New Warwick superintendent looks ahead to academic year, has plan to build new schools

Back to School

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Students in grades K-9 return to school in Warwick on Wednesday, and a new superintendent will be there to welcome them.

It’s been more than a year since students were all in person, five days a week. It’s an exciting time for change, especially for Lynn Dambruch, the new superintendent of schools.

Dambruch, an educator in Warwick for the past 36 years, had spent the past year serving as the district’s assistant superintendent.

She told 12 news her first challenge will be getting students up and running after COVID restrictions re-shaped their education last year.

“We will be assessing students when they enter school to see where they are academically and then we are accelerating,” she said. “It’s going to be going along at grade level and moving.”

Dambruch also says the district has hired four more social workers and implemented programs at all grade levels to handle the emotional toll of the pandemic.

“One of our biggest concerns is the social and emotional wellbeing of not only our students but our staff,” she explained. “This pandemic has taken a toll, and we don’t really know the toll it’s taken on families, every family had different experiences.”

For this school year, every student will have transportation after the district wasn’t able to secure a full fleet of buses last year. Dambruch says they were able to secure 63 buses for eligible students.

Dambruch will be helping to craft proposals to build two new high schools in Warwick. Outdated schools have been a challenge for years, and initially, the city had wanted to renovate Tollgate and Pilgrim high schools.

“The costs would have probably been more to renovate than building new, so the Rhode Island Department of Education really wanted us to build new,” she explained. “The first submission of our plan is September 15 and then the second submission is February 15.”

The initial proposals call for the new schools to be built on the existing sites of the two current high schools.

Many parents are also hoping to go even further with new athletic fields.

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