education

For those of you waiting with baited breath for the latest NECAP Science test results, here's an update.

The Department of Education says they continue their discussions with testing company Measured Progress about the scores from the latest round of testing, which took place back in May.

The issue seems to be a drop in scores at one grade level, which schools in several NECAP states have noticed, according to The Providence Journal.

Mark Barden

Mark Barden, the father of one of the schoolchildren killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings will address the Rhode Island Coalition against Gun Violence on Thursday, as the coalition marks its first anniversary.

Barden has become a national advocate for reducing gun violence. He says he still struggles to deal with the death of his son, Daniel, nearly two years after the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Cumberland school officials say they were not told until Wednesday morning that the death of 10-year-old student was linked to enterovirus D68.

In an email to parents, Superintendent Philip Thornton says he first learned of the girl's death last week, but was told it not a case of the virus. Health officials notified him Wednesday the girl had a rare combination of staph infection and enterovirus D68.

"Within an hour of receiving this information, we pulled our crisis team together and sent out to parents and staff this new information," Thornton wrote.

The New England Institute of Technology says it is ready to begin an expansion long in the works for its East Greenwich campus. The project will include the technical college’s first residential dorm, a fitness facility and new classroom and dining space.

“This is an exciting day for New England Tech,” President Richard Gouse said in a statement announcing the project. “This expansion will allow us to offer on-campus housing for the first time in our college’s 75 year history.”

Rhode Island’s Department of Education has delayed the release of test scores from the most recent standardized state science test, administered in May.

RIDE officials say they have concerns about the scores for one grade level and will not release a score report expected on Wednesday.

RIDE Spokesman Elliot Krieger declined to elaborate about the exact nature of the concerns, but he says RIDE is working with the testing company, Measured Progress, to review the results.

Rhode Island Kids Count releases new numbers on Monday that show 12 percent of young school children in Rhode Island were chronically absent during the last school year, meaning they missed 18 days or more of school.

The study finds that for Kindergarten students who are chronically absent, there is an increased risk of low achievement that persists at least into middle school. The students are also more likely to be held back a grade.

Rhode Island Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant says a number of factors can contribute to chronic absenteeism.

The Rhode Island Board of Education has released dates for a series of hearings on delaying high stakes testing until at least 2020.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers halted a plan to introduce standardized test scores as a graduation requirement for the class of 2014. The legislation puts off the use of testing as part of the state's diploma system until 2017.

The legislation prompted State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist to propose waiting until 2020 to introduce high stakes testing. The Board of Education is now considering the new timetable.

Brown President Christina Paxson says a protest that forced former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to halt a lecture last year was a violation of Brown's policy on the free exchange of ideas.

"There is no doubt that the disruption of Kelly's lecture represented a violation of these policies," Paxson wrote in her final response to the incident, which was posted this week on Brown's website and sent in an email to Brown students and faculty.

Michelle Rini

Last year, we introduced you to Pawtucket student Hannah Rini, who was about to start her first year of middle school as an openly transgender student. Before her first day at Goff Junior High she was filled with hope about the new friends she would make.  She felt confident because of the way her elementary school friends accepted her when she came out:

“I don’t know how they knew, but they knew I was trans. Maybe the way I was acting? They just weren’t surprised one bit,” Rini said at the time.

File

Teachers in Providence have voted to reject a new contract that would have done away with the district's "no-layoffs" policy. The agreement to outlaw layoffs followed a major outcry when Providence Mayor Angel Taveras fired all of the district's teachers in 2011, citing a budget crisis. The teachers were later rehired and a contract deal was struck.

Providence Superintendent Susan Lusi responded to the union vote rejecting a new three-year contract with the following statement:

The Rhode Island Association of School Committees is warning school districts about a scam involving false invoices.

RIASC Executive Director Tim Duffy says districts may want to keep an eye on their accounts payable. The scammers tried to target North Smithfield with a fake invoice from a company calling itself Scholastic School Supply.

Duffy says districts in other states have reported receiving similar invoices. The amount billed is the same in each case: $647.50.

The University of Rhode Island has begun training campus police officers to carry guns after a controversial decision in April to arm the campus police force.

Public Safety Stephen Baker says the goal is to have all 27 campus officers carrying guns by the start of the Spring semester. 

"State police have completed 17 of the background checks and they’ve been delivered to us. The next step in that process is to have those officers go through psychological examinations," Baker said. "Then we’ll begin the actual firearms training, and that’s planned for the month of October."

Rhode Island's Council for Elementary and Secondary Education delayed voting this week on whether districts can charge tuition for summer school. Council members said they wanted more time to look at the issue, after advocates raised concerns about the impact for low-income families.

Rhode Island's Council for Elementary and Secondary Education will take up renewals for a group of charter schools and requests for school construction funding later today. The Council will also consider a decision that could have implications for summer school programs.

With concern growing over the amount of time students spend on standardized testing, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has launched a review of state and local testing practices. Gist says she wants to address complaints from parents and teachers about over-testing.

“None of us wants to test students too much, and each of us can consider ways to streamline the assessment process,” Gist wrote in a letter to superintendents announcing the review, adding that the goal is to eliminate assessments that do not advance teaching and learning.

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