Article in the Savannah Morning News by Peter Ulrich and Kelley Waldron One in five. It’s a stomach-clenching statistic. That’s the number of teachers, on average, who leave the profession each year. The reason for flight? It’s not the students, no matter what you see on YouTube. It’s not the parents, no matter what you see on Facebook. And it is not the pay, which could be better for everyone. So what is the number one reason new professionals leave education? They are disconnected. As every professional knows, the difference between abysmal falls, mind-numbing stagnation or meteoric rise is who you know. Truly courageous educators are purposeful about everything. They need connection and collaboration with colleagues who are like-minded. Professional educators work to make a meaningful impact over time in the lives of their students. The work of a teacher expands beyond imparting knowledge to their students to finding ways to connect a body of knowledge to something meaningful in the world. From these connections, students learn that knowledge is not something you simply file away or use to pass a test or reach the next marker. Within this connective dynamic, students learn they can ask questions, find answers, solve problems and pursue their passions to become meaningful contributors to their communities. Professional educators know connections are critical. To teach in this way takes passion and expertise. There is so much within the life of a school that can divert teachers’ attention — deadlines, paperwork, students’ life circumstances, an overloaded schedule, etc. To revive this drive for meaningful impact and connection, teachers need to connect in meaningful ways to others who are passionate about the power of education and experts in their fields. These networks allow teachers to find the fullest meaning of learning for their students, one in which learning empowers students to be agents of change in their own lives and beyond. Teach the Future Fellowship is an opportunity for K-12 educators to connect in this way. It is a new annual program birthed out of our joint passion to give teachers the gift to be creative and share ideas, discussing education as the highest realization of learning, not just education in schools. Through a series of events and programs, it will join public and private school educators with innovators and entrepreneurs in Savannah to explore and make firm the connections between the knowledge being taught and real life applications within our local community. Teach the Future Fellowship is sponsored by St. Andrew’s School and its founding leaders are working in partnerships with The Creative Coast, The Guild Hall, and EdCamp Savannah to plan and implement programming. The program has gained support from community leaders. “The ‘Teach the Future’ concept is brilliant and creative in its own right,” said Howard J. Morrison, an early supporter of the program. “What an incredible way to connect our teachers to the community and help them prepare our students for whatever is to come.” Participants will develop longstanding connections that will benefit their schools through school-to-school collaborative opportunities as well as school-to-community resources. Participants will develop school-based applications of their learning, develop a deeper understanding of project based learning and develop technology skills that allow them to teach technology in meaningful ways within the context of their subject areas and age levels. In providing this opportunity, we hope to open the door for them to make learning a pursuit of its fullest potential and empower our students to make the world a better place. Interested educators in K-12 public or private schools can apply online at teachthefuture.co (the URL is .co, not .com) by Friday, June 26. Programming will begin in late September. The fellowship is covered by a tuition of $320, which includes the cost of all events and programming. Limited scholarships are available for public school educators, and additional sponsorships are always welcome. Kelley Waldron is the assistant head of school at St. Andrew’s School, and Peter Ulrich is the principal at The STEM Academy at Bartlett Middle School.