2019 Superintendent Surveys: Coventry

Superintendent Survey

Craig Levis – Coventry School District

1. What is the number one thing parents and students should know about the district this year? 

Coventry Public Schools is in the process of developing a Vision of the Graduate that looks at our students as they progress from pre-kindergarten through graduation.  We believe it is imperative that every member of our community understands how the skills, competencies, and dispositions developed by our students at each grade level, through a variety of experiences and extended learning opportunities, lead to graduates who can compete on a global level for highly skilled careers.  This “vision” will be articulated to our school community in late fall of 2019.  

2.  What is the biggest challenge your district faces?

The greatest challenge Coventry Public Schools faces is the sustainability of the current funding structure.  With two-thirds of our funding coming from local appropriations, it is becoming more increasingly difficult to get the community as a whole to continue to fund education at the necessary levels.  We have a very skilled teaching staff. We need to invest in our infrastructure, something that has been neglected for over a decade. It is imperative that as a district we engage all of our community on a regular basis and demonstrate to all stakeholders the role education plays in creating a strong future for Coventry.  I believe the community values education and understands how the success of our educational system impacts the quality of life in Coventry. We are constantly looking at ways of collaborating with the municipality, reviewing contracts with vendors for efficiencies and savings, and creating additional revenue streams. Despite all of the challenges our community has faced during the recent budget cycle, we are committed to providing the best education experience possible to every student, every day! 

3.  What is the vaccination rate for your district and what is your policy for opting out?  Have you seen a spike or decline in the number of parents opting out over the last two years?

Coventry Public Schools follows the RI Department of Health’s immunization requirement’s for kindergarten, grade 7*, grade 8*, grade 9, and grade 12.  Our 2018/2019 immunization rates, as reported by the RI Department of Health are as follows:

Kindergarten, 96.4%

Grade 7, – 77.1%

Grade 8, – 74.2%

Grade 9, – 85.1%

Grade 12, – 84.4%

Our school nurse/teachers follow up with families if medical records/vaccinations are not up to date.  We have seen a slight increase in the use of the religious exemption form available through the RI Department of Health.

*It is important to note that Coventry Public Schools does not enforce the requirement that students must have the HPV vaccination to attend schools.

4.  Some school districts in the state are banning electronic devices/cell phones.  What is your policy? Do you have plans to ban electric devices? If so, why?

The use of cell phones/personal electronic devices is covered in our Digital Technology Acceptable Use and Internet Safety Policy GBEE (See attached).  The use of such devices is banned or limited based on grade level and student need (student with a disability may have a need for a specific device). A team of educators and administrators from Coventry High School recently visited another district which bans the use of cell phones during the school day.  However, any change to our current policy would have to be reviewed and approved by our School Committee.  

5.  Tell us something nobody knows about your district.  

We recently started a formal process to review all of our school facilities and over the course of the next 18 months, with community input, will be developing a long term plan that will map out the next 20 to 25 years for Coventry Public Schools. This opportunity was made possible through a $150,000 grant from the RI Department of Education.  Our newest building was completed in 2002. Many of our buildings were built in the ’60s and ’70s. This process will provide an opportunity for everyone’s voice to be heard in answering the following question: “How will we ensure that our facilities support the educational needs of our community not only today but for the next several generations?”

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