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We are strengthening neighborhood schools and giving every student the opportunity to succeed.

Empowerment Schools

In 2016, the General Assembly enacted the School and Family Empowerment Act (Chapter 3.2 in Article 11) to help empower educators closest to students with unprecedented freedom to develop educational solutions that will directly address their students’ needs. Local districts and educators possess almost complete authority to design and authorize an Empowerment School – including authorizing flexibility from state laws or regulations.  Becoming an Empowerment School represents an unparalleled opportunity for educators and community leaders to reimagine education and excellent schools across Rhode Island in order for students to reach their fullest potential.

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has published a final guidance document for educators with clear information about how to become an Empowerment School. Ultimately, Empowerment School proposals are locally developed and locally approved with little involvement from RIDE beyond designing the application process. Local school districts, not the state, make final decisions regarding whether or not an Empowerment School proposal is approved.

Empowerment Guidance Document

This guidance document above provides overview on:

  1. The responsibilities and steps for local districts to approve Empowerment School applications;
  2. The steps for implementing an Empowerment School once approved; and,
  3. Actual documents and questions for the Empowerment School application.

Are you interested in leading an Empowerment School? Do you have a vision for an Empowerment School that will provide an excellent, innovative education to Rhode Island’s students? Or do you have questions, comments, or concerns? Please let RIDE know by emailing empowerment@ride.ri.gov.  We look forward to learning more about your vision and sharing opportunities with you to participate in communities of practice with like-minded leaders.