The Peace Corps Fellows Program was originally established in 1985 to attract qualified and dedicated Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) to the teaching profession in urban public education in the United States. At that time, New York City public schools faced acute teacher shortages in the areas of math and science, which spurred the partnership between Teachers College and the Peace Corps to create the first Peace Corps Fellows Program in the nation. This model specifically recruited Returning Peace Corps Volunteers to put their expertise to work in low-income urban communities of the US. Since then, over 50 such programs have been created around the country in a variety of settings and emphasizing the advancement of distinct professional careers.
Our own program has since expanded to also include teachers in Bilingual/Bicultural Education,Teaching of English, Teaching of Social Studies, and Intellectual Disabilities / Autism, and TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages). These subject areas continue to suffer from critical teacher shortages in New York City.
On April 1st, 2011, the Peace Corps Fellows Program jointly celebrated it's 25th and the Peace Corps' 50th anniversaries at Teachers College. Since our our program was founded, more than 750 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have taught in New York City public schools through our program, and more than 250 of them continue to teach in city schools today. During their first two years of teaching, Peace Corps Fellows beat all the odds: 95% of them stay on the job for the first two years. As many as 85% of our Fellows complete three years of teaching.
In addition, many alumni have become school administrators, and are working to improve New York City public schools on a larger scale. This includes alumni who have recently founded new and innovative public schools. We estimate that in our 25-year history, at least 135,000 children's lives have been touched by the Peace Corps Fellows Program.