What’s New in Rhode Island Education

From grammar school to college, here's our annual guide to education.



Courtesy of Beacon Charter High School for the Arts

High academic achievement and high-quality arts
With a small student body (231 students currently) Beacon Charter High School for the Arts provides an alternative, art-centered educational experience. Students declare an arts major in Culinary, Visual or Theatre arts, then focus 20 percent of class time on developing and refining their craft for their chosen major. Beacon’s students have gone on to sustained postsecondary success, as exemplified by Kira Hawkridge (’08), who founded the groundbreaking OutLoud Theatre Company, and Tiffany Venmahavong (’13), who is currently a Fulbright Fellow working at the American Center in Laos through the U.S. Embassy. beaconart.org

Business/Education Partnerships at ACE
The Academy for Career Exploration (ACE) offers high school students pathways to careers in the Innovation Economy with marketable technology skills. They offer three Career and Technical Education tracks: Application Programming and Software Engineering (APSE), Cisco Networking and Cyber Security, and Data Science. They help students identify their interests, strengths and opportunities and also explore careers that fall into the intersection of the three. Through partnerships with local businesses, students can undertake internships and externships that provide them with valuable work experiences. Additionally, they have the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school. aceprovidence.org

The Outdoor Classroom
Paul Cuffee School, a public charter school serving kindergarten through grade twelve, offers hands-on learning that inspires students to excel and equips them to become successful, engaged community members. For example, a unique science curriculum has benefitted the local environment and the students. This past spring, Paul Cuffee students engaged in trout hatching and releasing, water sampling and analysis and raised bed gardening at all three campuses. At the elementary school, students worked on maintenance of bioswale plantings, introduced to manage run-off from the adjacent playground and the parking lot. ✸ For students, learning how to grow and harvest vegetables in an urban setting, as well as how to evaluate and maintain waterways and ecosystems, has enhanced their classroom learning and added meaning to abstract scientific concepts. The eco-science curriculum is sustained each year through grants and community partnerships along with the enthusiastic involvement of teachers, students and friends of the school. paulcuffee.org


New facility for biotech, manufacturing training
The Davies Career and Technical High School offers a full high school education plus technical training and certification
in nine career areas ranging from automotive to health care. A recent $3.65 million grant fueled the building of the new Center for Advanced Manufacturing, slated to open this fall. It includes major renovations to the biotechnology program and a brand-new machine technology facility; both will have upgraded physical space and state-of-the-art equipment. The grant also supported upgrades to the Pre-Engineering and Robotics and Electrical and Renewable Energy programs. ✸ With hands-on training
and career preparation, students discover new passions while gaining the academic background and technical skills needed for future success. More than 90 percent of graduates leave Davies with industry certification. daviestech.org

New home for modern makers
The nonprofit IYRS School of Technology and Trades opened a new campus on the Newport waterfront in 2017, enabling the school to consolidate programs for a synergistic environment. Students range from eighteen-year-olds right out of high school, career changers of all ages, military veterans and international students. ✸ While IYRS embraces its marine history, it is building its teaching model to introduce additional programs that broaden its reach and appeal beyond the marine trades. In addition to Yacht Building and Restoration, IYRS offers programs in Composites Technology and Marine Systems. iyrs.edu

Hands-on health care job training for in-demand jobs
With more than one thousand jobs in health care support fields expected to open around Rhode Island by 2026, Lincoln Tech is providing the training and skills needed to attain those positions. The Lincoln Mall campus has served the Providence area for more than fifteen years, helping students prepare for the workforce as Medical Assistants, Massage Therapists, Licensed Practical Nurses and Dental Assistants. And, four out of five Lincoln Tech graduates are hired in their field after graduation. Dedicated to student success, Lincoln Tech is open for tours, information gathering and staff meetings including Dexter (left), its dental training “assistant.” Dexter stands for Dental X-ray Teaching Training Replica, and he helps students practice their X-ray and radiography skills. The most advanced model of DXTTR available, his skull is comprised of tissue-equivalent material that looks exactly like a human skull through an X-ray. lincolntech.edu


Courtesy of MTTI

Responding to Market Demand
With a focus on Education for Employment, the Motoring Technical Training Institute (MTTI) designs programs to meet employers’ hiring needs for entry-level positions. For instance, their brand-new Residential and Commercial Electrician program just enrolled its first class in the spring of 2018, and it’s designed to provide the industry with apprentice technicians to fill positions as experienced workers retire or move on. Similarly, MTTI worked with employers in the HVAC and refrigeration industries to
develop a program after employers expressed a need for trained entry-level workers. With hands-on career training for more than ten fields in small classes, their shops and labs are outfitted to be similar to the work environment. mtti.edu

Learn by Doing
A longtime leader in experiential learning, the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) now has more than fifty degree options offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and its first Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. Technical disciplines include Architecture and Interior Design, Automotive and Transportation, Building Technology, Criminal Justice, Digital Media and Communications, Engineering, Health Sciences and Information Technology. Expedited degree programs enable students to earn an associates degree in as little as eighteen months and a bachelor’s in thirty-six months. A new residence hall and student center helps accommodate demand, while the tuition freeze means students lock in tuition at enrollment and costs won’t go up as long as they are continuously enrolled in a degree program. neit.edu