Mayor Hopkins Announces Cranston Earns $366K Grant for Student Transition Program at Bain Middle School

 Mayor Hopkins Announces Cranston Earns $366K Grant for Student Transition Program at Bain Middle School
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CRANSTON – Mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins is proud to announce the City of Cranston, Cranston Public Schools, and the Greater Providence YMCA have been awarded a Learn365 grant in the amount of $366,327 to address the needs of rising 6th graders entering Hugh B. Bain Middle School.

“We are honored to receive this Learn365 Grant award for our community,” Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins said. “This initiative represents a significant investment in the future of our children, providing them with enriched educational opportunities that extend beyond the traditional classroom setting.”

Transitioning from elementary to middle school can be daunting for many students, particularly those vulnerable to summer learning loss. To ease this transition, Cranston’s program will familiarize rising 6th graders with the new school culture, expectations, procedures, and academic rigor they will encounter at Bain Middle School.

Through orientation sessions, school tours, and mock classroom experiences, for example, students will gain insight into what to expect in the upcoming school year. Beyond academic instruction, the program places a strong emphasis on building social and emotional skills among participating students. Students who participate in this sixth-grade transition learning program will not only enhance their academic skills but also cultivate social, emotional, and physical well-being, Mayor Hopkins said.

Recognizing the crucial role of families in supporting student success, the program also includes family engagement workshops designed to equip parents and guardians with essential educational tools and information. Topics covered in these sessions will include understanding RICAS scores, advocating for students, and promoting regular school attendance.

The sizable grant was announced by Gov. Daniel McKee office Monday, July 8, as part of the governor’s state-wide Learn365 program. Cranston’s funding will support this targeted program, equipping students entering sixth grade and a new learning environment with the academic, social, and emotional skills necessary for success in middle school and beyond. Mayor Hopkins thanked the Greater Providence YMCA, Cranston Public Schools, the Rhode Island Institute for Labor Studies, and the OneCranston Health Equity Zone (OCHEZ) for their support of the grant application.

“We are thrilled to partner with the City of Cranston and Cranston Public Schools on this initiative,” said Karen Santilli, CEO of the Greater Providence Y. “The Learn 365 grant allows us to extend our commitment to youth development by providing essential resources and programs that bridge the gaps between the student’s school year, after school time, and summer break. By focusing on academic enrichment, social-emotional learning, and physical wellness, we aim to ensure that every student entering Bain Middle School is equipped for success both in and out of the classroom.”

As part of the after school and summer learning gap closure programming, the Greater Providence YMCA will oversee program administration, logistics, and academic planning and enrichment. The YMCA will provide expertise in youth programming and access to out of school time resources and curricula, including Summer Acceleration and camp programs.

The Cranston School Department and Bain Middle School will provide academic oversight for school district needs. Bain Middle School/Cranston School Department teachers’ instruction will align with Rhode Island Core Standards and provide insight to specific student needs. The RI Institute for Labor Studies will contribute through its Teacher Assistant Training Program to provide academic support.

“We are looking forward to strengthening our partnership with the Cranston YMCA to provide opportunities for our students,” Cranston Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse said. “This generous grant will allow our current programs to flourish and contribute to our commitment to our families. When state, city and local school districts work together, great things happen!”

The OneCranston Health Equity Zone (OCHEZ) through its backbone agency Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP), will connect Cranston families to wraparound services in the census track that includes Bain. The OCHEZ will also use school department referrals to identify students who have struggled with attendance, executive functioning skills, and social emotional barriers and connect them to its skilled facilitator in the Family Check-Up and Everyday Parenting model. Through CCAP, Cranston families will also be connected to essential wraparound services.

According to data assembled by the school department for their grant application, an estimated 80% of students enrolled in the Summer Acceleration program will show academic growth and progress in ELA and math. Hugh B. Bain was also targeted to curb Student Chronic Absenteeism. Chronic absenteeism rates for Bain rank 124 out of 278 schools in RI, the lower 50 percent.

The prevalence of summer learning loss disproportionately affects low-income communities and widens existing achievement gaps. With a student body of over 500 students, 58 percent of Bain’s students are Hispanic and 77% are from low-income families.

Based on this data, students at Bain are at risk of falling behind other students in the state. By addressing this challenge head-on, the program aims to narrow the achievement gap and ensure that all students have equitable access to quality education and support services.

From arts and music activities to swim instruction and team sports, activities will provide students with opportunities for holistic development and exploration. With enrichment sessions scheduled both after school and over the summer, students will have ample opportunities to discover and pursue their interests outside the classroom.

“By fostering innovative learning environments and supporting academic excellence, we are committed to empowering our students to reach their full potential,” Mayor Hopkins said. “This program is a testament to our community’s dedication to education and lifelong learning. Together, we are building a brighter, more prosperous future for Cranston.”

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