Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NEASC Accreditation for 2 Providence High Schools

Congratulations to Providence Academy of International Studies (PAIS) and E-3 Academy for receiving accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, known as NEASC. Here's the Pro Jo coverage. PAIS and E-3 join Hope High School, Mt. Pleasant High School, and Classical High School as NEASC accredited schools in the district.

NEASC accreditation is a big deal, as outlined here on its website, requiring intense scrutiny through self-study and visits from NEASC committee members to determine what's happening in all aspects of school design, pedagogy, outcomes, culture, and other elements of school life. It's intended to demonstrate that the school meets high standards and to give school staff members tools and structures to continually assess and improve to maintain quality programs.

While I haven't yet visited E-3, I've spent a bit of time at PAIS; I'm working in the school with Rhode Island After School Plus Allinace to support the planning and implementation of Expanded Learning Opportunities (this links to a PDF description of Expanded Learning Opportunities in Rhode Island). I think that its principal, Janelle Clarke--now also principal of Cooley Health and Science Technology High School, which shares a facility with PAIS--is a powerful leader, super-smart and visionary. The staff members that I've met are focused and dedicated, and the students that I've spent time with are thoughtful, clear about their purpose as learners, and excited about PAIS's curriculum and what they're learning. 


  1. E-3 was actually sort of a spin off of Feinstein High School -- the core of its founding faculty and principal were from FHS, actually they were all pre-2001-reconstitution FHS faculty for that matter. As the smallest remaining small school they figure to be next on the chopping block if high school enrollment shrinks further.

    PAIS managed to gather a lot of the high school teaching talent from around the district and has always been pretty strong as a result. Successfully merging with Cooley will be tricky though. I can't say what the track record is for merging a marginally successful high-poverty school with a failing high-poverty school is, because I don't think it has been tried too often.

  2. I was thinking about but didn't discuss the conditions at PAIS and E-3, specifically that they're both small and the ways that can make such a meaningful difference along with other key factors such as, as you mention, teaching talent. Great leadership too, in PAIS's case, in my recent experience. Thanks for the history E-3 and Feinstein. NEASC accreditation is more than a merit badge; it indicates what's working. PPSD: these are the strengths you learn from and build on!