Education Awareness Week Brings Focus On Rhode Island's Highest Need Classrooms And Need For Investment In Schools


Providence, R.I., March 26, 2018—Education Awareness Week, hosted by Teach For America (TFA) and Junior Achievement (JA), will be held April 9-13. The week will begin at the State House, where students from Mount Pleasant High School will participate in job shadow opportunities, and Lieutenant Governor McKee will officially proclaim the week Education Awareness Week alongside other state leaders, including Secretary of State Gorbea, Treasurer Magaziner, and Representative Hull.

Education Awareness Week highlights the incredible work being done by educators who lead Rhode Island’s classrooms and schools; the potential that every student possesses for success in school and career; and the opportunity that all children deserve to realize their potential. The week brings leaders from across the state to serve as guest teachers who will lead lessons on their areas of expertise offering additional real-world relevance to the classroom. The sixth annual celebration of Education Awareness Week will focus on the need for investment in Rhode Island’s public schools, and will include a school tour and panel discussion with Education Commissioner Ken Wagner.

“The recent conversation around investing in Rhode Island’s schools has largely been focused on school infrastructure and how the state will afford these needed facility updates. We are excited about this important conversation, and our students certainly deserve safe and modern spaces in which to learn,” said Lee Lewis, president of Junior Achievement of Rhode Island. “Alongside this conversation, we should be sure to keep focus on what is happening inside our state’s schools right now as well. During this year’s Education Awareness Week, we think it is important to bring a focus to how each of us can make a personal investment with a big impact, by working and volunteering in our local schools.”

Kristine Frech, executive director of Teach For America – Rhode Island, added, “The change that is needed in our public schools is complex and no one person can solve it alone. This is the work of communities, not individual heroes, and the bold, sustained change that our schools need requires the collective effort of a broad coalition of people working together. We are thrilled to work with so many people across the state who are investing in Rhode Island’s students and supporting them as they prove that potential does not discriminate along lines of race and class, and opportunity shouldn’t either.”

Junior Achievement and Teach For America collaborate on national and regional initiatives to partner with communities and increase opportunities for students, and Education Awareness Week is one example of this collaboration. Over the last ninety-seven years, Junior Achievement of Rhode Island has reached more than 400,000 K-12 students, with nearly 7,800 students reached last year. JA prepares young people to succeed in a global economy through experiential programs focusing on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness. Since 2010, TFA has brought to Rhode Island a network of over 200 people, all of whom began by teaching in some of the state’s highest need schools, and who have collectively reached more than 20,000 students. TFA – Rhode Island’s more than 200 alumni, who are classroom, school and district leaders, policy makers, founders of advocacy organizations, social entrepreneurs, and business, philanthropic, and civic leaders, are working together and with other members of their communities to shape the context and conditions in which schools operate.

Media opportunities include:

Monday, April 9, 11:00 a.m.            

Education Awareness Week Proclamation Ceremony

State Room, 2nd Floor, Rhode Island State House

Lieutenant Governor McKee will officially proclaim the week Education Awareness Week alongside other state leaders, including Secretary of State Gorbea, Treasurer Magaziner, and Representative Hull. Kristine Frech, Executive Director of Teach For America–Rhode Island, and Lee Lewis, President of Junior Achievement, will also offer remarks.

Monday, April 9, 11:30 a.m.            

Students participate in state house job shadow

Rhode Island State House

More than 50 students from Mount Pleasant High School in Providence will work alongside state house staff and leaders.

Tuesday, April 10                               

Teach For America Education Awareness Week Guest Lessons

Delsesto Middle School, 152 Springfield Street, Providence, RI

8:00 a.m. Cameron Berube, Providence Public Schools in Margaret Darcy’s classroom

8:00 a.m. Lisa DiMartino, Rhode Island Foundation in Sara Palombo’s classroom

8:00 a.m. Adam Donaldson, AmeriCorps RI in Jamie Aguilera’s classroom

9:30 a.m. Marjorie Houston & Latdavorn Bonilla, The White Family Foundation in Sarah Harris’ classroom

9:30 a.m. Jennie Johnson, City Year in Jamie Aguilera’s classroom

10:07 a.m.  Laurel Bowerman, Washington Trust in Haley Davis’s classroom

10:07 a.m. Bethany Lyons, Washington Trust in Sara Harris’ classroom

10:07 a.m. Jason Costa, Washington Trust in Margaret Darcy’s classroom

11:08 a.m. Julianne Lima, WPRI 12 in Margaret Darcy’s classroom

11:08 a.m. Sheri Sweitzer, Teach For America in Sara Palombo’s classroom

11:30 a.m. Sarah Whiting, RI Dept of Education in Sara Palombo’s classroom

11:44 a.m. Paul Choquette, Gilbane in Alexa Brunton’s classroom

12:45 p.m. Christopher Graham, Locke Lord in Kelsey Gibbon’s classroom

12:45 p.m. Donna Stone, NE Basecamp in Alexa Brunton’s classroom

1:47 p.m. Daniel Lima, Morgan Stanley in Dillon Smith’s classroom

Wednesday, April 11                         

Building Investment in Our Public Schools: Tour and Panel

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.                   

Mount Pleasant High School, 434 Mt Pleasant Ave, Providence, RI

Mount Pleasant High principals Christopher Coleman and Dr. Nicole Mathis will be joined by Education Commissioner Ken Wagner, Teach For America – Rhode Island executive director Kristine Frech and Junior Achievement Rhode president Lee Lewis for a tour of Mount Pleasant High School. Participants will have the opportunity to understand what infrastructure investments are needed at Mount Pleasant, while also observing the excellent learning opportunities that are taking place inside Mount Pleasant’s classrooms. Following the tour, Commissioner Wagner and Principal Coleman will participate in a panel conversation and take questions from an audience of community and education leaders from across Providence and Rhode Island.

Thursday, April 12                             

Junior Achievement Day

9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.                        

George J. West Elementary School, 145 Beaufort St, Providence, RI

Business, community and government leaders will teach young people about careers, managing money, and starting a business. Leaders include: Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza; Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian; Cranston Mayor Allen Fung;  Richard Simone, III (ENG, LLC); Suzanne Carmody (Citizens Bank); Kevin Tracy (Bank of America); Steven Kitchin (New England Institute of Technology); John Gregory (Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce); Janet Raymond (Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce); Laurie White (Greater Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce); Eric Turner, (KPMG); Kristin Fraser (KPMG); Lauren Slocum (Central Chamber of Rhode Island); Rick Metters (Fidelity); Heather Singleton (Rhode Island Hospitality Association); Karen Warfield (Textron); Peter Dorsey (Business Development Company); and Scott Jensen (RI Department of Labor and Traning).

Friday, April 13                                   

Congressional Leaders Day

10:00 a.m. –11:00 a.m.                     

Fidelity Investments, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI

Students will have the opportunity to learn from Rhode Island’s congressional delegation, including U.S. Senator Jack Reed, and other area leaders, including Rick Metters (Fidelity), Suzanne Carmody (Citizens Bank), Kevin Tracy (Bank of America), and Steven Kitchin (New England Institute of Technology), about their first jobs, the importance of a strong education, and play the JA $mart Money Consumer financial literacy game.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with urban and rural communities in 53 regions across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today Teach For America is a force of 56,000 alumni and corps members committed to profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they’re imagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, to grow, to influence and to lead. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

About Junior Achievement of Rhode Island

Junior  Achievement  is  the  state's  largest  organization  dedicated  to  giving  young  people  the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 7 percent of the Rhode Island student population per year in more than 26 communities across Rhode Island. Visit for more information or connect with us on Facebook.