Achievement First

RIPR FILE

Debate is growing over the expansion of the charter school Achievement First in Providence.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says he supports an expansion by charter school group Achievement First. But a smaller expansion than the group is seeking. Achievement First wants to add more than 2,000 new seats by 2026.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Charter school expansion will be up for discussion Tuesday at the state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education. One proposal from charter management group Achievement First has generated objections in Providence. But the state’s education commissioner is backing the plan. State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner says Achievement First should get a green light for its plan to add more than 2,000 students over the next decade. Providence officials have warned this could hurt the city’s...

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner is backing a plan to add 2,192 seats to the charter for Achievement First, a mayoral academy that currently operates two elementary schools in Providence.

Achievement First in Providence wants to add a third K-8 school and move forward with its plan to open a high school, and the Segue Middle School in Central Falls wants to add an elementary school. Those are just two of the charter school proposals on tap at the Rhode Island Department of Education. Just one new charter school has been proposed -- A high school in Providence slated to be called "Charette." The proposal touts a focus on urban planning and preservation, and an educational model...

Elisabeth Harrison

A judge has declined to stop a new charter school from opening in Woonsocket. City officials sought an injunction to block RISE Prep, a special type of charter school called a Mayoral Academy. They argued it would take taxpayer money away from local schools. Rhode Island Mayoral Academies Spokeswoman Katelyn Silva disagrees. “If there are small areas where we can tweak the funding formula to feel more equitable on all sides we are behind that 100 percent,” said Silva. “Until then, I do think...

Elisabeth Harrison

The second Providence elementary school operated by charter school network Achievement First will share a building with its first elementary school, which opened in 2013. The building on Hartford Avenue was formerly home to a public middle school, but the city shut down the school, citing the cost of rehabilitating an aging facility. Achievement First says it plans to eventually re-located the new school, "Iluminar Academy," but the co-location is likely to last about two years. The two...

Governor-Elect Gina Raimondo announced her plan Tuesday to nominate Stefan Pryor for Rhode Island’s newly created Secretary of Commerce post. The outgoing Education Commissioner in Connecticut, Pryor chose not to seek a second term, a move observers saw as evidence that he had become a liability for Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy. Malloy faced a closely-watched battle for re-election in November. Pryor oversaw efforts to implement the Common Core in Connecticut along with a new...

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Achievement First is a brand new charter school in Providence that also operates schools in Connecticut and New York. Critics fought hard to keep it from opening in Rhode Island, arguing that among other problems, it would take money away from other public schools. But supporters and organizers from Achievement First say they are offering an alternative to public schools that are struggling. Rhode Island Public Radio's Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison took a tour of the Providence school...

Achievement First, a big box charter operator from Connecticut, opens its first school in Rhode Island this month. Plans for Achievement First in Rhode Island originally called for a network of public charter schools serving students in Kindergarten through the end of high school, but the proposal almost immediately ran into opposition from parents and teachers. Achievement First already operates several schools in New York and Connecticut, including its flagship school, Amistad Academy,...

Blackstone Valley Prep has received the go-ahead from state officials to continue operating for another five years and more than double the number of schools it runs around the state. Blackstone Valley Prep , a charter school, currently operates two elementary schools in Cumberland and a middle school in Lincoln. Plans call for a high school to open this fall at a location still to be determined. Under the group’s renewal, authorized this week by the State Board of Education, Blackstone...

The number of Rhode Island Families hoping to get their children into Charter Schools continues to increase, according to the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools. The group is reporting a 20 percent jump in applications for 2013 for a total of 7,900 applications, up from 6,500 applications in 2012.

Just 800 spots were available in the League’s 15 member schools for the coming school year when they held their annual lotteries on Friday. Charter School officials say they believe the...