Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 06-25-2020

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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NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JUNE 25-JULY 1, 2020 NORTH SMITHFIELD 21 School Committee June 16. School Committee member Paul Jones and President James Lombardi were among those who asked the department's leadership to address questions of diversity in the district. "Our town is majority white. That's not a complaint or a boast, it's just a fact," Jones said while explain- ing why he wanted the topic on the meeting's agenda. In October of 2019, according to data compiled by the Rhode Island Department of Education, more than 83 percent of students in the town's public schools identified as white. Only 16 Black students were enrolled in the district, while 153 students identified as Hispanic/Latino, 29 as Asian and 66 as multi-racial. That demographic makeup, said St. Jean, was a significant change for he and other staff members who started their careers in other districts. "I can tell you (Assistant Supt. Clare) Arnold and myself, we all started our careers in urban educa- tion where diversity was a fact of life," he said. "It was a daily reminder walking in the halls, being in the classrooms. For myself, after 25 years in Pawtucket and Central Falls with a degree in anthropology and teaching English as a Second Language, I have to admit North Smithfield was a very different environment for me." In absence of a more diverse stu- dent body, St. Jean said the district has to "take that extra step" to bring diversity and understanding to the community when it isn't already per- vasive around them. According to Arnold, the train- ing will revolve around the book "Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain" by Zaretta Hammond, which all teachers will be required to read over the summer. The book focuses on engaging students of dif- ferent cultures in the classroom and, according to Arnold, will be used to kick off a series of professional devel- opment workshops next year. "Teachers will be able to analyze their classroom data by race and eth- nicity and then make changes to their curriculum and teaching practices using a culturally responsive teaching and learning framing," she said. Arnold discussed the district's current efforts to address diversity, many of which, she said, aim to cre- ate "empathetic citizens" who respect people of different backgrounds. The district's English curriculums, she said, include units that feature differ- ent perspectives and marginalized voices, while its health and elementa- ry school curriculums include social- emotional units that teach empathy and conflict resolution. Arnold also highlighted several programs within the district, includ- ing "Meet in the Middle," a program spearheaded by Chorus Director Regina McAdam that brings together students from suburban and urban high school music departments. "When we think about where we are and where we're going, I think it's definitely a time of reflection, and it's a time that we want to come together and just have good conver- sations about what we're doing," said Arnold. The presentation drew positive reactions from board members as well as one resident who spoke dur- ing the meeting. Bobby Bradford told committee members that as a Black citizen of the town, he was happy to hear what Arnold had to say and glad they'd brought the topic to the table. "I'm extremely excited about what I just heard from Clare, and I really appreciate the town," he said. "I'm just going to say flat out I'm proud of you guys. As a citizen of the town, I'm very proud." The Valley Breeze is committed to keep- ing quality news stories like this one free to our readers. You can be a huge part of this local journalism success story by making a one-time or monthly contribu- tion to what we do every week at www. valleybreeze.com/support. Thank you as always for reading. BREEZE PHOTO BY LAUREN CLEM An art installation celebrating the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement took shape on Great Road across from the former Tupperware building last week. The display was organized by the group Engage North Smithfield, which encouraged residents to contribute artwork and other items. Several groups, including Engage North Smithfield and the North Smithfield School Department, have engaged in conversa- tions around race and diversity in response to the protests playing out across the country in recent weeks. DIVERSITY From Page One The School Committee had initially planned to put the funds toward new windows at North Smithfield High School, the next project on the list of improve- ments, but the Town Council had considered putting them toward a study and eventual changes at the Halliwell property. In the end, neither project got the majority of the funds. School officials explained that with air- borne transmission of COVID-19 posing a risk to students in the fall, improvements to the HVAC system at North Smithfield Elementary School had now become the top priority. The Town Council voted to split the balance, with $100,000 going to the Halliwell project and the remainder going to the School Department for the HVAC project. ment. "We look forward to working with Kindred to develop a best in class continuum of care." Russ Bailey, chief operating officer of Kindred Rehabilitation Hospitals, said the partnership could result in expanded services at RHRI. "We have great respect for the professionals at Landmark and look forward to entering the Rhode Island and greater New England markets in partnership with them," said Bailey. "This partnership will enable us to expand the services provided and help more patients recover from their illnesses or injuries, restore function and regain the independence needed to get back to their lives." RHRI is currently licensed for 82 rehabilitation beds. According to the release, the two companies expect to complete the transaction by the third quarter of 2020. SCHOOLS From Page 2 RHRI From Page 4 DON'T MAKE CUTS . . . GET DISCOUNTS! Purchasing auto insurance can be expensive, but it is not a time you want to penny-pinch: you get what you pay for, and you want to be sure you are covered in case of a serious accident. If you need to save some money, instead of cutting back on your coverage, try asking your agent about possible discounts. Most auto insurance agencies offer several types of discounts, including a multi-policy or "bundle" discount. This involves having both your home and auto insurance with the same company. There is also often a multi-car discount if you have more than one vehicle registered to your home. There are also discounts for financial stability (good credit), good driving, and even good grades! For more information, please call HUNTER INSURANCE, INC. at 769-9500, or see us at 389 Old River Rd., Lincoln. Our team strives to make the insurance process as simple as possible for our clients. As one of our clients, we will be there for you when you need us most. If an emergency occurs and you need to speak with one of our agents, you will be able to reach them at anytime. We thrive on the trust that our clients place in us, and we hope to build long-lasting professional relationships with each one. P.S. If you own a home but don't want to bundle your insurance, you may still be able to get a discount on auto insurance just by being a homeowner. Peter J. HoPkins ~ Attorney At LAw ~ DUI/RefUsal • CRImInal Defense TRaffIC VIolaTIons • JUVenIle CRImes PeRsonal InJURy • PRobaTe • DIVoRCe Admitted to the Practice of Law in Rhode Island and Massachusetts Retired Police Prosecution Officer CALL 401-356-1043 191 Social St., Suite 280, Woonsocket, RI Rhode Island does not have a procedure for certificate or recognition of specialization by lawyers.

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