Educational Success

Rhode Island's children will succeed with learning opportunities and learning environments that inspire success.

A teacher at Chariho Middle School uses blended learning with her students.

Blended learning - an approach to learning that integrates teaching and technology - was developed and tested in Rhode Island at the Highlander Institute. The approach now is utilized in schools and districts throughout the state, here at Chariho Middle School.

Educational Success is one of our three Strategic Initiatives. Across all three - Healthy Lives, Economic Security, and Educational Success - we are focused on:

  • The places where our three strategic priorities intersect. True progress in one is not possible without progress in all three.
  • Statewide investment, with priority placed on investments that will break down the barriers that hold back low income Rhode Islanders and Rhode Islanders of color.
  • Supporting cultures of civic engagement and philanthropy within these three areas, and across our state. Both are proven drivers of sustainable change. 

Here is what that means for our Educational Success strategy, specifically: 

Investments of funding, and our institutional investment beyond grantmaking, are aimed at long-term improvements in student achievement, the quality of educational environments, and coordination within the sector. We will look for equity to be demonstrated in the reduction of disparities across these outcomes. 

To reach our 2025 Impact Targets for Educational Success  we will focus on three strategies: 

  1. Improved student learning experiences. We support academic and social-emotional learning, with an emphasis on efforts that include rigor, relevance, and belonging. A focus is placed on high-need students and communities. We also support improved coordination between entities providing services to support students and families through the learning experience.

    Example: The College Crusade runs over 60 different college readiness programs in 38 schools, colleges, and universities, and serves approximately 4,200 students annually.  The Crusade has developed longstanding partnerships with the cities of Central Falls, Cranston, Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket to provide programs during the school day, after school, on the weekends, during school vacations and over the summer.  Through these programs “Crusaders” - the students who participate - graduate high school, on time and enroll in college immediately following high school graduation, at higher rates than their peers.
  2. Strengthened educator capacity and leadership. We invest in enhancing teacher and school leader capacity, supporting professional development opportunities that are both job-embedded and ongoing. We aim to strengthen efforts to recruit and retain diverse teachers and teacher candidates that reflect the student population, as we know this is critical to student success.

    Example: The Center for Leadership and Educational Equity (CLEE) runs two professional development programs for educators, the Principal Residency Network (PRN) and the Learning Leader Network (LLN).  To demonstrate the impact of these programs CLEE utilizes changes in student outcome data as a measure of success. In their 2017 Outcomes Report the programs demonstrated positive results in the form of reduced achievement gaps. With funding from the Rhode Island Foundation CLEE is developing a new program, the Novice Principal Induction Program (NPIN) to provide support for 12 new school principals through peer networking, individual coaching and ongoing feedback.
  3. Improved coordination within and across the sector. We seek to inform the development and improvement of policies and procedures that provide opportunity to all school-age students.  As a compliment to that work, we will support meaningful partnerships within and across the K-12, early learning, and higher education systems that better inform policies, practices, and use of resources.

    Example: School facilities are the foundation for learning; without buildings that are warm, safe, and dry, learning the abstract concepts of academics can become more challenging.  In 2017, The Rhode Island Department of Education identified over $627 million in much-needed repairs and improvements to public school buildings. As a result, Rhode Island Foundation leadership served on the Rhode Island School Building Task Force, along with other stakeholders from across a variety of sectors. The task force has since made recommendations to improve the state’s funding and approvals processes, that if adopted will streamline school building improvement efforts.

Partner with us on this strategic initiative: 

Invest in the Fund for Education.
Apply for a Strategic Initiative Grant

Specific funds are available that extend our strategic initiative grantmaking in Educational Success. Generous donors have established more than 150 scholarship funds at the Foundation, while our Carter Spark Grants support teachers’ innovative ideas. Other funds support specific topics such as arts education or particular Rhode Island School districts.

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LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

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