Changes to buildings, personnel greet students on first day of school in East Providence


EAST PROVIDENCE — The first day of the 2013-14 term went off without any reported hitches at the various locations of schools across the city Thursday, Sept. 5, including East Providence High School and the new James R.D. Oldham Elementary School in Riverside.

Students at EPHS were greeted by another round of upgrades to floors and ceilings throughout the 60-year-old facility. In addition, the school's two gymnasiums (pictured in photo gallery below) have been completely refurbished over the summer, thanks in large part to the fundraising drive started by East Providence native John Carnevale.

Also of note, Superintendent Kim Mercer and Director of Education Julie Motta began their first full terms at the top of the school department hierarchy by making stops at each of the district's 11 buildings Thursday.

Change in athletics

Among the shuffle of positions during the summer break, Paul Amaral has opted to resign his role as the district's director of athletics and return to the class room at the high school as a health and physical education teacher. Mr. Amaral served in the AD job for the last eight years.

A number of changes to the job description have occurred over the last several months. Middle schools sports are no longer officially offered in the system and do not come under the purview of the athletic director. The salary for the AD position, like that of all coaches and after-school activities mentors, was cut 60 percent by the Budget Commission. Also, as the duties of the position were rewritten recently, officials also opted to eliminate the position of assistant athletic director.

The job was posted earlier in week within the school department. If no qualified candidate emerges, which is not expected to be the case, then it would open up to the general public. A number of qualified personnel are current school employees. The job could be filled as soon as the next School Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 10, or the Budget Commission forum set for two days later, Sept. 12.

Eaton volunteers

A group of over 70 volunteers, employees from Eaton Aerospace, will converge upon the new Oldham School Wednesday, Sept. 11, to finish the installation of playground equipment and landscape the property.

The effort brings to completion a project created and funded by Eaton, which moved to the city last year from Warwick. The company donated nearly $100,000 in a goodwill gesture. Eaton employees from around the nation and the globe will take part in the event at Oldham, according to East Providence School Committee member Anthony Ferreira.

Much of the money given to the district by Eaton went to the refurbishment of the "cafetorium" at the new Oldham/old Meadowcrest building, which serves students in the multi-purpose roles of a dining area, gymnasium and large gathering spot for assemblies.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.