Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 11-14-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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4 WOONSOCKET NOVEMBER 14-20, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION Local after-school programs shine in new statewide report WOONSOCKET – Less than half of Rhode Island families who want to enroll their K-12 students in an after- school or summer learning program are able to find one, according to new data released last month. According to United Way of Rhode Island's report on out-of-school time learning, 34,704 Rhode Island stu- dents are currently enrolled in after- school programs. Another 37,471 students are waiting for an available program, while 27,062 are alone and unsupervised after school. The report comes on the heels of a disappointing round of RICAS scores. According to 2019 test results, only 38 percent of students in grades 3-8 in Rhode Island are reading at grade level, while only 30 percent are proficient in math. Those aver- ages worsen for students with disabil- ities, children from low-income fami- lies and English language learners. The report highlights the gradu- ation rates for students who par- ticipated in after-school programs in Woonsocket, where only 72 percent of students graduated high school in four years in 2018. In contrast, 96 percent of students who participated in Riverzedge Arts expanded learn- ing opportunities, and 100 percent of students who participated in its arts and business program, graduated from high school in 2016. Riverzedge is one of two out- of-school learning programs in Woonsocket receiving funding as a 21st Century Learning Center. The program, along with one operated by Connecting for Children and Families in partnership with the Woonsocket Education Department, receives federal funds distributed by the Rhode Island Department of Education to provide academic enrichment for students who attend low-performing schools. Across the city, 1,539 students participated in a 21st Century Learning Center after- school program in 2017-2018, and another 368 participated in summer programs in 2017. Larry Warner, director of grants and strategic initiatives for United Way R.I., pointed out the importance of afterschool programs in filling in these learning gaps. According to the report, children who participate in out-of-school time learning are more likely to adapt socially and emotion- ally, develop workplace skills and improve academically. Students who participate in summer programs are less likely to lose educational gains over the summer, and parents of stu- dents in after-school programs find it easier to keep steady employment. "This is important, because it pro- vides the framework for understand- ing the importance of out-of-school time learning," said Warner. Statewide, nearly 12,000 students each year benefit from 21st Century Learning Center programs funded by the federal government. However, according to the report, that's not nearly enough. In 2017-2018, school and community agencies requested $7.3 million in 21st Century fund- ing statewide. Only $2.7 million of these were funded, meaning two out of every three after-school fund- ing requests went unmet. Agencies typically fill these gaps by applying for other public or private grants or charging program fees. "That's a huge loss to the students in that community," said Warner. "There are other communities where funding would facilitate access, because cost is a huge barrier." As a solution, United Way is pro- posing the state establish a dedicated source of after-school program fund- ing, as is currently done in 18 other states, according to the report. In Massachusetts, agencies can apply to receive state funding through the Quality Enhancements in After- School and Out-of-School Time Grant Program, which currently funds $2 million in programs every year. "We are planning and will soon be engaging media and other partners in an advocacy campaign to call for a designated funding stream in the state budget to ensure that as many families and households as want to have access to a summer learning program have access," said Warner. The bill would create a line item in the state budget to support out- of-school learning programs. As far as he knows, it's the first time any such funding stream will be proposed through state legislation. By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com RIVERZEDGE ARTS participants and staff members hike at Arethusa Falls in New Hampshire as part of the organization's expanded learning opportunities, one of several after-school programs highlighted in a new report from United Way that calls for more funding for out-of-school learning time. Michelle Losardo's Pre-K 4 class at MSGR. GADOURY CATHOLIC REGIONAL SCHOOL in Woonsocket had a surprise visit from Amanda LaRose from Navigant Credit Union's Park Square Branch, the school's Adopt-A-School partner, on Nov. 1. LaRose brought a thank you card signed by the Navigant employees and prizes for all of the students as a thank you for the homemade cook- ies the students baked and shared with them. Cumberland GOP meets Nov. 21 CUMBERLAND – The Cumberland Republican Town Committee will hold its next meet- ing on Thursday, Nov. 21, starting at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Hayden Center Meeting Room 1 at the Cumberland Monastery, 1464 Diamond Hill Road. Attendees are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item for donation to the Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry. All unaffiliated and/or regis- tered Republican voters are welcome. Harris Library will host sensory story time WOONSOCKET – The Woonsocket Harris Public Library will host two sensory story times for parents and children on Monday, Nov. 18. The 10:30-11:30 a.m. program is open to ages 2-5 with a parent; and the 4-4:45 p.m. program is open to ages 5-10 with an adult caregiver. Sensory programs differ from story times in that there are different table and floor stations for parents to engage fine and gross motor skills and creative thinking and tactile problem solving with like colorful pom-pom sorting, play dough, beans and rice, cups and spoons, and tiny dinosaurs, blocks and Legos, tossing games, and sometimes a craft. Registration is suggested by calling 401-769-9044, ext. 2. Walk-ins are wel- come so long as there is space in the room. TOWN OF NORTH SMITHFIELD STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARINGS In accordance with Section 13 of the North Smithfield Zoning Ordinance, notice is hereby given of a public hearing of the North Smithfield Town Council scheduled for Monday, November 18, 2019 at 6:45 P.M. at the North Smithfield Middle School, 1850 Providence Pike, North Smithfield, RI to consider the following general amendments to the North Smithfield Zoning Ordinance. Section 5 District Use Regulations Section 5.4 District use regulations Section 5.7 Ground-mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installations Collectively, the changes would encourage accessory use (behind the meter) of solar arrays to supplement electrical use for existing commercial and industrial buildings, including commercial, for profit systems, if scale affords, such as in big box areas, as a matter of right. Residential use of solar that is ground-mounted still requires a special use permit. All other commercial, for profit solar arrays, may allow for subdivision activity to house all panels, infrastructure and appurtenances entirely on the vacant lot being created provided all subdivision lots are conforming by area and dimension. Lastly, additional flexibility was provided to decommissioning with an emphasis on cash bonds with amounts determined by peer review engineering expertise. These proposals may be altered or amended prior to the close of the public hearing without further advertising, as a result of further study or because of the views expressed at the public hearings. Any alteration or amendment must be presented for comment in the course of the hearing. Persons interested in the above amendments are requested to attend said meeting and be heard. The amendments are available for review in the Town Clerk's office at the Municipal Annex. Individuals requiring assistance should call the Town Clerk's office at 767-2200, ext. 326 seventy-two (72) hours in advance of the hearing date. Per order of the North Smithfield Town Council, Lillian Silva Scott, Town Clerk North Providence Public Schools 2240 Mineral Spring Avenue North Providence, RI 02911 Office: (401) 233-1100 Ext. 11103 Transportation RFP e District is seeking bids for Student Transportation Services Commencing July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023. For bid specifications: N. Providence Schools website, under the "About" menu select "Bids." Bidding closes on Dec. 3, 2019.

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