Wanted to update all of you on a few important and exciting things happening in education; some impact Cumberland specifically and others are relevant to all of Rhode Island. Creating and sustaining great schools for all kids requires that PARENTS, as well as teachers, administrators, elected leaders, and members of the community get involved, informed, and engaged. This blog serves, in part, to help its readers do that.
1. “Transorming Education in Rhode Island: A Conversation with Commissioner Deborah Gist.”
It is our turn here in Cumberland this coming Wednesday, January 12th at 6:30 pm at the Cumberland Public Library (Community Room, upstairs) to participate in a community forum with the Commissioner of Education. During the day she will visit Cumberland Hill and Cumberland High School, meet with the district’s teachers, and then be part of a community forum hosted by the Superintendent and the School Committee. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please come if you can. We need the Commissioner to know that we in Cumberland value education and are on board with making high impact changes to benefit our children’s education. We can do better and having open dialog with our educational leaders is crucial if we are to see significant improvement in terms in achievement, expectations, and overall school culture.
2. An exciting new group just launched in Rhode Island whose mission is to ensure that “every child in Rhode Island attend a great public school” and to “put the public back in public education.” They are known as RI-CAN (Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now) and their mission is summed up in the following text I’ve copied from their website:
“We believe that getting state policy right can transform the way we educate Rhode Island’s children. This does not mean trying to write every best practice into state law, but instead advancing three fundamental, self-reinforcing principles that work together to reward success, punish failure and raise the quality of everything in between: Greater Choices, Greater Accountability, and Greater Flexibility. (Go to www.ri-can.org to learn more.)”
We are very lucky to have RI-CAN here to advocate on behalf of our children and they need our support! Whether it be monetary donations or simply spreading the word that they exist and/or staying updated via their blogs and other resources, please get involved. In addition to their website, they have a facebook page that you can “like”, which will also help to keep you in the loop. The facebook group is the full name, Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now. Congratulations and thank you RI-CAN!
3. The Rhode Island Dept. of Ed just launched a great new data source: InfoWorks Live!
It is a website that has up-to-date data at the statewide, district and school levels to help families, educators, researchers and the public better understand what is happening in Rhode Island’s schools and get involved with them. The website is: infoworks.ride.ri.gov. I highly recommend taking a moment to learn about your children’s schools, other schools in the town, and the other districts in the state. You will likely be dismayed by some of the data that pertains to Cumberland schools (and all RI schools) but we can’t fix the problem until we acknowledge what it is, where it lies, and that improvement is not only possible but also imperative. The current proficiency levels of our young people are simply not acceptable; we must work together to drastically improve the aptitudes of our children.
A BIT OF LOCAL GOOD NEWS!
1. The January lunch menu is free of spelling errors! It may seem small but it is symbolic and shows us that details matter and they are worth fixing.
2. A few of us are making a push to get school finance reports and school related contracts (teachers, support staff, vendors) posted to the Cumberland schools website; public documents need to be easily accessible to the public and we can’t make the claim that we are an open and transparent school department if we do not provide the public with information that is rightly theirs. I will update the blog when that information is accessible to all.
3. The superintendent search will begin in earnest this month. We will be looking to the community to be a an integral part of the process. Again, openness and transparency will be key elements to the search.
Happy New Year to you all. Let’s make it a great year for our schools and our kids.
*Note – if the website links found within the text of the blog do not work, all are linked on the right side of the blog under the heading “worth a look” and will take you directly to the sites.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?