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LEADING OFF

Happy Wednesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and while I enjoy Dunkin’s Coolattas, I’d prefer a strawberry Slush Puppie. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

There are lots of theories for why white students in Rhode Island significantly outperform their black and Latino peers on standardized tests, but one idea for closing those achievement gaps that is gaining momentum is to recruit and retain more teachers and administrators of color.

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The Equity Institute, a Providence-based nonprofit that is formally launching this week, is seeking to become the first organization in the state to tackle the diversity challenges that districts across Rhode Island are facing head on.

Founded by Karla Vigil and Carlon Howard, the institute has ambitious goals: It wants to partner with school systems to review everything from hiring policies to equity guidelines in an attempt to build culturally responsive schools and a teacher and leader pipeline that looks more like the students who are being served.

But Vigil and Howard are quick to point out they aren’t seeking to shame white educators or convince schools to check a box by offering one culturally relevant history class. They say they want to work with school employees to confront their own biases and then craft a school-based strategy for addressing various diversity challenges.

The institute is already partnering with East Providence schools and at least one charter school, but it’s hoping to reach agreements with more districts in the coming months. Vigil and Howard are also applying for a large grant that would allow them to train 20 fellows over the next several years.

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So what does success look like? Vigil and Howard said they hope more minorities become teachers and stay in the profession.

“Education needs to be more than test results, especially when you consider the gaps between students of color and their classmates,” Howard said.

NEED TO KNOW

Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

• The cash-strapped Providence school system spent $187,000 on thousands of copies of an author’s self-published inspirational book that it planned to require all middle and high school students to read. Then officials realized the book had religious overtones and scrapped the plan.

• Huge news for Brown University: The Globe’s Robert Weisman reports the university and Boston’s Hebrew SeniorLife have been awarded a $53 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to improve care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

US Representative David Cicilline scored a victory last night when the House Judiciary Committee approved his legislation to ban the sale of guns to anyone convicted of a hate crime-related assault. It heads to the House floor now.

Kevin Mahnken from The 74 has an interesting profile on the Providence Student Union. And check out who gets the kicker quote.

Antonio Brown has only been a Patriot for a few days, but he’s already facing legal trouble. Here’s everything you need to know about the lawsuit accusing him of rape.

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WHAT’S ON TAP TODAY

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.

Governor Gina Raimondo will speak this morning at a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the State House.

• The US Senate is finally expected to confirm Mary McElroy as one of Rhode Island’s federal judges this afternoon.

• The state Council on Postsecondary Education meets tonight at Rhode Island College to discuss the college’s budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

• Need something fun to do tonight? Try this painting class at the Graduate Providence hotel (the old Biltmore).

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Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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