Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), the Providence Public School District (PPSD), and the Providence Teachers Union (PTU) finalized their agreement on a new contract this evening after PTU members overwhelmingly voted in support of ratification. The new collective bargaining agreement takes effect immediately and will expire on August 31, 2023. The contract does not, as has been incorrectly stated, “lock the same structure in place for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 years.”
“This contract is just the beginning of our work to produce better outcomes for Providence students,” said Governor McKee. “We need everyone on board to make it work. That means families, students, teachers, administrators, elected leaders and community members coming together to achieve a common goal – giving our students the very best opportunity to succeed. I appreciate the work and collaboration of all parties involved in getting an agreement across the finish line that prioritizes students and recognizes the hard work of our teachers, a task that some had written off as unachievable.”
The new contract marks significant progress for the District and recognizes the incredible work of PPSD teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new contract achieves the following:
Reforms the hiring process to help the District better recruit top talent and diversify its teaching workforce by accelerating the hiring process resulting in fewer lost opportunities with respect to best candidates
Requires, for the first time, mandatory educator participation in two parent-teacher conferences during the school year, 10 monthly staff meetings with the principal, and four additional professional development days
Requires, for the first time, the development of lesson plans by teachers to better support student learning, including making those plans available for inspection by principals
Recognizes the challenges of the past year by giving all teachers a one-time COVID-19 bonus resulting in improved teacher morale for school reopening
Reforms the grievance process to ensure that teacher concerns are first addressed at the individual school level, minimizing bureaucracy
Reforms teacher evaluation process to include student learning outcomes and/or objectives and a clear path for removing underperforming teachers
Requires that teachers use daily planning periods for activities like grading assignments, lesson planning, professional enrichment, or other efforts related to improving student outcomes
“I’m pleased we have worked in collaboration to reach an agreement that considers the best interests of our entire Providence Public Schools community,” said Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “The goal has always been to provide Providence students a high-quality education and with this agreement we are better positioned to support our educators and school leaders while meeting the needs of our students and families. I look forward to working with all members of the PPSD community to ensure students are supported to excel in the classroom and beyond.”
“As interim superintendent who has previously been both a principal and teacher in the District, I’m glad that all of us were able to come together and agree on a contract that will help our students succeed,” said interim Superintendent Javier Montañez. “I look forward to continuing our partnership as we continue to make progress within Providence Public Schools.”
Failing to achieve an agreement could have resulted in prolonged, expensive litigation and a chaotic and uncertain start to the new school year for students, families and educators. The contract puts the District in a position to get straight to work to address the learning challenges caused by COVID-19 and maximize educational opportunities for our students which remains the top priority.
The contract is the result of the State’s statutory intervention to control and manage Providence Schools in collaboration with the City of Providence.
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