GUEST VIEW: State partnership to create better career pathways (Newport Daily News)

By KEN WAGNER

Rushie Vilane from the Woonsocket P-TECH program plans to be the first in her family to go to college. Christopher Bove from Middletown High School called the PrepareRI Internship the most rewarding experience of his life. Thanks to her coursework in computer science, Tatyana Frost at The Met wants to be a role model for young women in STEAM.

These are the stories we live for. Stories in which students feel engaged, challenged, and excited by their educational pathway.

So what would it look like if every high school student had that kind of story to tell?

Let’s find out.

Gov. Raimondo recently announced a first-of-its-kind partnership between Rhode Island and XQ, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to reimagining high school so that all students succeed — no matter their race, gender, or ZIP code. This partnership, XQ+RI, aims to create meaningful, rigorous, and innovative college and career pathways, and we are looking for students, parents, educators, elected officials, advocates, and community leaders to join us in this effort. Successful plans could win up to $500,000 to bring your vision for high school to life.

If you care about Rhode Island students, have a stake in academic outcomes, and have ideas for how we can make high school more relevant in the 21st century, join us for an upcoming XQ+RI Design Day. Design Days are an important and necessary first step in any school community’s effort to reimagine high school, and all are welcome to participate. Community engagement and diverse stakeholder input are essential for any plan to be truly responsive to the needs of our students and families. We will host regional Design Days on March 13 in Providence, March 20 in Woonsocket, March 23 in South Kingstown, and March 27 in Newport. Visit RIDE.ri.gov/XQRI to learn more and to register for a Design Day.

XQ chose to partner with Rhode Island because of young people like Rushie, Christopher, and Tatyana. Our high schools are doing exciting work for these students, but we need to do more. We need to reach more. Too many students still graduate unprepared for and unsure of what comes next. XQ+RI can help us close that gap, but we can’t do it alone. We need your help. Are you in?

Ken Wagner, PhD, is the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education in Rhode Island.

Meg Geoghegan