Feinstein School of Education Awarded $300K to Diversify Teacher Workforce

Teacher with kids at desks, energetically raising their hands
Rhode Island College Impact

This grant will help prepare high school students in urban school districts for a career in teaching.

RIC’s Feinstein School of Education and Human Development (FSEHD) has been awarded a $300,000 grant by the Rhode Island Foundation to improve student performance in Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket and Central Falls schools.

With this grant, the FSEHD will establish a Grow Your Own Equity (GYO) Fellows Program designed to diversify the workforce in career and technical education. The ultimate goal of the fellowship program is to train GYO educators to prepare high school students in these urban districts for college and a career in teaching.

The grant specifically targets educators who lead GYO initiatives, such as teaching academies. They’ll be introduced to national experts and engage in culturally responsive and research-based practices. This training is needed to recruit students into the profession and expose them to teaching careers.

“Diversifying the teacher workforce in pursuit of the educational success of students is a strategy that works,” says David Cicilline, president and CEO of the Foundation. Other recipients of this Foundation grant are the Equity Institute, the University of Rhode Island and the Central Falls School District.

“These important investments will help address achievement gaps in urban districts by advancing programs designed to attract and support teachers of color,” says Cicilline.

He notes, “Students of color can represent 80 percent of enrollment in many urban schools, while just a small percentage of teachers are members of minority groups. The benefits of a diverse faculty are well documented. When taught by a teacher of color, students of color experience higher reading and math test scores, higher graduation rates, decreased dropout and discipline rates and increased enrollment in advanced courses.”

RIC Assistant Professor of World Languages Education Erin Papa and RIC Associate Professor of Educational Studies and History Tommy Ender will serve as co-primary investigators and co-directors of the GYO Fellows Program.