Providence, like the rest of the country, faces significant challenges in ensuring that all of its children and youth have access to educational options that enable them to succeed in school and life.
With shrinking budgets for school systems, increasing economic hardships and a fragmentation of the public and private systems that support children and families, we need new models and strategies to prepare children for their futures. A new consensus is emerging about educational excellence: It comes from a focus from cradle to career; requires academic, social and emotional supports and preparation; involves both integrated in- and out-of school approaches; and calls for all types of schools and academic strategies to meet the needs and interests of diverse learners.
In Providence, previous reforms, initiatives and efforts have brought glimpses of change, but none have translated into the fundamental educational improvements that our children and youth deserve. We must take significant and swift action to deliver quality education and programming that better prepares and enables our children to succeed in life.
Mayor Taveras has convened the Providence Children and Youth Cabinet (CYC), a cross-sector collaborative created to improve education outcomes from cradle to career. CYC members include over 100 City officials, School Department leaders, community organizations, higher education institutions, state agencies, parents, and educators. A key focus of the CYC is to improve collaboration in and out of school and across a variety of stakeholders in order to boost outcomes for children and youth in Providence. The Cabinet is committed to using data to understand the programs and strategies that contribute to success for children and youth, and has made the links between the Mayor's Office, Providence Public Schools, and community organizations more intentional and effective.
Through five strategy working groups, the CYC is implementing the five city-wide cradle to career goals laid out in the Educate Providence report from November 2011.
In July 2012, based on the work of the Grade Level Reading working group, Providence was one of 14 communities - from a pool of more than 124 - to be selected as an All America City by the National Civic League for its plan to ensure that all third graders are reading on grade level. Mayor Taveras was also honored by the national Campaign for Grade Level Reading as a Pacesetter for his leadership on this critical issue.
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