Central Falls defying odds despite being in poorest district in RI
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WJAR) —
A charter school in Central Falls is defying the odds despite being in the poorest district in Rhode Island.
Students of color at The Learning Community tested better than white students in Rhode Island on the PARCC Assessment.
“Our students actually outperformed more than half of the suburban districts in Rhode Island, including a school in East Greenwich, a school in South Kingstown,” Sarah Friedman, who is the co-director of The Learning Community, said.
It’s no easy feat given that 27 percent of students at The Learning Community are English Language Learners, among the highest percentage in the state.
When students start at the school in kindergarten, there's a focus on teaching them how to articulate and defend their ideas.
“Our students spend a lot of time talking to each other about their thinking, whether it's in math and reading, in terms of their writing and that also helps really give them a strong language foundation,” Friedman said.
The Learning Community also attributes part of its success to its ability to get parents engaged in their children's education.
Whenever the school holds a family event, each family receives a personal call from the school -- not an automated call. With 575 students, that's a lot of calls.
Seventh-grader Beatriz Ortega said she appreciates the school going the extra mile to keep her parents informed.
“They see, ‘Oh Beatriz, you need to be working on this mostly and you did excellent on this.’ That's really good because I want my parents to know what I'm doing,” Ortega said.
Their classroom may sit in the poorest school district in the state, but they're not letting that hold them back.
“My parents learned that this world for them they have to work for what they need to get and that's what they taught me," Ortega said.