Introducing the Fuse Architect Schools – Woonsocket High School and the Woonsocket Area Career and Technical Center

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The only high school in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Woonsocket High School is led by principal Carnell Henderson with a school mission to “do what is in the best interests of this community’s students so they are provided opportunities to develop 21st century skills and competencies in order to meet life’s challenges with confidence.” One of the core values of the Woonsocket Education Department is having high expectations for students to achieve their potential to become self-reliant learners and productive responsible citizens while understanding that students reach this goal at different rates and in different ways.

Woonsocket Demographics

# of students % of Free and Reduced Lunch % of English as a Second Language % of Special Education Services
1400 64% 9% 21%

Woonsocket’s overarching goal is to improve educator and system capacity to provide personalized experiences for every learner. By investing in teacher effectiveness, the team at Woonsocket believes student learning will improve. The school strives to provide teachers with high quality and meaningful professional learning to support classroom instruction. The partnership with Fuse Architect will enhance what Woonsocket High School has already been doing and continue to develop equitable student-centered learning practices that promote student voice and agency in order to increase academic performance.

Recently, Woonsocket was awarded the P-TECH, or Pathways in Technology Early College High School, grant to start up its P-TECH Program. According to its website, Rhode Island’s P-TECH initiative forges long-term partnerships between high schools, colleges, industry associations, and businesses to provide students with the education and skills they need to succeed and employers with a pipeline to the workforce of the future. Students enrolled in P-TECH programs take college-level courses while in high school, benefit from internships and mentoring, and graduate with a high school diploma and an industry-approved associate degree. Grantee schools are public schools that bring together the best elements of high school, college, and career. Each P-TECH school has an industry partner as well as a college partner.

The P-TECH program will be part of Woonsocket Area Career and Technical Center, and a student-centered learning program will be created as the focus of their Fuse Architect project. The Woonsocket team’s charge is to use P-TECH to develop a new model for students to earn college credits in high school and complete their associate degree in Computer Science. The P-TECH program is using Summit Learning for academic work and community partnerships are currently being built with the CVS corporation and the Community Care Alliance.

At the time of their application, the Woonsocket team’s expectation was to develop equitable student-centered learning practices that promote student voice and agency at the high school level. The partnership with Fuse Architect in developing the P-TECH program would enhance what the Woonsocket High School has already been doing to develop equitable student-centered learning practices that promote student voice and agency in order to increase academic performance.

At the conclusion of Phase 1 the Fuse Architect team had created partnerships with New England Basecamp to provide their students with expeditions related to computer science and to develop a sense of community. They also partnered with SteamBox RI to provide quarterly workshops for students that will push their ability to build on the computer science skills they are developing in the program. In the classroom the Fuse Architect teachers are eager to create a 9th grade experience that balances high academic expectations with the need to address the social supports that go along with the transition to high school. By the end of the year they hope students will have developed strong relationships with their industry partners, become self directed learners and are expressing excitement around their academic and career goals.

To learn more about the Fuse Architect project, updates, and partnerships, see all blogs in this series!

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