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"Full Steam Ahead" on Excellence in Learning for R.I. Students and Communities

Commissioner Infante-Green’s First ‘State of Education’ Report Details Across-the-Board Momentum

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) today released a comprehensive report on progress made toward delivering a world-class Pre-K-12 education to students in the Ocean State. In Pursuit of Excellence: A Report on the State of Education in Rhode Island is the department’s first annual report to the General Assembly since Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green began her tenure in April 2019.

The report comes even as the state completes its commitment to keep school going in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and prepares to finalize and announce an historic Turnaround Action Plan for the Providence Public School District.

“Our efforts to reimagine education are moving full steam ahead,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Thanks to Commissioner Infante-Green’s vision and engagement, Rhode Island has emerged as a national leader in educating students throughout this public health crisis. I can’t wait for our progress to continue to benefit students, families, and communities across our state.”

“I am so proud of my new home state for doing all we can to keep the promise we have solemnly made to educate all of our students, all of the time,” wrote Commissioner Infante-Green in her opening letter to the report. “We have moved forward as one education community, despite the unprecedented challenge posed by the ongoing public health crisis.”

The report, which includes stories of success over the past year and details clear examples of actions taken to improve educational outcomes, is organized to align with the Commissioner’s vision for education in Rhode Island, including an emphasis on the three pillars of World-Class Talent, Excellence In Learning, and Engaged Communities. A special section on COVID-19 and Distance Learning highlights how Rhode Island quickly adjusted to the pandemic and is leading the way on Distance Learning. It also includes examples of RIDE’s approach to systemic change in Providence, including a commitment to community engagement at every stage of the turnaround.

“We couldn’t have made a better choice at a better time to lead the turnaround of elementary and secondary education in Rhode Island,” said Rhode Island Board of Education Chair Barbara Cottam. “We needed a strong leader who could tackle the toughest challenges and get positive results in rapid time. We got that and more in Commissioner Infante-Green and the team she has built.”

“This has been an unprecedented year of challenges and opportunities for those of us focused on improving education in Rhode Island,” said Dan McConaghy, Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education. “Working with Commissioner Infante-Green, we have made rapid progress on a number of fronts, from our actions regarding the Providence schools to our response to COVID-19. We are well prepared to move even faster in the years to come.”

Working with the Governor, the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education selected Commissioner Infante-Green after the first administration of the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) in 2018 revealed that 73 percent of students in grades 3-8 did not meet expectations in mathematics, and 66 percent fell short of expectations in English language arts. Those results meant that if Rhode Island had been a single district in Massachusetts, the state would have been in the bottom 10 percent of its neighbor’s districts.

Infante-Green emphasized that the report is a testament to the commitment of the Governor, Rhode Island lawmakers, the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, superintendents, principals, teachers, school staff, families, and the RIDE staff to the success of students in all parts of the state.

“The stakes are high,” Commissioner Infante-Green continued in the letter, which was addressed to the state’s education stakeholders. “Rhode Island’s young people must complete high school prepared to contribute to making the world a better place for all of us and ensure our state is able to compete on a national and global level. It’s an honor to work together with you to position them for success.”