exclusively focusing on teacher recruitment and preparation, TFAA set a bold 10-year goal by 2030, twice as many students will achieve postsecondary readiness and success, putting students on the path to economic mobility and a future filled with possibility. This goal has inspired TFAA to deepen and expand its relationship with school districts, including launching the Future Forward Coaching Program.