Providence Public Schools

Elisabeth Harrison

Two experimental high schools scheduled to open in Providence this fall will be known as 360 High School and Evolutions High School.

Both schools will be located inside larger, existing high schools. Evolutions will be inside Mt. Pleasant High School, and 360 will be at Hope High School.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Providence Superintendent Susan Lusi opens up about her tenure in the state’s largest school district, as she prepares to step down. She spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison at the district central office before her departure next week.

While she says she unequivocally believes she has made a difference, Lusi admits that Providence's student test scores leave a lot to be desired.

Performance pay is out, school autonomy is in the proposed three-year contract, which still requires approval from Providence teachers.

City officials say the Providence Teachers' Union has set May 20th as a tentative date for a vote.

Union and city leaders leaders reached a tentative agreement once before, but it failed after union members objected, at least in part, to a call for performance pay.

The agreement would have allowed the district to discuss a system of rewarding teachers for good performance, rather than time in the system.

Elisabeth Harrison

Providence Superintendent of Schools Susan Lusi has announced she will not return for another school year. 

The announcement comes with only about two months left in the current school year. Superintendent Lusi declined to be interviewed for this story, but in a press release, says she wants to pursue other professional opportunities.

After four years leading Providence schools, Lusi touts improvements in the high school graduation rate and reading scores.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says the school board will begin an immediate search for her successor. 

Catherine Welch

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has appointed a parent and a history professor to the school board. The mayor also re-appointed board member Keith Oliveira.

Mark Santow, a Providence resident, is an associate professor and chair of the History Department at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Muyideen Ibiyemi has children in Providence public schools, serves on the Highlander Charter School Parent Teacher Organization and is the president of a Nigerian community group.

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.

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. 

Elisabeth Harrison

At the close of his first week as mayor of Providence, Jorge Elorza has announced he wants Providence Schools Superintendent Susan Lusi to stay on for at least another 18 months.

Elorza describes Lusi as a well-qualified leader, who shares his goals for improving city schools.

"Dr. Lusi shares my vision of reforming the role of central administration and directing all available resources to our classrooms," Elorza said in a press release announcing the reappointment.

Providence families get a chance on Saturday to look at the options for public high school and middle school. The district has organized a school fair at Juanita Sanchez High School.

Providence allows students and parents to choose between their neighborhood school or another school in the district, but officials say many families are unaware of all of the options, especially in high school.

To give a better sense of the different schools and programs available, district officials are inviting families to meet with teachers and principals at the event on Saturday.


Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo is among more than a hundred college presidents at the White House Thursday for President Barack Obama's Summit on College Opportunity.

Carriuolo will be joined by Providence Public Schools Superintendent Susan Lusi.

Providence is one of more than 50 cities that have joined an effort to increase the number of residents with college or other post-secondary degrees.

Providence school officials say they provided extra counseling Tuesday, the day after a grand jury decided not to indict the white police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

District leaders said the decision was likely to bring up a range of emotions for both students and teachers. Urging respect, they said they encouraged schools and teachers to engage students in thoughtful discussions.


Independent mayoral candidate Buddy Cianci released his plan for Providence Public Schools this week.

Noting that Providence students score well below average on standardized state tests, the former mayor, and twice convicted felon, focused on the need to provide quality education to all of the city’s children.

If voters re-elect him, Cianci said he would  give principals more autonomy, echoing a move already afoot in the district towards a policy known as “site-based management.” He proposed giving each school a

Providence has received a $3 million dollar grant from the Carnegie Foundation to develop a pair of small high schools over the next three years.

The schools will enroll a maximum of 450 students each, and will get extra flexibility to tailor programs to each student. The theory is that if you meet each student at their level, you can help students catch up if they fall behind, and allow them to work beyond their grade level, if they are ahead of the curve.

Providence school officials are reviewing the credentials of all non-union, non-certified personnel, after an employee was found to hold a bachelor’s degree from an unaccredited online university.

Nancy Stevenin was working with students from the Birch School, which was being shut down after a federal investigation revealed it was funneling developmentally disabled students into segregated, low paying workshops to do menial labor. Stevenin was helping transition students out of the program.

Providence public school officials are investigating how an elementary school student was allowed to go home with a man who is now accused of sexually assaulting her.

The incident occurred last week at Asa Messer Elementary School. Providence Superintendent of Schools Susan Lusi says a student was allowed to leave the school with a man, who was known to staff and had been seen multiple times with the girl and her family. However, the man was not on the list of people allowed to take the girl home. After they left the school, the man allegedly assaulted the student.