SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) — New Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green is starting off her first school year in the state by visiting local schools.
Her first stop was Clayville Elementary School in Scituate Wednesday morning.
“I am so excited to be here,” said Infante-Green. “To see these kids get off the bus with their smiling faces and know that we’re actually going to have the best year that we’ve ever had is an amazing feeling.”
Infante-Green visited more than a dozen schools across the state before summer vacation and plans to visit more as the new school year gets underway. She’ll be at Exeter-West Greenwich Regional High School on Friday.
“We have a big push this year on school culture,” said Infante-Green. “That means how you receive the kids, what the instruction looks like, all of that.”
She commended the school culture at Clayville Elementary.
“At this particular school the head custodian greets the kids at the bus every single morning for 30 years,” said Infante-Green. “That’s a positive school culture, and that’s what we want to promote throughout the state.”
Infante-Green said there will be new expectations this year when it comes to school culture.
“We’re actually going to document and have all the information on how to change a school culture, because school culture is also about excellence, achieving standards,” said Infante-Green. “I think that we have been sort of middle-of-the-road in some districts, and that’s no longer acceptable.”
As much of her attention has been focused squarely on Providence Public Schools in light of the scathing Johns Hopkins report, Eyewitness News asked Infante-Green what her message is to parents in other school districts.
“We’re all going to work together. It’s not just about Providence; it’s about the entire state of Rhode Island,” said Infante-Green. “Anything we do for Providence is going to benefit the entire state.”
Infante-Green said she’s confident Providence schools will be ready for the first day of school on Sept. 3.
“I met with the superintendent yesterday. We’re on track, they’re on track to have schools ready,” said Infante-Green. “From what I’ve been told they seem to be on track; busing, staffing, obviously they always have vacancies that they have to deal with at the beginning of the year, but they’re working on all of that.”
Infante-Green said she will be making her school visit schedule public and encourages parents to come and meet her.
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