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XQ+RI: Rhode Island’s XQ Challenge

XQ+RI is a first-of-its-kind partnership that will engage communities to create student-centered schools that help prepare all young people for the future. XQ is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to reimagining high school education so every student succeeds – no matter their race, gender, or zip code.

In 2015, XQ – Rhode Island’s partner in this endeavor – launched as a nationwide open call to reimagine and redesign the American high school. More than 10,000 people from every state answered the call with unique ideas for innovative, student-centered high schools. XQ+RI is the organization’s first statewide partnership, and XQ will be providing implementation grants of up to $500,000 each for successful redesign plans.

Read about this exciting initiative and what it means for Rhode Island schools in our official announcement, and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag, #XQRI.  

Learn more about XQ and their work to create Super Schools nationwide, at www.XQSuperSchool.org.

Questions about how to get involved? Contact XQRI@ride.ri.gov.

Community-Driven Design

The XQ+RI challenge will support community teams as they redesign school environments so when students graduate, they are prepared and empowered to be inventors of their own learning paths, careers, and adult lives. School design teams will be expected to engage students, families, community and higher education partners, as well as district educators, in their efforts. This process will begin with a series of XQ+RI Design Days, regional sessions where school communities can learn more about how they can participate in the statewide challenge, as well as begin to create their plans.

Get Involved with XQ+RI

XQ+RI Design Days

Thank you to all who joined us for the March Design Days.  

Below is a PDF of the slide deck we used and may serve as a helpful resource as you share your experience with others in your community who would like to join you in this work. 

HOW do I get involved? 

XQ+RI Challenge Design Days are your entry point into this exciting opportunity to reimagine high school in Rhode Island.  Any school that wants to apply for funding must send a team to one of the four regional Design Days before submitting a proposal.  To help inform the experience, school teams or individuals should come to Design Days having already posed the question, "if you could change on thing about your high school experience, what would it be?" to at least three high school students  in their community. 

WHAT are Design Days? 

Design Days are a call to action. They will serve as a primer on XQ+RI Challenge goals, an introduction to the design process, and an opportunity for schools to think outside the box when it comes to improving the high school experience for Rhode Island students. It is important to note that even if your school does not receive funding, Design Days will be a valuable and inspiring experience that helps inform your work.  Teams will leave Design Days with a better understanding of their school's challenges, ides on how to engage a more diverse group of stakeholders, and a framework for how design thinking can transform their school community. 

WHO should attend? 

For Design Days, and throughout the overall XQ+RI design process, each participating school community should engage a broad and diverse team, including administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community members. It can't be the same players at the table.  Successful Design Teams will need to reach out into their community to represent more voices, and part of the day's agenda will be an exercise in how to cast your full team.  

Design Days are an important first step in any school community's effort to join the XQ+RI effort and reimagine their high school. Successful school teams will engage a diverse range of stakeholders, and will come to the table ready to learn, challenge conventional approaches, and think differently about how we deliver services to students so that every young person in Rhode Island can be prepared for the future. 

Design Days in March: 

  • Wednesday, March 13, 4:00 - 7:30 p.m. -- Rhode Island College, Student Union Ballroom: 600 Mount Pleasant Ave, Providence, RI 
  • Wednesday, March 20, 4:00 - 7:30 p.m. -- St. Joseph's Veterans Association, 99 Louise St, Woonsocket, RI 
  • Saturday, March 23, 9:00 - 12:30 p.m. -- Holiday Inn South Kingstown, 3009 Tower Hill Rd, Saunderstown, RI
  • Wednesday, March 27, 4:00 - 7:30 p.m. -- Mainstay Conference Center, 151 Admiral Kalbfus Rd, Newport, RI

Contact XQRI@ride.ri.gov for more information or questions.

XQ+RI Planning Grant Application

Join the XQ+RI Challenge! 

The official XQ+RI Planning Grant Application is NOW LIVE.  

XQ+RI Planning Grant Application

All applications must be submitted through the online portal on or before May 24, 2019.

The XQ+RI Planning Grant will be reviewed based on your team's early attempt towards bold vision, early inquiry with the Knowledge Modules, development of a plan that focuses on rigor for all students, and your authentic engagement of your local school community.  For more information, please review the Planning Grant Application Scoring Rubric.

For questions related to the XQ+RI Challenge and Planning Grant Application, refer to the complete list of XQ+RI Frequently Asked Questions.

To help the XQ+RI core support team gauge interest and provide additional technical assistance and planning opportunities, we are asking every team planning to submit an application to complete a short intent to apply survey by April 30 (please note: you do not need to submit your intent in order to be eligible for a planning grant).

Application Resources

The following resources are intended as reference tools only.  All applications and corresponding attachments MUST be submitted via the online application portal on or before May 24, 2019.  

XQ+RI Resources

Thank you for your interest in XQ+RI.  As you prepare to join the challenge, below are a few helpful resources to support your understanding of the work ahead.  

The XQ+RI User Guide is a step-by-step guide to help rethink high schools across Rhode Island.  It also provides a deeper dive into the "Discover Modules" (hint: which you will need to reflect on as part of your application).  

XQ+RI Timeline


  • March 2019: XQ+RI Design Days 
  • April - May 2019: Teams work on planning grant applications 
  • May 24, 2019: Planning Grant Applications due 
  • June 2019: Planning Grant winners announced
  • July - December 2019: Planning cohort teams work on implementation grant applications 
  • December 2019: Implementation Grant Applications due 
  • January 2020: Implementation Grant winners announced 

Contact XQRI@ride.ri.gov for more information or questions. 

What People Are Saying

XQ+RI is a first-of-its-kind statewide partnership, with support from local and state leaders, and the backing of a nationally-recognized education leader.


“Rhode Island high schools are doing some truly exciting work, with a record number of students taking advantage of advanced coursework, early college, and hands-on learning opportunities. More must be done, however, to ensure that every student accesses these opportunities and graduates prepared for college and career. XQ chose to do its first-ever statewide partnership with Rhode Island because they see tremendous potential here, and with their support and experience, we will be able to scale up best practices so that we can make high school more challenging, engaging, and relevant than ever before.”


“The high school experience lays the foundation for developing lifelong learners able to navigate a rapidly changing world. It is the fulcrum of our education system—next-generation high schools can drive improvement throughout the system, from kindergarten through college. We applaud the Governor and Commissioner for their leadership and commitment to a community-led process for creating big, ambitious change in Rhode Island’s high schools.”


“The industrial model of education, where we talk at students sitting neatly in rows, is disconnected from the realities of a 21st century economy. Increasingly, our schools – and high schools, in particular – are finding ways to better align what students are learning in the classroom to the skills and experiences they need to be ready for college and career. There is really good work happening in our high schools and with XQ’s help, we can think bigger and move faster.”


“I’m thrilled that Rhode Island has captured the attention and imagination of this national movement to improve the high school experience. Building pathways to postsecondary education and rewarding careers for all students is a critical piece of our long-term strategy for education, and the XQ Design Process will make those pathways stronger and more responsive to the needs and interests of our students.”

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