Teach For America Welcomes 25 Local Teachers to Classrooms This Fall, Marking 5 Years in Rhode Island as the Organization's National Leadership Force Tops 50,000

Incoming Rhode Island Teaching Corps Joins National 25th-Anniversary Corps of 4,100 Emerging Leaders Committed to Expanding Educational Opportunity

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Providence, R.I., September 1, 2015—Teach For America will welcome 25 new teachers to local schools this fall as part of its national 25th-anniversary corps of 4,100. As Teach For America marks five years of partnering with the community to expand educational opportunity, the organization’s national leadership force tops 50,000 corps members and alumni across 52 regions.

The incoming national Teach For America corps is as accomplished as ever, and among the most diverse in the organization’s history. By maximizing the diversity of its teaching corps, Teach For America ensures that it is enlisting the country’s top talent, whether they share the backgrounds of students affected by educational inequity or come from backgrounds of privilege. Known for its high admissions standards, Teach For America admitted 15 percent of applicants this year. The incoming national corps has an average GPA of 3.4 and includes more than 50 student-body presidents, more than 165 NCAA Division 1 athletes, more than 90 prestigious scholarship recipients, and more than 50 Phi Beta Kappa members. Brown University is among the top providers of corps members nationally, contributing 20 graduates.

Among incoming local corps members, 48 percent identify as people of color; one-third come from low-income backgrounds; 30 percent are the first in their family to graduate from college; 30 percent applied as professionals or graduate students; 30 percent have backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, or math; and 20 percent call Rhode Island home.

Teach For America has become an important partner in the local effort to ensure that every child has access to an excellent and equitable education. The organization recruits top college graduates and professionals; prepares them to teach in urban and rural public schools, where they work for at least two years alongside other faculty to make a meaningful difference for their students; and develops them as leaders in education and other fields who are committed to ensuring that our country lives up to its highest ideals for every child.

Teach For America corps members go through the same hiring process and are paid in the same way as other new teachers. Most corps members also receive an AmeriCorps education award, which can be used to repay student loans or certification costs, or to pay for further education costs. Additionally, through AmeriCorps, corps members can put qualified loans into forbearance while teaching. Teach For America–Rhode Island is a proud partner of Serve Rhode Island, with TFA – RI corps members joining the almost 5,000 AmeriCorps members who have served in the state to meet critical needs in education and other areas important to our community. 

“We are excited to welcome a talented and diverse corps of leaders who are committed to offering Rhode Island’s students the best educational opportunities possible and to impacting their community with an enduring commitment to educational equity,” said Heather Tow-Yick, executive director of Teach For America – Rhode Island. “Teachers like Erlin Rogel, who grew up in Providence and attended Roger Williams University School of Law, will return to Providence Public Schools to teach in the middle school he attended, Gilbert Stuart Middle School, working alongside the many dedicated educators to help students realize their own great potential.”

Teach For America shares with its local partners a belief in the importance of engaging talented and committed individuals from all backgrounds to bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the classroom. The organization continues to be one of the largest sources of African American and Hispanic teachers; in Rhode Island, 11 percent of incoming corps members identify as African American, 15 percent identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander, and 11 percent identify as Hispanic. In addition, 7 percent of incoming corps members identify as multi-ethnic/multi-racial.

"Working with Teach For America strengthens our district's talent pool, giving us an additional source of promising teachers from diverse backgrounds," said Christopher Maher, interim superintendent of Providence Public Schools. "In Providence, we have highly experienced long-time teachers, we have educators who are career-changers, and we have teachers who join the profession from a variety of educator-preparation programs, all working to give our students a phenomenal education. Teach For America corps members and alumni are important partners in this work."

Nationwide, Teach For America will mark its first quarter-century this fall with a diverse community of 50,000 leaders committed to expanding opportunities for students and addressing the systemic barriers to educational equity. A total of 8,800 Teach For America corps members will be teaching in 52 urban and rural regions while more than 42,000 alumni of the program are working from an array of sectors to ensure that all children have an equal chance in life. Locally, 79 percent of Teach For America alumni work in education, including 2010 Teach For America-Rhode Island alumni corps members Beth and Mike Northup who, during their corps years, not only fell in love with teaching in Rhode Island, but also with each other. Beth is now an aspiring principal and English teacher leader with Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School, and Mike is the ESL teacher leader at Mount Pleasant High School, serving as department head and managing curriculum and instruction.

Among new Teach For America corps members nationally, nearly half identify as people of color (compared with less than 20 percent of teachers nationwide); 47 percent come from low-income backgrounds; 34 percent are the first in their family to graduate from college; one-third applied as professionals or graduate students; more than 20 percent have backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, or math; and almost 20 percent will be teaching in the region where they grew up. The national corps includes graduates of nearly 830 colleges and universities across the country.

Teach For America remains one of the country’s most studied educational-leadership-development organizations, with a growing body of research indicating the positive impact of corps members and alumni in classrooms, schools, and communities. As it welcomes the new corps of 25, Teach For America is poised to enter its 6th year of impact in Rhode Island with an evolving, increasingly localized program to help ensure that all students have access to an excellent education.

About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals 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, 8,800 corps members are teaching in 52 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 42,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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