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A Message to the Rhode Island Community
It’s Great to Be Back!
The start of a new school year symbolizes a fresh start. Our students will meet new teachers, befriend new classmates, and invigorate new passions. With students eager and energized, educators and administrators will have the exciting opportunity to build and sustain a positive school culture and establish and develop best practices that will help students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.
Equally important as embracing this fresh start is keeping the momentum. Governor Dan McKee and I are proud of the progress our school communities have made as Rhode Island rebuilds its education system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, researchers with the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment found that it will take approximately three to five years of accelerated learning to bring Rhode Island students up to pre-pandemic levels of learning. However, we don’t just want to catch up; we want to move ahead – we want our students to leap ahead to academic success.
With guidance from the Learning, Equity & Accelerated Pathways (LEAP) Task Force, Rhode Island quickly took action to address learning loss in our schools, identify research-based strategies for equitable learning recovery, and align stimulus funding with our top priorities. We are proud to see our local education agencies (LEAs) making smart, forward-thinking decisions, and RIDE will continue working with education leaders to strengthen community partnerships and support LEAs in their efforts to accelerate learning and improve social-emotional health.
Additionally, Rhode Island will continue transforming our facilities into 21st century learning environments to ensure every student succeeds, regardless of their zip code. To provide families peace of mind in the wake of unfortunate incidents nationwide this spring, the state required walkthroughs and detailed analyses of every school building in Rhode Island. Upgrades have begun as a result of this cross-agency collaboration. The state of Rhode Island is committed to providing LEAs the appropriate human and financial resources they need to best serve our school communities.
Every student deserves to feel safe in school. Every student deserves to learn, grow, and thrive in a warm, welcoming environment with comprehensive and accessible mental health supports. Every educator deserves to feel safe, supported and celebrated. Thank you for your patience, grace, and dedication during a profoundly challenging time in our history. Here’s to keeping the momentum, and a new year of learning, opportunity and growth.