Rhode Island Leaders Come Together for Education Awareness Week

Monday, March 31, 2014
GoLocalProv Business Team

Gina Raimondo, who was a participant in last year's Education Awareness Week
Some of Rhode Island’s most influential leaders will stepp into classrooms across the state as a part of Education Awareness Week from March 31 to April 4.

The event, hosted by Junior Achievement (JA) and Teach for America, kicks off on Monday at the State House with a student-centered celebration where Governor Lincoln Chafee will officially announce Education Awareness Week. State legislators, including Lt. Gov.Elizabeth Roberts, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo will also be in attendance.

Education Awareness Week is designed to bring prominent leaders throughout the Rhode Island community into the classroom as guest teachers. The volunteer teachers are brought in to support educational excellence in Rhode Island by teaching lessons from their life experiences.

“We’re excited about the broad range of leaders participating in Education Awareness Week this year,” said Heather Tow-Yick, executive director of Teach For America–Rhode Island. “By sharing their expertise in classrooms across our state, these accomplished individuals will make a lasting impression on hundreds of students and help focus attention on the importance of providing all children with the educational opportunities they deserve.”

Education Awareness Week is just one of many collaborations between Junior Achievement and Teach for America, combining Junior Achievement’s Leaders Day where community leaders teach students important money-management concepts, and Teach for America Week where guest teachers lead lessons in corps members’ classrooms throughout the week. 

“Education Awareness Week demonstrates the importance of the work teachers do in the classroom every day,” said Lee Lewis, president of Junior Achievement of Rhode Island. “Junior Achievement and Teach For America are committed to providing Rhode Island youth with an education that will position them for success as adults. Our teachers do this every day by providing students with a critical foundation in core subjects. JA programs complement school curricula by helping students see the relevance of their education to their lives as successful adults.” 

Confirmed Guest Speakers

Tuesday, April 1

State Sen. Juan Pichardo - Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lisa Churchville, Principal, LGC Advisors - Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School: 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Jim Vincent, President, NAACP Providence - Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School: 11:05 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.

Lisa Levesque, Senior Vice President, Customer Service Strategy, Fidelity Investments - Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy: 2:10 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.


Wednesday, April 2: JA Leaders Day - All guest teachers today will be at Carl Lauro Elementary School 

James Burchfield, Jr., Partner, D’Amico-Burchfield 

Sherri Carrera, Client Services Advisor, Commerce Rhode Island

Robert A. D’Amico II, Managing Partner, D’Amico-Burchfield 

Peter DiFilippo, Senior Vice President, RBS Citizens 

Kenneth DiSaia, Sr. Vice President, Enrollment Management, Johnson & Wales University 

Kristin Fraser, Managing Partner, KPMG 

Mayor Allan Fung, City of Cranston 

Christopher Graham, Co-Partner In-Charge, Edwards Wildman Palmer

Peter Kilmartin, State Attorney General 

State Rep. Joseph McNamara 

Janet Raymond, Senior Vice President, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce 

William Schwab, Human Resources Officer, Amica Mutual Insurance 

Mark Shamber, Vice President, United Natural Foods 

Richard V. Simone III Vice President of Event & Special Projects, Alex and Ani 

Neil Steinberg, President & CEO, The Rhode Island Foundation 

Vic Vetters, Vice President & General Manager, WJAR/NBC10

Thursday, April 3 

Nancy Carriuolo, President, Rhode Island College - Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School: 11:05 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. 

Laurel Bowerman, Vice President, Washington Trust Company - Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School: 11:55 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. 

Shaun McGinty, Senior Vice President, Technology, Fidelity Investments - Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School: 2:15 p.m. – 3:05 p.m.

Friday, April 4 

Neil Steinberg, President, Rhode Island Foundation - Highlander Charter School: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Joanna Davis, Education Advocate - Blackstone Valley Prep ES1: 11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. 

Bernie Beaudreau, Executive Director, Serve Rhode Island - Mount Pleasant High School: 11:50 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. 

Sen. Jack Reed - Gilbert Stuart Middle School: 12:55 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. 

Xaykham Khamsyvoravong, Vice President, Webster Bank - Mount Pleasant High School: 1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.


Time and Location To Be Announced 

Anna Cano-Morales, Director, Latino Policy Institute

  • Sasse

    "Provide a state constitutional guarantee that all children will have access to  an education that will prepare them to meet high performance standards and be successful adults.

    Bridge the gap between the educational achievement of majority and minority students.  This will require the implementation of a comprehensive agenda for quality education in Rhode Island’s inner cities."

  • Sasse

    "Revisit school governance and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the state, school districts , neighborhood schools, and school teachers and school administrators.  Develop and implement a system to hold schools responsible for student outcomes."

  • Sasse

    "Build a consensus and buy in of all stakeholders around  the education reform initiatives being advanced by the Board of Education."

  • Metcalfe

    "Set high expectations and raise our standards across the state for anyone that contributes to the success of our students. From adopting the Common Core to discussing rigorous teacher evaluations, conversations around creating a culture of high expectations have to be at the center of the work."

  • Metcalfe

    "Expand opportunities and start earlier - we must ensure that all kids have access to a high performing public school of their choice, which includes full-day kindergarten."

  • Metcalfe

    "School facilities - with an aging infrastructure, underutilized buildings and the need to provide fair funding for school facilities for all public school students regardless of the public school they attend, this needs to be a top issue tackled by the RI General Assembly in 2014."

  • Cano-Morales

    "Meet the academic potential of all students but especially with regards to urban schools students -- 3 out of 4 are Latinos in Providence, Central Falls, and Pawtucket." 

  • Cano-Morales

    "Connect through specific best practices the academic successes of our students to careers jobs. Investing in schools is economic development as a whole for Rhode Island. " 

  • Cano-Morales

    "Increase the access to -- and completion of -- higher education and post- secondary opportunities.  Poverty? Struggling families? Education and access to careers and competitive wages is the best antidote."

  • Duffy

    "Providing adequate funding is critical -- and there are going to be pressures on the state budget, which mean stresses to meet the education funding formula.  With the predictions of the state's projected loss of revenue with the casinos in MA, education funding could be on the cutting board, and we need to ensure that it's not.  Do we need to look at strengthening the language of the constitution to guarantee funding?"

  • Duffy

    "Implementing the common core standards will provide continuity -- and comparison -- between states now.  With over 40 states involved, we're embarking a new set of standards here."

  • Duffy

    "Accountability and assessing student performance -- how that it's driven by the common core, we'll be able to compare the best districts in RI against the best districts in say MA.  That's the intent of the Common Core is a standardization of how we hold the system accountable."

  • Cylke

    "Issue one is quality.  Your quality of education should not be dependent on your zip code.  And the reality is, certain cities are distressed, or whose property values are not as high, I know each town has a different capacity to fund education. There's an absolute, clear relationship between the quality of public schools, and economic development of states. There's irrefutable evidence that quality public schools can make states more competitive."

  • Cylke

    "Issue two is equality.  In West Warwick and Providence, the per pupil spending is around $16K.  In Pawtucket it's $12.9.  What's wrong with that picture? If I'm in charge of overseeing that my students are college ready, they need to be adequate funding.  A difference of $3000 per pupil?  We're talking in the tens of millions of dollars -- more like $25 million in this case.  An exemplary school district is Montgomery County, MD -- they have roughly the same number of students, around 145,000 -- there's one funding figure per pupil. There's equitable funding for all kids."



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