In The News

State Approves Learning Community to Train Second-Language Teachers (May 4, 2017)

By Linda Borg
Journal Staff Writer

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. _ The Learning Community is the first public school in Rhode Island to receive state approval to train elementary teachers in English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction.

The Learning Community, a K-8 public charter school, also has a teacher training program called the Teaching Studio, which has worked with over 4,000 students and 500 teachers in the traditional public schools. Co-director Meg O’Leary said the school has become known locally and nationally for sharing its best teaching practices with other public schools.

She said the Learning Community is well-prepared to train teachers in English as a Second Language because this is the work that the charter school does every day with its own students.

In the 2015-2016 school year, the Learning Community’s English language students performed significantly better in both English Language Arts and math than similar populations in other Rhode Island schools on the sate’s standardized tests. For example, 28 percent of their English language learners met or exceeded expectations on the 2016 English test compared to the state average of 7 percent.

The Learning Community’s math performance follows a similar trend.

“Our most recent work with the Woonsocket schools has shown actual gains in student reading performance,” said Christine Alves, director of the Teaching Studio. “Being housed in a high-performing urban school means we are able to bring only what works and has been tested in our classrooms to our colleagues around the state.”

Rhode Island has one of the 10 worst achievement gaps between Latino and White students in the nation, according to a recent report by the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University.

To find the application for the Learning Community’s certification program go to:

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