Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

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The Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE) is a state agency in Rhode Island that oversees the elementary and secondary education system from pre-Kindergarten through high school. It is headquartered in Providence. RIDE works closely with the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (RIOPC), the agency charged with overseeing higher education. Together, RIDE and RIOPC aim to provide an aligned, cohesive, and comprehensive education for all students.


The current Commissioner is Angélica Infante-Green, a former Deputy Commissioner at the New York State Education Department, who was nominated by Governor Gina M. Raimondo in March of 2019. Infante-Green was confirmed by the Rhode Island Council on Elementary and Secondary Education on March 26, 2019.

The mission of RIDE is to prepare every Rhode Island student for success in college, careers, and life.

Public Education in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is home to 32 municipal school districts, four regional school districts, four state-operated schools with statewide catchment areas, one regional collaborative, and 25 charter schools, for a total of 306 public schools statewide. The day-to-day operations of these schools fall primarily under the purview of Local Education Agencies (LEAs).

State and federal funding, however, is funneled through RIDE as the State Education Agency (SEA). RIDE provides funding to LEAs on a per pupil basis, as determined by the state’s funding formula. As the SEA, RIDE is also responsible for school accountability, as required under federal law, the most recent iteration being the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 10, 2015.

Organization [1]

The Rhode Island Department of Education operates under the strategic planning and policy-making guidance of the Rhode Island Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, one of two Councils of the Board. RIDE has the following teams, all under the leadership of the Commissioner:

Teaching and Learning


Fiscal Operations

Commissioner Support


RIDE is currently led by Commissioner of Education Dr. Ken Wagner.

Past Leadership

Rhode Island Board of Education

The Rhode Island The Board of Education is made up of two Councils: the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Council on Postsecondary Education. Each Council has its own chair, with a shared Board of Education Chair, Barbara Cottam.

A 17-member Rhode Island Board of Education was created by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 2014, replacing the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Governors for Higher Education. This consolidated governance of all public education in Rhode Island aims to provide aligned policymaking and planning for elementary, secondary, and higher public education. Each Council has its own series of regular public meetings and work sessions, with a shared Board of Education meeting scheduled quarterly.

Rhode Island Board of Education Barbara Cottam, Chairwoman
Council on Elementary and Secondary EducationCouncil on Postsecondary Education
Amy Beretta, Esq.Timothy DelGuidice, Chair
Colleen Callahan, Ed.D.Dennis Duffy, Esq.
Karen DavisRachelle Green, Esq.
Gara Brooke Field, Ph.D.The Honorable Thomas Izzo
Jo Eva GainesMarianne F. Monte
Daniel McConaghy, ChairReverend Jeffrey Williams
Lawrence Purtill

Learning Standards

Rhode Island schools follow the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate from high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.

Assessments and Accountability

State Assessments

As of the 2017-2018 school year, all Rhode Island students in grades 3 through 8 are expected to participate in the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) assessments in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. The RICAS is administered each spring, with districts and schools determining their own testing windows. Total testing time varies by grade, ranging from 130 minutes for Grade 3 Mathematics to 210 minutes for Grade 8 ELA. Students complete sessions over several days or weeks.

High school students are expected to participate in the College Board assessments in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Mathematics in grade 10, using the PSAT, and in grade 11, using the SAT.

Data Collection

To support student achievement, hold schools accountable, and ensure transparency, RIDE makes education data publicly available through its website. Data reports are available in several different formats, including information on assessment results, graduation rates, enrollment, attendance, and transparent financial information about districts through a Uniform Chart of Accounts (UCOA) system.

Each year, RIDE also conducts a statewide school culture and climate survey called SurveyWorks. This initiative surveys students, educators, and families, about school culture indicators such as family engagement, school leadership, and school safety.

As Rhode Island transitions to its ESSA State Plan, performance data will continue to be made publicly available and accessible through ESSA Report Cards.


School accountability data provides the public with information about whether schools and districts are meeting goals and making progress. RIDE calculates an accountability index for every school, known as a Composite Index Score (CIS), and that score is utilized to make school classifications.

Composite Index Scores are calculated using three metrics or measures of performance based on school level: percent meets expectations (also called proficiency) for English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics; performance gaps, or gap closure, for ELA and mathematics; and either student growth for ELA and mathematics at the elementary and middle level only; or high school graduation rate at the high school level only.

Based on CIS scores, schools are classified as:

The overall accountability system enables RIDE to focus on learning gaps; document and learn from schools that are making progress; provide information that raises questions for further investigation; and identify schools that need additional support and attention.

Diploma System

Secondary Regulations

Rhode Island's Secondary Regulations, last revised in 2016 by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, set the framework for implementing the Rhode Island Diploma System. These regulations require all school districts to develop and implement a comprehensive secondary diploma system for middle and high schools that includes: student and teacher supports, local-aligned policies, multiple learning opportunities for all students, and multiple measures for determining graduation readiness.

Graduation Requirements

The Rhode Island Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, through the Secondary School Regulations, set the minimum requirements for earning a Rhode Island high school diploma, including:

Districts may include additional expectations or requirements such as additional coursework requirements or community service learning.

Council Designations

As outlined in the Secondary School Regulations, Council Designations serve as a means to personalize the traditional high school diploma. Each Council Designation externally validates achievements of high school students, through flexible and personalized high school learning experiences, to allow public recognition of specific skills, and to incentivize students to meet additional high standards beyond those needed to earn a high school diploma.

The following three Council Designations have been adopted by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education and are currently available to students, beginning with the graduating class of 2021:

Pathway Endorsements

Pathways provide students the opportunity to self-direct a customized learning experience, capitalizing on school and community opportunities toward personal interest, post-secondary education, and careers. RIDE believes that Pathway Endorsements add value to the diploma system by signaling to employers, colleges, universities, training programs, and the military that a student has completed a comprehensive, in-depth, and applied course of study in a specialized area.

Students can earn a Pathway Endorsement through participation in a cohort-based pathway program or an individualized pathway.

Beginning with the Class of 2021, students may earn a Pathway Endorsement in one or more of the following:

Educator Certification [2]

The Rhode Island Department of Education certifies all public school teachers, administrators and support professionals in line with the State's certification regulations. There are four pathways for educators to become certified:

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  1. "Organization Directory". www2.ride.ri.gov. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  2. "Educator Certification - Teachers & Administrators Excellent Educators - Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE)". www.ride.ri.gov. Retrieved 2016-09-29.