Central Falls High School
Central Falls High School (CFHS) is an urban Senior High School in Central Falls, Rhode Island that serves students from grades nine through twelve. It is centrally located within the city of Central Falls so that students are able to walk to and from school. It is a part of the Central Falls School District. Beyond academics, the high school offers a wide variety of co-curricular activities and clubs. Their co-curricular activities and clubs help their students develop their individual talents and achieve personal goals outside the classroom.
The Central Falls High School community is working hard to improve the school climate and culture, while increasing rigor and student engagement across classrooms. They are dedicated to keeping students in school, helping them to meet graduation requirements and preparing them to make informed decisions regarding post-secondary opportunities. As part of the school’s transformation effort, they are focused on three school wide transformation goals:
- Increase student graduation rate.
- Improve proficiency rates in mathematics.
- Improve school climate and culture.
The Central Falls High School is constantly preserving, improving, and continually adapting their academic program to meet the needs of their students. Their educational program enables their students to make creative strides, and it also enhances their ability to understand and enjoy the many aspects of the world around them.
The transformation process
In 2010, Central Falls High School was named among the six worst schools in the state. Due to this, the District was ordered to make improvements by selecting one of four reform plans outlined in federal law. The District and the Teachers' Union were in contract negotiations during this time. Talks between the two parties broke down when the Teachers' Union would not agree to a package of changes for the high school, including lengthening the school day, requiring teachers to offer more tutoring, get additional training and eat lunch with students once a week under the "transformation model." In order to meet the deadline for choosing the model and because of a Rhode Island State Law that requires layoff notifications to be given to certified staff prior to March 1, the superintendent chose the "turnaround model." The turnaround model required a district to fire the entire staff (teachers and administrators). They may rehire up to 50% of the teachers for the beginning of the next school year. The teachers union sued the school district challenging the requirement that teachers must reapply for their jobs.
More controversy began when President Obama weighed-in on the teacher firings. Eventually, both parties agreed to resume talks  and in May 2010, the teachers were rehired once both parties agreed on a Settlement Agreement. At the time when this was happening the school had a graduation rate of around 50%, and 7% of 11th-graders were proficient in math in 2009. In 2012, the high school's graduation rate significantly increased to 71% and was highlighted by the Rhode Island Department of Education.
Central Falls maintains a highly regarded chess team, which has represented the State of Rhode Island in the United States Chess Federation National High School Championship six times. The team gained national mainstream attention in 2013 when actor Alec Baldwin donated $2,500 to cover their costs of again attending the National Championship.
- Protocols for Intervention
- Providence Journal: Commissioner Gist: RI's March 1 teacher layoff deadline causes unnnecesary upheaval
- "Central Falls teachers to appeal mass firings". Providence, RI: Providence Journal. 26 February 2010. p. A1.[dead link]
- Nancy Krause (March 2010). "Obama weighs-in on CF teacher firings". WPRI Channel 12.
- Jennifer Jordan. "Central Falls supt., union to talk, try to work together". Providence Journal. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
- Settlement Agreement
- News Staff (May 17, 2010). "Update: Central Falls teachers pass deal to get jobs back".
- Tucker, Eric (18 May 2010). "Fired teachers OK deal to get jobs back". Associated Press (Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today). pp. 8A.
- Blum, Alexander. (2013, April 10). Central Falls Chess Team Wins Eighth Place. The Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Staff. (2013, March 27). Actor Alec Baldwin gives $2,500 to Central Falls High School chess team. Providence Journal. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- (2013, March 27). Alec Baldwin donates $2,500 to help Rhode Island high school chess team attend national tournament. NY Daily News. Retrieved 3 November 2013.