Rhode Island Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Approves Revised Secondary Regulations for Class of 2028

Published on Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Amended graduation requirements are most commented-on set of regulations in Rhode Island K-12 education; Action plan outlines steps to implement college and career readiness-based graduation requirement

PROVIDENCE, RI — The Rhode Island Council on Elementary and Secondary Education has approved updated Secondary Regulations that will reimagine high school and the statewide graduation requirements. Governor Dan McKee, Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and the Rhode Island Department of Education have intentionally collaborated throughout the past 18 months to develop and finalize the amended Rhode Island Secondary Regulations. 

In June 2020, XQ Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to rethinking high school so that every student graduates ready to succeed in life, and RIDE presented an analysis of the Rhode Island high school student experience, and the K-12 Council challenged RIDE to identify solutions and create a plan to address barriers students face during their high school experience. Motivated by the findings of the Education Opportunity Audit Report and encouraged by the participation of Rhode Island’s high schools in the XQ+RI challenge, Rhode Island doubled down on its commitment to making high school the entry point for systemwide transformation.

RIDE’s Proposal for Readiness-Based Graduation Requirements and the accompanying Action Plan are directly in response to that request of the council, and the challenges presented in our analysis of the Rhode Island high school student experience. The Secondary Regulations establish college and career-ready coursework as the default expectation for every child in Rhode Island regardless of where they live, their parent’s income, the language they speak at home, or their disability status. The amended graduation requirements are the most commented set of regulations in K-12 education in Rhode Island and represent extensive input from the public, including comments from the formal public comment period and public conversations over the past 18 months. View a summary of the regulations, public comment, and latest slideshow here.

“The revised Secondary Regulations reflect thoughtful feedback from Rhode Island’s educators, students, families, and education communities spanning the state. We share our deep gratitude with the hundreds of stakeholders who shared their comments, concerns, and vision,” said Governor Dan McKee. “The revised Secondary Regulations are a commitment to the children and families of Rhode Island to transform what it means to earn a high school diploma.”

“College and career readiness will no longer be reserved for the privileged or those who know how to navigate the system. It will be an expectation for every one of our kids,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “As a member of the Secondary Regulations subcommittee, I had the privilege of working with school leaders to ensure their voice is reflected and have full confidence to implement this bold vision for our high school students. I thank everyone who lent their voice and made community engagement history in Rhode Island education.”

The revised proposal was developed by the Reimagining High School Working Group which RIDE began hosting in June 2021. RIDE held 8 Reimagining High School Working Group sessions to craft the proposed regulations and engaged over 350 unique participants in the process.

The revised regulations have three priorities: prepare graduates to create their own future; increase engagement through real world relevant learning experiences; and change how we support our children and families.

“Through extensive community engagement, we have further refined the Secondary Regulations to reflect the voices of students, families, and educators of Rhode Island, and develop an action plan that will ensure successful implementation over the next five years,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. "RIDE is committed to supporting and inspiring our educators implementing the graduation requirements and providing them with the tools they need to succeed. Together, we will continue reimagining the high school experience and ensure all of our students have the opportunity to create their own future.”

RIDE then brought the proposal to revise the statewide graduation requirements to the Rhode Island Council on Elementary and Secondary Education on February 8, 2022, seeking a vote for the proposal to enter a period of public comment. The Education Council voted to advance the proposal to the public comment period.

Materials from the K-12 Council on Education Subcommittee on the Secondary Regulations can be reviewed here.

To ensure successful implementation, RIDE is developing a 6-Year Action Plan with six areas of focus. These areas were identified by K-12 stakeholders in the field and include the following:

  • Expanding partnership and collaboration,
  • Reimagining learning,
  • Developing a statewide approach to comprehensive school counseling,
  • Preparing our kids to create their futures,
  • Increasing engagement in our schools by increasing real-world relevant learning experiences, and
  • Changing how we support our students and families.

Each priority features a robust list of action items to benchmark and hold RIDE accountable for the progress of all deliverables outlined in the Action Plan.

To learn more about RIDE’s Readiness-Based Graduation Requirements and 6-Year Action Plan to support implementation, please reach out to Olivia Smith.

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