Message from Dr. Mario F. Cirillo, Head of School
As the 2016-17 school year closes, we say goodbye to the class of 2017, and look
forward to next year and the opportunity to continue our transformation of teaching
and learning for the benefit of our students, I would like to take stock of where
we are and where we are going.
First, we have experienced three years of difficult but needed change as we moved
to a new building, took a deep dive into the work of embedding CTE into our core
curriculum, and developed and gained unconditional approval from RIDE for our three
new CTE pathways. In setting our new course, we made great strides in several areas.
For example, 100 students, 50% of our school body, earned a total of 400 URI credits
in either Computer Science or Writing last year, at a cost savings of approximately
$240,000 to ACE families. Our academic teachers helped students earn
certifications in work readiness and Physics in Technology, a first in Rhode Island,
and we are moving ahead toward the establishment of a dual academy model with Roger
Williams University which will present the opportunity for our students to achieve
an associate’s degree before graduation
Second, change is never easy. In fact, the overwhelming pressure inside an institution
undergoing change is to maintain the status quo. It is to the collective staff’s
credit that steady progress has been achieved through the four generally accepted
stages of school change: «forming, storming, norming, and performing.» In my
school change of the magnitude that has taken place at ACE takes at least four years.
I am of the opinion that the forming and storming phases, the most trying and most
difficult, are over. It is obvious that the commitment, good will, respect and
unity shown during our final professional development sessions are encouraging evidence
that we are now into the norming phase. Our present and future task is to ride
the momentum of shared purpose, believes, and values into the next school year.
Third, it can be difficult at times to see and appreciate how far ACE has come from
solely an «inside the school perspective». It is interesting that the farther the
perspective moves away from our building, the higher we are held in regard.
For example, from a state wide perspective we continue to gain industry partners,
institutions of higher education and consulting agencies that are eager to engage
with ACE. The Highlander Institute, our major consulting partner, reports ACE is
unique in comparison to other schools they work with. Kara O’Connell, our lead
from Highlander, said the following, «First of all your success in integrating content
subject matter, problem and project-based blended learning, common rubrics and
digital scaffolding and asynchronous formative assessment is significant. Second,
ACE is the only school that we work with that is implementing these strategies and
initiatives school wide».
On a national level, our CTE integration work led to an invitation to participate
in a national pre-conference policy round table for the National Charter Schools
conference recently held in Washington DC.
So, as we reach the end of a very productive and satisfying school year, we look
forward to building on our solid foundation of work in teaching and learning and
eagerly look forward to the challenges and rewards the await our school community
Have a wonderful summer,
Mario F. Cirillo, Ed.D
2017 Student Achievement Awards
Outstanding ACE students were recognized this month for their leadership and academic
achievements, as well as contributions to community. Congratulations to ten students
who received the district’s Biliteracy Seal in World Languages for Spanish. These
students passed the ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages
(AAPPL). Pictured at right is Beatrice Osorio who received the Lt Governor’s Advance
RI Leadership Award, accompanied by Chelsea Davignon, ACE College Crusade Advisor.
Link to List of all Awardees
31 Students Earn College Credits for Writing and Computer Science
The Academy for Career Exploration is leading the way in the state of RI with the
number of high school students who received college credits in a co-curricular setting.
Thirty one students earned transferable credits from the University of Rhode Island
for completing CS101 and/or Writing 104.
In addition, the Precision Exams were introduced into the ACE curriculum. The tests
measure industry-aligned Career and Technical Education knowledge and help students
validate the knowledge and skills they have gained in the classroom. Eight ACE students
mastered the exams and earned credentials in Physics with Technology.
Link to Read More About Precision Exams
Ninth Grade Wooden Bridge Project
The culminating project in the 9th grade invited students to demonstrate their
of Physics and Algebra in lieu of a traditional final exam.
This hands-on «Wooden Bridge» lesson explored how engineering has impacted the
of bridges over time, including innovative designs and the challenge of creating
bridges that become landmarks for a city.
Students worked in teams of «engineers» to design and build their own bridge out
of glue and wooden sticks. They tested their bridges using weights, evaluated their
results, and presented their findings to the class. The lesson focused on how bridges
are engineered to withstand weight, while being durable, and in some cases
pleasing. Students worked in teams of three to design and built their own bridge
out of wood sticks and glue. Students then evaluated the effectiveness of their
own bridge designs and those of other teams.
View More Photos Here
Guest Speaker Series
Kim Arcand speaks to students about «How to Hold a Star in Your Hand»
ACE Students heard from a number of inspirational guest speakers this year. The
ACE Guest Speaker Series seeks to inspire students through the personal stories
shared by professionals who visit with them in the classroom. ACE offers students
encouragement and insights into the world of education, work and provide greater
career awareness through this series. Speakers included Ms. Michelle Saunders,
Manager, Organizational and Leadership Development , Ocean State Job Lot, Mr. Howard
Jenkins, Manager of Human Resources, Electric Boat, and Kimberly Kowal Arcand,
Lead for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
The Academy for Career Exploration has been selected as one of nine organizations
to receive a grant for Youth Summer Employment programs from Providence Workforce
Solutions and the Governor’s Workforce Board. Thanks to a commitment to education
and workforce development, 24 youth ages 14-15 will have a unique and engaging paid
opportunity to work and learn this summer. The following excerpt from Mayor Jorge
Elorza articulates details of the award, «With a particular focus on workforce
the Office of Economic Opportunity and Workforce Solutions of Providence and Cranston
will offer approximately 360 jobs through the selected providers.»
7 Students to Attend Brown Pre-College Program
Seven students have been accepted into the Brown University Pre-College Programs
for summer 2017.
Summer@Brown courses are carefully chosen to represent a wide range of Brown
open liberal arts curriculum – a core principle of a Brown education. Students live
and learn on Brown’s campus and choose from nearly 200 non-credit courses.Outside
of class, students participate in a full program of events and activities, and
the independence of college life with fellow students and new friends from around
Gallup Strengths Focus at ACE
Davila Jackley uses her
Top Five Strengths every day at school.
ACE adopted a Strengths mindset this year introducing the Gallup StrengthsFinder
to students, faculty and the Board of Directors. Google Forms were used to poll
students as often as possible in order to get students to activate prior knowledge
and commit their top 5 Strengths to memory. In addition, Vanessa Toledo-Vickers
produced 16 radio shows
with Latino Public Radio to help educate and engage parents and families about ACE
and the Strengths movement in RI. The program reached 25,000 listeners and the Latino
community sharing information about educational transformation occurring in Providence
and how they can help build the workforce of tomorrow through investing in their
own children’s and their own strengths.
Invest in Your Strengths – Metcalf Award Winner
Academy for Career Exploration Focuses on Strengths in Award Winning Radio Program
Vanessa Toledo-Vickers, Dr. Mario Cirillo, and Tim Hebert, CCO of Carousel Industries
with ACE Students Help at RI for Community & Justice Annual Metcalf Awards Ceremony
The Academy for Career Exploration’s determination to advance innovation in education,
enhance student opportunities, and improve parent and community engagement, has
once again brought recognition to this pioneering Providence Public Charter High
School. «Invest in Your Strengths,» written and produced by Vanessa Toledo-Vickers
of the Academy for Career Exploration and Latino Public Radio, was honored by Rhode
Island for Community & Justice on May 17th with the Metcalf Award for Diversity
in the Media (Community category). «Invest in Your Strengths» was launched as a
10-part, bilingual radio and podcast series focused on how ACE, a Providence public
charter high school, is re-thinking its educational approach to prepare youth for
the 21st century workplace.
Link to Learn More About the Metcalf Awards