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RIDE Releases 2013 School Classifications

24 Schools Honored as Commended

Schools in 16 school districts plus four charter public schools received the highest classification, Commended, in the 2013 School Classifications that the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) released today (July 2, 2013).

RIDE used the Rhode Island Accountability System, which is designed to recognize outstanding performance and to provide support to low-achieving schools, to determine the 2013 School Classifications. 

The accountability system enables the RIDE to: 

  • focus on achievement gaps;
  • diagnose school performance by identifying specific shortcomings and achievements at each school;
  • provide each school with the specific support or intervention needed to improve student achievement and to close achievement gaps; and
  • provide these schools with the ability to select interventions that respond to their context and their needs. 
“I am glad to see that a large number of schools from communities across the state have earned the designation as 2013 Commended Schools,” said Governor Lincoln D. Chafee “ I congratulate the students and teachers in our Commended Schools on their accomplishments, and I expect them to lead the way as we continue to move Rhode Island schools toward greatness.”

“Through the school classifications we released today, we honor the schools that have advanced student achievement and closed achievement gaps,” said Eva-Marie Mancuso, Chair of the Board of Education. “These classifications will also help us focus our efforts on providing support and guidance to the schools most in need of improvement. On behalf of the Board of Education, I extend congratulations to our Commended Schools and Leading Schools, and I pledge that we will work together to improve achievement levels in all of our schools.” 

“Our Accountability System, which the U.S. Department of Education approved last year, provides us with a snapshot that shows where our schools excel and where our schools need resources and support,” said Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “We have been working hard with our lowest-achieving schools – to help diagnose their challenges, identify needs, and take the necessary steps to turn around performance. So far, we have seen some examples of progress, and we expect the pace of improvement to advance dramatically in the coming years.”

RIDE based the 2013 School Classifications on:

  • Proficiency: How many students have attained proficiency or better?
  • Distinction: How many students have attained distinction?
  • Participation: How many students take the state assessments? 
  • Gap-closing: Is the school serving all students, including those with disabilities and English Learners? 
  • Progress: Is the school approaching its 2017 targets?
  • Growth (K-8): Are all students making progress?
  • Improvement (high schools): Is the school improving annually?
  • Graduation (high schools): Is the school reaching its graduation-rate goals?  
Using these measures, RIDE placed each school into one of six classifications: Commended, Leading, Typical, Warning, Focus, or Priority. 

Of the 279 classified schools, RIDE identified 24 schools (about 9 percent) as Commended. The 12 newly identified Commended Schools this year are: 

  • Anna M. McCabe School (Smithfield)
  • Blackstone Valley Prep Elementary School (charter)
  • Brown Avenue School (Johnston)
  • Captain Isaac Paine Elementary School (Foster)
  • Exeter-West Greenwich Regional High School
  • Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing Arts (Pawtucket)
  • North Smithfield High School
  • Orchard Farms Elementary School (Cranston)
  • Smithfield Senior High School
  • Stephen Olney School (North Providence)
  • Stony Lane Elementary School (North Kingstown)
  • Wickford Middle School (North Kingstown)
The other 2013 Commended Schools are:

  • Blackstone Academy Charter School
  • Block Island School (New Shoreham)
  • Charlestown Elementary School (Chariho Regional)
  • Classical High School (Providence)
  • Clayville Elementary School (Scituate)
  • Community School (Cumberland)
  • The Compass School (charter)
  • Fort Barton School (Tiverton)
  • Kingston Hill Academy (charter) 
  • Oak Lawn School (Cranston)
  • Rockwell School (Bristol Warren)
  • Scituate High School
RIDE also classified 28 schools in the lowest classification: 21 Priority Schools and 7 Focus Schools. By design, all schools previously classified as Priority remain in that classification, regardless of their 2013 performance.

Priority and Focus Schools are designated for state intervention, which entails a diagnostic screening process to determine the strengths each school has and the challenges each school faces. Subject to Commissioner Gist’s approval, superintendents select an intervention model for each Focus and Priority school and then develop school-reform plans, which include numerous reform strategies in the areas of leadership, support, infrastructure, and content. The plans are designed to address the specific needs of each identified school. The 41 Warning Schools that RIDE identified today must also develop and implement plans for improvement, but on a lesser scale and without intensive RIDE oversight. 

During the previous school year (2012-13), all Priority and Focus schools completed a diagnostic review, which included a thorough review of school culture; school climate; and student, parent, and staff survey results. After this diagnostic review, each school developed an intervention plan specifically designed to strengthen its areas of need and to capitalize on its strengths. 
The most frequently selected interventions that schools selected to advance student achievement included increasing common planning time for teachers, increasing student access to a rigorous set of core academic courses, and implementing a system of peer support for struggling teachers. All Priority and Focus schools have been actively implementing their plans for school improvement. Under 2013 Classifications, no schools will be required to implement new intervention plans.  

Four schools rose from Focus to a higher classification: Esek Hopkins Middle School, Harry Kizirian Elementary School, and Nathan Bishop Middle School (Providence) and NEL/CPS Construction Career Academy (Cranston). These schools will continue to implement the school-reform plans they put into place last year. 

Four schools are newly classified this year as Focus Schools: Alan Shawn Feinstein Elementary at Broad and Asa Messer Elementary School at Bridgham (Providence), Segue Institute for Learning (charter), and Veterans Memorial Elementary (Central Falls). These schools will continue to implement the school-reform plans they designed last year when classified as Warning Schools. 

Complete list of the 2013 School Classifications

Fact Sheet on the Rhode Island Accountability System