UCAP’s DeBlois announces June 2019 retirement

PROVIDENCE – Robert DeBlois, director of the Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program School in Providence, announced Friday he will retire from the position effective June 2019 – the middle school’s 30th year in operation.

“I have had the privilege of watching countless students achieve their potential in education, under the guidance of dedicated adults who care deeply about the school and the students we serve,” said DeBlois in a letter announcing his retirement to the school community.

The letter went on to read: “While this is not an easy decision, I believe the UCAP School and its students have a secure future that is defined more by possibilities than by limitations.”

During his tenure, more than 1,600 middle schoolers from Providence, Cranston and Central Falls have improved their academic standing through enrollment at UCAP.

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Both DeBlois and the school have been recognized for their dedication to education. In January, DeBlois was awarded the Rhode Island Foundation’s inaugural Murray Family Prize for Enrichment – a honor recognizing the commitment of a Rhode Islander to educating at-risk youth.

Founded by DeBlois in 1989, UCAP was initially designed to prevent under-served students from urban districts from dropping out via a curriculum which rewarded them for demonstration of knowledge and skills rather than attendance.

Praising DeBlois, Jeannine Nota-Masse, Cranston School Department superintendent, in prepared remarks: “While we can’t imagine the school without [DeBlois’] steadfast leadership and vision, it is his vision and legacy that will enable the UCAP School to grow, thrive and adapt to keep pace with the evolving education landscape.”

Moving forward, UCAP’s board of director will convene a search committee – including parents, teachers, students and other stakeholders – to conduct a national search to identify DeBlois’ successor.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.