Report outlines ideas & feedback by more than four hundred community members to build & support a cohesive vision for education
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced the release of the All In: Providence Education Summit report. The report outlines ideas, suggestions and feedback provided by more than four hundred community members including parents, students, educators, community and business leaders and youth serving organizations, to build and support a cohesive vision for education in Providence. The Summit was held on April 8, 2017 at the Providence Career and Technical Academy.
“In Providence we are All In for education, which is evident by the enthusiasm and community participation we saw at the summit,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “This engagement has demonstrated the citywide commitment to supporting our students. It’s through continued community and stakeholder input that we will transform Providence into one of the top performing urban districts in the country.”
Summit participants included students (15%), educators and school administrators (26%), parents (15%), community leaders (16%), business leaders (3%), political leaders (1%), and higher education leaders (7%). 15% of the 400 attendees were under 18 years old and 10% over 60 years old. Of all attendees, 26% identified as Latino, 11% as Black, and 5% as Asian.
“With their strong participation in the All In Education Summit earlier this year, Providence residents showed how important public education is to their families and their neighborhoods,” said Providence School Superintendent Christopher N. Maher. “As a city and as a district, we must continue to prioritize community engagement as we work together to address issues of equity and continuous improvement in our schools.”
The Summit Planning Team which consisted of a diverse group of students, teachers and community leaders, offered a set of beliefs to help guide and ground conversations. The team also framed the day with guidelines to ensure that everyone who attended could fully participate.
“I’m deeply moved by all of the ways our community is pushing for educational equity in a way that centers the experiences of our beautifully diverse students,” said Summit Coordinator Adeola Oredola. “The Summit was an opportunity for us to witness the many ways that’s happening in Providence—from groups who’ve been making magic happen in the margins of our community for years with very few resources; to newer efforts that have sparked because our current social and political realities demand that we create more just and sustainable ways to live,” Oredola added.
In order to create a cooperative and collaborative shared vision for Providence public schools, all attendees were posed the question: If you were to start from scratch and build a learning environment that meets the needs of every young person, what would it look like? Responses were conveyed through writing, drawing, performance, and even hashtags.
Attendees participated in five breakout sessions covering specific focus areas identified through community meetings and conversations leading up to the Summit. Conversations for these sessions were framed by panels of experts that laid out their perspectives and the work already happening at both the community and school level around each area.
Sessions focused on improving facilities district wide; cultivating culturally responsive learning; strengthening diversity and inclusion; improving outcomes for English Language Learners; and leveraging community partnerships in schools. The report contains an overview of key themes, as well as short-term and long-term ideas that emerged. An “Ideas Already in Practice” section also provides context by describing the work already happening in the areas across the City and District.
Community engagement efforts will continue Thursday, August 24, 2017 at the Providence Career and Technical Academy for a community conversation that will focus on strengthening middle school culture and climate. This gathering that begins at 5:30pm will be an opportunity for community members to provide input on 7 new vacancies for School Culture Coordinators within Providence middle schools for the upcoming school year (pending state budget approval).
The Summit was possible through support from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.
The All In: Providence Education Summit report is also available in Spanish.