Carnegie awards Providence $3M to create innovative high schools

The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded a $3 million three-year grant to the Providence Public School District to create two new high schools in the city modeled on the philanthropy organization’s school-design principles. More

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Carnegie awards Providence $3M to create innovative high schools

THE CARNEGIE CORPORATION of New York has selected Providence and Prince George’s County, Md., to receive Opportunity by Design Challenge grants to create innovative high schools to help all public school students prepare for college or careers.
Posted 7/24/14

PROVIDENCE – The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded a $3 million three-year grant to the Providence Public School District to create two new high schools in the city modeled on the philanthropy organization’s school-design principles.

Providence was one of two districts nationwide to receive the competitive grant, along with Prince George’s County, Md. Carnegie’s “Opportunity by Design Challenge” encourages an education approach both recuperative, ensuring students attain the skills they need, and accelerative, providing students the opportunity to challenge themselves through a mastery-based curriculum that will help all students prepare for college or careers.

The schools will be located in existing Providence school buildings yet to be determined, according to district officials, and will replace seats at existing schools. All Providence public school students will be eligible to attend, and the schools will serve a student population representative of the district population as a whole.

“This Carnegie grant is a tremendous opportunity for the Providence Public Schools,” said Superintendent Susan F. Lusi at a press conference announcing the grant on Thursday. “We have a chance to create these schools from the ground up, to let them be proof points that we can succeed in taking a different approach to education. The inherent opportunity in launching these ideas on a small scale with these two schools is that we can then bring them to bear across more schools, accelerating improvement.”

Planning and development of the schools will take place through the 2014-15 academic year, with their launch slated for 2015-16. Although the Providence Teachers Union contract is still in negotiations, school officials said Thursday the union has signed a memorandum of understanding allowing for flexibility in the shaping of these two new schools in terms of staffing and schedules.

“The Providence Teachers Union recognizes the need for a range of choices for our students, especially in the high school years,” said Maribeth Calabro, union president. “It is our hope as educators that the creation of this highly personalized, flexible school environment will allow students to thrive.”

The Carnegie grant follows other recent major awards made to the city and the school district to advance education initiatives, including $5 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, $3 million through the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation Fund, $500,000 from the Nellie Mae Foundation and $300,000 from Annie E. Casey Foundation.

In total, the city of Providence has received more than $11 million in private, philanthropic awards for youth and education programs, Mayor Angel Taveras said.

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