In his third and final policy release on education, Democratic candidate for Mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza turned his attention to the more nuts-and-bolts aspects the Providence Public School Department. He pledges that if elected, he will continue the district’s shift towards site based management in schools and see to it that the transition is “responsibly accelerated.”
While the previous two releases – the first outlining a model for full service community schools, and the second focused on re-envisioning curriculum and assessments – focused on big picture ambitions, this one is more grounded in the managerial areas over which the Mayor has the most direct influence. “I have a vision for our school system that certainly contains some bold and ambitious ideas, and also some very common sense ones – because, above all, I have a vision for a Providence Public School system that just works,” he said.
The proposal covers a range of topics meant to provide supports for the ideas outlined in previous proposals. On the subject of school funding, Elorza wants to see more central administration staff dedicated to grant writing and outside fundraising, noting that the Central Falls School Department hired a part time grant writer for $30,000/year, and got back $600,000 in outside funding that first year. He also calls for a shift to performance-based contracting to ensure that the District is getting the most out of every dollar spent. On the subject of teacher supports, he wants to see more meaningful opportunities for professional development and better mechanisms for teachers to offer feedback on school needs. He also wants to see training and development programs to give principals the kind of management skills they need to lead substantive change.
Pointing to the comprehensive vision outlined over three successive releases, Elorza said, “Our school system must tend to the needs of the whole child, it must provide multiple pathways to achievement, and it simply must work. This vision is not the end of the conversation about improving our schools, but rather the beginning.”
The entire plan can be read on the candidate’s website, www.elorzaformayor.com