Saturday, March 14, 2015

Believe to Achieve: Innovation Share Explores What’s Working in RI Elementary Ed

Building on a powerful new documentary, 180 Days: Hartsville, Rhode Island PBS is partnering with Learning401, in association with the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development at Rhode Island College (RIC), to convene the first in a series of Innovation Share events to spark powerful community conversations with an eye for what is working in Rhode Island elementary education. The inaugural Innovation Share will be Monday, March 23, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Alger Hall Room 110 at RIC, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence. The public is invited, but advance registration is required.

“We’re pleased to bring together innovators in education and explore the local perspectives of issues raised in the national documentary,” said David W. Piccerelli, president of WSBE Rhode Island PBS. “Getting the right people together to facilitate these local discussions is what Rhode Island PBS does well. Our partners bring specialized talents and insights to the table, and together, we will raise public awareness of unsung successes and encourage children’s academic growth and success,” Piccerelli said.

“We know that success beyond high school requires the capacity to first believe that success is possible in order to see it later,” said Jen Hetzel Silbert, founder of Learning401. “We also know that this capacity needs to be strengthened as early as possible in a child's education career and that doing so requires the involvement of the everyday shepherds of a child's confidence in and commitment to learning - teachers and school administrators, as well as parents, guardians, caregivers, and the larger community," she said.

"More concretely," Silbert added, "we’re focusing on local elementary school solutions to keeping students in school and on the path to collegiate and career success, instilling in every child the capacity to believe in and pursue the American dream.”

Innovation Share is a gathering of stakeholders – teachers, administrators, parents, students, and interested members of the community – to explore and engage in rich nonpartisan dialogue around the innovative strategies that are working in elementary school classrooms in Rhode Island.

With “believing is seeing” as an underlying, motivating theme, the goals of Innovation Share are also to develop an action plan to stimulate further solution-sharing, and to inspire Rhode Island’s lowest performing elementary schools to adopt new strategies for their classrooms, all to increase student aspirations to believe in and achieve graduation from high school and college.

The March 23 event will include preview screening of clips from 180 Days: Hartsville, and a segment from the Rhode Island PBS production, Rhode Island Classroom, followed by a panel discussion with local educators and parents who share stories of success and inspiration, then breakout small group discussions to share impactful stories and additional strategies for classroom innovation, concluding with a summary and idea share.

Innovation Share is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Advance registration is required. Visit or

Innovation Share will convene a few days in advance of the Rhode Island PBS premiere of the two-part documentary, 180 Days: Hartsville, on Thursday, March 26 at 8 p.m. (part 1) and 9 p.m. (part 2). The documentary takes a fresh look at the nation’s poverty and education challenges from a rural South Carolina town triumphing in the face of extraordinary challenges.

“With poor children now representing a new majority of public school students,* it is more critical than ever that successful models in education be explored to ensure the American dream is attainable for all of our children,” said Jacquie Jones, co-director and executive producer. “Hartsville has proven that if the right forces in a determined community come together to put children first, tangible results will follow.”

Rhode Island’s Innovation Share seeks to bring those forces together locally on behalf of Rhode Island children.

The 180 Days: Hartsville community engagement project is made possible by grant funding through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen initiative, South Carolina ETV, and the National Black Programming Consortium, with additional funding by South Carolina Educational Communication, Inc.

WSBE Rhode Island PBS transmits standard-definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) programming over the air on digital 36.1; on Rhode Island cable: Cox 08 / 1008HD, Verizon FiOS 08 / 508HD, and Full Channel 08; on Massachusetts cable: Comcast 819HD and Verizon FiOS 18 / 518HD; on satellite: DirecTV 36 / 3128HD, Dish Network 36 / 7776.