Catherine Welch

Governor Gina Raimondo began a series of what her office is calling "listening sessions" as part of the search for a new state commissioner of education.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison reports the governor convened a group of teachers, principals, charter school leaders and district leaders for an invitiation-only event.

About 20 people gathered around tables in a Providence elementary school classroom to give feedback on the search for a new education commissioner.

The event was by invitation only, with guests hand-picked by the governor’s office.


On of the state's two teachers' unions is calling for parents to get better information about how to opt out of standardized tests.

In a resolution, the executive committee of the National Education Association Rhode Island says the state and local districts should provide written information to parents about their right to remove children from testing.

The resolution stresses that teachers have a free speech right to talk to parents about opting out of testing, including the new multi-state test known as PARCC.

A series of education bills on the agenda at the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday range from a tax credit for college graduates to funding for charter schools.

One bill would give recent college graduates a break on their state income taxes. The idea is to stem the so-called “brain drain,” when local graduates put their newly-minted degrees to work in other states.

The measure would give a maximum $5,000 credit for a worker who received a bachelor’s degree from a local college or university within the last 10 years.

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 schools will offer similar programs.

Rhode Island education officials have submitted their final report to the federal government, tracking the state's $75 million federal Race to the Top Grant.

According to the report, the grant paid for nearly half of Rhode Island educators to receive training in the Common Core standards. It also paid for a data system that is supposed to help teachers get feedback on how their students are doing.

The Providence School Board has voted to ask  for a one-day reprieve from the state-mandated school year. Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison has details.

State law requires 180 days in the school year, but that may prove difficult for Providence, which has already taken six snow days.

Without leniency from state officials, the district may have to extend classes into the week that includes the July 4th holiday. That's less than ideal because many families and employees had planned to head out of town by then.

Courtesty U.S. Department of Education

Congress is hammering out new requirements for public schools and federal school funding. The current bill, commonly known as the "No Child Left Behind Act," has been controversial because of the way it uses standardized test scores to measure public schools. Changes to the bill have been proposed in both houses of Congress.  

Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison from Washington, D.C. to explain what these proposals could mean for Rhode Island.

Courtesy RISD

After an international search, the Rhode Island School of Design has settled on one of its own to take over as president. RISD has tapped Rosanne Somerson, a RISD graduate who’s been serving as interim president since December 2013.

Former president John Maeda stepped down suddenly, after a rocky relationship with RISD faculty. Maeda surprised many at RISD when he announced he had taken a job at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.

Elisabeth Harrison

The first Providence College student diagnosed with bacterial meningitis has been released from a Boston-area hospital. Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison has details.

A spokesman from PC could not provide information about whether the student suffered lasting effects from meningitis, which attacks tissue around the brain and spinal cord.

Meningitis can have serious long-term consequences, including brain damage.

Some school children in Rhode Island may find the school year extending almost into July because of all the snowy weather.

According to the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, districts across the state have taken at least six snow days so far, and some have taken more.

School officials are looking for ways to extend the school year to meet a state requirement for 180 days in the school year.

The prospect of extending classes into late June presents a dilemma for school committees.