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The Henry Barnard School at Rhode Island College has been saved

A group of parents have worked together to take the school private, make it independent, and keep it on the RIC campus

Entry sign for Rhode Island College in Providence, R.I.
Entry sign for Rhode Island College in Providence, R.I.Kenneth C. Zirkel via Wikimedia Commons

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Happy Monday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and today is the shortest day in what has been the longest year of our lives. We all deserve some cake. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 77,812 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, after adding 395 new cases (keep in mind, Thursday was a snow day, and testing sites were closed). The most recent overall daily test-positive rate was 4.4 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 25.2 percent. The state announced 23 more deaths, bringing the total to 1,625. There were 459 people in the hospital.


Four months ago, officials at Rhode Island College said a budget crunch and shifting priorities would force them to close the private PK-5 Henry Barnard School at the end of the school year.

The announcement shortly before the school year started left parents furious and searching for new schools. Fingers were pointed. Legislative leaders were outraged.

But that was then and this is now.

A group of parents banded together to save the 122-year-old school, and later today they’ll announce that they’ve reached a tentative agreement with RIC to remain on the campus for at least five years. It will operate as a private, independent school, according to Scott Bromberg, who leads the school’s parents association.

”We had a strong team and the backing of great families,” Bromberg said. “We built on the momentum of years of alumni. There’s a community of people that reached out to help in any way that they could.”


The school is already accepting applications for the 2021-22 school year at its new website and has a new phone number: 401-372-7341.

Bromberg said the Henry Barnard School will hike tuition from $12,000 a year to $15,000 a year for students in grades 1-5, with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten costing between $13,000 and $17,000 a year. That’s significantly more expensive than than college tuition at RIC, but still cheaper than some of the other elite private schools in the state.

The school has not yet found a principal, but Bromberg said the goal is to retain the majority of its current teachers.

While financial challenges at RIC were the driving force behind the initial plan to close Henry Barnard, college officials also noted that running the PK-5 school didn’t quite fit into their broader plans. They had concerns about the lack of diversity at the elementary school, noting that none of its current students speak English as a second language (in Providence public schools, nearly a third of students are learning English as a second language).

Bromberg said Henry Barnard’s goal is to raise money to offer scholarships and increase diversity, although the website notes that, “as a newly independent school, financial aid is not yet available.

”For now, parents at the school are breathing a sigh of relief.

”We love what the school offers and we think it should continue to do this,” Bromberg said. “It’s worth protecting.”


Ed Fitzpatrick reports Latino elected leaders in Rhode Island are calling for Governor Gina Raimondo to make densely populated areas of the state, in which most of the state’s Latino and Black residents live, a priority for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more.


⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Carlo Ruggeri, founder of ALCOR Scientific, based in Smithfield. E-mail Ed if you have someone he should talk to for his weekly interview. Read more.

⚓ Portsmouth police have reopened an investigation into a former teacher at the Portsmouth Abbey School following a student’s lawsuit against the school. Read more.

⚓ The state’s economic “pause” has ended, but Governor Raimondo is still urging residents to avoid social gatherings outside of their immediate household on Christmas. Read more.

Allie Reed has an excellent story on how Rhode Island colleges and universities worked together to battle COVID-19 during the fall semester. Read more.


Economy: Here’s what’s in the new $900 billion stimulus package that President Trump is expected to sign into law. Read more.

Politics: The COVID-19 vaccine might be the greatest achievement of the Trump administration, but my colleague Jazmine Ulloa writes that the president has not taken a front-and-center role since vaccinations started last week. Read more.

Health: A panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted Sunday to recommend that people 75 and older be next in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine in the United States, along with about 30 million “front-line essential workers,” including emergency responders, teachers, and grocery store employees. Read more.


Movies: The Globe’s Ty Burr ranks the best movies he’s seen this year. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ The Providence School Department and the state Department of Education is releasing a one-year progress report on the state takeover of the city’s schools at 11:15 a.m.

⚓ State Senator Lou DiPalma’s commission to study and evaluate the state’s electric and natural gas distribution and transmission infrastructure to ensure its reliance and resiliency will meet virtually at 10:30 a.m.

⚓ The Globe is hosting a virtual event at 4 p.m. that will focus on how to provide adequate support to students with disabilities during the pandemic.

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