WSPEC: Final thoughts before School Board votes TONIGHT
- Created on Thursday, 28 April 2011 09:38
- Written by Kari Nel Lang
The below notice comes from the West Side Public Education Coalition (WSPEC), a hardworking and dedicated group of neighbors who have been working for our neighborhood children and their public elementary and middle schools. For the sake of the future health of our neighborhood, please come out tonight to the School Board Hearing vote on the proposed neighborhood school closings. For more information, visit WSPEC’s web site at www.wspec.org.
Thank you. Kari, WBNA
The time for the School Board to vote on the proposed school closures has arrived.
When & Where:
Thursday, April 28 at 6:30pm
PCTA High School
41 Fricker Street
A Few Final Thoughts:
We know it has been a while since our last update. We have all be working at full capacity over the last couple of weeks: parsing through mountains of data; writing press releases; speaking at School Board hearings; and meeting with parents, students, teachers, politicians and School Board members. Ultimately, after all of the hard work and on the verge of the vote, we find ourselves continually returning to a simple question:
Do the recommended closures best serve students, in both the short-term and the long-term?
For the short-term, the answer has to be a resounding NO. Decades of data shows that school transitions, such as those precipitated by the proposed closings, correspond with a measurable drop in student academic achievement, loss of self-esteem, and increase in drop-out rates. Studies consistently conclude that these negative effects are particularly acute for African American, Hispanic, and low socio-economic status students. Since most of the schools proposed for closure fit into that demographic, this plan targets the most vulnerable population of our city and thereby puts them at the highest risk of failure.
In terms of long-term impact on students, the answer is unclear at best. In fact, the proposed closings appear to be focused entirely on a short-term, quick fix to the financial crisis instead of being a comprehensive, well thought out proposal that addresses financial concerns while also improving our struggling schools over the years ahead. What evidence do we have that the proposal does not consider the long-term? Consider how questions and concerns from the community, the School Board, and the City Council have been addressed. As recent as last Thursday, answers to questions posed by the School Board and the City Council were posted on the PPSD website. Let us be clear on that last point: the School Board has been given less than a week to review answers to 72 questions and an additional 11 attached documents which provide background rationale and implementation details for the proposed school closings. The fact that this data was provided in such a last minute fashion suggests that it was generated “after-the-fact”. It appears that the data was not used to formulate the proposal. Rather, the data was gathered retroactively, in response to unrelenting pressure from the community, the School Board and the City Council. In fact, several of the questions are still marked "TBD" and Carlton Jones (the PPSD Chief Operating Officer) indicated that they may be answered as late as the afternoon of the vote. How can anybody assert that this proposal takes a long-term view when it was clearly put together in such haste? Furthermore, nowhere in those 72 answers and 11 documents are there details about how the school closures are part of a long-term vision for improving Providence’s public schools.
To answer our own question: the recommended closures DO NOT best serve students, neither in the short-term nor the long-term.
WSPEC firmly believes that, given the appropriate amount of time to research and evaluate the state of our schools (recommended 12-18 months), a more responsible, fiscally sound, and educationally effective solution could be found. Furthermore, we believe that a process of genuine community engagement - in collaboration with the Providence Public School District and the City - will ensure the long term viability of those solutions due to the very nature of stakeholder involvement.
We call on the School Board to vote NO to school closings. Please give us all the opportunity to work together, in the coming months and years, to turn the Providence public school system into a shining example of effective urban education.
The School Board will be hearing public comments before the vote. If you have something to say on this important matter, show up, sign up on the list, and get your voice heard!
Interesting in digging a bit deeper? Check out these links:
- A WRNI interview featuring WSPEC members, Michael Udris and Matt Gabor
- A document containing WSPEC's findings on the proposed school closures
Meet with the Mayor at the WBNA on May 3 at 7pm
- Created on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 10:00
- Written by Kari Nel Lang
West Side Neighbors and Businesses,
Thank you! (and PLEASE spread the word to neighbors about the opportunity to meet with the Mayor)
Fiscal Honesty Tour – West Side Community Forum
Mayor Angel Taveras will hold a community forum
Tuesday May 3, 2011
at the West Broadway Neighborhood Association
1560 Westminster Street
The forum will focus on Providence's fiscal emergency and the steps being taken to get the city back on solid financial footing.
Director of Administration Michael D'Amico will give a detailed presentation on the city’s finances, and Mayor Taveras will answer community members’ questions.
Please attend to learn how you can help build a Stronger Providence.
WBNA Enews -- April 21, 2011
- Created on Thursday, 21 April 2011 12:54
- Written by Kari Nel Lang
WBNA E-News – April 21, 2011
Fertile Underground – The WBNA wishes extend a big Thank you to everyone who showed their support to help Fertile Underground exceed the fund raising goal. Fertile Underground (http://tiny.cc/tbyzi ) was looking to raise $8,800.00 and at the time of this notice had raised over $12,335.00. To learn more about this fund raising effort and watch a brief video visit http://tiny.cc/n8xgw
SWELL Soiree – YOU ARE INVITED to Celebrate the Grand Opening of 1577 Westminster Street on Friday, May 6th from 5:00-9:00 PM(across from the WBNA). TOUR 1577 Westminster Street, the future home of Fertile Underground Grocery and SpurwinkRI’s supportive housing apartments. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. DANCE to music by the Extraordinary Rendition Band and tunes by DJ JR (from The Avery). SNACK on fare by Mosaic Latin American Bistro. BID on local artwork. RAFFLE of Gift cards from West Side businesses Hosted by the WBNA and SpurwinkRI. Event Sponsor: Leadership Rhode Island In-kind donations: The Avery/Elevated Spirits/McLaughlin & Moran Please visit http://tiny.cc/du9zn for more details on this fun event.
THANK YOU to everyone who came together on April 16th for our Annual Spring clean-up. The clean up was a big success. Special thanks to the Street Captains for their efforts. Thank you to WBNA Board Members, Equal Exchange Coffee, Hudson Street Deli, Providence DPW and Becky Kessler, Providence Neighborhood Planting Program, and everyone who donated food & beverages before the clean up and then for the “appreciation BBQ” after the clean up. Thank Jane & Steve Bodnar for cooking at the BBQ, and the Kurt Bodnar for organizing this effort. Once again Thank you to everyone who participated for helping keep our neighborhood clean.
AROUND THE NEIGHBIORHOOD -- UPCOMING EVENTS: Mark your calendar
Crime Watch Meeting: Tuesday April 26th at 6:30pm at the WBNA-HQ at 1560 Westminster Street.
PPS 2010 Historic Preservation Awards – April 28 at 1 Sims Avenue Providence at 5:15PM. The WBNA and SpurwinkRI will be receiving a neighborhood revitalization award for “1577 Westminster street” For more details visit http://tiny.cc/du971
Living History is bringing a Full-Scale Civil War Camp to the Dexter Training Ground on Tuesday, May 3 from 8am-1pm. Activities include: musket firing demonstrations, Civil War baseball, marching and drilling and an authentic Civil War lunch. For more information www.14thRI.org
Fiscal Honesty Tour (West Side Community Forum )- Mayor Angel Taveras will hold a community forum Tuesday May 3, 2011 7:00 p.m. at the West Broadway Neighborhood Association 1560 Westminster Street The forum will focus on Providence's fiscal emergency and the steps being taken to get the city back on solid financial footing. Director of Administration Michael D'Amico will give a detailed presentation on the city’s finances, and Mayor Taveras will answer community members’ questions. Please attend to learn how you can help build a Stronger Providence
WBNA Friends of Dexter Training Ground meeting: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, Neighbors interested in serving on this committee please come out and help organize this committee. Our park and playground needs your energy and talent so children and adults have a great park to enjoy!
Neighborhood Yard Sale: May 21: 8:30am -1:00pm, mark your calendar for this WBNA Annual Neighborhood Wide Yard Sale. For details, please more details visit http://tiny.cc/7jxll
Watch for more details on “ANNUAL NEIGHBORHOOD BLOCK PARY” on Saturday June 25th from 2:00pm – 8:00pm and then “WEST SIDE THURSDAYS” happening during the month of July at Dexter Training ground.
May 3rd - Diane Ravitch's visit to RI on Tuesday, May 3. She is speaking at 4:15p at Gaige Hall, Rhode Island College This event comes highly recommended. Diane embodies a voice that opposes much of what is happening in the current national school reform agenda. She is extremely articulate about some very big picture issues.
“This old house”: This Old House is searching for a project for the 2011-2012 season. The project should be an addition and/or renovation to a pre-1950s home in the state of Rhode Island. An ideal project should be close to having a final design/construction documents, and should be ready to break ground in early June. We are considering all housing types, styles, and neighborhoods. TOH TV is Looking for a Project in Rhode Island: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20441790,00.html?xid=hinewsletter-110412-rhode-island
** Neighborhood Construction News: **
Good news!!!! Work has finally begun on the Westminster Street Decorative Lighting project spearheaded by the WBNA and on the Broadway repaving project!!!
Construction started in April 2011 on the Streetscape Enhancements to Westminster Street & Olneyville Square and will continue through December 1. Work will restart in Spring 2012 for completion in late July 2012. The contractor for this work is Arden Engineering Constructors. Construction will occur typically from Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 3 PM. The project limits are Westminster St. (Manton Ave. to Service Rd.), Manton Ave.(Westminster St. to Delaine St.), Hartford Ave. (Manton Ave. to Atwood St.), Atwood St., Plainfield St. (Atwood St. to Westminster St.).
The WBNA has a copy of the Westminster Street plans if anyone would like to review them.
Two days left to support the Fertile Underground Grocery at 1577 Westminster St!
- Created on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 09:25
- Written by John West
Here's your chance to help bring a LOCALLY-OWNED GROCERY to the West Side.
Fertile Underground will be opening a store in the new building at 1577 Westminster St and they are asking for OUR HELP through Kickstarter. To date, they have raised over $7,700 of the $8,800 they need to get the doors open.
Pledge now before it's too late. Fertile Underground needs to raise $1,100 in the next TWO DAYS.
Support Fertile Underground through Kickstarter:
Group warns of inconsistencies, sparse data on school closures
- Created on Monday, 18 April 2011 10:20
- Written by Kari Nel Lang
The WBNA organizes neighbors and businesses on the West Side of Providence to preserve and promote our diverse, historic, urban community as a safe, vibrant, and sustainable place to live, work, and play.
WBNA Business Hours
Mon – Thurs: 8:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Closed Friday, Saturday, Sunday