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.

Maureen Moakley

On the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement to restore diplomacy with Cuba, University of Rhode Island professor Maureen Moakley took a group of students to Havana to see first-hand the political and social changes 50 years after the Cuban revolution. A regular contributor to our Political Roundtable Moakley spoke spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison.

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Providence Extends School Year, To Make Up For Snow Days

Feb 6, 2015

Providence Public Schools have maxed out their snow days.  The district has called 5 snow days, already 2 more than they planned for.  

Spokesperson Christina O’Reilly said the district will have to extend the school year until June 25th.  “At this point we’ve assured families, and staff that February vacation is not going to be on the table,” said Reilly. 

Governor Gina Raimondo has nominated new leadership for the State Board of Education. The governor has announced several new nominees, including her pick for a new chair: Barbara Cottam.

Cottam, the Executive Vice President for Citizens Financial Group, was a founding member of Kids Count RI. She also served as press secretary under former Governor Bruce Sundlun. Cottam will replace current board chair Eva-Marie Mancuso. Her appointment must be confirmed by the State Senate.

The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare took up a bill Wednesday to require schools to stock the anti-overdose drug naloxone.

Commonly referred to as Narcan, naloxone can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. 

The drug been hailed as a crucial tool in the fight against what health officials have termed an epidemic of opioid overdose deaths.

A new bill introduced by East Providence Representative Helio Melo would double the state income tax deduction allowed for college savings accounts.

The bill would increase the maximum deduction from $500 to $1,000 for individuals, and up to $2,000 for couples filing jointly.

Melo, the former chair of the House Finance Committee, said he's hoping the added incentive will encourage families to set aside more money for college.

Chair of the state’s board of education said Tulsa is lucky to land Deborah Gist as its next superintendent of schools. Board chair Eva-Marie Mancuso calls Gist a forward thinker and someone easy to work with.

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has gotten the votes to become Tulsa's superintendent of schools.

In a statement, Gist said it was a difficult decision, but she welcomed the opportunity to lead an urban school district.

She also noted that Tulsa is where her family lives.

"I know that Rhode Islanders can certainly recognize the attraction we have to our hometowns, and it would be a special honor for me to lead the district where I attended public school throughout my childhood," Gist wrote.

Elisabeth Harrison

The Tulsa School Board may vote Monday evening on whether to name Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist their new superintendent of schools.

Gist appears poised to get the job, after the only other finalist dropped out of the search at the end of last week.

Gist has said the opportunity to return to her hometown was too good to pass up. She previously said she wanted to stay in Rhode Island, but Governor Gina Raimondo has been slow to announce whether she wants Gist to remain the state's education commissioner.

Steve Emerson, a self-styled terrorism expert, who has drawn fire for comments about "no-go zones" in France and other European countries following the attacks in Paris, graduated from Brown University.