Class Notes: A Quick Look at the Stories that Made News This Week in Education

Feb 22, 2013

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Gist on NECAP results

Education Commissioner Deborah Gist responded to a flat performance by Rhode Island students on the latest round of state-wide standardized testing, saying she is confident that her plan for improving public schools is the right path forward. In our interview, she says she’s concerned that 4th grade reading scores are not improving, but her main focus right now is mathematics. She also defends new graduation requirements for high school students, saying schools are not doing any favors to students who graduate lacking minimum skills in math and reading.

Fundraising rises at Brown, falls at URI

Brown University brought in more than $178 million in donations last year, according to a new report, the most of any school in Rhode Island. The University of Rhode Island had the second highest total but saw a decrease from 2011. Here’s a full breakdown of the numbers.

What happened to the Cranston prayer banner?

Well, it’s still in storage, nearly a year after the district decided to take it down rather than appeal a court ruling. The court found the banner violated the separation between church and state because it contains the words “Our Heavenly Father” and "Amen.” Several community groups had offered to take the banner and display it publicly, saying it’s an important piece of Cranston history. RIPR’s Flo Jonic has the full story.

What to do with $2.9 million?

Warwick Public Schools have a $2.9 million surplus and a new superintendent. According to The Providence Journal, the district selected Richard D’Agostino for the top job after the abrupt departure of former Superintendent Peter Horoschak. Horoschak had been on paid administrative leave for undisclosed reasons. The new pick, D’Agostino, has been serving as interim superintendent. Jennifer Ahearn, the only dissenting vote on the school committee, said she thought the district should have conducted a full search before settling on a permanent replacement.