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PrepareRI is the most comprehensive plan in the nation to improve youth career readiness. 

What is PrepareRI?

PrepareRI is a statewide initiative to prepare all Rhode Island youth with the skills they need for jobs that pay. Currently, less than 45% of Rhode Islanders have a post-secondary degree or industry-recognized certificate, yet 70% of jobs in the coming years will require those credentials. With that in mind, PrepareRI aims to close that gap between what students learn in school and what they need for high-paying jobs. PrepareRI is a cooperative effort led by the Rhode Island state government in partnership with private industry leaders, schools, universities, and non-profits across the state.

PrepareRI represents a major shift from the vocational education programs of earlier generations. Many of those vocational programs relegated certain students to a pathway with low expectations and little opportunity for upward mobility. PrepareRI, however, was built on the belief that students will need both rigorous academics and real-world career skills. All young people—regardless of their previous background or intended career—will need a postsecondary credential and practical work experience to thrive in the economy of tomorrow. PrepareRI will provide that education and training.

For more details about PrepareRI, you can read the action plan here.

Get Involved: attend the fall PrepareRI Summit

RIDE will host regular PrepareRI Summits this year to connect leaders and practitioners from schools, government, and private industry. The Summit’s objective is to make it easy for all stakeholders to advance PrepareRI’s goal: making Rhode Island a national model in providing high-paying career pathways for young people.

During the Summit, we will unveil a number of tools and resources we developed to help district leaders, principals, teachers (both CTE and non-CTE), counselors, postsecondary administrators, and business leaders incorporate PrepareRI into their work.

The first summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, 2017, at URI's Providence Campus

   REGISTER FOR THE SUMMIT TODAY!

The Summit is free and open to all. We aim to have representatives from every elementary, middle, and high school in the state attend.

More details—including a detailed schedule and list of speakers will be announced soon. If you have any questions in the interim, please email spencer.sherman@ride.ri.gov.

If you would like to stay updated on PrepareRI, please join our monthly newsletter.

 

PrepareRI will redesign our education system

Rhode Island intends to be the nation’s leader in creating career pathways for young people. Achieving this goal will involve major changes and improvements to the state’s education system. 

By 2020, the PrepareRI plan states that: 

  • All high school students will graduate with college credit or an industry credential. To achieve this, we are:
    • making college classes more accessible to high school students (both in high schools and at partnering institutions)
    • creating a new online platform that will allow students to find and register for courses offered anywhere in the state
    • improving career and technical education so that it leads students to an industry-recognized credential in a high-paying field, and
    • creating pathway endorsements on high school diplomas to demonstrate specific expertise to colleges and employers.
  • All high school students will complete a work-based learning experience, such as an internship in a career field that interests them. To achieve this, we are:
    • partnering with high-paying industries
    • streamlining state regulations
    • restructuring state and federal funding processes, and 
    • procuring software platforms that will make it easy to connect students with jobs.
  • All career pathways programming will be aligned to high-wage, high-demand career fields. Vocational education from decades ago often consigned students to shrinking or low-paying industries. PrepareRI, however, will focus its training on the high-paying jobs of tomorrow. To achieve this, we have:
    • Commissioned an independent study to identify high-wage, high-demand career fields,
    • Revised our career and technical education standards to make them more rigorous and aligned to industry demands, and
    • Revived business advisory groups to ensure that our career education is driven by industry demand.
  • All students will have individualized learning plans based on their unique needs and interests. This plan will be regularly updated, to ensure that students’ coursework and work experience is putting them on the best possible pathway. 
  • All elementary and middle school students will receive career exploration programming to help them learn about possible careers. 


PrepareRI unites a broad array of programs and partners

PrepareRI is the overarching strategic plan for a number of important state initiatives. PrepareRI brings together numerous programs across the private and public sector, unifying their efforts and aligning them to a common goal. 

On the government side, PrepareRI is led by the Governor’s Office, the RI Department of Education (RIDE), the Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB), and the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (OPC).

Within these agencies, PrepareRI includes a number of programs, including:

PrepareRI Ambassadors

The PrepareRI Ambassadors are a select group of education leaders who help guide PrepareRI’s implementation. The Ambassadors come from different parts of Rhode Island’s education landscape, and use their unique perspective and skills to advise RIDE about PrepareRI. Ambassadors also create resources to help their colleagues with PrepareRI, and serve as spokespeople for the initiative.

Ambassadors continue to work full-time in their previous roles—as district leaders, principals, teachers, and professors—and receive a stipend to compensate them for their additional work with PrepareRI. An application to join 2018-2019 cohort of Ambassadors will be posted in spring 2018.

Meet the 2017-18 PrepareRI Ambassadors

   Dr. Lynne Bedard, Phd, currently serves as the school-based CTE coordinator for Ponaganset High School. She is also a NOCTI site coordinator and educational consultant. Dr. Bedard spent 34 years at the Woonsocket Area Career & Technical Center, where she started as an instructor and from where she retired as the principal. The last four years of her tenure saw her role expanded to include serving as the principal of Woonsocket High School as well. Dr. Bedard is a member of numerous professional communities and organizations and continues to participate in career education-focused activities.

Elizabeth Dwyer is a mathematics instructor at the Rhode Island Nurses Institute Middle College in Providence. There, she modified the mathematics curriculum to better reflect what nurses might expect in the field, adding another layer of authenticity to her students’ learning. Ms. Dwyer holds bachelor’s degrees in finance and theology and is certified as a highly-qualify secondary mathematics teacher. She served as a Career Readiness Fellow during the writing of the proposal that secured the funding for the PrepareRI initiative. 


 Christianne Fisher serves as the Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning at Rogers High School and Director of the Accelerated Learning Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and master’s degrees in education administration, holistic counseling, and secondary education. During her tenure, she has played a critical part in improving the school’s graduation rate from 71% to 90%. Ms. Fisher has a clear vision for how accountability at all levels of the K-12 education system can be leveraged for improved career readiness.


 Dr. Eric Hall, PhD, is a biology professor at Rhode Island College and serves as Director of Health Related Programs. He has worked with URI and CCRI to create degree-granting programs in particular areas of medical imaging and established a Food Safety concentration in Health Sciences at Daniele, Inc. He has a PhD in biology from Wesleyan University. He served as a Career Readiness Fellow during the writing of the proposal that secured the funding for the PrepareRI initiative.


 Stacy Haines-Mayne has worked for the Chariho Regional School District for 27 years and is currently the head of the school counseling department there. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling. Ms. Haines-Mayne was the Rhode Island representative for the 2016 National School Counselor of the Year. She has served and continues to serve on numerous state boards and committees and actively participates in her community.


 Anais Hazard is a special educator at North Cumberland Middle School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a Master of Education degree in Urban Multicultural Special Education. Ms. Hazard sees changing employer perspective of what special education students can do as being necessary for increasing career opportunities for that population. She serves as an advisor to various student groups at her school and is active in her community.


 Elizabeth Sinwell has been the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment at the Foster-Glocester Regional School District since 2012. Prior to that, she worked for the Chariho Regional School district in a variety of roles, including the director of the Chariho Area Career and Technical Center and Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning at Chariho High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and master’s degrees in library and information science and in education. Ms. Sinwell was instrumental in the development of seven CTE programs at Ponaganset High School.

 

How did PrepareRI develop?

Rhode Island began developing its PrepareRI action plan in April 2016, after it was awarded a Phase 1 New Skills for Youth Grant. New Skills for Youth (NSFY) is a $75 million initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase, in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Advance CTE. The program’s goal is to strengthen career-focused education, starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with high-skill jobs. 

    Rhode Island’s PrepareRI action plan was well-received by NSFY evaluators. In January 2017, Governor Gina Raimondo and RIDE announced that Rhode Island had won a $2 million Phase 2 NSFY grant, making it one of only ten states nationally to earn the competitive grant. Rhode Island will use that money—along with other state and federal funding streams—to implement the PrepareRI plan. While the NSFY grant will officially end in 2020, PrepareRI is designed to be a permanent restructuring of the state’s career pathways for young people.

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