PROVIDENCE — The academic and tutorial performances at Agnes B. Hennessey and Orlo Avenue Elementary Schools in East Providence are a concern for state education officials.
Monday, June 9, the Rhode Island Department of Education released its latest performance accountability list of schools throughout the state and the two city elementary schools, as has been the case recently, are among those considered in need of some serious attention.
Hennessey and Orlo were among 21 deemed “Priority” schools by RIDE. Hennessey was on the same list the previous year. Orlo is the only new building to be added in 2014. Eleven schools, nine in Providence alone, received the lowest ranking called “Focus.”
According to the department’s definition, when a school is tagged with Priority status, “the school and RIDE begin a three-to five-year intervention process.” There are two main components.
Diagnosis and planning: The school will undergo a diagnostic screening and develop a plan for improvement that includes a comprehensive package of interventions, including at least nine strategies that respond to the diagnosis findings and are subject to the Commissioner’s approval; the district may also opt to close the school or to reopen the school under new education management.
Implementation and monitoring: The district and school will put the improvement plan into action. District leadership will oversee this process, through quarterly performance reviews with RIDE.
Priority and Focus schools are designated for state intervention, which entails a diagnostic screening process to determine the strengths each school has and the challenges each school faces. Subject to Education Commissioner Deborah Gist’s approval, superintendents select an intervention model for each Priority and Focus school and then develop school-turnaround plans, which include numerous reform strategies in the areas of leadership, support, infrastructure, and content. The plans are designed to address the specific needs of each identified school.
“School turnaround is a major undertaking that requires several years of progress before we can be confident that the improvements are durable,” Commissioner Gist said. “As a result, we continue to work closely with all Priority and Focus schools for at least two years to ensure that they are on the road toward school improvement.”
East Providence High School, Riverside Middle School and Emma G. Whiteknact Elementary School each received “Warning” status for lesser performance issues. For instance, the graduation rate at EPHS dipped below the state average to around 71 percent.
According to the RIDE definition, Warning schools will implement a plan for improvement, but on a limited scale and without intensive oversight.
Three more city schools — Myron J. Francis Elementary, Silver Spring Elementary and Martin Middle School — earned “Typical” status, meaning their performance rates mirrored the state averages. Only 30 of the state’s 277 schools received top marks or “Commended” status.
For the complete list of schools by status click here…