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Who We Are

Onward We Learn

Onward We Learn is the state’s most comprehensive college readiness program for middle school and high school students in our state’s urban school districts. We reach out early to motivated students and encourage their commitment to learning. No other organization in Rhode Island provides as much long-term guidance and support for students from these communities. Onward We Learn was inspired by the idea that the consistent involvement of caring adults helps young people overcome economic and educational disadvantages. We believe in the students we serve. Our dedicated staff nurtures students’ personal and academic growth, and our specially designed programs give them the tools they need to succeed in school and to stay accountable to their college goals. Our sustained social and academic investment in the lives of young people increases the vitality of our state and creates a lasting legacy for the future.

Our Mission

We at Onward We Learn prepare and inspire young people in Rhode Island to become the first in their families to attend and complete college.

Our Vision

Equity and opportunity for first-generation students in their pursuit of higher education.

Our Values


We invest in long-term relationships with our students and families, building trust and achieving mutual respect that translates into success and lasting impact.

Student Focus

We put students at the center of our model, and design and implement programming to engage them and meet their continually evolving needs.


We learn from the broad range of perspectives and talents among our staff, students, families and partners, and use this knowledge to advance our mission.


We strive to make organizational decisions rooted in feedback and quality data, and seek to measure the impacts of those decisions.


We are committed to addressing barriers to education and economic empowerment for our students.


We engage and strive to cultivate a diverse staff representative of the communities that we serve.


We practice sound financial stewardship and aim to be efficient in our operations to ensure the long-term viability of our organization.