PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The new school year in Pawtucket brings with it a new face.
Patricia Royal has stepped into the position of superintendent of schools and says she is committed to boosting student success by kickstarting new learning initiatives.
Royal told 12 News that a focus on reading is fundamental to a flourishing student body.
“Once you learn how to read, you can do science. Most of our science assessments are reading. Most of our math word problems are reading. It just touches every core curriculum area,” she explained.
Due to that, she has made it her goal to flood the city with books to improve literacy.
“My goal would be bringing in 10,000 books to our district. I really want to flood our schools and our homes with books,” she said. “The more they read, the better they get. The more they read, the better they comprehend. The more they read, it impacts all of the other core areas in school so they become a better overall academic performer.”
Royal said another mission of hers is to boost the graduation rate, noting that reading comprehension at an early age plays a big part in that.
She also said she wants to bolster opportunities for students to find success toward the end of their academic career in Pawtucket.
“Another push that we want to do is offer more advanced courses,” she added. “We’ll work with nearby colleges on how we can connect so that students not only earn high school credits but can also earn college credits.”
Royal hopes to double, if not triple, the amount of AP and dual-enrollment classes offered at Pawtucket high schools.
Royal is new to the district and will soon have a new high school to oversee. Despite a billionaire’s efforts to save McCoy Stadium, a new school building is scheduled to be built on that site. Royal said she expects construction to begin early next year.
“Continuing to move forward and are progressing. Looks like we’re going to be pretty close to on time,” she said. “We had a meeting last week. The timeline did not have to be adjusted, so we’re right on schedule.”
“I can definitely assure you one of my assistant superintendents has been wonderful in overseeing the process of making sure that Winters does not experience any other hiccups like that,” Royal said.
She also said she’s committed to community outreach and will be forming a parent advisory committee to get opinions and ideas from parents on what can be improved.