Communication From The Pawtucket School District Administration & The Pawtucket School Committee to Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien Seeking to Move Shea High School Renovations Forward 

 

Formal communications issued by both the Pawtucket School District and the Pawtucket School Committee were released this week. Requested? A sign off from Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien necessary for authorization from the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) to approve necessary repairs to Pawtucket’s Shea High School.

Additionally, the Coalition Radio Network was finally able to obtain a copy of the evaluation by Accreditation Agency NEASC, documenting the shortcomings in both academics, and more notoriously, the safety of the physical plant. Scroll, using up and down arrows on the lower left-hand corner of the report, to Page 30, where a facilities analysis is performed.

We have made numerous requests to The Pawtucket School Administration. Information requests have been shunted off to the multi week APRA Process. A request for comment from the interim superintendent has been ignored.

 

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Letter Pawtucket Schools To Grebien_2-end

 

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The NEASC Report Post Shea High School Analysis

Note: This is a 42 Page Report-On The Lower Left Hand Corner Are Up & Down Errors That Will Allow You To Scroll Through The Pages
Charles Shea final NEASC CC report spring 2022

Finally, a reader sent us this text, from reporting immediately post the decision of RIDE to deny approval for Shea HS Repairs. We were unable to find this article on that publication’s website.

 

From The Pawtucket Times:

Given the Rhode Island Department of Education’s decision to nix the School Department’s proposal as to how to educate both Shea and Tolman high school students during the former’s planned renovation come January, School Committee Chair Erin Dube says she and her colleagues have decided to conduct a special, virtual meeting tonight at 5:30, where Dube will announce the designated members of a “Shea Facilities Subcommittee” to manufacture a solution.As the School Committee Chair, she can appoint members to subcommittees, though she wouldn’t say whom she had in mind.Among the possible remedies: Occupied construction; seeking out other locations throughout the city, including vacant schools; use of trailers, some of which could come at an exorbitant price; or some other option.As for that subcommittee, she indicated three members will come from Shea, with one consisting of Principal Jacqueline Ash, and another trio she will appoint from her own committee. The subcommittee will work in lockstep with Schools Superintendent Cheryl McWilliams, her staff members and others from Mayor Donald R. Grebien’s team designated to solve the problem.She said McWilliams and her staff have already started.“We’re just going to move forward; RIDE has been very clear they are not going to reconsider our proposal, so we have to know that’s no longer an option,” she said Monday night. During the appeal, “RIDE said they had questions, and wanted us to explain how it would work, and we explained it. Then they said our explanation didn’t matter, that it wasn’t an emergency.“We see it as we really need to do Shea construction; they don’t see it as a must, and that – essentially, right now – we could wait.”When asked if the renovations to SHS will begin come hell or high water at the start of 2022, Dube said, “I don’t think we can make that promise, no. We will not do work on Shea if it compromises the students and their education. I didn’t think the split schedule would compromise the students’ education; I had faith in our teachers and that our curriculum would work. That’s why I voted for it.“I didn’t think it would compromise the kids’ learning, but an occupied construction? We need to explore what that would look like with the dust and noise, etc.”At this point, the educators at Shea – not to mention the parents of students – want a remedy to the problem.“I don’t think there’s any kind of consensus among teachers and staff; there are multiple different thoughts about it,” she said, referring to RIDE’s choice to pull the plug. “I don’t think everyone was excited about the split schedule, so there may be some people breathing a sigh of relief.“I also believe there are some people who are frustrated because they had plans to be moving (out of their classrooms); they had already packed their bags and were ready to go. They had already spent a lot of time doing that, but to have that plan pulled out from underneath them, last minute, it was really hard for them.”The educators hadn’t been notified, Dube said, until the night before the last day of school – Wednesday, June 23.“I can feel that as an educator because I know the time you take to prepare – and even mentally prepare,” explained Dube, a respected, talented professor at Johnson & Wales University. “To have that plan taken from you, it’s hard. It’s hard to be told that, almost on the last day of school, that there was going to be a change in plans, which is really how it all happened.“Essentially, our superintendent and mayor’s office are working together at other places to house students,” she added. “At the same time, the School Committee has tasked our superintendent with exploring what an occupied renovation would look like.”She said those people have studied possible locations several closed Catholic schools in the city, but those have been deemed too small. She also said possible costs for classroom “trailers” are unknown.Dube did say the city is on the clock, as all school renovations must be completed by the end of 2024, so the sooner that work is finished, the better.Once the superintendent, that subcommittee and others believe they have found a solution, they will go before the School Committee to share what they learned. Again, finding the right answer is all anybody wants.“I can’t speak to the teachers and their feelings” after the news broke that the original plan had been rejected, Dube said. “I think they should speak for themselves, and they did at the meeting” the night before school ended.“They expressed very eloquently to the School Committee their concerns about an occupied construction, and I think continuing to listen to that teacher voice and the principal’s voice is really key in considering this,” she added. “After all, the teachers and students and families are the ones who are most excited about these school improvements.“They’re willing to take some inconvenience, but they also know they don’t want to jeopardize education.”Said Mayor Grebien: “The administration is working alongside the City Council, School Committee and Pawtucket School District that makes the most sense for the students, teachers and administrators not only in the near future but for years to come. It is important that we are all working together on this to make sure our students get the best learning experience possible.After discussions with Chairperson Dube, she and I will be working together with various stakeholders in the coming weeks to focus on the schools.”When asked his initial reaction to RIDE Deputy Commissioner for System Transformation Kevin Roldan’s June 18 communication to McWilliams rejecting the Shea admission, Grebien said, “We are disappointed that the plan for alternating days between Shea and Tolman while the school was under renovations was not possible, and it is unfortunate to be in this position, the city will continue moving forward and making strides in our education plans.“We will continue our school renovations and find new solutions as to how our schools can work best under these new conditions,” he continued. “While this setback is a hindrance on the anticipated plan in place, it provides all of us with the opportunity to reassess and revise how best to move forward.”
Prior Reporting

 

 

 

 

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