Elisabeth Harrison

News Director

Elisabeth Harrison's journalism background includes everything from behind-the-scenes work with the CBS Evening News to freelance documentary production.

She joined the WRNI team in 2007 as a Morning Edition producer and freelance journalist. In 2009, she became a full-time reporter, and became the Morning Edition host in 2011.  She was promoted to full-time News Director in June of 2015.

Harrison's education is as wide ranging as her work at Rhode Island Public Radio. She has a B.A. in English and French from Wellesley College, and a joint M.A. in Journalism and French Studies from NYU.

A native of Los Angeles, Harrison loves good food and good movies.

Ways to Connect

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A group of parents wants Rhode Island to require recess as part of the school day. The parents are organizing to make their case at a public hearing scheduled for Monday.

A group of Rhode Island College faculty and staff has sent a strongly-worded letter to state officials, warning that college President Nancy Carriuolo is taking RIC in the wrong direction. The letter comes as the State Council on Post Secondary Education conducts an annual personnel review for Carriuolo.

In the letter, 14 RIC faculty and staff members accuse Carriuolo of mismanaging the college and firing or reassigning employees who disagree with her.  

Elisabeth Harrison


Now that we have results from the first year of a new standardized test, designed specifically to measure progress on the Common Core, it is fascinating to see how Rhode Island students compare to other students who took the same test.

Like Rhode Island, all of the states I have looked at so far saw significant declines in proficiency rates after switching to PARCC, but some still outperformed students in Rhode Island. I should note that not all states have released PARCC data, and a more complete comparison will be available once they do.

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island has more work to do to improve public schools. That’s according to State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner, responding to test scores from PARCC, the standardized test Rhode Island is now using to measure student achievement.

PARCC was designed to measure progress on the Common Core standards, which are now guiding teachers in the state's public schools.

Results from the first year of testing showed just a quarter of Rhode Island students met expectations for Math, and a little more than a third met expectations in English.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

PARCC uses the language of "students meeting or exceeding expectations," whereas NECAP used the term "proficiency." Whatever you want to call it, far fewer students meet the bar on PARCC.

Gaps remain large for urban students and students of color. In Providence only about 10 percent of students met the bar in Math. In East Greenwich and Barrington, it was closer to 60 percent. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Test scores are due out this week for Rhode Island public school students who took the PARCC, a new standardized test linked to the Common Core standards for math and English. Rhode Island is part of a group of states that piloted the test last year.

Earlier this year millions of students took PARCC for real in about a dozen states. Roughly 75,000 students in Rhode Island took the test from 3rd grade to high school. Their scores will be the first glimpse at how the new test is working, and how Rhode Island compares to other states.

Alberto Hernandez/Creative Commons License

 Update:  The University of Rhode Island says it is in regular contact with study abroad programs to monitor the situation in Paris following a string of apparent terrorist attacks and maintain the safety of students. A total of 14 URI students were in Paris or other regions of France during the attacks on Friday night.

RIPR file photo

Ruggerio (D-Providence) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the ongoing debate over Governor Gina Raimondo's truck-toll plan; a new evaluation of ethics and accountability in state government; and the slow pace of progress in developing the I-195 Development District.


JWU Media Relations

Starting this month, Johnson & Wales students will have access to a full crime lab at the university’s criminal justice department. Work in the lab will be required for all students who major in criminal justice.

JWU spent some $650,000 outfitting a lab with the latest forensic microscopes and other technology so students can analyze fingerprints, blood spatter and other evidence. There’s also a re-enactment room, which Criminal Justice Department Chair Alison Goodrich likes to call “the murder room.”

Kristin Gourlay

Woonsocket-based CVS Health will lay off 150 workers, including 70 in Rhode Island. The pharmacy chain described the layoffs as part of an operational review aimed at boosting efficiency.

"CVS Health continually reviews its operations in all of its markets and facilities across the U.S. to enhance efficiencies and ensure the Company remains in the best competitive position to improve the health outcomes of its patients and clients while lowering their overall health costs," CVS Health spokesman Mike DiAngelis wrote in an email to Rhode Island Public Radio. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

In 1987, researchers in Finland began following tens of thousands of babies who were about to be born. In fact, they followed every child born in Finland that year, and they continue to follow them today. The study is known as the 1987 Finnish Birth Cohort Study. One of the key findings is that poverty for very young children can have lasting consequences.  Rhode Island College Graduate Tina Ristikari is one of the researchers who have been studying this data. She told Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison what the Ocean State can learn from it.


Representatives from 10 different cities head to Rhode Island this week to find out how Providence provides afterschool programs. They're interested in the Providence Afterschool Alliance, which coordinates bussing and activities for roughly 2,000 Providence students.

PASA works with nonprofits that provide a range of programs from art and music to science, math and sports. The group also works with city and school officials to serve roughly one-third of all Providence middle school students. In recent years, PASA has been expanding into high schools. 

Elisabeth Harrison

School resource officers, police officers who are embedded in public schools, have become commonplace in Rhode Island. But the practice is under new scrutiny after a controversial incident in South Carolina, where an officer dragged a high school student from her chair, flipping the student and her desk onto the floor in the process.

In Burrillville, Officer David Beauchemin takes what I would describe as a community policing approach to the district's five public schools.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

There’s an epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose unfolding across Rhode Island right now, and Burrillville, a small town in the northwestern corner of the state has been particularly hard hit.

Jesse M. Smith Library in Harrisville

Join Rhode Island Public Radio for a listening party for our series One Square Mile: Burrillville at the Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library in Harrisville!  Hear highlights from the series, meet the local reporters who produced the stories, and share your stories with us!