Volunteers roll up sleeves to clean up Providence schools


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In anticipation of the upcoming school year, volunteers are helping with cleanup efforts at Providence schools.

Answering the call Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza put out several weeks ago, volunteers arrived at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School and Young Woods Elementary School.

Despite the rain, they picked up rakes and shovels to help clean up and beautify the outside of the buildings. Volunteers will help clean the school exteriors, including parking lots and walkways.

Then on Saturday, volunteer teams will work on Carnevale Elementary School and a series of high schools.

Friday, Aug. 23, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, 35 Camp St., Providence, RI 02906
  • Young Woods Elementary School, 674 Prairie Ave., Providence, RI 02905

Saturday, Aug. 24, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Anthony Carnevale Elementary School, 50 Springfield St., Providence, RI 02909
  • Quad of Classical High School, Central High School, and Providence Career and Technical Academy, 70 Fricker St., Providence, RI 02903

Despite the efforts outside the buildings, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, who is planning to invoke a state law to take over the capital city’s school system later this fall, said this week she was not satisfied with the condition of school buildings ahead of the new school year.

“I’m disappointed so far in what I’ve seen,” she told Eyewitness News.

The cleanup efforts follow a report from Johns Hopkins University Institute for Education Policy that found the school district is struggling in several areas.

“Providence is a community that cares,” said Elorza. “We want to welcome our students on September 3rd to facilities that inspire them to learn. Though there are a number of advancements that we can make for our school community in the short term we know the full transformation we seek will take time and collaboration and we want all members of our community to be a part of every step of the process.”

Many teachers, parents, students and officials are hoping the schools will be cleaned up before school begins on Sept. 3.

“Even this weekend, on top of the work that is being done, I am going to be out there. We are asking the community to come up,” said Elorza. “Many people want to volunteer. Want to roll up their sleeves to help beautify the buildings. It’s going to take everyone to get this done.”

Elorza is calling the cleanup effort a collaborative process for the community.

“The community is at the table, our vendors are at the table, and our entire operations team is making sure schools are ready to go starting Sept. 3rd.”

Elorza said the work is on top of the $20 million investment that was made to school infrastructure that began earlier this year.

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