A diverse network of bold leaders is fueling the movement to eliminate educational equity in Washington state. The collective impact of this movement, driven by transformational talent, teaching, leadership, and advocacy, is disrupting the system and moving the needle for our kids.
Famously known as the Evergreen state, Washington lives up to its nickname. From temperate rainforests and thick, tree-lined mountain ranges to rich agricultural land and deep fjords, it's easy to see why so many people are drawn to this Pacific Northwest paradise. The Cascades (the largest mountain range in Washington) are so vast that they not only affect weather patterns here, but actually create two separate microclimates: rainforests to the west and semi-arid basins to the east, central, and south portions of the region. Ranked as the 13th most populous state in the country, Washington is as diverse in culture as it is in geography and climate. Lucky for our corps members, they get to experience it all.
Teach For America corps members serve communities in both the Greater Puget Sound and South Central Washington areas. Corps members in the Greater Puget Sound teach in traditional and charter schools from South Seattle to Tacoma. Federal Way, a community where we've placed corps members since 2013, counts 90,000 residents and is known for its diversity—more than 100 languages are spoken in Federal Way Public Schools. Our corps members in South Central Washington teach in traditional public schools in the rural communities of Grandview, Mabton, North Franklin, and Sunnyside. While many choose to live in the same communities as their schools, others live in nearby Prosser and Tri-Cities. This rich agricultural area is primarily Latinx. Many of our students are the children of migrant or farm workers. Both the Greater Puget Sound and South Central Washington areas are full of opportunities to explore the great outdoors, sample delicious international cuisine, and discover the hidden gems of hundreds of unique neighborhoods.
However, Washington is a state in which opportunity is plentiful, but access to opportunity is not. For those with all the privilege that comes with wealth, education, race, and class, life here can be incredibly full of economic, social, cultural, and political opportunity. For those who are not as privileged, life can be very challenging and overwhelming. In partnership with many community leaders and partners, Teach For America's collective impact has begun to shift the narrative for kids in Washington. However, we have a great deal of work left to do, and can only do it with the continued growth of a bold and courageous network of corps members and alumni leading the way.