Mayor Taveras’ Children and Youth Cabinet Releases ‘Educate Providence: Action for Change’ Report

PROVIDENCE, RI – (October 24, 2012) Mayor Angel Taveras joined with Providence Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi and the Mayor’s Children’s and Youth Cabinet (CYC) to release a report that establishes baselines to track progress in Providence’s schools, and to officially introduce Rebecca Boxx as the CYC’s new director.

“The Children’s and Youth Cabinet, under the new leadership of Rebecca Boxx, is a valuable partner in our efforts to improve educational outcomes in Providence. The ‘Action for Change’ report is our roadmap for progress and shows us where we have built a strong foundation and where we must work harder to achieve our goal of making Providence the best urban school district in America,” said Mayor Taveras.

In November 2011, the CYC released a report that recommended four broad goals aligned with the Mayor’s vision for improving education: All children show up for school ready to learn. They have strong schools and teachers. They have the resources they need outside of school. And all students graduate ready to attend college and/or begin a successful career.

Today’s ‘Action for Change’ report identifies 11 indicators that will track progress towards meeting those goals, and provides baseline data that will be used to measure progress. These ‘starting point’ indicators include:

  • The percentage of three- and four-year-olds enrolled in a high-quality preschool program (21 percent)
  • The number of Providence district and charter schools meeting and exceeding state accountability standards (45 percent)
  • The percentage of students who are chronically absent from class (32 percent)
  • The percentage of fourth graders who start the year reading on grade level (46 percent)

The report is modeled on the STRIVE Network currently used in three dozen other cities, including Cincinnati, Seattle, Boston and Houston. After reviewing all the available research, the CYC selected these indicators as best measurements to gauge the educational and career outcomes that Providence is seeking. Future reports will set measurable goals for each indicator.

“The CYC contributes enormous strength to our schools and city by facilitating cross-sector collaboration on behalf of our schools,” said Superintendent Lusi. “We know schools alone cannot be successful in providing everything our children need. We welcome this collaborative approach to supporting the whole child in and out of school, and having these measurable goals will help us all to focus our efforts for the good of children.”

Rebecca Boxx introduced as CYC’s director

Also today, Rebecca Boxx was introduced as the CYC’s first fulltime director. Boxx is a 10-year public education veteran and the former Full Service Community School Director for the Providence Public Schools. Previous to that work, Boxx held the same leadership position at the Dorcas Place Adult and Family Learning Center, which was preceded by three years as the Family Literacy Director there.  Earlier, she spent two years in the New Bedford Public Schools as a classroom teacher for bilingual second and third grades.  The URI graduate launched her education career as the Family Service Care Coordinator in the Newport Public Schools.

“I am thrilled and honored to serve as the first director of the Mayor’s Children and Youth Cabinet. Each day I am inspired by the level of commitment of this community to improve outcomes for Providence’s children and families,” said Boxx. “The release of ‘Educate Providence-Action for Change’ lays out the ambitious activities the CYC will undertake in the coming year as well as the means to measure progress. I’m excited to see what can be accomplished here in Providence when we work together for change.”

The CYC, a cross-sector collaboration of community leaders, was formed in 2009 to improve coordination of services across agencies, increase collaboration, and foster better social, economic, behavioral and health outcomes for Providences young people.  The city has received grants from several local and national foundations to fully fund the CYC’s fulltime, permanent staff director position.

The CYC and its director are affiliated with and housed at Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR), a national education policy research and reform support organization that focuses on improving conditions and outcomes for all students in urban K-12 public schools, especially those in underserved communities.

“Through the Annenberg Institute, the Swearer Center, the Education Department, and the ongoing work and commitment of students, faculty and staff, Brown is actively engaged in partnerships to promote the strength and success of the Providence Public Schools,” said Brown University President Christina Paxson. “The CYC offers an opportunity to maximize the value and effectiveness of our collaborations with the myriad youth-serving organizations and agencies in our city and state, improving the prospects of achieving meaningful results for our schools and the students they serve. We are delighted to be part of this important effort.”

Over the past two years, AISR has provided planning, research and communications support to the CYC.  Likewise, graduate students from Brown’s Urban Education Policy program have served as research assistants and interns with the CYC.

“I am very pleased to welcome Rebecca Boxx to the Annenberg Institute and Brown,” said Warren Simmons, AISR executive director.  “Her work with the Children and Youth Cabinet will help solidify the institute’s growing partnership with the Mayor’s Office, the Providence Public Schools and other member organizations of the CYC.  Moreover, my colleagues and I stand to benefit significantly from Rebecca’s deep knowledge and grounded experience in comprehensive approaches to promoting student learning and successful development.”

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