FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – March 17, 2014 – Rhode Island College’s Dialogue on Diversity Lecture Series will present Anna Cano-Morales, director of the Latino Policy Institute @ RWU, who will discuss the challenges Rhode Island urban schools face in educating Latino students. Hertalk, titled “Education Communities: Strength in Partnerships,” will be held on Wednesday, March 19, 12:30-2 p.m. in Gaige Hall 100 at Rhode Island College, 600 Mt. Pleasant Ave., Providence. This event is co-sponsored by the Rhode Island College Feinstein School of Education and Human Development and is free and open to the public.
The Latino Policy Institute (LPI) report, titled “Latino Student Achievement in R.I.: Addressing Equity Challenges and the ELL Crisis,” shows that demographics in Rhode Island public education has changed dramatically. “Three out of four students in the Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls school systems are Latino,” said Cano-Morales. “Yet, while the demographics have completely shifted, education policies and priorities have not fully adjusted.”
The report makes a number of recommendations, including a system-wide reform of ELL programming. The report suggests increasing the percentage of Latino teachers and principals serving students in the state. Currently, the percentage stands between 1 and 3 percent. The report also suggests professional development initiatives built on the success of local urban schools with Latino and ELL populations.
“There are some schools in the state that are producing commendable results with urban Latino and ELL populations,” said Cano-Morales. “It would be advantageous to build on the excellence that these schools are exhibiting and to share best practices.”
Cano-Morales, a 1999 M.S.W. graduate of Rhode Island College and chair of the Central Falls School Board of Trustees, intends to cite, as an exemplary model, the developing partnership between Central Falls and Rhode Island College. Known as the Central Falls/Rhode Island College Innovation Lab, this partnership is designed to research, develop and pilot new models of urban education and community development for state and national replication. Cano-Morales said, “This partnership puts corrective strategies in motion real-time by not only impacting Latino students but by influencing the entire system of education.”
Stakeholders in the Innovation Lab include community leaders, teachers and members of the Central Falls community, as well as RIC faculty and administration, with the stated mission of ensuring “that the students of Central Falls achieve to high standards.”
RIC President Nancy Carriuolo said, “Rhode Island College’s partnership with Central Falls Public Schools is succeeding because its approach is broad-based and inclusive. Together, we are not just educating students; we are supporting families and community.”
Established in 1854, Rhode Island College serves approximately 9,000 graduate and undergraduate students through its five schools: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development, the School of Social Work, the School of Management and the School of Nursing. For more information, visit http://www.ric.edu.