§ 16-3.2-1. Declaration of policy.
As part of the effort to transform education in Rhode Island, the general assembly is committed to developing and supporting strategies that foster cultures of excellence, innovation, and continuous improvement in Rhode Island schools. The general assembly believes that all district schools benefit from effective leadership, strong labor/management collaboration, strong community support and engagement, and the autonomy and flexibility to continuously improve instruction and implement and adopt strategies that meet the needs of their students. The general assembly therefore in this act establishes empowerment schools, which shall remain within a public-school district, under the district leadership of the superintendent and school committee, but which shall be managed collaboratively on site by the principal and the faculty, as an additional opportunity for supporting more high-performing and innovative schools within the Rhode Island system of public education. A school that volunteers to be an empowerment school, as defined in this chapter, shall have unprecedented levels of regulatory and statutory flexibility; school-based autonomy, including autonomy over budget; flexibility in school-based instructional policies and professional practices defined through shared leadership; and be uniquely positioned to create compelling learning environments responsive to increased student and parent/family empowerment. Similarly, in this act, the general assembly establishes the affirmative right for students and their parents/families to enroll in an empowerment school that is different than their assigned school based on residence, in order to seek innovative instructional policies and practices that best match their learning needs, so long as the empowerment school has elected, as part of its empowerment plan, to accept students from other schools within the student's district of residence.
(P.L. 2016, ch. 142, art. 11, § 7.)