A State on the Move
A Message from the Commissioner of Education
Dear Rhode Island families,
In the blink of an eye, Rhode Island students and educators are wrapping up their summer learning and kicking off the start of the 2023-2024 school year. This year, Rhode Island isn’t just opening doors to new, state-of-the-art buildings – we're also opening doors to opportunities. From real-world relevant courses to unique and engaging out-of-school learning opportunities, Rhode Island is working to ensure all students are equipped with what they need to thrive during their educational journey and graduate prepared for college and career.
To do this, we must work collectively to care for the whole child and support them academically, socially, and emotionally. We must address challenges and tear down barriers to student success. To truly move the needle and improve student outcomes, we must work together – because our students deserve nothing less.
As we head into the new academic year, please remember being present is essential for students to learn. School attendance is a powerful predictor of student outcomes. Rhode Island defines chronic absenteeism as the percentage of students who miss 10% or more of school days during the year (or two days per month). Research shows that chronic absenteeism is associated with a number of negative academic consequences for students, including lower achievement, disengagement from school, course failure, and an increased risk of dropping out. Attendance each day is even more critical to help get students on track in the wake of the pandemic. We know some absences are unavoidable, but any absence makes it more difficult for children to keep up with the daily learning needed to grow and succeed. If there is a situation that impedes your child from attending school each day, please reach out to your child’s school to see how they can be of support. You can find resources around attendance and data from your school here.
As we prepare for the first day of school, remember that every child’s potential is unique, and their success is not solely measured by grades but by the positive impact they make on the world around them. Rhode Island is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment where every child feels valued, respected, and empowered to reach for the stars. Our educators are dedicated to creating engaging and transformative learning experiences that shape lifelong learners and responsible citizens. I invite you to partner with us on this incredible journey, as we work hand in hand to shape a brighter and more promising future for all.
Wishing you a fantastic and enriching school year ahead!
A statewide school calendar enables Rhode Island students, educators, and families to operate on an aligned schedule. This recommended calendar allows:
The LEA decision for the first day of school to be scheduled no later than September 7, 2023.
The option to include additional holidays observed by the school community.
Alignment of vacation weeks, which provides consistency for families and staff.
Flexibility to LEAs on the last day of school, depending on the year start date, professional development days, holidays, and other observances, while still requiring a minimum of 180 days of instruction.
Families and staff should check with their local LEAs and schools for specific schedules.