Rhode Island's Charter Schools

Rhode Island's charter schools are public schools authorized by the State of Rhode Island to operate independently from many state and local district rules and regulations. Each charter school is able to establish educational strategies that meet the specific student achievement goals and objectives outlined in each school's charter.

State of Rhode Island's Charter Public Schools: The Office of Charter Schools is pleased to release The State of Rhode Island’s Charter Public Schools, a report providing data and descriptive information on charter public schools across Rhode Island. - April 2014 [PDF]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): This document addresses many common questions about charter public schools in Rhode Island. [PDF]

Types of Rhode Island Charter Schools

  • District Charter Schools: Schools created by existing public schools, groups of public school personnel, public school districts, or a group of school districts.
  • Independent Charter Schools: Schools created by: (i) Rhode Island nonprofit organizations provided that these nonprofit organizations shall have existed for at least two (2) years and must exist for a substantial reason other than to operate a school or (ii) Colleges or universities within the State of Rhode Island.
  • Mayoral Academies: Schools created by a mayor of any city or town within the State of Rhode Island, acting by or through a nonprofit organization (regardless of the time said nonprofit organization is in existence) to establish a mayoral academy.

Attributes of Charter Schools

Student at Paul Cuffee School reading a bookThe charter school differs from the traditional public school in the following ways:

  • Autonomy: Charter schools are created and governed by independent boards and operated separately from the policies of traditional school districts. In exchange for this autonomy, the state has certain expectations.
  • Accountability: Charter schools are held accountable for meeting student achievement goals and face charter revocation if they under-perform. 
  • Choice: Charter schools provide choice for parents and students seeking alternatives to public education.
  • Innovation: Charter schools are expected
    to be vanguards in improving and expanding opportunities within public education.

To access a school's web site, please click the school name.
Name Grades (Fall 2014) Grades (Authorized) Enrolling Communities
Academy for Career Exploration 9-12 9-12 Providence
Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy K-2 K-5 Cranston, Providence, North Providence, Warwick
Beacon Charter School 9-12 9-12 Statewide
Blackstone Academy Charter School 9-12 9-12 Central Falls, Pawtucket
Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy - ES1 K-4 K-4 Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, Pawtucket
Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy - ES2 K-3 K-4 Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, Pawtucket
Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy - MS 5-8 5-8 Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, Pawtucket
Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy - HS 9 9-12 Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, Pawtucket
The Compass School K-8 K-8 Statewide
The Greene School 9-12 9-12 Statewide
Highlander Charter School K-10 K-12 Statewide
Hope Academy K K-4 Providence, North Providence
International Charter School K-5 K-8 Statewide
Kingston Hill Academy K-5 K-5 Statewide
The Learning Community K-8 K-8 Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence
NEL/CPS Construction & Career Academy 9-12 9-12 Statewide
Paul Cuffee Charter School K-12 K-12 Providence
RI Nurses Institute 10-12 10-12 Providence
Segue Institute for Learning 6-8 6-8 Central Falls
Sheila C. "Skip" Nowell Leadership Academy - Central Falls 9-12 9-12 Statewide
Sheila C. "Skip" Nowell Leadership Academy - Providence 9-12 9-12 Statewide
SouthSide Elementary Charter School K K-4 Providence
Times2 Academy K-12 K-12 Providence
Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts 7-11 7-12 Providence
The Village Green Virtual Charter School 9-11 9-12 Statewide

List of Charter Schools in Rhode Island
This document lists all charter schools, grade levels served, communities served and charter type. 

2015 Proposals Under Review

New Charter Proposals Public Hearing Dates Location Time
Academy of Global Studies  June 2, 2014
June 5, 2014
PCTA, auditorium
41 Fricker Street
6:00 PM
Ida Lewis Leadership Academy June 23, 2014
June 26, 2014
Newport Library
300 Spring Street
6:00 PM
Kent County Prep Mayoral Academy June 16, 2014
June 18, 2014
TBD Hearings canceled
NoVo Academy Charter Public School June 24, 2014
June 25, 2014
PCTA, auditorium
41 Fricker Street
6:00 PM
RISE Mayoral Academy June 10, 2014
June 12, 2014
Woonsocket Senior Ctr
84 Social Street
6:00 PM
Rhode Island STEAM Academy July 8, 2014
July 10, 2014
Newport Library
300 Spring Street
6:00 PM

The Office of Charter Schools invites members of the public to comment on all new charter school proposals currently under review. Comments will be accepted and considered for a 60-day period beginning on May 21, 2014 and ending on August 6, 2014. Comments may be submitted by email to: charterschoolcomments@ride.ri.gov or by paper mail to:
Office of Charter Schools, Rhode Island Department of Education
Attn: Charter School Comments
255 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903

Starting a Charter School

Charter School Boards

Charter School Accountability


The Authorizing Role and Responsibilities

Rhode Island General Law 16-77-5.1(b) designates the Board of Education as the authorizer for charter schools. In this capacity, the Board of Education is responsible for charter school approval, renewal and revocation. RIDE is delegated with the authority and responsibility to manage a comprehensive system of charter school accountability, review, and monitoring, and system management. With the support of RIDE’s charter office, the Board of Education plays a fundamental role in maintaining and advancing the quality and accountability of the charter sector.

Rhode Island is one of only seven states in which the SEA, in conjunction with the State Board, is the sole authorizer. As the sole authorizer, the Board bears substantial responsibility for balancing the statutory goal of increased autonomy of charter schools against the accountability required by the state and federal authorities.