Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP) Mayoral Academy is a network of tuition-free public schools chartered by the Rhode Island Department of Education. As a growing network that is part of the <a href="http://chartergrowthfund.org/our-portfolio/blackstone-valley-prep/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #ea9b00; text-decoration-line: none; word-wrap: break-word; outline: 0px; font-weight: 600;">Charter School Growth Fund portfolio, BVP offers a high-quality public school choice to the families of Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, and Pawtucket and currently serves 1,800 scholars in grades K-12 across 6 schools.
Over the years we have received thousands of applications for our limited number of seats. For the 2017-2018 school year, we received 2,010 applications for 292 seats.
At BVP we believe college begins in Kindergarten, so we work to foster a college prep culture from elementary through high school. One visit to our schools and you’ll notice the intentional elements we’ve incorporated into our environment to support our unyielding commitment to the belief that all children can achieve and will one day graduate from college. For example, our students are referred to as scholars and identify with the year they will graduate from a fouryear college, rather than by grade level. Our homerooms are also named after the alma maters of our staff including URI, Brown University, RIC, and other colleges nationwide. More so, we take frequent field trips to colleges and universities starting as early as Kindergarten.
Apart from academics, we believe that preparing scholars for the world beyond also means experiencing the diversity of the world we live in today. By design, our network is intentionally diverse. We accept students from four unique sending districts, two from the traditionally higher-income communities of Cumberland and Lincoln and two from the predominantly lower-income communities of Pawtucket and Central Falls. Bringing together scholars from four neighboring communities allows us to create opportunities for them to share experiences, come together in classrooms, and connect across both racial and socioeconomic lines of difference. Valuing diversity is an organizational priority and a core belief shared across our network. This unique aspect of BVP has been noted both nationally and locally for promoting diversity. In the most recent issue brief from The Century Foundation, <a href="http://blackstonevalleyprep.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Charter-Without-Borders-09-15.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #ea9b00; text-decoration-line: none; word-wrap: break-word; outline: 0px; font-weight: 600;">Charters Without Borders, BVP is featured (starting on page 7) as one example of a way to leverage flexibility afforded to charters to focus on integration.
At BVP, we believe in serving all children, including those requiring specialized services such as English Language Learners (ELL’s), those who need Special Education Programming and children needing social and emotional support. For example, our Transitional Learning Center (TLC) supports the needs of scholars who struggle with social, emotional, and behavioral needs.
In small classroom environments, teachers guide them on how to identify their feelings, utilize coping strategies, recognize the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, and how to self-regulate.
Teaching these strategies allows scholars to be successful when engaging in general classroom settings and allows them to academically thrive when also giving special attention to their social, emotional, and behavioral needs.