Standardized testing is underway in Rhode Island public schools, where students take the New England Common Assessment Program or NECAP every October. The tests of math and reading are administered to grades 3-8 and 11 between October 1st and the 23rd. This year some 4,000 12th graders are also taking the test and must improve their scores to meet the state’s controversial new test-based graduation requirement.
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.
A Providence private school is planning to close its elementary school and launch a charter school. Organizers from Community Prep say their goal is to find out whether they can extend a successful reputation to a randomly selected group of students.
Community Prep is known for a strong academic program and diverse student body, with many students receiving substantial scholarships. The school is now seeking approval from state officials to close its 3rd, 4th and 5th grades and replace them with a Kindergarten-5th grade charter school.
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.
Charter Schools in Central Falls, Pawtucket and Cumberland will have $10 million to make building improvements, thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation is providing the money in the form of low or no-interest loans, to increase the number of charter schools seats available for Central Falls students.
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.