Learning, Equity, & Accelerated Pathways for Rhode Island Students

Mar 26, 2021

Every child deserves an opportunity to succeed, and that starts with equal access to educational opportunities. But we know, looking at historic results in Rhode Island, that not every student gets the same experience. Traditionally our vulnerable populations have been underserved and left behind for generations. The pandemic has only widened those gaps, but as we look toward the light at the end of the tunnel, we can see an opportunity to rebuild our educational systems in a way that truly reflects our commitment to serving every student equitably. For that reason, we convened the Learning, Equity, & Accelerated Pathways (LEAP) Task Force earlier this year to help guide us in this work.

I’m excited to announce that the LEAP Task Force has completed their working meetings and drafted their recommendations on how we can do better for our students. It has taken a herculean effort to get to this point by a diverse group of stakeholders. We knew that addressing the flaws in our system that create radically disproportionate results would require a significant buy-in from every community in Rhode Island. To that end, we recruited leaders from local community groups, educational leaders, student leaders, and more to serve on this LEAP Task Force. Now, after two months of robust discussions and passionate advocacy for how to best serve our students in need, we have an equitable plan that was crafted by the people it impacts most.

The recommendations of the LEAP task force will be our guiding principles as we work to accelerate learning opportunities and to create a more equitable and enriching educational environment in Rhode Island. They are a crucial tool, our compass on this journey; the task of creating our road map still lies ahead. For anyone that missed our meetings, please visit our YouTube to explore them prior to the final report in April. I am looking for your support in building and implementing a plan that will help us meet the unique needs of your community. Together, we will provide every one of our students with the high-quality education that they deserve.


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

2. Share Photos from your Classroom, School or Education Community

RIDE is collecting digital photos to document the amazing efforts of the Rhode Island education community over the past year. We plan to use some of them online and in publications to tell your story. We need your help — please send your best school photos to pete.janhunen@ride.ri.gov. Make sure you have secured all permissions if students are pictured and include a short description of what the picture captures. Please send the original highest resolution images available. Please do not crop, reduce or scale down images. Thank you for your collaboration, we cannot wait to see your photos!

World Class Talent

3. RIDE Seeking Recommendations for Rhode Island Educator- Leader Talent Pool

RIDE maintains a file of distinguished teachers and principals. Throughout the year, these educators may be considered for leadership opportunities such as membership on advisory boards and task forces, as well as state and national recognition programs. RIDE is requesting that each district recommend up to 2-3 nominees who are relatively new to the profession (5-12 years), demonstrate strong leadership skills, instructional practices and have impact on students, colleagues, and the community.

To recommend an educator please complete the LEA Recommendation Form by Friday, April 2, 2021. Questions can be directed to Mary Keenan at mary.keenan@ride.ri.gov.

Excellence in Learning

4. All Course Network (ACN) RFP for Summer 2021 and School year 2021-2022 Courses now LIVE

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. There are different types of courses available on the ACN: Enrichment, Work-based learning, Dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, and Career Credential courses. All students (K-12) in Rhode Island can participate in these opportunities. RIDE is currently seeking provider proposals to offer courses on the ACN for Summer 2021 and school year 2021-2022. The RFP and application are now live on RIDE’s website and will be due by 5 P.M. on April 7th. An additional technical assistance (TA) session will be offered on April 1 from 3 to 4 P.M. Additional information about the RFP process and Zoom details for the TA sessions can be found online and questions about the ACN can be directed to acn@ride.ri.gov.

5. RICAS State Testing Window Opens March 29

Thank you to our districts and schools for your diligence and dedication in successfully administering the ACCESS for ELLs assessment this year. Results from this year’s assessments are more important than ever for planning future instruction and supports.

While ACCESS finishes this week, next week the RICAS ELA state testing window opens on Monday, March 29. RIDE strongly recommends schools to schedule their testing days as early in the state testing window as possible to ensure sufficient time for administration. Important dates for all state assessments are posted on the RIDE website.

Schools should have already received their initial shipment of RICAS manuals. If not, or to order additional materials, please contact the RICAS Service Center. Digital copies of assessment manuals and guidance can be referenced online. Test coordinators may find additional information and updates posted here. Please direct any questions to assessment@ride.ri.gov.

6. Rhode Island Featured in EdReports Case Study for HQIM Work

The Division of Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce that Rhode Island is featured in a recent case study from EdReports. This report highlights our work to ensure that all students in Rhode Island have access to high-quality instructional materials.

Access the Case Study to read about our state’s four-year journey in reimagining practices related to curriculum selection and instructional materials. Several RI leaders and stakeholders reflect on their experience within the report. Kudos to all!

For questions related to high quality instructional materials, please email curriculum@ride.ri.gov.

7. FY21 Title IV, Part A Personalized Learning Grants: Request for Applications

The Rhode Island Department of Education is soliciting applications for the FY21 Title IV-A Personalized Learning Grants. LEAs that received a Title IV-A allocation for the 2020-2021 school year may apply for up to $50,000 to design, expand and/or implement strategies that increase student access to personalized, rigorous learning experiences for K-12 students.

LEAs with high levels of poverty will be prioritized for participation in this opportunity.  A maximum of nine grants of up $50,000 each will be awarded. LEAs may use these grants to start or supplement initiatives that increase student access to personalized, rigorous learning experiences in one of the Title IV-A content areas: well-rounded education, safe and healthy students and effective use of technology. Funds are not intended for technology infrastructure; they should focus on supplemental programs and activities.

Materials can be accessed on the RIDE website, FY21 Title IV-A Personalized Learning Grants.

Questions should be sent to Stephanie.Enos@ride.ri.gov. Responses will be posted to the website. LEAs are encouraged to monitor the website for updates.

The deadline for submission is 4:00 pm April 15, 2021. Completed applications should be sent to Stephanie.Enos@ride.ri.gov. Applicants will receive a confirmation email once their application has been received.

8. Accelerated Mathematics Summer Learning with Zearn

The Office of Instruction, Assessment, and Curriculum is pleased to accept applications from LEAs to participate in the Accelerated Mathematics Summer Learning with Zearn Grant. Zearn, a high-quality curriculum, has created a Summer Intensive Series designed to accelerate mathematics recovery for students currently enrolled in grades K through 5. The series includes the essential mathematics content students need to learn before starting the 2021-22 academic year.

A limited number of site licenses, good for one year, are available to those LEAs with an identified level of need and a clear implementation plan. A variety of implementation models are suggested in the application, but LEAs are encouraged to adopt and/or design a model that best serves their community.  To do this, LEAs might consider collaborating with a community partner to craft a holistic student experience. Terms of the grant also allow for staff stipends and Zearn platform embedded professional learning.

The grant application can be found at Mathematics – Instruction and Assessment – Rhode Island Department of Education (ri.gov) under the Additional Content for Mathematics section and is due to RIDE no later than 5:00pm on April 19, 2021.

Any questions about this opportunity can be directed to susan.pagliaro@ride.ri.gov.

9. RIDE to Offer Consolidated Resource Plan (CRP) Rollout Meetings

The Title IV-A Zoom Meeting
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 – 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Please register here.

Title I Zoom Meetings
The Zoom Meeting for Districts:
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Please register by Friday, April 9, 2021.

Zoom Meeting for State-operated and Charter Schools:
Thursday, April 15, 2021 – 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Please register by Friday, April 9, 2021.

Engaged Communities

10. SurveyWorks Update: Survey Closes on March 31st

We’ve heard from more than 105,000 members of our school community, including 24,000 families! This week, we celebrate Potter Burns School in Pawtucket. This school stands alone as our first ever 100-100-90 school: 100% of families, 100% of teachers and 90% of students have completed the survey. Kudos to Principal Mark Andrade and the entire Potter Burns school community for this incredible accomplishment!

The survey remains open until March 31st so let’s keep going. Response rates are regularly updated and we encourage you to visit our SurveyWorks Resource Center to complete your survey today!

11. FREE Support to go to College!

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (OPC) are working on a new initiative to provide free college enrollment resources to the graduating Class of 2020. Many Rhode Island students have had their college plans disrupted by the pandemic and our goal is to provide these graduates with free information and support to re-start their path into college. To get these services, all students need to do is complete this survey.

Please share this opportunity with your networks! Feel free to reach out to CollegeEnrollmentSupport@ride.ri.gov with any questions related to the survey.

From Outside Organizations

12. Highlander Institute Announces Spring Learning Series

Highlander Institute is hosting a free 3-part Spring Learning Series on April 1, April 8, & April 15 introducing their Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Pedagogy (CRSP) Framework. Session 1: Centering on Instructional Equity will share teacher strategies for bringing anti-racist personalized learning to the classroom. Session 2: Leading Inclusive Change focuses on key leadership moves to support sustainable change school wide. And Session 3: Designing for Enduring Improvement elevates the lessons learned that will help us plan intentionally and strategically for September 2021.

All sessions are free, virtual, and will run from 4:00 to 5:30 P.M. Participants may attend one, two, or all three sessions based on their roles and interests. Learn more and sign up for free here.

13. RISTE Free Session Offerings on Saturdays

K-12 Educators looking to learn more about instructional technology and navigating distance/hybrid learning should attend RISTE’s free “In IT Together” sessions on Saturdays (April 3 and 10; May 1, 8, 15, 22; and June 5 and 12) from 9:00 to 10:00. Tech coaches and integration specialists who provide support for teachers using educational technology platforms during distance, hybrid, or blended learning should join RISTE on Saturday mornings from 8:00 to 9:00 A.M. Registration for both sessions can be found on the RISTE website or you can contact Deb Ramm at training@ri-iste.org.

14. RITELL Webinar Series

Join RITELL for a Webinar series, Educators Rising to the Coronavirus Call: Zooming in on Multilingual & Immigrant Students and families. Dr. Tatyana Kelyn, Associate Professor and Director of the Bilingual Education and TESOL Programs at The City College of New York, will present on April 5 from 4 to 5:15 P.M, Addressing the Socioemotional Well-being of Multilingual and Immigrant Students: Learning from Teachers. Minoritized students are living through multiple pandemics that have disproportionately impacted their lives. This session will offer ideas to support student socioemotional well-being through virtual settings, based on examples from teachers across the nation. Attending our virtual webinars is FREE with your RITELL membership renewal.

15. RI Transition Academy Easter Bake Sale

The Rhode Island Transition Academy is having an Easter Bake Sale! Order your Italian Rice Pie & Impossible Coconut Custard for $12 each. All proceeds will benefit The Transition Academy. Thank you for your support! To order please email: darnell.macdonald@ebecri.org or call 401-855-2907 with the item and quantity by March 30, 2021. Orders will be ready for drop off on April 1, 2021.