It Takes a Village

Jan 15, 2021

As we begin to welcome students back to classrooms this week throughout Rhode Island, we are so grateful for the creativity, support and dedication of our teachers and school leaders who have made this possible.

So many of our school communities have partnered with our team at the Education Operations Center (EdOC) to provide school based COVID-19 testing opportunities and schedule testing events in their community to ensure a safe return and consistent surveillance testing of our school communities to help slow the spread in our state.

The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, in particular, student learning. Fortunately, there’s a solution available to help struggling students catch up, and it’s been around for millennia: tutoring.

We were excited to announce this week that an innovative partnership with Sal Khan, founder of Kahn Academy and is an online platform that connects people from around the world to free, small-group tutoring sessions. These sessions for students in grades 6-12 will help support students who may be at risk of falling behind in these digital days for one reason or another.

Students can sign up for these free tutoring opportunities, along with SAT prep courses through RIDE’s recently launched #EnrollRI platform.


From the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE)

2. Share Amazing Stories from your Classroom, School or Education Community!

RIDE is asking the entire RI education community to share amazing, heartfelt and uplifting stories to be featured in a number of upcoming RIDE initiatives. As we turn the page on 2020, we want to start of 2021 by sharing and highlighting stories from the classroom that can have a profound positive impact on the rest of our education community. Whether it’s through a story, photo, video or any other creative medium of your choice, we’d love to hear from you. Please email all submissions to

World Class Talent

3. New Elementary Educator Recognition: Alan Shawn Feinstein Award Application

RIDE, in partnership with the Feinstein Foundation, is seeking applications for the first annual Alan Shawn Feinstein Award (ASF). The ASF Award honors an educator at an Alan Shawn Feinstein Elementary school who effectively models acts of kindness and good deeds within the classroom and community, and whose students are involved in or lead good deed initiatives because of this educator’s influence. The ASF elementary education teacher selected will be awarded $15,000 AND the ASF elementary school where the winner is employed at the time of the application completion will receive an award amount of $10,000. Applications are due January 29, 2021.

If you have questions about the Alan Shawn Feinstein application, please contact Mary Keenan at or 401-222-8497.

4. School Counselor Virtual Workshop – Computer Science

CS4RI will be hosting a special workshop for school counselors and others supporting student recruitment and course scheduling will be held on Wednesday, February 10 from 4pm-7pm (after school) via Zoom. This workshop will provide participants with a solid understanding of the computer science opportunities across the state; why computer science is for ALL students and ways to broaden participation; and a variety of tools, resources and techniques for counselors supporting computer science education.

Accepted participants are eligible to receive a $200 stipend for participation in the 3-hour session. Participants who successfully complete the workshop will also receive documentation of their professional development hours.

Topics include:

  • What Is K-12 Computer Science Education In Rhode Island?
  • Computer Science education is for all genders, races, ability levels, and career interests – how school counselors can support all students having the opportunity to learn CS.
  • Tools and techniques for school counselors supporting CS education

Please register here.

5. Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Achievement Grants Waiver Approved

RIDE has received approval from the United States Department of Education (USED) to waive the following Title IV-A requirements for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2020:

  • 20-20-Some Portion Requirement, ESSA, Title IV. Part A Section 4106(e)(2)(C), (D), and (E) of Title IV, Part A; and
  • 15% Technology Infrastructure Cap, ESSA Title IV, Part A Section 4109(b).

RIDE was also approved to waive the LEA Needs Assessment Requirement, ESSA Title IV, Part A Section 4106(d) for the 2020-2021 school year.

LEAs may begin to apply these waivers to their Title IV, Part A CRP applications. Please reach out to Stephanie Enos at or your Title IV, Part A with any questions.

6. ACCESS 2021 Administration – Update

As we continue with the administration of the ACCESS assessment for Multilingual Learners, RIDE has developed some additional materials to support communication for this year’s administration of the assessment.  The assessment is required under federal law, but more importantly, they provide critical information to educators and families. Now more than ever, we need this information for future planning.  In the midst of a pandemic, planning and organizing state testing requires additional preparation and safety measures as well as additional coordination and communication with families. For ACCESS 2021, a letter from Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green (English and Spanish) and a video for parents are now available for LEAs to use in their communication efforts. Please share these products with your families. They are designed to support your efforts with reaching all students with ACCESS assessment this year. Thank you in advance for your efforts.

7. Teacher Access to Student Assessment Data Portal

On Tuesday, January 19, RIDE will release the teacher role in the Student Data Portal for district data managers to assign to their educators in accordance with Teacher Course Student data (superintendents and principals received access in December). The Student Data Portal (SDP) provides educators with role-appropriate access to confidential student-level statewide assessment performance data for use in supporting instructional and curricular decisions. Statewide assessment data at the state, district, and school levels can be viewed through RIDE’s new Assessment Data Portal (ADP) that was released in summer 2020.

If educators have any questions regarding logging in or accessing the SDP through the RIDE Portal, please reach out to your district’s data manager/IT director. Additional information, portal links, and guidance are posted here. For questions about the assessment data or results, please contact

8. 2021 No-Cost Professional Learning Options for Educators

RIDE’s commitment to helping RI schools and districts strengthen their professional learning systems and practices continues through 2021. Here you can find our most updated list of no-cost professional learning options for all Rhode Island educators.

We hope the synchronous and asynchronous offerings provided around topics such as addressing learning loss, social emotional learning, health and safety, and instruction will enhance opportunities for educators in a variety of roles.

RIDE is encouraging LEAs to share these offerings with staff and to continue to revisit this list as offerings will be updated throughout the year. Please email with any professional learning questions or to inquire about adding an offering to our professional learning list.

9. Great Teachers in Action

The RIDE Educator Recognition Program and Highlander Institute have developed a yearlong educator professional development series called Great Teachers in Action (GTA). Our state has a wealth of talented educators who are leaders within their districts, content areas, and or grade span. RIDE’s goal is to utilize the skills and expertise of RI educators to provide opportunities for educators to collaborate and learn from and with one another. The GTA Professional Learning sessions will enable RI educators to collaborate, watch and debrief model lessons, and access resources.

The professional learning sessions have been offered on the statewide professional learning days, with the third session of presentations being offered on January 25, 2021.

To learn more about the presenters, topics, and to register for a PL session, please visit to the RIDE Professional Learning Page to access the diverse list of no cost options for professional learning

Excellence in Learning

10. Free Tutoring Opportunity Launching with is a new online platform from Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, that matches students around the world with free tutors. The tutors provide small-group math and SAT prep tutoring for students in grades 6-12, building on the Khan Academy curriculum. Rhode Island is one of two state-level partnerships offering this opportunity to students across the state. Registration is now live on the All Course Network (ACN) and students can sign up here on EnrollRI. There is no deadline for students to sign up (though schools will still need to approve their enrollment via the ACN), no cost to LEAs or students, and no requirement to participate. Please help us spread the word to your students, teachers, parents, and communities! More information on the partnership can be found here.

11. Spring 2021 Test Coordinator Workshops – Registration Now Open

RIDE has posted the dates and registration links for this year’s virtual test coordinator workshops for the RICAS, RI NGSA, DLM, and SAT School Day and PSAT 10 assessments. These sessions will provide information necessary to ensure statewide assessment runs smoothly for the upcoming administration windows.

District and school test coordinators are responsible for administration of the state assessments, and should attend one General State Policies Overview session and one session per state assessment they will coordinate (e.g., a high school test coordinator does not have to attend a RICAS session but should attend the general overview, NGSA, PSAT10/SAT School Day, and DLM sessions; district test coordinators must attend one of each session). The General State Policies Overview session will focus on information applicable to all state assessments, including test security protocols, scheduling and location considerations, test administrator training, and similar. Each state assessment’s session will include updates for Spring 2021, test administration protocols, technology, test design, and accommodations and accessibility features.

Each topic is offered twice. Please register for the sessions that best fit your schedule. Meeting information will be emailed to you upon registration.

General State Policies Overview (required for all test coordinators):

RICAS (required for all test coordinators administering RICAS in their schools/districts):

RI NGSA (required for all test coordinators administering NGSA in their schools/districts):

DLM (required for all test coordinators administering DLM in their schools/districts):

SAT School Day and PSAT 10 (required for all test coordinators administering these assessments in their schools/districts):

… Part 1: SAT and PSAT 10 Digital Training Introduction

… Part 2: SAT and PSAT 10 Digital Training Tutorial

Please contact with any questions about the trainings. A recording of each training and its presentation will be posted here following the sessions’ completion.

Engaged Communities

12. SurveyWorks Goes Live on January 19th!

Ready, Set, Go! With your support, we can continue to ensure over 120,000 Rhode Island students, families, and educators have the opportunity to share their voice. The survey window will run from Tuesday, January 19 – Wednesday, March 31. The SurveyWorks Team is working with site coordinators to ensure smooth administration. Here you can find an overview of this year’s administration. Please reach out to Peg Votta at RIDE at 401-222-8412 throughout the survey administration period with any questions. You can also send any questions to or Thank you again for being part of this important work.

13. All Course Network (ACN) Courses Open for Registration!

The ACN is a RIDE initiative that allows students to take advantage of supplemental coursework outside of the traditional school day at no cost to a district or student. Students can take Enrichment, Work-Based Learning, Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement, and Career Credential courses. All public school students in Rhode Island can participate in these opportunities and receive credit on their transcript (if they are in high school). Students may take up to two courses each semester. RIDE recently received a federal grant and is significantly expanding the number of courses and seats available on the ACN for the Spring semester, including for the first time ever, elementary school and enrichment opportunities.

Students can browse for courses here (there are over 2000 seats available!) and take steps to pre-register on EnrollRI before 8 A.M. on Tuesday, January 19th. Once a pre-registration application has been submitted, a school contact will approve courses upon which a student is eligible for enrollment. A complete list of school points of contact can be found on this landing page in the section “Questions and Contact Information.” Please reach out to for more information.

14. College Financial Aid Forum – Presented by the College Planning Center 

Attention all High School Juniors, Seniors and Families– BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! Come Learn about the College Financial Aid Process! Discover the different types of financial aid available, what the FAFSA is and why you need to complete it! Come get your questions answered at the Financial Aid Forum on: January 28 at 4:00 p.m. Please RSVP for the Zoom sessions here.

15. ILP Reporting 2021

A narrative report on LEA ILP program implementation will need to be submitted by each district by June 1, 2021. This will be submitted through the RIDE ILP District Annual Report. The narrative report asks for evidence of alignment with the RI ILP Scope and Sequence via a list of lessons or timeline that includes the lessons. Here is a sample timeline. For any questions about the ILP or the reporting please contact Onna Holland at

16. FAFSA Update – 36.4% FAFSA Completion Statewide as of 1/8/21

This week Rhode Island is at 36.4% completion. We have set a goal of 70% completion statewide, at every high school. It is critical to ensure that all students are completing their FAFSA to have a chance at financial support for their post-secondary education plans. Rhode Island is ranked 9th currently for FAFSA completion. There are many resources available to support students and families through the process of completing the FAFSA. College Planning Center offers support for any family in Rhode Island in completing the FAFSA.

To schedule an appointment with the College Planning Center email, call 401-736-3170, Text “FAFSA” to 24000, or go to

Districts are encouraged to reach out directly to the College Planning Center to help support their completion efforts. There are multiple resources including the FAFSA completion dashboard, and FAFSA Portal. More information about all of these resources can be found here. Schools can help support this effort by reaching out to help families complete the FAFSA! To see how your school is doing, check out the FAFSA dashboard.

From Other State Agencies

17. Visit the Rhode Island State House – Virtually! 

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is pleased to offer new virtual field trip opportunities and online activities for students and teachers. These programs can be accessed from home or from the classroom, and can be used by students going to school in person, classrooms doing distance learning, or combinations of the two.

  • Free, docent-led virtual tours of the State House
    • For groups of 15 or more
    • Available daily
    • See even more of the State House than you can during an in-person tour!
    • Includes opportunities for students to ask questions
  • Free, self-guided 3D tour of the State House
    • Available any time
    • Interpretive content in Spanish and English
    • Uses new 3D technology to make students feel like they are inside the building!
  • Short videos about individual rooms in the State House, or the entire building
    • Learn about the State House, room by room
    • Take a mini-tour of the entire building – in Spanish or English
    • Videos range in length from 3 minutes to 15 minutes

Don’t forget to explore the Educator Resources section of the website for additional materials!

Have questions about the above, or ideas for additional ways the Department of State can support your work? Please contact Associate Director of Education and Public Programs, Lane Sparkman at

From Outside Organizations

18. NASBE Webinar: Acceleration vs. Remediation: Research-Driven Strategies to Address Learning Loss

Join the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) for a presentation and moderated discussion on Acceleration vs. Remediation with three experts. Dr. Kristen Huff, vice president of assessment and research at Curriculum Associates, will highlight tools to help teachers and schools identify student learning gaps and accelerate individualized instruction. Dr. David Steiner, a former Maryland state board member and executive director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, will present evidence on effective catch-up learning strategies. Brown University Associate Professor of Education and Economics Dr. Matthew A. Kraft will discuss high-dosage tutoring at scale, a strategy being pursued in England and the Netherlands.

In its year-end stimulus package, Congress provided public schools more than $54 billion in pandemic relief and emphasized using the funds to address student learning loss. The webinar will be Thursday, January 21, 2021 from 3:00 pm to 4:00. Please register here.

19. RIMTA Seeking Nominations for Annual Awards

Each year the Rhode Island Mathematics Teachers’ Association (RIMTA) highlights the outstanding work and contributions made by Rhode Island teachers and students to mathematics education through its three RIMTA Recognition Awards. Categories for the awards include: Outstanding Teacher of the Year; Outstanding Rookie of the Year; and Outstanding Student of the Year. Applications for these three award categories are now open and available through the RIMTA website. Completed applications are due on or before January 29, 2021.

The “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” and “Outstanding Rookie of the Year” will be recognized at RIMTA’s spring conference on March 13, 2021. The “Outstanding Student of the Year” will be honored at their school in March at a date and time to be determined. Questions and completed applications should be directed to Sara Donaldson at

20. Rhode Island Student Assistance Services present: Emerging Trends in Youth Vaping

Emerging Trends in Youth Vaping: What Schools Need to Know a 7-module, self-paced e-training developed for educators, Student Assistance Counselors, administrators, prevention specialists, and parents. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Study in 2019, 30% of our high school students are using an electronic vapor product, an e-cigarette! Did you know that young people who have ever used e-cigarettes are 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19? Also, young people who have ever used e-cigarettes plus conventional cigarettes are 7 times more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19.

Upon completing the series, participants will be able to:

  • Describe electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), also called e‑cigarettes: what they are and how they work
  • Discuss what is known and not known about the health effects of e‑cigarette use.
  • Identify marketing strategies used by tobacco companies to make e‑cigarettes appealing to youth
  • Access and use the RISAS Vaping Toolkit

Upon completion of pre-test, each module, and post-test participants will earn 3 contact hours.

21. Rhode Island High School Ethics Bowl Judge & Moderator Recruitment

The fifth annual Rhode Island High School Ethics Bowl Tournament will be held online on Sunday, January 31. Each year, we invite members of the community to take part during the event. As a judge or moderator, you will have the chance to listen to high school students from across the state discuss scenarios and explore the ethical questions they present. Interested individuals should fill out this quickGoogle Form. You can reach us at or contact point-person Derek Bowman directly at for more information.

22. US Environmental Protection Agency Student & Teacher Award Program – Applications Available

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology. Please visit ourwebsite for application and more information.

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Learn more here.

23. PPAC Now Accepting Applications for the ARTS Scholarships 2021

The Providence Performing Arts Center is now accepting applica­tions for the ARTS Scholarships 2021 program with a deadline of 4:00 P.M. on February 26, 2021. The ARTS Scholarships program awards 30 scholarships valued at up to $500 each to qualified, talented Rhode Island middle school students (aged 11-14 as of June 1, 2021) to attend local, sum­mer arts education programs. Links to applications, guidelines, and a list of summer arts programs are available online or please call Cynthia Goldsmith at 574-3105.