Segue Institute expanding to serve high school students

THE SEGUE INSTITUTE for Learning in Central Falls is planning to expand its education model to high school students in four local communities with the Segue Legacy Academy for Education.

CENTRAL FALLS – The Segue Institute for Learning in Central Falls is planning to expand its education model to high school students in four local communities with the Segue Legacy Academy for Education.

Located at 325 Cowden St., the Segue Institute for Learning is an independent charter school that currently serves 360 Central Falls students in grades K-8.

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The Segue Legacy Academy for Education, approved by the R.I. Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, will serve an additional 400 high-school age students from Central Falls, Providence, Pawtucket and Woonsocket high schools, bringing the total of students to 760.

“We are thrilled to expand Segue to give students from the urban core community the opportunity to take ownership of their education,” said Founder and Executive Director Angelo Garcia.

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The new program is set to launch with approximately 100 ninth graders in 2024 and Garcia said it has already sparked interest in the community.

“We are confident we’ll be able to fill spots,” he said. “Our goal is to really have a wide range of students who are interested in pursuing a career in education.”

Nationwide, educator diversity in public schools does not reflect the diversity of the student population, with research showing that fewer than 20% of teachers are people of color despite the fact that more than 50% of students are Black or Latino, Segue said. With the Legacy High School, Garcia said they are hoping to create a better pipeline for students of color, first generation students, and low-income students interested in a career in education, whether as teachers, social workers or staff.

Garcia said Segue is currently looking for a location for the new school, which will ideally be located in Central Falls – but he said they are open to finding a place in Providence, Pawtucket or Woonsocket. What’s important, he said, is finding a place that will be part of Segue’s legacy for a long time and that will offer students everything they need to succeed.

“We are trying to find an optimal building that will give them a great space with a gym, dining hall, theatre and auditorium,” Garcia said. “It needs to be the optimal setting.”

With opening a little over a year away, Garcia said they are planning to settle on a location as soon as possible. But if needed, their current headquarters will be able to temporarily host the first class of 100 students.

Funding for the expansion will come through federal funding and several grants, Garcia said. The school also recently received the Catalyze Ignite Award, as part of a national challenge that awards planning grants of up to $50,000 to projects looking to help young students prepare for their careers. This grant allowed Segue to fund a design team, which will focus on adding a diverse perspective to the design of the model and act as liaison between the school and the community.

“With catalyze we were really able to bring our idea to life,” Garcia said. “It allowed us to put pen to paper and think out loud: what would our high school look like?”

With the expansion, Segue is planning to hire between four and six teachers, in addition to some social workers and support staff. Garcia said this expansion is an “inclusive process” and they encourage community participation and input.

“We welcome collaboration and community voices in the planning process,” said Garcia.

Claudia Chiappa is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Chiappa@PBN.com.

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