Morgan Carter is the founding principal of the new Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy. The charter school is scheduled to open in August with 176 students, chosen by lottery, from Providence, North Providence, Cranston and Warwick.
The school is the second mayoral academy in the state, following the Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy.
Charter schools tend to create controversy wherever they are, in large part because education funding follows the student, so dollars are taken from traditional public schools. In cash-strapped Rhode Island, controversy arose over plans for the Achievement First Mayoral Academy initially proposed for Cranston. The Cranston plan did not get approval.
But an expanded proposal, also opposed by teachers’ unions, won support with the backing of Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist and community leaders in the affected communities. Last week, Achievement First won approval from the Providence City Council to lease the decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry Middle School on Hartford Street.
Achievement First operates 21 other charter schools, all in New York and Connecticut.
PBN: What’s your vision for the school?
CARTER: The biggest goal I have in mind is putting students on the path to and through top colleges, from day one. Students will begin learning about college the day they set foot in our hallways. The classrooms will be named after the colleges their teachers attended. They will learn chants and cheers from college, about going to college, about graduating from college. College will be real in our students’ lives, with goals starting in kindergarten. … We view parents as partners in this effort and we’ll be working side-by-side with parents and the community in this journey to provide all of our students with the education they deserve.
PBN: One of Achievement First’s goals is to make sure no child falls through the cracks. How will you approach keeping them all moving forward?