Providence Schools has chosen the sites for its two new Carnegie Opportunity by Design high schools, which will open with approximately 105 ninth-grade students apiece in the 2015-16 school year, eventually growing to about 400 students each. The schools will be co-located within Mt. Pleasant and Hope High Schools, sharing certain facilities and spaces, but each with its own principal and staff, and operating independently.
Students from across the city will be assigned to these schools through the same school choice process used for other high schools. The schools will take an approach that is both recuperative, ensuring that students catch up to where they should be in terms of skills and credits, and accelerative, using mastery-based learning to allow students to progress and continually challenge themselves on their way to graduating college and career ready.
Current students at Mt. Pleasant and Hope will not be affected by this change. There is space in each building for the larger ninth grade class that this will create next year, and the schools’ existing students will remain and enjoy the same access to facilities, classes and supports that they’ve always had. Incoming Mt. Pleasant and Hope classes will gradually become smaller in size over the next four years, in order to accommodate both schools under the same roof.
Both Mt. Pleasant and Hope currently have excess capacity in their buildings, which lends them to use for these schools as the district will require approximately 250 extra ninth grade seats next year to accommodate a “bubble” of student enrollment passing through the middle schools now.
The development of the schools is funded by a $3 million grant over three years awarded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the philanthropy founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1911. The current school year is a planning year, and the soon-to-convene School Design Teams will iron out the schools’ areas of focus and specifics of their operations.
The co-location will present new opportunities to the host schools, as teachers will be able to share in the new and innovative professional development offered to the Opportunity by Design School Design Leaders and their teams. The district also anticipates that as the Opportunity by Design schools solidify their use of technology for blended learning, the host schools will be prioritized in the effort to replicate that updated technology use across the district.