RIDE receives $10.9M federal education grant

PROVIDENCE – The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the R.I. Department of Education a $10.9 million grant to support the Ocean State’s efforts to rethink education and improve ways to serve students during the COVID-19 pandemic, RIDE announced Thursday.

The federal funds are provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. RIDE said that Rhode Island was one of 11 states to receive federal grant funding for education in this disbursement – and that Maine was the only other New England state to receive the funds. The Rethink K-12 Education Models grants will help states’ efforts to create innovative ways for students to continue learning. RIDE said.

The three-year grant will help increase the percentage rate of students in the Ocean State graduating with college credit or industry-recognized credentials by 25 points, double the percentage of students who enter college without needing remedial coursework and increase the proficiency rates for students taking math and English-language arts classes by 5%, according to RIDE.

The department said the funds will be used to increase the number of school counselors in schools that serve communities with high poverty levels; hire part-time parent and student “ambassadors” to reach out to their peers to help more families access these programs; build a “user-friendly” online platform for families seeking RIDE’s statewide course options; and expand the number of free courses on RIDE’s Advance Course Network.

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“This grant will allow us to continue our efforts to reimagine education in our state, even as we address the realities of COVID-19,” R.I. Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green said in a statement. “These funds will be especially powerful in supporting our work to make more and richer learning options available to our middle and high schoolers.”

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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