One New Charter School Proposal, Several Plans For Expansion

Oct 3, 2016

Achievement First in Providence wants to add a third K-8 school and move forward with its plan to open a high school, and the Segue Middle School in Central Falls wants to add an elementary school. Those are just two of the charter school proposals on tap at the Rhode Island Department of Education. 

Just one new charter school has been proposed -- A high school in Providence slated to be called "Charette." The proposal touts a focus on urban planning and preservation, and an educational model that embraces "blended learning," a combination of traditional classrooms and online learning. The school organizers plan to partner with Johnson & Wales University.

The proposal for Charette comes from Robert Pilkington, who designed the Village Green Virtual Charter School, another Providence high school that uses a blended learning model. Village Green opened its doors in 2013, and currently serves about 200 students.

Achievement First, which currently operates two elementary schools out of a single building in Providence, is seeking approval to move forward with its plan to expand those schools into K-8 programs and eventually add a high school. The Connecticut-based charter school operator also wants permission to open a third K-8 school in Rhode Island.

As a mayoral academy, Achievement First schools in Rhode Island are open to students from Providence, Cranston, North Providence and Warwick. But the vast majority of enrolled students -- 86 percent -- come from Providence, according to the application to expand. Achievement First has yet to identify permanent locations for its planned high school, its second elementary and middle school combo, which currently share space with its first elementary school and planned middle school, or its proposed addition of a third K-8 program.

Several other existing charters schools have requested modest expansions including The Learning Community in Central Falls and the Greene School in West Greenwich.

The Segue School's application to go from a middle school to a K-8 program cites the opportunity to have a greater impact on student achievement by starting to serve children in earlier grades.