Providence elementary wins $470K RIDE technology grant

Gov. Chafee and RI Dept. of Education (RIDE) Commissioner Deborah Gist paid a surprise visit to Pleasant View Elementary in Providence this morning to announce that the school had won the RI Innovation Powered by Technology model school grant, according a release from RIDE. The $470,000 grant will finance a plan that that Pleasant View educators developed to redesign the school and transform its instructional practices through the use of technology.

“To prepare our students for success in the global economy, we must encourage innovations and we must invest in technology that can advance learning and achievement,” said Governor Chafee. “We are pleased to provide this support for the students and educators at the Pleasant View Elementary School, and we hope to move forward with the technology bond I have proposed that will bring broadband wireless access to every classroom in Rhode Island.”

“I am committed to improving public education across Providence and equipping our students with the necessary skills to compete.” said Mayor Angel Taveras. “Through this grant, I am confident that Pleasant View will set a model for other schools across the city to improve technology access and resources for all students.”

“Today, we are taking a significant step that will bring the Pleasant View Elementary School and other schools across our state to the forefront of virtual learning,” said Commissioner Gist. “Our students, teachers, and families already use digital technology in every facet of their lives – and it is time we bring digital learning into our schools in a bold and dramatic way.”

“We are so thrilled for Pleasant View Elementary,” said Dr. Susan Lusi, Superintendent of Providence Schools. “Dr. Field and her team have put enormous efforts into creating a vision for the future of the school, and this funding gives them the traction and the resources to begin immediately executing that vision to improve student achievement and make Pleasant View a top-notch place for teaching and learning.”

With this grant, Pleasant View Elementary School will:

  • implement an extended daily schedule for targeted, small-group learning;
  • increase student-centered instruction and instructional time;
  • allow students to spend at least half their school day with online learning;
  • make content come alive with integrated multimedia experiences through technology;
  • allow students to proceed with learning at their own pace;
  • adopt flexible schedules for instructional time; and
  • redefine “classrooms” as “flexible learning environments."

Pleasant View will use these funds for extensive professional development for teachers as well as to purchase equipment – creating three computer labs and purchasing 110 laptops for student use.

In January, RIDE announced a grant of up to $470,000 over two years to support the redesign of a school that will use technology to transform education and encouraged all school districts, state-operated schools, and charter public schools to apply for this Innovation Powered by Technology Model School Grant.

RIDE asked applicants to propose a school site at which they would create a technology-rich learning environment that would fundamentally rethink and restructure teaching and learning through such initiatives as digital curriculum, gaming, one-to-one computing, virtual-learning environments, expanded learning opportunities, and flexible scheduling.

As the recipient of the grant, Pleasant View will become a pilot program to help launch a statewide initiative in innovations powered by technology. Pleasant View will launch implementation during the coming school year (2012-13) and refine the process during the 2013-14 school year.

RIDE awarded the grant through a competitive-bid process, based in part on student need. A team from RIDE and a team of outside experts reviewed 12 grant applications as part of the award process.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Full disclosure: Sigh. Only 12 applications? It's a cliche, but you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. I understand that Portsmouth was not able to mount a grant application in this timeframe, but I wish the school committee pushed more on innovation rather than their laser-like focus on cost containment. I mean, really, what's more important for our kids — technology-enabled classrooms or outsourcing custodial staff?


You'd think they'd mention that Pleasant View was also named "persistently low-performing" last year and presumably will be undergoing some other sort of turnaround process at the same time, which is not necessarily a bad idea, but certainly relevant.

Also, it will tend to confound any conclusions about which methods are working.