Providence mayor, superintendent join students on the ride to school

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Alarm clocks went off bright and early on Tuesday for students in Providence, Westerly, Jamestown, New Shoreham, Somerset, and Westport as those districts headed back to school.

In Providence, Mayor Jorge Elorza and new Superintendent of Schools Chris Maher took a ride on the buses with students, despite the rainy conditions.

“It’s always exciting to start a new school year,” said Elorza. “There’s been so much preparation that has gone into this. The kids are excited.”

At Del Sesto Middle School, students were in for some big changes. Three new academies – summit, stem and steam – will now take over the floors of Del Sesto.

“Summit Academy students have one on one devices and they learn online. When it comes to Stem Academy, teachers will be using the existing curriculum that the district has to offer,” said Principal Arzinia Gill. “When it comes to steam – which is Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics – it’s to bring in the creative side.

Last week, Maher told Eyewitness News that students lose about one-third of what they know in math over the summer, and slightly less than that in English.

“It’s something that they just have to pick up everyday when they get back,” he explained. “The first thing we do when kids get back into school is get them back, welcome them back, get them into their routines and rituals, but soon after that we’ll do an assessment to see were students stand and see which students need different interventions.”

The mayor said it’s both his and Maher’s responsibility to support their schools.

“We try to support schools as much as possible because there’s no more important issue than making sure we’re investing in our future,” said Elorza. “We’re doing that through our kids in our schools.”

In the below video, WPRI.com Reporter Dan McGowan joins Eyewitness News This Morning for an in-depth discussion on Providence’s first day back.

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