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Solutions for Transformative Education Justice in Providence

Providence schools are at a crossroads. We have a choice: We can finally begin the authentic engagement, sustainable solutions and bold investments for students, families and educators—or continue on with failed policies that leave most Providence students and families behind, waiting on promises never fulfilled. We are Together4PVD, and we are fighting for the schools Providence deserves.

Community Schools art

1. Community Schools That Value and Support the Whole Child

Community schools as a school transformation intervention requires commitment for sustainable investment and an embracing approach of public schools, in stark contrast with current deficit and austerity narratives. Our schools are communities, and when our communities struggle, we all pitch in to make it better. From Oklahoma to California, and from Cincinnati to New York City to our neighbors in Pawtucket, this model has demonstrated success in closing achievement gaps, increasing attendance and increasing family engagement.
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Safe Facilities art

2. Modern, Safe and Welcoming School Facilities

Providence students and families have seen how little our city and state value education almost every day, based on the terrible condition of Providence school buildings, from literally crumbling physical infrastructure to a lack of basic supplies and resources, such as toilet paper or internet sufficient for a school’s needs. This problem isn’t new, but the pandemic has highlighted the dire need to renovate and build school facilities that are modern, safe and welcoming.
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3. Policies for Anti-Racist Hiring, Professional Development and Curriculum

Per a February 2021 Annenberg Institute report, on average for each teaching position that the Providence Public School District posted externally between the 2017-18 and 2020-21 school years, our district received less than half as many applications as the national average for teaching positions. The district’s track record on retention—after cutting peer mentor and new educator supports—is even worse. To truly change our schools, the city and state must invest to grow our own and collaborate with educators on relevant, anti-racist professional development and curriculum.
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Investing in Multilingual Learners art

4. Investing in Multilingual Learners

Despite federal orders to do so, PPSD has failed to support and invest in multilingual learners (MLL) for far too long. Providence must make MLL students a priority.
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Family Engagement art

5. Creating a School Culture of Family Engagement

Successful school communities empower and involve families at every level—not just for bake sales or school celebrations. The shift to a school culture of family engagement requires more shared decision-making, more communication and more resources, including designated staff.
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Illustrations by Victoria Matthews