PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In a effort to improve education and meet — or even exceed — Massachusetts’ levels by 2030, Gov. Dan McKee has released more details about his “Learn365RI” plan.

The plan includes shifting from the traditional 180 school days to 365 days of learning to offer students more opportunities outside the classroom.

On Tuesday, McKee announced the recipients of nearly $3.8 million in grants through the Advancing Learning Beyond the 180-Day School Year program.

“Our Learn365RI grants will help us improve student outcomes across the state by empowering communities to offer more high-quality, out-of-school learning opportunities,” McKee said. “With these investments in our kids, we are closer to reaching our goal of 1 million hours of additional learning for the students of our state.”

While 31 districts have signed on to the initiative, Johnston is one that hasn’t so far. Mayor Joe Polisena Jr. and Superintendent Dr. Bernard DiLullo told 12 News they met with McKee’s office in the spring to discuss Learn365RI, but said that since they couldn’t get clear answers on the logistics and curriculum, they decided the town would opt out.

“We felt like if we were going to engage in something like this, we were going to need a lot more information than what was provided to us,” DiLullo explained.

There are three areas where McKee says Rhode Island lags behind Massachusetts by around 10 points: RICAS math and English Language Arts scores, student attendance, and FAFSA completion.

The governor said Tuesday there are safeguards laid out in the initiative that ensure cities and towns use the money appropriately. The governor’s office says there will not be penalties imposed on municipalities.

“Johnston is one of a few communities that have not signed on yet. That’s their prerogative,” McKee added. “My focus is the 95% of the state’s population that municipal leaders are representing that have signed a compact.”

McKee said the grants will help support a wide range of approaches across the state.

Communities receiving expanded Learn365RI grants of more than $50,000 include:

  • Burrillville: $286,990
  • Central Falls: $394,564
  • East Providence: $340,000
  • Middletown: $203,445
  • Newport: $345,000
  • North Kingstown: $305,000
  • Pawtucket: $310,000
  • Smithfield: $240,000
  • South Kingstown: $325,000

Standard $50,000 grant recipients include:

  • Bristol
  • Coventry
  • East Greenwich
  • Hopkinton
  • Jamestown
  • Lincoln
  • Little Compton
  • New Shoreham
  • North Smithfield
  • Portsmouth
  • Richmond
  • Scituate
  • Warwick
  • West Warwick
  • Woonsocket

Barrington, Cranston, Cumberland, Providence, Warren, and Westerly remain eligible to receive funding, according to McKee’s office.

Below are examples of how some cities and towns plan to use the funding:

  • In Burrillville, the money will help provide a number of STEM-related programs, tutoring, and academic support across the community through partnerships with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern RI, Smith Memorial Library, Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition, Burrillville Extended Care, and Burrillville Public Schools.
  • In Central Falls, the funding will support a partnership with Coaching 4 Change and Rhode Island College to provide near-peer tutoring and experiential learning for all fourth graders, the hosting of district-wide FAFSA nights, and the expansion of the Central Falls Pod Mentorship Program to support school day attendance.
  • In Newport, the grant will support a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, and the EBCAP/Newport Family and Child Opportunity Zone, to expand the Reading Reaps Rewards (R3) project from a summer program to a year-round program targeting kindergarten to fourth grade students. It will also support FAFSA completion with a series of workshop events and target attendance with various community engagement events with FabNewport.
  • In South Kingstown, a partnership with the Johnnycake Center for Hope and the University of Rhode Island College of Education will help provide academic tutoring for students from kindergarten to eighth grade, along with additional supports for students with dyslexia. The funding will also help create wrap-around services with Tides Family Services for middle school students to address chronic absenteeism and a partnership with the Tomaquag Museum to offer trauma-informed care trainings to families and educators.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated to clarify that cities and towns will not face penalties.