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Council approves plan to prepare R.I. students for success Strategic Plan emphasizes critical thinking, personalized learning

Following a 10-month process of design and development, the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education this evening (Monday, August 24) approved a strategic plan that will prepare Rhode Island students for success by teaching them to think critically, to work collaboratively, and to become creative, self-motivated, and culturally competent.


The Council unanimously approved the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan for PK-12 and Adult Education in Rhode Island. The Board of Education will consider the plan for final approval and adoption, along with a strategic plan for postsecondary education, at its October meeting.


The Strategic Plan for prekindergarten through grade 12 and adult education establishes six priorities, which will guide the work of the R.I. Department of Education and will focus the efforts of school districts, partner agencies, and other education stakeholders over the next five years. The six priorities are: 


  • Teacher and Leader Support;
  • Early Childhood Education;
  • Personalized Learning Statewide;
  • Globally Competent Graduates;
  • Informed Instructional Decision-Making; and
  • Student-Centered Resource Investments.


“As Governor of the State of Rhode Island, I focus every day on how to improve the well-being of Rhode Islanders and the future prosperity of our state,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “The 2015-2020 Strategic Plan for education in Rhode Island includes key priorities that I fully endorse, ranging from giving every child a great start to preparing our next generation of global citizens. I look forward to putting this plan into action.”


“The 2015-2020 Strategic Plan for PK-12 and Adult Education builds on the progress we have made in Rhode Island in the past decade and moves us in exciting and challenging new




directions, such as personalized learning, blended and digital learning, and career-readiness pathways,” said Barbara S. Cottam, Chair of the Board of Education. “The Ambassador Design Team built this plan through an iterative process that involved four prototypes and continuous feedback from stakeholders, leading up to the final draft of the plan. I am confident that this plan captures the values most important to Rhode Islanders and that it can meet the needs of thousands of Rhode Island students, educators, and families.”


“This excellent Strategic Plan will serve as a map to keep us on course toward continued improvement of teaching and learning in Rhode Island schools,” said Daniel McConaghy, Chairman of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education. “The Council strongly supports the priorities that the plan establishes as well as the values that underlie our entire education system: equity, diversity, preparedness, support, autonomy, personalization, and safety. I want to thank and commend the members of the design team as well as the staff members at RIDE who facilitated this development and design process.”


“As the 26 members of the Ambassador Design Team developed and wrote our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, their work has reflected the input of thousands of people across the state, including educators, business leaders, parents, elected officials, and others,” said Ken Wagner, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “Thousands of Rhode Islanders contributed their insight and guidance throughout the strategic-planning process – through surveys, focus groups, and community meetings. The result is a powerful plan that

emphasizes teacher and leader support, early learning, greater rigor, and more informed instruction – the basic building blocks of a high-functioning system. Building on this consensus, I will work with all stakeholders to ensure that our state is moving forward together toward educational excellence.”


The Strategic Plan also includes a set of seven values that underlie all aspects of the plan, as well as statements of key outcomes for each of the six priorities in the plan, along with 11 proposed measurable targets. The targets represent ambitious yet achievable five-year goals.


The development of the plan began in November 2014, when the Council selected a team of 26 Rhode Islanders, entrusting them to develop and write the next strategic plan for public education in Rhode Island.


This Ambassador Design Team included Rhode Islanders from a wide range of backgrounds: teachers, school leaders, heads of teachers’ unions, a business leader, a former school-committee member, an administrator at a career-technical school, a director of special education, an adult-education specialist, an assistant college dean, a former legislator, leaders from many partner organizations, and four high-school students.


To begin the process, the staff at RIDE developed a detailed survey on the future course of public education in Rhode Island. More than 11,000 Rhode Islanders participated in this survey, and the results guided the design team across the scope of its work. The design team followed up on the initial survey with additional public surveys and with focus groups, meetings, and feedback sessions with community organizations – reaching another 4,000 Rhode Islanders.


A complete version of the Strategic Plan, as well as a full account of the process of developing the plan and a list of the members of the Ambassador Design Team, is on the RIDE website, at:




The list of intended outcomes and the measurable targets is also on the RIDE website:


http://www.ride.ri.gov/BoardofEducation/RI2015-2020StrategicPlanforEducation.aspx (click Enclosure 3A).