EAST PROVIDENCE — By the time her current contract expires, Kathryn Crowley will have served as superintendent of East Providence schools for a minimum of five years after the school committee, at its October 10 meeting, added a year to her existing pact.
When Mrs. Crowley was hired back in November of 2015, she and the district agreed on a three-year deal, the maximum allowed by state law. The committee tacked on a year in 2016 following her first 12 months on the job, then did so again last week as the superintendent’s second year concludes.
Mrs. Crowley stressed the necessity of having her contract revised as she continues to initiate and implement her agenda for the school department.
“It was important to me. It makes me feel good about where I am and I think it gives our people confidence I’m going to be there for three more years, especially with the building situation we’re in,” the superintendent said. “The three years is also important for continuity’s sake. We have a great team place, and I think it gives them confidence knowing I’m going to be here and that they’ll be here for three more years, too. And I also think it gives them some security in knowing all the work they have put in will continue as well.”
Of what she saw as some of the achievements so far for her administration, Superintendent Crowley said she was most pleased with the improvement in the “culture” of the department as well as the curriculum changes instituted, including those currently being done in science and social studies.
The superintendent said she was pleased with the formation and efforts of the district’s building sub-committee and the formulation of a five-year plan to address school infrastructure matters, including the potential of constructing a new high school to replace the existing troubled 65-year-old structure.
“I’m very happy with the work of the building committee and I look forward to having a new high school referendum item on the ballot for the 2018 election. I’m very excited, very hopeful about that,” Mrs. Crowley added.
Of things the administration still must address, the superintendent said the focus right now is on implementing new teaching strategies to coincide with the changes/updates in curriculum. The new methods include differentiated instruction, group work and project based learning. She said an emphasis is being put on making teachers “facilitators in the classroom rather than lecturers at the chalkboard.” As well, the superintendent called raising the reading ability and retention of children in grades K-2 a “priority” and also said “increasing academic rigor” is a district-wide goal.
“I’m very happy with where we are, but we still have a lot left to achieve,” Superintendent Crowley said. “I feel fortunate to have a very supportive school committee that really has the children at heart. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but we agree to disagree and move on to do what’s best for the district. So I feel very good about that.”
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