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A statewide initiative to rethink high school.

XQ+RI is a first-of-its-kind statewide initiative powered by a partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Education and XQ.


How Does XQ+RI Rethink High School?

XQ+RI is a first-of-its-kind statewide initiative powered by a partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and XQ. Together, we introduced a challenge designed with community, equity, and innovation at the core to engage educators, families, and students in a transformative high school redesign process. The result is a statewide commitment to high school transformation as a powerful lever for system-wide change. Following a rigorous selection process, Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts (TAPA) and Ponaganset High School were named as XQ schools, 360 High School and Woonsocket High School were recognized with XQ Accelerator Awards, and 16 additional schools were recognized with XQ Momentum Awards in March 2020.

Discover XQ+RI

1.The journey to high school redesign

In 2018, XQ+RI launched with interactive design sessions for all 64 public high schools in Rhode Island. The sessions invited state leaders, teachers, school leaders, students, families, and local partners to dream big about the future of high school in Rhode Island by leveraging resources like XQ’s Learner Outcomes and Design Principles. Of the 32 high school teams that submitted proposals, 20 received planning grants in June 2019 and began a seven-month design journey to develop full redesign proposals.

In March 2020, following a rigorous selection process, XQ named Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts (TAPA) and Ponaganset High School as XQ schools, recognized 360 High School and Woonsocket High School with XQ Accelerator Awards, and honored 16 additional schools with XQ Momentum Awards. These schools included Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence; Barrington High School in Barrington; Chariho Regional High School representing the Chariho Regional School District; William B. Cooley Sr. High School (JSEC) in Providence; E-Cubed Academy in Providence; East Providence High School in East Providence; Evolutions High School in Providence; Highlander Charter School in Warren; Hope High School in Providence; The Learning Community Charter School in Central Falls; The MET - Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center in Providence; Mt. Hope High School representing the Bristol-Warren Regional School District; Mount Pleasant High School in Providence; Scituate High School in Scituate; Smithfield Senior High School in Smithfield; and YouthBuild Prep in Providence. Learn more.

2.The Education Opportunity Audit (EOA)

Because equity sits at the core of our work, XQ designed the Education Opportunity Audit (EOA). Our rigorous and comprehensive process—conducted with students, teachers, families, and leaders—identifies hidden patterns and barriers to college and career readiness by gathering and analyzing student transcripts, surveys, and focus groups. As part of the XQ+RI partnership, all Rhode Island high schools were invited to participate in an EOA. To date, over half of all Rhode Island high schools have completed the process, with all others actively participating. The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and XQ presented the results to the Rhode Island K-12 Council on Education. The Council challenged RIDE to identify solutions and create a plan to address the barriers to equity that the EOA revealed.

3.A commitment to statewide high school transformation

Motivated by the findings of the Education Opportunity Audit Report and encouraged by the participation of Rhode Island’s high schools in the XQ+RI challenge, Rhode Island doubled down on its commitment to making high school the entry point for systemwide transformation. In 2021, RIDE Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green established an Office of High School Transformation to prioritize and advance this work.

In December 2021, RIDE shared its plan: Reimagining Readiness: Improving the RI High School Experience. The plan shows a true commitment to reimagining the high school experience. The state will prioritize preparing graduates to create their own futures by 1) aligning high school graduation requirements to college admissions requirements; 2) increasing real-world, relevant learning experiences; 3) adding opportunities like civics, computer science, and financial literacy to high school; 4) recognizing work-based learning and revitalizing diploma endorsements; and 5) establishing and publishing career readiness goals and measuring academic progress toward them.

4.Community activations and ongoing student engagement

Rhode Island leaders know it will take broad and unwavering participation from community members across the state to make their bold vision a reality. In September 2021, XQ and RIDE hosted a community activation event at the WaterFire Festival to raise awareness, seek public input, celebrate educators, amplify student voice, and showcase high school transformation. Governor McKee and Commissioner Infante-Green joined nearly 15,000 attendees. The experience invited the community to interact with student data and share ideas for spending new state and federal funding alongside live music, local art exhibits, and the Inside Out Photobooth Truck. Learn more about this community event.

Keeping the focus on student voice and empowerment, WaterFire also included a series of student roundtables. Students shared their current experiences in school and their thoughts on how high schools could make them feel more valued, empowered, and prepared. Check out this video highlight of our student roundtables.

The festival kicked off the XQ + For Freedoms Student Billboard Challenge. This challenge invited students ages 13-21 to articulate their hopes and dreams on a billboard design. For Freedoms and XQ designed and displayed the winning billboards across Rhode Island. Get inspired by the student gallery to see how America’s students imagine the future of education.

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