PROVIDENCE, RI - Mayor Jorge Elorza and Providence Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi today joined with Providence Teachers Union President Maribeth Calabro to conduct a ceremonial signing of a new, three-year contract to move Providence Schools forward. The tentative agreement with the union that represents about 1,900 public school teachers in Providence includes provisions that increase decision-making at the school level school by providing greater autonomy; establishes a structure for additional planning time for high school teachers; codifies a mutual agreement on teacher evaluations reflective of state law; and creates a district-wide peer assistance and review program to provide support for teachers. "This agreement positions Providence Schools to make progress on my administration's goals to raise academic achievement in every school, engage our community and reform the role of central administration to create a school department that just works for students and families," Mayor Elorza said. "I thank Providence Teachers Union President Maribeth Calabro for her good-faith efforts to reach an agreement that serves our children and families, and I applaud every teacher in the Providence Schools for their professionalism and commitment to providing every student in their classrooms with the education they need and deserve." In the past four school years, graduation rates have risen from 65 to 71 percent; dropout rates have declined from 21 to 14 percent; and reading scores have improved at both the 4th and 11th grade levels and particularly for English Language Learners. "I am pleased we have reached agreement on a new contract to move Providence Schools forward, and I thank PTU President Calabro for her work in these negotiations. It wasn't always easy, but together we have come to a strong agreement," Dr. Lusi said. Financial terms in the agreement include a 1 percent raise at the beginning the 2015-2016 school year; a 1.75 percent raise at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year; and 1.5 percent raise upon the conclusion of the 2016-2017 school year. "I am pleased to announce this tentative agreement and wish to thank Mayor Elorza and Dr. Lusi for their commitment to this process. As Dr. Lusi stated this has not been an easy road, but I believe that the hard work, dedication and willingness of all parties to be creative have brought us to this strong and fair agreement," Calabro said.