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State Intervention Begins in Providence Schools

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A new era of transformational change in Providence begins today, with the start of state intervention in the Providence Public School District (PPSD). Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green started her day talking to Providence principals, followed by a meeting with district administrators, and a school visit to spend time with students and teachers.

“Today is the start of a new chapter for Providence schools and the students and families we serve,” said Infante-Green. “It will take all of us working together to develop and implement a meaningful, sustainable plan for transformational change in our schools. We will remain engaged with the community every step of the way, and we will work with our teachers and staff to ensure they are empowered to help lead the way. The stakes are high and so are our aspirations for Providence students. Together, we can and will achieve great things.”

As the search for a State Turnaround Superintendent continues, day-to-day district operations are under the direction of Superintendent Dr. Fran Gallo, who now reports to Commissioner Infante-Green.

Results from the 2019 RICAS assessment reinforce the magnitude of the challenge ahead: Just 12 percent of PPSD students in grades 3 through 8 met or exceeded expectations in math, and 17 percent in English Language Arts. On the SAT, 15 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in math and 25 percent in English Language Arts.

Work to develop a Turnaround Plan and improve those outcomes kicks off immediately. A new website, www.4PVDKids.com, is now live and will be continuously updated as a family-friendly hub for activities related to the transformation of PPSD. It contains a welcome from the Commissioner and a list of ways that community members can stay informed and get involved.

The site features information about a new Community Design Team process, which launches today and will be a driving force in the development of the long-term Turnaround Plan. The Community Design Teams, which will include and be led by members of the Providence community - including parents, educators, and community leaders – will generate ideas and initiatives embedded in the five-year plan.

There will be three Community Design Teams, each focused on a different priority area: World Class Talent; Excellence in Learning; and Engaged Communities. Information on the design process and how to nominate community members to serve on the teams is available on the 4PVDKids website. Nominations open today, with final selections set to be announced in early December. Once the teams are announced, they will work over a 100-day period to support development of the Turnaround Plan.

In addition to the Community Design Teams, there are several other ways in which the community can be involved in turning around PPSD specifically. Commissioner Infante-Green also meets weekly with teachers and students at rotating Providence schools.

The full complement of community and family opportunities in Providence includes:

  • Community Design Teams: A formalized, community-led structure for helping to develop the Turnaround Plan. There is a nomination process and significant time commitment for this group, with members meeting multiple times between December and February for at least two hours each. The mission of this group is to help develop the Turnaround Plan.
  • Community Advisory Boards: Under Rhode Island’s ESSA State Plan, CABs are required for federally identified low-performing schools. Providence currently has three CABs broken down by grade level – elementary, middle, and high school – and those groups started last year under ESSA. The mission of this group is to write and approve school improvement plans for this particular subset of schools.
  • Providence Parent Advisory Council (PAC): A group of Providence parents that meets monthly. As part of the state intervention, RIDE will now assume the support role for the PAC from PPSD. The Providence Parent Action Group that the Commissioner convened in the fall will be absorbed into PAC. These are open meetings that community members can join. The mission of the group is to solicit feedback on turnaround efforts, share information about and beyond the turnaround, and serve more broadly as an advocate liaison for Providence students and families with PPSD and RIDE.

“Providence students deserve the best, and all of Rhode Island will benefit from the work we do here,” Commissioner Infante-Green added. “With the full support of the state and city leaders, students, educators, and families, I have no doubt that we can make great strides in creating a school system that will be the envy of the entire nation. Let’s get to work.”