Since 2010, Teach For America has recruited approximately 120 young professionals to teach here in Rhode Island. Many have chosen to build their careers here, even after completing their corps commitment with Teach For America. And, our alumni network in Rhode Island is growing, with alumni from other regions choosing to call Rhode Island their home.
We understand that providing students with teacher role models who share their background sends an important message to Rhode Island’s young people. It says that we believe in them and understand their needs, and demonstrates their own potential to attend college and have success in their chosen career. Every teacher has an impact on their students, but when a student can identify with their teacher’s background and even more tangibly envision his or her own leadership and success, there is a potential for even more profound influence.
The Rhode Island Department of Education’s strategic plan, Transforming Education in Rhode Island, includes the goal of developing a more diverse corps of great teachers and school leaders. Teach For America can partner with the state to incentivize teacher preparation programs to design recruitment, admission and training processes with the specific goal of attracting and preparing teachers from diverse backgrounds to meet the needs of students and families.
By recruiting outstanding individuals to teach in our schools, Teach For America is also working to increase the number of Rhode Islanders who have the commitment, perspective and experience that comes from teaching in under-resourced communities.
Today, over 150 alumni across the state are working in a variety of sectors to lead and support efforts to end educational inequity. The overwhelming majority of Teach For America alumni in Rhode Island continue to work in education, with 74 percent of our alumni either working directly in education or in a field that impacts education. They are working as teachers, state and district leaders, principals, assistant principals and instructional coaches. While teaching is the most common profession among our Rhode Island alumni, 98 percent of our alumni do mission-aligned work in education or low-income communities.
Continued partnership and support for Teach For America’s work in Rhode Island will result in the recruitment of greater numbers of high-achieving college graduates and professionals with a passion for social justice to the Rhode Island workforce. This pipeline of talent will work to ensure that students in the state’s highest-need schools have equal access to the educational opportunities necessary to compete in and grow Rhode Island’s economy.