In The News

Don’t Take Sheehan’s Misunderstandings as Facts

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

golocalprov.com

As I read Senator Sheehan’s April 17 opinion piece about increasing oversight of charter schools, I saw many opportunities to myth-bust charter school misconceptions. Given that misinformation about charters was shared publicly and originated from one of our esteemed members of the legislature, I worry that the community might take his misunderstandings as facts.  Like Rhode Island’s other public bodies, charter schools are also held to high standards of accountability and transparency.

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Oliveira: Sen. Sheehan’s False Assertions

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

golocalprov.com

I read with some interest the Guest Mindsetter commentary of Senator James Sheehan regarding his legislation (2018- S 2816), in which he suggests that our Rhode Island charter schools are not transparent or held accountable for their performance. I recently testified against his bill before the Senate Education Committee to debunk these false notions.

First, Sen. Sheehan perpetuates the false notion that charter schools are “privately-run” schools despite the fact that he knows otherwise. Charter schools are, in fact, public schools for the same reason that district schools are public. Charter schools receive their authority to deliver public education from the General Assembly through Title 16 of the R.I. General Laws. Thus, charter Schools are Local Education Authorities (LEA’s) just as local school districts. To suggest that a local district school board should have a designated seat on a charter school board is tantamount to suggesting that the South Kingstown School Committee should have a designated seat on the North Kingstown School Committee, which is just nonsense. Continue reading “Oliveira: Sen. Sheehan’s False Assertions”

A Bilingual Boost

Multilingual early childhood education is in demand

February 21, 2018
By Jim Pierce

Providence Monthly


PHOTO BY JOSEPHINE SITTENFELD


Despite being built by immigrants, the United States has a long and complicated relationship with languages other than English (and sometimes with English, too). Modern education, however, has always placed value on studying the world’s languages. Just ask any high school freshman trying to make the grade in a Spanish I class.

Currently, more and more private and charter schools are offering dual lingual education as early as preschool. These are not simply classes taught once a day. Instead, some schools offer a full immersion curriculum that, in many cases, mirrors the immigrant experience of speaking one language at home and another at school. Others offer a fifty-fifty split between English and a second language. During a presentation in January on reading in a bilingual environment, Christophe Bonnet, head of school at the French American School of Rhode Island (FASRI), spoke about the benefits of “re-wiring” a child’s brain prior to first grade so that a second language becomes intuitive and he or she doesn’t recognize any transition. “We teach the skills, not in isolation, but in project-based learning,” Bonnet says. In preschool and kindergarten, this cross-lingual skill transfer takes place before students even learn to read.

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My Turn: Brandee Lapisky: Don’t forget good that charters do

By Brandee Lapisky
Posted Feb 14, 2018 at 5:57 PM
Updated Feb 14, 2018 at 5:57 PM

Providence Journal

A rendering by Torrado Architects of a plan to renovate a seed barn on The Compass School’s campus into a middle school learning space. [COURTESY OF THE COMPASS SCHOOL]


Too often, tensions over school funding drive district and charter schools apart. Assertions that “Choice costs too much” (Commentary, Jan. 11, by Chariho Superintendent Barry Ricci) question the value of charter schools without honoring their many contributions to Rhode Island public education.

By design, charters were established to “provide high-performing educational opportunities to public school students and develop innovative educational practices that can be shared with other public schools.” It is my pleasure to set the financial tug of war aside to tell the story of one Rhode Island charter’s journey to deliver on this goal.

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Our Turn: Sarah Friedman and Meg O’Leary: A model that helps Latinos thrive

By Sarah Friedman and Meg O’Leary
Posted Feb 10, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Providence Journal

In a Jan. 14 Commentary piece (“Dismal outlook for R.I. Latinos demands action”) Central Falls Superintendent Victor Capellan shared his thinking on the Annie E. Casey report ranking Rhode Island last in the nation for opportunities for success for Latino children.

Rhode Island is already home to a national model of what success in this realm looks like. The Learning Community, one of the highest poverty, highest performing K-8 urban schools in Rhode Island, has effectively closed the Latino achievement gap.

On the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) English Language Arts assessment, Learning Community’s Latino students outperformed the state’s white students by 7 percentage points and reached proficiency at two-and-a-half times the rate of their Latino peers statewide. The Learning Community also closed the gap between students of color and white students, with our students of color outperforming the state’s white students by 6 percentage points.

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