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.

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. 

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

The 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.

List of Charter Schools


To access a school's web site, please click the school name.
 
Name Grades (Fall 2016) Grades (Authorized) Enrolling Communities
Academy for Career Exploration 9-12 9-12 Providence
Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy K-4 K-5 Cranston, Providence, North Providence, Warwick
Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy II K-2 K-4 Cranston, Providence, North Providence, Warwick
Beacon Charter School 9-12 9-12 Statewide
Beacon Founder's Academy 6-7 6-8  Statewide
Blackstone Academy Charter School 9-12 9-12 Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence
Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy - ES1 K-4 K-4 Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, Pawtucket
Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy - ES2 K-4 K-4 Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, Pawtucket
Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy ES3 K-1 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 - MS2 5 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 PK-12 PK-12 Statewide
Hope Academy K-2 K-8 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 9-12 9-12 Statewide
RISE Prep Mayoral Academy K-1 K-8 Burrillville, North Smithfield, Woonsocket
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-2 K-4 Providence
Times2 Academy K-12 K-12 Providence
Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts 7-12 7-12 Providence
The Village Green Virtual Charter School 9-12 9-12 Statewide

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

Charter School Resources and Lottery

Resources for Families and Community

  • 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] 
  • 2017-18 RI Charter School Application:  English |  Spanish | Portuguese   These are editable Microsoft Word documents. To complete this application, please write in the school name in the form and return to the school to which your student is applying.

Resources for Charter School Administrators 


Charter School Accountability

Charter School Accountability

In addition to being classified just as any other Rhode Island public school, Charter schools are reviewed and held accountable for meeting student academic and organizational performance goals and face charter revocation or non renewal if they under-perform. If successful, each charter may be granted a term for up to 5 years. 

Charter schools in Rhode Island are held to common measures of academic, financial and organizational performance. Specifically: 

Each year beginning with the 2016-17 school year, RIDE will publish an annual Charter School Performance Report based on the indicators above. The report template can be found here.  

Further guidance on engaging with the Charter School Performance Review System will be posted in early November 2016.

Charter School Proposals Under Review and Public Hearings

2017-2018 Charter Proposals 

The Office of College and Career Readiness invites members of the public to comment on new charter school proposals and requests for expansions currently under review.  Proposals are attached below. Comments will be accepted and considered for a 60-day period, until December 1, 2016. There will also be an opportunity to provide spoken or written comment at public hearings.  The schedule for public hearings can be found below in the "Public Hearings" tab.

Proposals for New Charter Schools: 

Requests for Expansion: 

Comments may be submitted by email to: richarters@ride.ri.gov or by paper mail to:
Rhode Island Department of Education
Office of College and Career Readiness 
Attn: Charter School Comments
255 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903

*Public Comment for Wangari Community School will end on December 9, 2016. 

Public Hearings

All interested parties are invited to participated in the public hearing and submit written comments concerning the Request for New Charter Applications and Requests for Expansions from  October 3, 2016 – December 1, 2016.

The hearing locations are accessible to the disabled and translation and interpreter services for the hearing impaired will be provided if requested 48 hours prior to the hearing. Requests for this service can be made in emailing RICharters@ride.ri.gov or by calling RI Relay 1-800-745-5555 or RIDE at 401-222-8255. Written comments may be submitted to RICharters@ride.ri.gov at the RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 255 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903, or by faxing 401-222-3465. 

Public Hearings Schedule

Monday, October 17, 2016
Providence Public Library Ship Room, 150 Empire Street, Providence, RI 02903 
  • The Paul Cuffee School: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, 
  • Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM   
Wednesday, October 19, 2016   
Providence Public Library Ship Room, 150 Empire Street, Providence, RI 02903 
  • Achievement First Rhode Island: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM    
  • Charette: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM   
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
West Greenwich Public Library, 274 Victory Highway, West Greenwich, RI 02817 
The Greene School: 5:00 – 6:00 PM   

Thursday, October 27, 2016 
Segue Institute for Learning, 325 Cowden Street, Central Falls, RI 02863 
  • The Learning Community: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM 
  • Segue Institute for Learning: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM   
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Providence Public Library Auditorium, 150 Empire Street, Providence, RI 02903 
  • The Paul Cuffee School: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM 
  • Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM   
Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wanskuck Public Library, 233 Veazie Street, Providence, RI  02904
The Wangari Maathai Community School: 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Monday, November 7, 2016
The Learning Community, 21 Lincoln Ave, Central Falls, RI 02863 
  • The Segue Institute for Learning: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • The Learning Community: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM   
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Providence Public Library Auditorium, 150 Empire Street, Providence, RI 02903 
  • Achievement First Rhode Island: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM 
  • Charette: 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM      

Thursday, November 10, 2016
West Greenwich Public Library, 274 Victory Highway, West Greenwich, RI 02817
The Greene School: 5:00 – 6:00 PM 

Thursday, November 17, 2016
South Providence Library, 441 Prairie Avenue, Providence, RI 02905
The Wangari Maathai Community School: 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Starting or Expanding Charter Schools

Starting a Charter School

The following resources and request is for new charter applicants planning to open schools in the fall of 2017.  A request for applicants planning to open in the fall of 2018 will be announced. Please refer to this timetable of anticipated dates

Expanding an Existing Charter

The  Request for Expansion (RFE) is for existing charters that wish to increase the number of students served. The RFE serves as guidance for existing charters to use when collecting required data and developing a narrative for the rationale and scale of the requested expansion. An optional deadline to check for comple​​teness is September 23, 2016. Complete requests for expansion will be accepted until September 29, 2016. 

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