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Parent

March 2017

FREE

RHODE ISLAND

MAGAZINE

Closing RI's digital divide Brain Week RI Shopping local

Engaging children in conversation New app gets kids talking about their day Austin Hall, 12, of Barrington


2017 camp & summer program guide

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Rhode Island Parent Magazine  March 2017


2017

camp & summer program guide Whatever you are looking for, you’ll find it in our Guide! Camps types represented: Art

Educational

Nature/Outdoor

Sailing

Faith-based

Rock climbing

Dance

Gymnastics

Horse riding

The Guide is spread through the magazine – look for the title at the top of the page. Some advertisers offer services year-round, so be sure to check out the Guide even if you aren’t looking for summer programs/camps.

March 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine

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Win this fun toy for Spring! Washable Sidewalk Chalk Paint Super Set with Tools As it starts to warm up, your kids could be playing with this spring 2017 toy – 8 sidewalk chalk paint bucket colors, 2 foam brushes, 2 paint rollers, a stir stick, and mixing tray. Mix and match colors and paint with foam brushes for maximum application. Age 3+ SRP: $19.99

Visit www.RIParentMag.com to enter for your chance to win!

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Rhode Island Parent Magazine  March 2017


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Contents March 2017 / vol. 2 / no. 8

Departments 6 A Note from the Publisher Want to be in the magazine?

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10 A Better Life Shopping local. 12 The Healthy Child Brain Week RI.

16 Education Two years of college for free.

18 Calendar What to do in March.

Check our website,

www.RIParentMag.com to enter for your chance to win great prizes. And while you’re there, take a look at our latest calendar of events and directory of businesses and organizations for whatever you need.

Features 8 Cover Feature:

Engaging conversations with your kids – anywhere, anytime

14 Closing the digital divide in RI

2017 Camp & Summer Program Guide

Find information about camps and programs throughout the magazine.

Looking for entertainment?

On the web:

For birthday parties and other events, see pages 19 and 21.

Visit our all-new website! It’s a one-stop shop for parents in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Find the current magazine and past issues on the website. The digital edition is great for reading on a tablet, phone, or computer. Plus, sign up for our email newsletter and join our Facebook and Twitter pages. Visit www.RIParentMag.com, Facebook.com/RIParentMag, and Twitter.com/@riparentmag

March 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine

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A Note from the Publisher

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his month’s issue has many interesting articles, so take a break to read! The cover story is about a local couple who wanted to know more about their two children’s days. They got active about it, building an Internet platform that encourages conversation, which has expanded to several schools in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I met Sylvia and Jarrid Hall in my Social Enterprise Greenhouse Business Accelerator class. They are energetic and I believe they will spark a “conversation revolution.” There are several other businesses in my class who are working to help kids and parents. You’ll likely get to read stories about them in upcoming issues. I got to visit two schools and meet some very bright and fun high school students. You can read about them in the Feature story on page 14 and Education section on page 16. It’s one of the greatest parts of my job – seeing what’s going on in our fantastic schools. I find stories everywhere. I don’t think I could ever run out of topics to cover in the magazine and on the website. But I still need more. If you work for a non-profit that helps parents or a school or a business that serves parents, I want you to email me at editor@RIParentMag.com with your events and information. My goal is to connect parents with whatever they need. If you are trying to reach parents, contact us and let’s see how we can work together! Don’t forget to check out our 2017 Camp & Summer Program Guide throughout the magazine. There are new camps in this month! Happy reading!

57 Rolfe Square, Box 10094 Cranston, Rhode Island 02910 (401) 337-9240 Founder and Publisher Susan Gale publisher@RIParentMag.com Art Director/Graphic Designer Rob Kenney artdirector@RIParentMag.com Copy Editor Sheila Flanagan editor@RIParentMag.com Business Manager Lisa Koulibaly sales@RIParentMag.com Sales Representative and Contributer Stephanie Bernaba (401) 337-9240 sales@RIParentMag.com On the cover: photo by Susan Gale Publisher photo taken by Keith Jochim. KeithJochimPhotography.com Rhode Island Parent Magazine is published monthly by Gale Force Communications. Unless specifically noted, no advertisers, products, or services are endorsed by the publisher. Editorial submissions welcome.

Susan Gale ©2017 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.

Like us on Facebook and Twitter: Facebook.com/RIParentMag @RIParentMag

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Rhode Island Parent Magazine  March 2017


2017 camp & summer program guide

March 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine

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Cover Feature By Sylvia Hall and Dianne Samuelson

Engaging conversations with your kids – anywhere, anytime “How was your day?” “Fine.” “What did you do today?” “Nothing.”

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oes this sound familiar to you? This daily exchange between parent and child is heard ‘round the world countless times every day. In fact, it’s so common and life is so busy that very often we, as parents, let it go at that – yet we know there is a great deal more going on in our child’s day. But what if your children really want to share their day with you? What if they are so overwhelmed by a busy day, they don’t know where to start, are not sure how to tell their story, or their memory challenges inhibit them? What if you could potentially change your child’s brain at the neural level over the dinner table?

Starting a “conversation movement”

Schools today do a tremendous job sending home information to keep parents in the loop. But with two kids in elementary school, we wanted a conversation that linked school to home through the eyes of our children. We wanted to hear our kids’ excitement about their day from them. So, in 2015, my husband Jarrid and I started the DinnerxChange™ (DxC™) with a mission to start a conversation movement. Jarrid created an Internet platform that gave our then 11-year-old son Austin the ability to input a few hints about his school day during school hours – right on the classroom computer. These hints are called GABs (what ‘tweets’ are to Twitter, GABs are to DxC.) With our son’s teacher completely on board and only needing two minutes for input, Austin could enter a few words, a few times per day, into the DxC platform. At home during dinner or in the car on the way to fencing or out walking the dog, we pulled up the GABs on an app and had Austin read the three or four prompts that detailed a few events throughout his day. At first it took him several minutes to retrace his day in his head, but suddenly he would have 8

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  March 2017

this “aha” moment and tell us all about that part of his day. He became empowered by remembering his day, being able to share the details, and initiating really fun conversations with the family.

Research on conversation

Research suggests that open and ongoing conversations between parents and children strengthen family bonds and has other benefits such as increased intellectual curiosity, improved problem solving and communication skills, higher self-esteem, enhanced logical reasoning, and decreased depression and risk of childhood obesity. We quickly saw the benefits and power of family conversation. After a few weeks of using DxC at the dinner table and beyond, our then 10-year-old daughter Gracie was asking to use it too. With the approval and participation of her teacher, Gracie was coming home eager to share her GABs each evening. What was once a very short dialogue of “fine” and “nothing” soon became both our kids initiating conversation with lots of detail, interest, examples shared, emotions felt, eyes wide, arms flailing – you get the picture. Per a 2013 study in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, the communication engagement between school and home results in “… stronger teacher-student relationships, expanded parental involvement, and increased student motivation.” We have seen the positive impact of childinitiated conversation in our kids’ academic enthusiasm and grades. Using DxC has bridged the gap between school and home, reinforcing the importance of school and its relativeness in everyday life. Gracie’s teacher also saw the benefits of using DxC and asked to use it for the entire classroom in Barrington. Over several months, we worked with teachers, parents, education professionals, and researchers to adapt our platform to become useable on a larger scale and malleable to different students’ needs. What we discovered is fascinating and possibly lifealtering for a child.


Possible outcomes

We collaborated with neurologists and clinical advisors, and discovered that the process of a child inputting a GAB at school and then later retrieving the information that supports that GAB has the potential to change their neurology. For example, it may be possible for a child with executive function deficits and working memory challenges to improve these skills by consistently using the DxC platform. By mentally retracing their day, identifying and piecing together the information that relates to the GAB, formulating the presentation of the GAB, and initiating the conversation, it can strengthen the neural connections that encode and retrieve information, thus enhancing consolidation of new knowledge and improving academic outcomes. One of the most effective means of information absorption is the method used in medical schools: See 1, Do 1, Be 1. When a student sees something new, learns/practices it, and then teaches someone else the information or method, the content is then fully and firmly implanted in their brain. The DxC GABs are designed to act in this way for students. DxC exercises the muscle of recall. They are taught a subject, they work on the subject, and (using the GABs) they come home and talk about and teach their families about the subject. When a student participates in a lesson, captures their own perception of the lesson (their personal “neuro footprint”) and events surrounding the lesson, and then uses the GABs to retrace and recall that lesson at home to share with family, it is believed that the brain cells engage, connect and develop. This is true both for students with and without disabilities. The development of the brain can be accelerated through the strengthening of neural connections and creation of neural networks. Thus, a child’s cognitive development is on a spectrum which can be enhanced, and the disabilities effect relatively weakened.

And that’s exactly what we and so many other families get excited about most – conversations at home. Now in multiple schools and classrooms in the New England area, Steve Milt, a DxC dad said it best “I heard more detail about his day than ever before. Plus, we had a positive, supported, connected feeling as dinner ended.” Find out more at www.dxcgabs.com and GAB on!  Sylvia Hall, of Barrington, is mom of two pre-teen kids and cofounder of DxC. With a 15+ year career in strategic marketing, a passion for writing, and happily choosing to stay home with the kids, she focuses on implementation of learning differences strategies in kids' daily lives.          Dianne Samuelson, of Washington D.C., has a Master’s in Education from the Mind, Brain, and Education program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and is founder of Samuelson Educational Consulting, which serves students K–16.

Working with educators

By working with education professionals, we have ensured that the DxC platform meshes with a scaffolding method of teaching. The GABs are a tool that chunks down a child’s day into smaller pieces, captures these moments, provides a review of these moments, and allows for recall of these moments. This enhances academic instruction, provides greater understanding of the subject, produces a more engaged student, and by sharing it at home, a more connected family which cycles back into the classroom the next day. As Katie Wilson, a 4th grade teacher in Barrington currently using DxC, said, “It allows what might be otherwise considered ‘small moments’ in school to be bigger conversations at home.”

Sylvia Hall and husband Jarrid (not pictured) started DxC to improve dinner conversations with their children, Gracie, 11, and Austin, 12.

March 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine

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A Better Life By Stephanie Bernaba

Changing your mindset to

shop local

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ast month, I promised tips on how to live a better life, and believe that I must begin by discussing shopping local, as this is one of the most significant ways that we can achieve a happier, healthier family. Let’s take a trip in our minds down a busy road, shall we? A thoroughfare lined with stores. Which ones do you see? Which signs do you recognize? It’s the big ones, right? The stores even your kids can identify. I’d like you to try something next time you hit the strip to do your errands: look for the small signs. Look for the businesses nestled between the large ones. You’ll be surprised to see how many there actually are. Small businesses are out there, and they need you. When’s the last time you had clothing mended, shoes repaired, or jewelry fixed or modified? When’s the last time you asked a butcher for a specific cut of meat? These are activities we rarely talk about, or see happening much at all anymore. Most of the time, we toss the offending item to the side and buy a new one, which creates waste and burns up cash. This is also what we teach our children. Instead of asking to have their shoes resoled or sweater sewn, they’re asking for new ones. In order to save our planet, this must change. There are folks who will say that it’s inconvenient to shop local (I used to be one of them), that it’s a pain to hit four or five stores for what you need, and to those who feel that way, I offer you this advice: start small. Find one shop with something you would normally buy at a large retailer. Go inside. Look around. See what’s offered. Ask the people behind the counter what others purchase most. And then try a little more. Not only will you support that business owner’s livelihood, but you’ll be giving back to your local community. And if we teach our kids to shop local, we can increase their sense of community while keeping these businesses thriving for years to come.

volume discounts or make deals you may not otherwise make in a large department store. Local businesses rely on you to stay open, so they’re more likely to listen to you, work with you, and meet your needs. They specialize in providing value to the consumer, and in services you can’t find anywhere else. They also know what they’re talking about. Whether they are giving advice to you about a particular product, helping you make informed purchasing decisions, or referring you to other qualified tradespeople, local businesses possess knowledge you simply cannot find in superstores. Not only can local businesses be charming, but they can also hold treasures you may never see on department store shelves. Shopping local is simply the best way to acquire oneof-a-kind gifts and household items. Dining at independent restaurants and bakeries is also the best way to enjoy local fare. Ethnic grocery stores carry items that will tickle your taste buds, kick your cooking up a notch, and maybe even bring a smile to the face of an older relative who hasn’t seen a particular dish or item since they were young. Without these shops to continue our age-old traditions, pieces of our culture die. For the past year, I have been shopping locally in as many ways as possible, and I feel I’ve gained a greater appreciation for the institution of the small business. There’s no corporate face or setup protocol. That means business owners must do it all themselves – from building shelves to keeping customers. In addition to supporting local business owners, who could be our neighbors or friends, supporting local businesses keeps our towns’ economies healthy by making money available for our infrastructure and schools. They also support other local businesses in the form of vendors and suppliers. And that’s good for everyone. 

Benefits of shopping local

Stephanie Bernaba, of Richmond, is a freelance writer and blogger specializing in parenting, raising families in the digital age, and entertainment. She writes at SheKnows, Redbook Magazine, and White Orchid Media. www.whiteorchidmedia.com.

Local shop owners rely on word of mouth, so they take extra time to chat, they take care with your purchase, and some even gift wrap free of charge. And because you’re most often dealing with the owners or their families, it is possible to negotiate 10

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  March 2017


2017 camp & summer program guide

Your camp or summer program ad here

March 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine

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The Healthy Child

Learn about the brain during Brain Week RI

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he second annual Brain Week Rhode Island, a celebration of brain health and science for all ages, will take place March 11–19 with free events in and around Providence and Kingston. Activities during Brain Week include creative learning opportunities, expert panels, film screenings, arts and storytelling events, workshops, and a brain fair with interactive science exhibits. Topics range from the basic science of how the most complex object in the known universe works to how it can be damaged or malfunction, with special events devoted to sports concussion and mental illness, among others. Last year’s Brain Week RI attracted more than 1,500 Rhode Islanders to its events, so advanced reservations this year are strongly advised. The event is organized by Providence-based national research advocacy organization, Cure Alliance for Mental Illness, with major sponsorship from the Brown Institute for Brain Science and the University of Rhode Island’s George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience. “Our brains control what we see, how we learn, what we remember, why we feel pain, and how we make decisions.” said Diane Lipscomb, Director of the Brown Institute for Brain Science. “Brain Week RI offers opportunities to learn about the great scientific advances in neuroscience and consider what we still don't know.” “It is vitally important for people to know as much as possible about how the brain works, including what each of us can do to keep our brains healthy for as long as possible,” said Paula Grammas, Executive Director of the George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience. Brown University neuroscientists will spend two weeks visiting Rhode Island PK–12 classrooms to inspire the next

generation of brain scientists. The demos feature real human brains and other interactive learning activities. Classroom visits also take place throughout the school year and can be booked online. Brain Week RI will open on Saturday, March 11 with an event for high school and middle school students that will include a brain art contest and science fair, organized by the Brown University chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. A public lecture will be held on Sunday, March 12, by MacArthur “Genius Award” winner Elyn Saks, a law professor at the University of Southern California who lives with schizophrenia. Brain Week RI culminates with the Brown Brain Fair at Sayles Hall, Brown University on Sunday, March 19. The fair will feature fun, interactive exhibits for the entire family that showcase the work of local neuroscience laboratories and other organizations. Microscopes, virtual reality, real human brains, robots, face painting, crafts, and brain treats will entertain even the youngest visitors.  To reserve tickets: www.brainweekri.org International Brain Awareness Week: www.dana.org/baw Brown Institute for Brain Science: www.browninstituteforbrainscience University of Rhode Island’s George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience: www.ryaninstitute.uri.edu

Brain Week RI March Schedule (see website for changes/additions) 3/11: Brain Art Competition 3/12: Public Lecture – Elyn Saks  3/13: Making the Connection: A Panel on Autism Awareness; Movie and Panel Discussion of "Risky Drinking" 3/14: Advocacy Day: Brain Injury Association; Mental Tapas: Reframing Mental Illness  3/15: Brown Neuroscience Lecture – Richard Huganir; Nerd Nite: More Brains 3/16: Dance for our Aging Population; Movie and Discussion of "The Skeleton Twins;” Panel Discussion on PTSD 3/17: Panel Discussion on Stroke 3/18: Art Exhibit featuring artists with autism; URI Brain Fair 3/19: Brown Brain Fair with interactive exhibits for all ages 12

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  March 2017


2017 camp & summer program guide Artists’ Exchange

50 Rolfe Square, Cranston 401-490-9475 www.artists-exchange.org Fantastic day camps for the creative mind! Art, Theater, Rock ‘N’ Roll, and Ceramics. Ages 5–15. Camps start June 19th and run through August 25th. Monday–Friday, 9 am–3 pm, before and after care available. See ad, page 7.

Community Boating Center

Kingston’s Camp on Larkin’s Pond Peace Dale 401-783-8620 www.kingstonscamp.com See ad page 11.

Mother of Hope Camp

1589 Putnam Pike, Chepachet 401-568-3580 www.motherofhopecamp.com See ad, page 11.

India Point Park, Providence 401-454-7245 www.communityboating.com Two-week youth sailing camps offered June–Aug. Mon–Fri 9am–3:30 pm. NEW one-week Save The Bay Camp. Two age groups, 8–11 years old and 12–16 years old. Waterfront “Sailabration” skippered sailing events, room/deck rentals, youth afterschool programs, and evening or weekend adult lessons, recreational sailing, and NEW kayaking also available. See ad, page 11.

2 College Street, Providence (401) 454-6200 CE.RISD.EDU Summer is busy at RISD, where kids shape their creativity and imagination, and teens develop their personal style as artists and designers. Camps and classes for kids and teens ages 6–17. See ad, page 17. 

Dream Big Academy

Rock Spot Climbing

41 Comstock Pkwy, Cranston 70 Industrial Rd, Cumberland 401-228-8946 www.dreambiggym.com See ad, page 7.

Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England

Glocester, West Kingston, Newport, Swansea, MA 401-331-4500/1-800-331-0149 www.gssne.org Get ready for a summer filled with activities like archery, hiking, sailing, reaching new heights on the challenge course, swimming, and don't forget campfires & s'mores! Financial aid available. Visit gssne.org to register NOW! See ad, page 17.

J-Camp at the Dwares JCC

401 Elmgrove Ave, Providence, RI 401-421-4111 www.jewishallianceri.org June 26–August 25, Mon–Fri 9am–4pm. For children ages 3–15. Welcoming all faiths and backgrounds. Enjoy a variety of activities with themes such as mystery, construction, Olympics and carnival. Daily schedules filled with sports, swim lessons, art, cooking, science, drama, field trips, and more. Lunch and snacks included. Early arrival and extended day options; half-day options for 3–4 year olds; sibling and early bird discounts; payment plan options; counselor-intraining opportunities for teens.

RISD Young Artists

100 Higginson Ave, Lincoln, (401) 727-1704 1174 Kingstown Rd, Peace Dale, (401) 789-SPOT www.rockspotclimbing.com See ad, page 7.

Teamworks

170 Jefferson Blvd, Warwick 401-463-5565 www.teamworkswarwick.com See ad, back cover.

The Children’s Workshop

Multiple locations 401-475-3668 www.childrensworkshop.com A fun, active, and educational summer experience. Bi-weekly themes cover every interest from sports to discovery science to travel. Field trips, special guests, arts and crafts, swimming, dancing, singing - you name it, we do it! Also, special events for both children and families. See ad, page 7.

YMCA of Greater Providence

Barrington; Cranston; Warwick; Peace Dale; Seekonk, MA. See website for telephone numbers www.ymcagreaterprovidence.org See ad, inside cover.

March 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine

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Feature Story By Susan Gale

Bridging the digital divide in RI:

Sprint funds pilot program in Providence

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ou’ve probably heard the term “digital divide,” which identifies the gulf between those who have easy access to computers and internet and those who do not. The Pew Research Center reports that five million U.S. families with school-aged children do not have internet access at home, but the FCC’s Broadband Task Force found that 70 percent of teachers assign homework that requires web access, creating a “homework gap” that puts these students at a disadvantage academically and can hurt their futures.  But what does the digital divide actually mean for real Rhode Island students? For Issaic Reynolds, a 9th grader, it meant frantically trying to finish his homework in school and never spending the time on it that he needed to, resulting in great stress and lower grades. For Charmin Aquino, an 11th grader, it meant waiting until her father got home from work to use his phone for Internet access. As an English-as-a-second-language (ESL) student, she never had enough time to work on her language studies and help her younger brother with his school work. For Danielle Garcia, a 10th grader, it meant traveling in the dark every day to school at 5:30 am and coming home at 6 pm so she could use the computers and internet access. She missed out on spending time with her nephew and her mother worried about her being out in the dark. For Matthew Silvia, a 10th grader, it meant procrastinating on his homework because he often spends time with his grandmother who has no internet access. These four students at Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence all want to do well in school but are thwarted by their lack of access to technology and internet at home.

“You don’t want that learning to stop when the bell rings.” – Laura Hart, Director of Communications for Providence Public Schools

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Rhode Island Parent Magazine  March 2017

Why is there a digital divide?

Low income households are the most affected by the digital divide, as 31.4% of households with children 6–17, whose incomes fall below $50,000, do not have a high-speed internet connection at home, according to the Pew Research Center. By comparison, only 8.4% of households with annual incomes over $50,000 lack this connection. In other words, low-income homes with children are nearly four times more likely to be without broadband than their middle or upperincome counterparts. Teachers also say the Internet and digital tools are important for schools. According to a Pew study, 67% of teachers say the internet has a major impact on their ability to interact with parents, and 57% say it has a major impact on enabling their interaction with students. But when students do not have internet and digital tools at home, they lose the opportunity for greater interaction with their teachers.

Living the digital divide

For the students living it, the digital divide is more than statistics. It impacts their daily lives and success in school. “I thought I wasn’t going to pass. I always had to ask the teacher for extra time,” said 9th grader Reynolds. “I would do it in school as fast as I can. If I didn’t get it done, I had to push myself.” For school officials, the issue is important as well. “So much is about personalized learning here and technology helps to determine where individual kids are at and what they need,” said Laura Hart, Director of Communications for Providence Public Schools. “You don’t want that learning to stop when the bell rings.”

Sprint steps in with a “homework gap” program

A new project, supported by Sprint, is being tested in Providence to help close the “homework gap.” Sprint, the communications company, and the Sprint Foundation have started the 1Million Project, a multi-year initiative to foster academic success for one million low-income students by providing them with reliable connectivity to complete their school assignments from home.


As part of the project, 250 Providence public high school students will participate. Providence is one of 11 pilots that include Brockton, Mass.; Chicago; Dallas; Kansas City, Mo.; Paterson, NJ; San Diego; and other cities. "The devices and free service that students at Alvarez High School now have through Sprint's 1MillionProject will help prepare them for the real world," said Gabriel Torres, Sprint President for New England. "They'll be better able to complete assignments at home, apply for jobs, and even college."

Already making a difference

Aquino, the 11th grade ESL student, is anxious to move past ESL classes but not having home access to Duolingo, an online program, slowed her down. It also meant that she could not spend much time helping her younger brother. But with her Wi-Fi hotspot from Sprint, that has changed. “I don’t have to stay after school. Now I can translate for him,” she said. “He has improved his grades because I have it.” Reynolds has seen a direct correlation to his grades because he can now access the internet at home. In an online reading program called Achieve 3000, his score went from 500 to 900. During the big snowstorm in February, Reynolds was home doing schoolwork, noting that on one assignment he got the highest score in the school. While there are public places to get internet, they aren’t sufficient. The biggest change, the students said, is having the

ability to decide when they want to do schoolwork and having enough time to do it well. “At the library, you can only get two hours. It’s not enough time to do everything,” said 10th grader Garcia. “[The program] makes us feel like we have more power over what we can do. We’re not a slave to homework. It’s your choice when you want to do it. It’s a lot less stress because you can do it whenever you want – on weekends, when the library is closed.” For Garcia, having a tablet to use at home has encouraged her to read more and start researching colleges. “It’s really a great opportunity. A lot of people aren’t privileged to have what we have,” she said. “I feel for people who don’t have the program.” There is one downside to the program, all four of the students noted. “There’s no excuses. You have to get the work done now,” said Garcia, as the other students nodded in agreement. The pilot program will run through the end of the 2017 school year. Feedback will be applied in preparation for a nationwide program rollout at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Schools and school districts who want to apply to the program can visit www.sprint.com/1millionproject for more information.  Susan Gale is Founder and Publisher of Rhode Island Parent Magazine.

L–R Danielle Garcia, Charmin Aquino, and Matthew Silvia, students at Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence, with Principal Zawadi Hawkins. Not pictured: Issaic Reynolds March 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine

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Education By Susan Gale

Rhode Island at the forefront of

education

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he state may be small, but Rhode Island is big when it comes to education. In the past two years, Governor Gina Raimondo and the state legislature have taken many forward and innovative steps to prepare RI students for the future, including: „„ Increasing education funds which expanded the number of state pre-K programs, ensured statewide universal access to full-day kindergarten, and funded improvements to school buildings. „„ Making the PSAT and SAT free for every 10th and 11th grader in public schools. „„ Expanding dual-enrollment programs where high school students earn college credits for free. Last year, more than 4,000 students took advantage of this program. „„ Launching an Open Textbook Initiative to transition to openly licensed textbooks and save students an estimated $5 million. RIC has already saved students $100,000 by replacing the traditional textbook for a biology course. „„ Launched a public-private initiative called Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI) which ensures every public school can offer CS classes. Now the latest proposal is being put forth by Raimondo which is to offer every eligible RI student two free years of college through the Rhode Island’s Promise program.

What the future holds

By 2020, it is estimated that 70% of jobs created in RI will require an associate’s degree or higher. However, fewer than 50% of URI students, 15% of RIC students, and only 5% of CCRI students earn their degrees on time. Many are impeded by having to work numerous hours and not having enough money to pay for college. Students graduating from Rhode Island colleges with debt, on average, have more than $35,000 in loans to repay – the second highest debt of any state, according to the Governor’s office. Raimondo has been doing a mini-tour of state high schools touting her free college proposal. “I can’t think of a better thing 16

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  March 2017

to invest in than you,” Raimondo told the packed auditorium at the William E. Tolman High School in Providence. If approved, Rhode Island will be one of only a few states to provide free tuition to students attending its public colleges, regardless of family income. Students at Tolman were enthusiastic about the idea. “Two years – that’s a lot of money. We did our research. We know how much college costs,” said senior Nicole Tifa, who feels the proposal would lessen her stress about college. “I thought it was a lie at first,” said Yaishalee Carpintero. “They don’t just offer free things.” Another student, Jillian Booth, said she had decided to stay in-state to go to college because of the proposal.

Rhode Island’s Promise

Rhode Island’s Promise program is already active and because of it, more than half of the students at CCRI, including adult and part-time students, are attending college for free, according to the Governor’s office. The extended program would build over the next five years, from $10 million to $30 million annually when fully implemented in fiscal year 2021. That figure will be less than 1% of the state general revenue budget, according to Raimondo’s office, but is expected to serve more than 7,000 students per year. Beginning with the class of 2017, all high school seniors who graduate from a public or private RI high school, complete a home school program, or obtain a GED before turning 19, and who enroll the semester after graduation, are eligible. The scholarship will cover two years of tuition and mandatory fees at CCRI, RIC, and URI. At CCRI the scholarship will pay for the entire degree for all students who enroll full-time and complete on time, and at RIC and URI the scholarship will pay for a student’s junior and senior years. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and qualify for in-state tuition (which generally requires three years of residence) to be eligible. For students hoping to take advantage of the scholarship at CCRI this year, the deadline for completing the FAFSA is July 1, 2017. Raimondo put the program into her budget, but the legislature must still pass a final budget and it remains to be seen if the proposal will be included. “We’ve received hundreds of letters and emails about it. People are saying they want this,” Raimondo said, noting that many parents are up nights worrying about their children being buried in student loans. “It’s a very small investment. I hope the legislature does the right thing and passes this.”  Susan Gale is Founder and Publisher of Rhode Island Parent Magazine.


2017 camp & summer program guide

March 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine

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March 2017 Always check with event sponsors for updated information. Visit the calendar at www.RIParentMag.com for the latest information and the best way to submit calendar items. Or email to editor@RIParentMag.com.

Special events Mondays and Wednesdays:

Rhode Coders 2.0 at Providence Public Library. Free coding workshops for teens, who can also earn high school credit. Teens dig into the code of games and websites and ultimately learn how to build their own game or website. Open to teens in grades 7–12. No coding experience necessary. Mondays and Wednesdays until April 12. 3:30–5:30 pm. 150 Exchange Street, Providence. Free.

Weekly on Thursdays –

Community Service for Teens: Art Guild. Weekly gathering of artsy teens who help with arts-based projects around the Artists' Exchange, such as painting and creating and installing window displays, along with doing occasional fun personal projects. Weekly until May 25. Email shannon. casey@artists-exchange.org for more information. 2–4 pm. 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Free.

Weekly on Saturdays – Book

Sale. Peruse thousands of books for the entire family in a book store-style setting. Also find LPs, CDs, DVDs, videos, and artwork. Proceeds support Knight Memorial Library. Saturdays until June 3. Noon–4 pm. Knight Memorial Library, 275 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. Free.

March 15: Woodcock Walk. Join Norman Bird Sanctuary staff to learn more about the special adaptations of the American Woodcock, an elusive woodland shorebird that begins its early mating season before many other species. Includes a twilight walk through the woodland-bordered fields to search for displaying Woodcocks who do an acrobatic “sky dance.” 6:30–7:30 pm. 583 Third Beach Road, Middletown. $8/members; $10/non-members. www. normanbirdsanctuary.org.

Fridays March 3, 10, 17, April 14, and May 5: Movie Magic Scout

Adventures. Imaginative evening adventures for Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts. Activities meet requirements for the Brownie “Inventors” and “Senses” badges and Junior “Entertainment Technology” and “Scribe” badges. Space is limited. See website for more information. Providence Children's Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. $5/adults; $17/child. www.childrenmuseum.org

Every Friday: Messy Arts! Bring the kiddos for a unique craft each week, storytime, and open play gym. 10 am –11:30 am. Dream Big Academy, 41 Comstock Parkway, Cranston. $12. Every Friday: Toddler Try-It. Young children, ages 18 months to 3 years, use real tools and explore the creative process as they delve into different hands-on art and science activities each Friday morning. 10 am– noon. Providence Children’s Museum. 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months. www.childrenmuseum.org (continued on page 20)

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?? Speakeasy Slasher interactive and familyfriendly murder mystery Put on the Ritz at this interactive, family-friendly murder mystery presented by the Artists’ Exchange. When onscreen drama becomes real life, guests must help solve the crime! Set in present day at the live premiere of Rhode Island's new thriller film, Speakeasy Slasher, the scene is the celebration of the 80th birthday of Salvatore Sabatini, Godfather of Rhode Island’s “Three Families.” Party festivities include watching live music performances and the trailer of Speakeasy Slasher, the new film that tells the tale of how the “Three Families” stopped the infamous serial murders in New England speakeasies during Prohibition. Be careful though – amidst the cake cutting and cork popping is the bubbling of betrayal, blackmail, and bitter grudges. When someone is found dead, guests much search for clues and question suspects to solve the crime. Shows runs at 7 pm on Fridays March 17 and 24, and at 3 pm and 7 pm on Saturdays March 18 and 25 at Theatre 82 & Café, 82 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For tickets, www.artists-exchange.org


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March 2017 Every Friday: Bring Your Own Improv. Family–friendly comedy show. 7–8:30 pm. Warwick Museum of Art, 3259 Post Road. $8/adults; $4/children under 12 and seniors. www.bringyourownimprov.com Every Friday: Frosty Drew Observatory & Sky Theater. Public stargazing. 6:30–11:30 pm. 61 Park Lane, Charlestown. $1/person suggested donation. www.frostydrew.org

Weekends March 4/Saturday Seussational! Celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday with a wonderfully wacky weekend-long celebration full of crazy characters, Seussational activities, silly stories, and other Seuss-inspired fun. 11 am–2 pm. Providence Children’s Museum. 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months. www.childrenmuseum.org St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Pawtucket. Starts behind McCoy Stadium, corner of Division and South Bend. Can be viewed from South Bend, Walcott, across the highway down past APEX, and ending at City Hall. After the parade a party is held at the Armory on Exchange Street. Food, drinks, vendors, and live Irish music from 1–6 p.m. Free. Mother Goose at Rosecliff. Classic Nursery Rhymes recounted by Mother Goose and playfully brought to life by Island Moving Co.’s own professional dancers. Take photos with the characters. For ages 3+. Limited space. March 3 at 4 pm; March 4 at 3 pm; March 5 at 1 pm and 3 pm. 548 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Tickets/$18–$28.

Maple Sugaring. Step back in time at the Caratunk Wildlife Refuge to experience the history of maple sugaring. Discover how it started with Native Americans, and how to make syrup in your own backyard. Participants taste the treat over breakfast. Tours begin every 15 minutes starting at 9 am. Register in advance, space is limited. Ages five and older. Audubon Caratunk Wildlife Refuge, 301 Brown Street, Seekonk, Mass. $18/adult; $9/children. www.asri.org

Free Family Fun Days at Audubon Environmental Education Center. Open free to the public the first Saturday of every month, thanks to Citizens Bank. Crafts, nature stories, animal discoveries, hikes and more. No need to register. 9 am–5 pm. 1401 Hope Street, Bristol. Free. www.asri.org

March 5/Sunday Meet the Animal Ambassadors. Hands-on experience at Norman Bird Sanctuary. Meet animal ambassadors up close, and learn what reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds all have in common. Discussion of local species and what to do to help protect them. 3–4 pm. 583 Third Beach Road, Middletown. $8/members; $10/nonmembers. www.normanbirdsanctuary.org Maple Sugaring at Coggeshall Farm Museum. Bundle up and see historic methods of maple sugaring and talk about how this New England tradition ties into a variety of topics from abolition to international shipping. Then, warm up by the hearth and enjoy hot cider and authentic johnnycakes. 10 am–4 pm. 1 Colt Drive, Bristol. $7/ adults; $5/seniors and children 3-12; free/ children under 3. www.coggeshallfarm.org Seussational! See March 4.

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Rhode Island Parent Magazine  March 2017

Mother Goose at Rosecliff. See March 4.

March 11/Saturday St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Parties 2017 – Newport. Parade steps off from City Hall on Broadway at 11 am and continues via Washington Square, Thames Street, and Carroll Avenue to St. Augustine’s Church. An alcohol-free family party at the Hut, behind the Newport Public Library, from 1– 4 p.m. Includes bag pipers, Irish step dancers, pirates, and more. The Museum of Newport Irish History Interpretive Center, 648 Thames Street, which is open noon–5 pm. Free. Summer Camp Open House. Learn about the art, theater, ceramics, and rock-n-roll camps offered at the Artists’ Exchange. Includes free popcorn, face painting, crafts, raffles, camp discounts. 11 am–2 pm. 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Free. Pirate School. Slapstick antics, adept magic, cartoon-like sound effects, eyepopping puppetry, eccentric props and active, full-audience participation, are all used to teach kids how to become "good pirates!" 11 am. Ocean State Theatre, 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick. $10. www.oceanstatetheatre.org/pirate-school Laugh Out Loud: Jessica Chase & Friends. Play games, act out stories, and be silly together. Part of Saturday Family Performance Series. 11am–noon. Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Pay-what-you-can admission. Suggested $5 donation. Maple Sugaring at Coggeshall Farm Museum. See March 5. (continued on page 22)


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March 2017  Rhode Island Parent Magazine

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March 2017 March 12/Sunday

Valley Talk: Civil War Reenactments. Join Civil War reenactor Paul Bourget at the Museum of Work & Culture as he discusses the nitty-gritty involved in camping with a Civil War army, from food and supplies to hygiene and artillery. 1:30–3 pm. 42 South Main Street, Woonsocket. Free. www.rihs.org Winter and Spring Markets. The Providence Flea returns to Hope High School for six Winter and Spring markets with dozens of local vintage vendors, artisan/makers and food trucks. Occurs every 2nd and 4th Sunday. 10 am– 4 pm. 324 Hope Street, Providence. Free. Maple Sugaring at Coggeshall Farm Museum. See March 5.

March 18/Saturday FrogWatch Training at Roger Williams Park Zoo. Become a citizen scientist with FrogWatch USA. Trainings cover the importance of amphibians in the environment, how monitoring our local population helps to protect them, how to choose a site to monitor, how to tell frog species apart by their calls, and how to report findings. 10 am–12:30 pm. 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. $10/household (up to two adults and two children). www.rwpzoo.org St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Providence. Parade starts near Providence College and travels down Smith Street to end at the State House. Noon. Free. New Shanghai Circus. Astonishing athletes defy gravity and execute breathtaking feats, stretching the limits of human ability in this spellbinding show. These fearless performers with boundless energy bring more than 2,000 years of Chinese circus tradition to RI. Show at 7:30 pm. Stadium Theatre, 28 Monument Square, 22

Woonsocket. Tickets/$21, $29, $36. www.stadiumtheatre.com

Tell Your Story: Shadow Puppets. In celebration of the museum’s new Coming to Rhode Island exhibit – a time-traveling exploration of history and culture through stories – families tell their own stories with shadow puppets and silhouettes. Explore puppet-making techniques from around the world and create puppets to bring shadows to life. 10 am–3 pm. Providence Children’s Museum. 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months. Maple Sugaring at Coggeshall Farm Museum. See March 5.

March 19/Sunday Sensory Explorations at Oak Knoll. Explore Oak Knoll Sanctuary. Focus on a different sense to investigate natural wonders. Classes meet first at the Sanctuary and may have an outdoor component. In case of inclement weather, all programs will be held in the nature center. This class is for all ages and abilities! 10–11 am. 1417 Park Street, Attleboro, Mass. Cost/$2–$4. Family See & Sketch. Doodle, dabble, draw, and more in a program that gets kids to look at art through close examination, discussions, and hands-on making. 2–3 pm. RISD Museum, 224 Benefit Street, Providence. Free. New Shanghai Circus. 2 pm. See March 18. Maple Sugaring at Coggeshall Farm Museum. See March 5.

March 25/Saturday Annie Jr. This children’s adaptation is based on the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, and features Annie and her lovable mutt Sandy. For children age 2+. March 24 at 7:30 pm. March 25 at 2 pm

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  March 2017

and 7:30 pm. Teachers: 10 am school performance available. Stadium Theatre, 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. Tickets/$16. www.stadiumtheatre.com Rock & Roar! Rock-a-Baby. Rainforest Reel theme. Pre-registration is required. 10:30–11:15 am. Roger Williams Park Zoo Meller-Danforth Education Center, 1000 Elmwood Ave, Providence. $14.95/adult; $9.95/children to enter Zoo; $7/participant; free/under age 2. Book Buddies. Dive into your favorite stories with Lauren and Jessica, who bring the characters and words from the page live onto the stage. Join them for interactive story-telling, laughs, and games. Part of Saturday Family Performance Series. 11am–noon. Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Pay-what-you-can admission. Suggested $5 donation. Maple Sugaring at Coggeshall Farm Museum. See March 5. Winter and Spring Markets. See March 12.

March 26/Sunday Breakfast on Marco Polo’s Adventure Trek at Roger William Zoo. After breakfast, join zookeepers who care for the animals of Marco Polo’s Adventure Trek. Climb into the bear exhibit to prep the space for its occupants, get face-toface with a camel, see the snow leopards, red pandas, cranes, and takin get their first enrichment of the day. 8:30–10 am. 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. $55/members; $65/non-members. www.rwpzoo.org Maple Sugaring at Coggeshall Farm Museum. See March 5.


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2017 camp & summer program guide

Rhode Island Parent Magazine March 2017  

Closing RI's digital divide, new app to help your dinner conversations with kids, Brain Week RI

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