In Rhode Island, 77% of high school students graduate, but there is a large gap between the graduation rate of high-income students (89%) and low-income students (66%).
One of Rhode Island's greatest assets is the state's sense of community. Community members embraced Teach For America's arrival and we are now all working together to make Rhode Island’s public schools the best in the nation.
About Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s educational disparities are largely hidden. At first glance, our statistics are not so shocking: we have a 77% high school graduation rate, which puts us above the national average. But look beneath the surface, and disparities begin to emerge. The 22% difference in graduation rate between students in low-income communities and those in high-income communities in our state makes it clear that in our nation’s smallest state, many students are not getting the education they need.
The good news is that in a small state, small efforts can yield mighty results. Since arriving in Rhode Island in 2010, Teach For America has grown the number of young professionals working on behalf of students. Next year, we’ll be over 100 alumni and corps members strong, working with communities to improve education and ensure that students are on track for college. School principals here have welcomed our teachers due to their strong content knowledge, focus on using data to analyze instruction, and immediate implementation of feedback.
Another advantage of living in a small state is being part of a tight-knit community. Rhode Island has always been a place where the people are accessible and connected, and everyone here is motivated to improve education for all kids. Our corps members and alumni are not only part of the Teach For America community, they are deeply connected to the communities where they teach. They also have access to key decision-makers and education leaders in the state. This close-knit culture provides a powerful opportunity for leaders to hear directly from teachers, and for our teachers to use their voice to advocate for better policies for classrooms, teachers, and students.
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She has worked as the special assistant to former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, and as a strategy consultant with The Bridgespan Group, where she served several education nonprofits. Heather is a graduate of Brown University and holds a master’s degree from Columbia University Teachers College and an MBA from MIT. She enjoys spending her free time with her husband, Bill, and black lab, Sawyer.