New schools, upgrades 
will greet students in NP

New schools, upgrades 
will greet students in NP

On Monday, workers finish up preparations for the Sept. 5 opening of the new Stephen Olney Elementary School in North Providence. (Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)
Redistricting, absenteeism, trauma-informed teaching all points of emphasis

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Students returning to school Sept. 5 will find themselves in refreshed learning environments, with two new state-of-the-art schools going online and a host of improvements made this summer to other buildings.

Supt. Joseph Goho said it’s been a very busy vacation season for the School Department, “and we eagerly anticipate a smooth opening to the school year, which is a tremendous accomplishment considering the multitude of moving parts that we’ve had to address in a compressed timeframe.”

North Providence students in grades K-9 return for the 2019-2020 school year on Sept. 5. Grades 10-12 return Sept. 6.

“Students and families should know that our attention has been focused on facility improvements to every single school in the district, not just the two new elementary schools,” said Goho.

Redistricting has been a big point of emphasis this summer as students will be moving based on new district lines. Marieville Elementary School has been decommissioned, with students moving to other schools.

“The biggest things that parents and students should know about redistricting is that by forming a community-based redistricting committee, the School Committee successfully navigated a very complex process in the best interest of students, while also saving the taxpayers the $60,000 cost of an outside consultant,” said Goho.

With the closing of Marieville, most of the students at that school have been relocated either to Whelan Elementary or Stephen Olney Elementary. In addition, subsequent appeals by families resulted in the majority of hardship situations being accommodated.

Thanks to extensive cooperation of many parties, and especially the work done by the municipal/schools facility committee monitoring the $75 million project, both of the two new elementary schools are scheduled to open on time and on budget, said Goho.

With the school year now days away, school staff must shift their attention to their primary mission of improving student achievement and learning, said the superintendent.

“Toward that goal, we have been able to hire some outstanding teachers, staff members, and administrators for the new school year,” he said.

There’s a new principal at Centredale Elementary School, Donna Hanley, a woman who brings a wealth of multilingual and special education experience. Kathleen Lisi, former Business Department chairwoman at North Providence High School, is now the new assistant principal at NPHS.

“Her experience and respect within the community as an educator and dedicated professional will contribute greatly to our NPHS leadership team,” said Goho.

As a district, another major focus this year is to improve chronic student absenteeism rates at all levels. Improving student attendance is also a priority of new Commissioner of Education Angélica Infante-Green, said Goho.

“All of our schools will be working with to support this effort,” he said. “It is critical that our students are present each day to learn so that their full academic potential will be maximized.”

North Providence is beginning the school year with a continued focus on social emotional learning, a state and federal focus, as staff learn about “trauma-informed” teaching strategies to best support students who may be experiencing any type of trauma in their lives, said Goho. The district is continuing its blended learning and personalization strategies this year as it continues to add more Chromebooks for students and Eno Boards for teachers to use in the classroom.

“Our ongoing curriculum work supports the integration of these resources, and prepares our students to succeed on state assessments,” he said. Curriculum work is ongoing at all levels, and information is being posted and updated on the revamped school website.

Greystone Elementary is partnering with the Highlander Institute on a design team to provide intensive training for teachers with the goal of making the school a state model for blended learning over the next two years.

Birchwood is adding the online Summit Learning platform to Grade 6 in an effort to increase students’ personalized learning at the middle level. Both Stephen Olney and Whelan Elementary, as well as the NPHS, are using this platform as part of their educational program with great success, said Goho.

Due to recent RIDE regulations in teacher certification, North Providence teachers are now going to earn professional learning units for certain professional development training. For every hour of professional learning related to both district and school goals, teachers will be able to document and receive credit through the online Frontline system which is connected to both district teacher attendance and the department’s educator evaluation program.

Families will soon be receiving a School Department newsletter, bus routes, notices regarding informational nights, open houses and more events from all schools. Any specific questions about school procedures and routines should be directed to the schools.

Here are the school building upgrades across the district

NORTH PROVIDENCE – In addition to a pair of sparkling new elementary schools, Stephen Olney and McGuire Elementary, school officials have undertaken numerous other improvements to local education facilities. Here’s the summary:

• Centredale Elementary School – New fencing, new bus drop-off/pickup traffic configuration at rear of school, interior painting.

• Greystone Elementary School – All new student bathrooms, interior painting, site work improvements to rear access road/bus route, increased handicapped accessibility to field and exterior play areas, pavement and new fencing for playground, remodeled/ADA compliant front main entrance, drainage work in front of school.

• Whelan Elementary School – Interior painting, two new offices for support services at the entrance, new state-of-the-art playground, new exterior fencing.

• Birchwood Middle School – Interior painting, exterior painting, three new rooftop heating units.

• Ricci Middle School – Interior painting, new room air conditioners, concrete work and manicuring to front entrance, repair of structural deficiency in rear of school building.

• North Providence High School – Extensive interior painting, exterior doors and railings painted, new fire safety alarm/control system, expanded parking in front of school, repaving and restriping of parking lot, major landscaping work around the school and athletic fields, new wind screening around upper football/soccer field, completed roof replacement and interior LED lighting, replaced all rooftop ventilation and AC units.

The inside of Stephen Olney Elementary School is being prepared for the opening of the school year, with workers finishing up the new cafeteria
Work is being finished up on the outside of the new Stephen Olney Elementary School.
Workmen are getting the James L. McGuire Elementary School, in North Providence, ready for the opening of school.
An interesting architectural highlight of the new James L. McGuire Elementary School are the multi-colored circular windows.


Those are some ugly buildings.