New CF schools head eyes improvements
Interim superintendent says district test scores need to improve
CENTRAL FALLS – Interim Superintendent Stephanie Downey Toledo may have only a month on the job leading Central Falls’ schools, but she’s approaching the upcoming school year with the focus of a seasoned professional, ready to show that Central Falls’ education is on the upswing.
“I am thrilled to have this opportunity,” said Downey Toledo, who was named interim superintendent in July. “I’ve been in Central Falls just over a year as Chief Academic Officer and I’m really excited to bring that work of thinking about teaching and learning district-wide into the role.”
Downey Toledo supplanted former School Superintendent Victor Capellan, who stepped down from the post in July to become a senior adviser to Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green.
The district redesign kick-started by Capellan last year will continue to evolve in the coming school year, Downey Toledo explained, as she said “we’re thinking about how do we create small learning communities within each of our schools to pilot new and innovative ideas.”
Among the pilot programs in city schools in the coming year will include a “newcomer academy” at Ella Risk Elementary School to provide supports to students who are new to the country, providing English-language development while adjusting them to the school and country’s culture. Meanwhile, in classrooms at Veterans Memorial Elementary School this year will be a “vertical strand” that will offer a more “inquiry-based approach” for students in first through fourth grades.
“The work to do is complex, but the vision is simple,” Downey Toledo later said, noting that each child in Central Falls should have access to a three-, four-, or five-star school according to the Rhode Island Department of Education’s School Report Card Platform; and should be supported in English-language learning, attendance, Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System testing, and ultimately graduating.