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Rhode Island Awarded $10.9 Million Federal Education Grant

Competitive Award Will Support Middle and High School Learning Options

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has been awarded a $10.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to support the state’s efforts to rethink education to better serve students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rethink K-12 Education Models Grants support states’ efforts to create new, innovative ways for students to continue learning in ways that meet their needs. Rhode Island was one of 11 states to receive an award, joining Maine as the only New England states on the list.

“This is outstanding news for the students and families of Rhode Island,” said Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “This grant will allow us to continue our efforts to reimagine education in our state, even as we address the realities of COVID-19. These funds will be especially powerful in supporting our work to make more and richer learning options available to our middle and high schoolers.”

The goals of the three-year grant are to increase the rate of Rhode Island students graduating with college credit or industry-recognized credentials by 25 percentage points; double the percentage of students who enter college without requiring remedial coursework; and increase the proficiency rates for students in virtual English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics high-quality instructional material classes by 5 percent.

Grant funds will be used to:

  • Expand significantly the number of free courses available on RIDE’s popular Advanced Course Network (ACN), which allows Rhode Island students to earn college credit or an industry-recognized credential. Thousands of additional students will now benefit from the program.
  • Add high-quality instructional materials in core subject areas to the ACN so tens of thousands of students can access them entirely online, and expand RIDE’s Readiness courses to address student skill gaps in Mathematics and ELA.
  • Embed more school counselors in schools that serve communities with high levels of poverty, to help students navigate these new course opportunities and connect them to their Individual Learning Plans.
  • Hire part-time parent and student “ambassadors” to reach out to their peers to help more families access these programs. This builds on the successful PrepareRI Ambassador program.
  • Help build a user-friendly online platform that will serve as a one-stop-shop for families seeking to access any of RIDE’s statewide course options.

“This award is a testament to our team at RIDE,” added Commissioner Infante-Green. “Even as we worked to plan for the safe reopening of schools during a pandemic and oversee the transformation of Providence schools, among other major tasks, they quickly responded to put a first-class application together. As a result, tens of thousands of Rhode Island students will benefit for years to come.”

Congress set-aside 1 percent of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for grants to states with the highest coronavirus burden. The USDOE announced the Rethink K-12 Education Models grant competition in April 2020, inviting any state educational agency to apply. Applications were evaluated by a panel of independent peer reviewers, and the highest-scoring applications received funding.

More information on the grant will be added to the RIDE and PrepareRI websites in coming weeks.