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20 RI High School Teams to Receive XQ+RI Planning Grants

Efforts represent all corners of the state and a broad range of innovative education ideas

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has released the names of 20 public high school community teams that will form the planning cohort for the groundbreaking partnership of XQ+RI: Rhode Island’s XQ Challenge.

This is the latest step in the state’s first-of-its-kind partnership with XQ, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to reimagining high school education so every student succeeds – no matter their race, gender, or ZIP code. XQ+RI is engaging communities to create student-centered schools that prepare all young people for the future.

“I am excited to see this important work move to the next stage, and for these innovative school teams to leverage these planning grants to turn their creative ideas into change on the ground,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “With XQ’s support, we have created a powerful space for innovation, and these schools are one step closer to delivering even more for students.”

A total of 32 planning teams applied for XQ+RI planning grants, collectively representing half of the public high schools in Rhode Island. Seventeen high schools were selected, along with three teams with concepts for entirely new schools. A group of local and national experts evaluated the proposals based on three factors: the boldness of the proposal; how student-centered the proposal was; and how broad-based the planning team was that developed it. Each of the selected teams will receive a $25,000 grant to continue building their proposals into complete innovation plans.

“This is an exciting moment to be a leader in education in Rhode Island,” said Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “I am deeply impressed by the depth of planning contained in these proposals, and by the teams’ willingness to take bold action to improve outcomes for students. I am also impressed by the diversity of this list, both geographically and in terms of student populations.”

The schools selected for planning grants are:

  • 360 High School
  • Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School
  • Chariho Regional High School
  • William B. Cooley, Sr. High School
  • East Providence High School
  • E-Cubed Academy
  • Evolutions High School
  • Highlander Charter
  • Hope High School
  • The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center
  • Mt. Hope High School
  • Mount Pleasant High School
  • Ponaganset High School
  • Scituate Senior High School
  • Smithfield Senior High School
  • Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts
  • Woonsocket High School

Three teams are engaging communities in developing new concepts for high school that will help more of their children reach their full potential:

  • The Learning Community
  • The University College High School (Roger Williams University)
  • YouthBuild Preparatory Academy

“Any successful approach to rethinking high school requires real teamwork across all corners of a community,” said Russlynn Ali, co-founder and CEO of XQ. “We are pleased to support the efforts of such a broad range of school design teams as they continue their work to build their dream high schools—the kinds of schools that ensure all young people are prepared to thrive in an ever-changing world.”

“Learning about the work that is planned for many of our schools made me reflect about the gaps our education system has to address, such as access to technology, staff, and student-centered curriculum,” said Marcela Betancur, Director of the Latino Policy Institute and a member of the proposal review team. “The work to rethink high school throughout Rhode Island will hopefully provide many of these schools the resources needed to improve the learning environment for all our students.”

XQ+RI is grounded in the state’s goal to create meaningful college and career pathways for all students, with a particular focus on promoting student voice while increasing rigor, relevance, and expectations. While all the selected schools will benefit from the opportunity to build out their initial plans, up to five schools will be selected for implementation grants of up to $500,000 each for successful redesign plans. That decision is expected early in 2020.

“I was honored to be part of the review team, and to bring my experience as a high school student into this project,” said Mariel Polanco, a recent Rhode Island high school graduate and a member of the review team. “The proposals we recommended were very impressive, and I was very excited to see how many of them had students on the planning teams and put students at the center of all their ideas.”

To learn more about XQ+RI, visit www.RIDE.ri.gov/xqri or contact XQRI@ride.ri.gov.