Providence Public Schools

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Analysis by Rhode Island Public Radio finds urban and middle class students in Rhode Island have lower test scores than their peers in Massachusetts; and the state’s ambitious goal to improve 3 rd grade reading skills in less than a decade. We discuss the top issues in public education on a special education edition of our weekly political roundtable.

Elisabeth Harrison

Starting in September, every public school in Providence will designate teams to meet one-on-one with transgender students and their families. Providence Public Schools spokesperson Laura Hart said it’s part of a new policy aimed at making sure schools respect the rights of transgender and other gender non-conforming students. “The point teams are local teams,” said Hart. “They’re going to be pulling from teachers and administrators, parent advocates and PE teachers. As a student identifies,...

Elisabeth Harrison

When Sue Lusi said she was leaving the Providence Public Schools to pursue new professional opportunities , she wasn't kidding. Boston-based consulting group Mass Insight announced Monday that Lusi will be the new President and CEO of the non-profit Mass Insight Education. "The board is pleased to have found a passionate and skilled leader right here in New England to assume this important role at Mass Insight Education," said Dick Taggart, chairman of MIE's board of directors in a written...

Jake Bissaro / The Providence Center

Mental health services for children can be difficult to access in Rhode Island. But a new public-private partnership is trying to make those services easier to access at some Providence public schools. Behavioral health clinicians from the nonprofit Providence Center will be on hand at two elementary schools and four middle schools in Providence. Clinicians from a company called Behavioral Health Services, Inc. will also provide clinical and technical support to make the program work. The...

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has proposed major changes in the administration of the city’s public schools.The changes will include the creation of several new positions, transferring some current employees out of the central administration and eliminating some vacant posts. Elorza's proposal comes months after the departure of former Providence Schools Superintendent Susan Lusi, and an audit that found inefficiencies in the central office. Providence Interim Superintendent Chris Maher said...

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Language immersion programs known as “dual language” programs are a growing trend in public elementary schools. They allow students to become bilingual in English and another language, like Spanish. Providence school officials have just announced a plan to offer new dual language programs in Spanish and possibly Mandarin at Carl Lauro Elementary School. The programs would begin with two Kindergarten classrooms in each language, then add a grade every year until fifth grade. Rhode Island...

Elisabeth Harrison

The search committee seeking a superintendent for Rhode Island's largest school district has scheduled a series of public meetings to gather input from residents. Organizers said the forums will focus on a job description for the Providence superintendent and discussion of the major issues the district faces. Former Providence Superintendent of Schools, Susan Lusi, surprised many district employees when she announced in May that she would not return for another school year. In an exit...

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. Developed with a $3 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, the schools will be smaller than is typical for an urban high school. District officials say they will feature a so-called "student centered"...

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. "We're still performing poorly, and we're performing much better than we were in the past,"...

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...

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...

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. Keith Olivera...

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...

Providence Extends School Year, To Make Up For Snow Days

Feb 6, 2015
RIPR FILE

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 25 th . “At this point we’ve assured families, and staff that February vacation is not going to be on the table,” said Reilly. She added that snow days aren’t decided lightly because about 87 percent of the students rely on school lunches. “We know that if we miss...

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. Lusi, who attended Brown...

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