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Great City Schools Report Reinforces Urgency for Action in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, issued the following statement in response to a report released today by the Council of the Great City Schools about multilingual learners in Providence Public Schools:
“I’m grateful to the Council of the Great City Schools for visiting Providence and helping to reinforce the sense of urgency we feel about bringing transformational change to our schools. I have dedicated my career to this important work, and to serving our multilingual and differently abled students, in particular. I know, without question, that we will not dramatically improve education in Providence unless and until we prioritize these students.
“I was fortunate to join the Council during a visit to Providence in 2012, and I’m sorry to say that many of the findings outlined in this report mirror what I saw then. The difference is that the number of multilingual learners in Providence has grown exponentially in that time, and the district – and the state, for that matter – have not kept pace to support these students.
“There are several concerns flagged in the report that I have already taken action on since joining the RIDE team in the spring, such as revising our evaluation handbooks. Additionally, the report underscores some areas of improvement in recent years, including certification changes adopted in 2018 that provide reciprocity, increase teacher candidate training, and ensure ongoing learning of teachers.
“But we must do more as a state, and nowhere is that more evident than in Providence schools. This report, the Johns Hopkins report, and the DOJ report all further underscore the tremendous challenge before us. Our multilingual learners are being left behind, and we cannot allow it to happen any longer. In all of our work – from curriculum to teacher preparation to professional learning – we must focus on and have an intentional strategy for multilingual learners. Thank you to the Council of the Great City Schools for helping to shine a light on this critical issue, and I look forward to your continued partnership as we move forward, together, to radically improve education for all students in Providence and beyond.”