Rhode Island Classroom #107

Rhode Island Classroom #107


[MUSIC] NICOLE MURI: ON THIS
EDITION OF RHODE ISLAND CLASSROOM: BOMB THREATS
AT SEVERAL AREA SCHOOLS. WE EXPLORE POLICE RESPONSE, THE
INVESTIGATION LEADING TO AN ARREST IN ONE CASE, AND WHAT’S
BEING DONE TO KEEP STUDENTS SAFE GOING FORWARD. THE STATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
HERE IN RHODE ISLAND. WE SIT DOWN WITH THE
POSTSECONDARY COMMISSIONER, JIM PURCELL, WHO SHARES THE
LATEST ON THE NEW NURSING EDUCATION CENTER, THE GOVERNOR’S
PLANS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, AND MUCH MORE. AND PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS A
LAW THAT SEALS THE DEAL FOR AN EXPANSION OF ENVIRONMENTAL
EDUCATION HERE IN THE OCEAN STATE, WHAT IT MEANS FOR
K THROUGH 12 STUDENTS. [MUSIC] HI, EVERYONE. WELCOME TO THIS EDITION
OF RHODE ISLAND CLASSROOM. I’M YOUR HOST, NICOLE MURI. WE HAVE A LOT TO COVER THIS TIME
AROUND, SO LET’S GET STARTED. IN RECENT MONTHS, CHILDREN IN
SEVERAL AREA SCHOOLS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO DROP EVERYTHING AND
EVACUATE WHEN BOMB THREATS ARE CALLED IN. WE WANTED TO FIND OUT HOW POLICE
INVESTIGATE THESE CRIMES AND WHAT’S BEING DONE TO HELP
CHILDREN COPE IN THESE SCARY SITUATIONS. LT. ALFRED: THESE’VE BEEN
HAPPENING ACROSS THE COUNTRY. NICOLE MURI: BOMB THREATS AND
THE SCHOOL EVACUATION THAT FOLLOWS SEEM TO BE HEADLINE
NEWS MORE REGULARLY THESE DAYS. RIGHT HERE IN THE OCEAN STATE,
SEVERAL OF THESE THREATS HAVE SHAKEN STUDENTS FROM
WARWICK TO NEWPORT, FORCING SCHOOL CHILDREN TO
EVACUATE AMID FEAR AND PANIC. LT. COL. BARRY: SO THE FIRST THING THAT
USUALLY HAPPENS WHEN THERE’S A BOMB THREAT AT A SCHOOL,
OBVIOUSLY THE LOCAL POLICE ARE GOING TO BE THE
FIRST RESPONDERS. NICOLE MURI: EACH SCHOOL, IN
CONJUNCTION WITH ITS LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT, HAS CREATED
A PLAN IN THE EVENT OF A BOMB THREAT, ONE THAT INCLUDES A SAFE
AREA FOR STUDENTS AND FACULTY. LT.COL.BARRY: EVACUATE THE
SCHOOL,
LOCK THE SCHOOL DOWN AS FAR AS GETTING PEOPLE AWAY
FROM THE SCHOOL, AND THEN WAIT FOR THE
POLICE TO COME UP. WE ROLL ALL OUR RESOURCES
IMMEDIATELY TO MAKE SURE THAT THE SCHOOL’S SAFE. OUR POLICE DOGS WILL GO DOWN,
SPECIFICALLY TRAINED TO SNIFF OUT BOMBS OR ANY TYPE OF
ACCELERANTS OR THINGS LIKE THAT. NICOLE MURI: THIS IS TAO, ONE OF
FIVE STATE POLICE DOGS TRAINED TO SEEK OUT EXPLOSIVES. DOG HANDLER: SEEK. NICOLE MURI: IN ORDER
TO DEMONSTRATE FOR US, STATE POLICE HAVE HIDDEN
COMPONENTS OF AN EXPLOSIVE BEHIND THE FRONT LICENSE
PLATE OF THIS TRUCK. DOG HANDLER: THAT’S
HIS INDICATION, WHEN LAYING DOWN OR
SITTING AT THE OWNER. TROOPER PASLEY: THEY’RE ACTUALLY
SMELLING AN EXPLOSIVE ODOR. ALL OF OUR DOGS ON THE RHODE
ISLAND STATE POLICE TRAINED IN TWENTY-ONE DIFFERENT ODORS. THOSE ODORS CAN BE COMBINED TO
MAKE THOUSANDS OF DIFFERENT EXPLOSIVE DEVICES. NICOLE MURI: THANKFULLY, IN
EACH OF THESE RECENT CASES, THE SEARCH DOGS CAME UP EMPTY. NO ACTUAL BOMBS WERE FOUND. JONES: THE RECENT TREND OF THE
CALLS THAT WE’RE RECEIVING OVER THE LAST COUPLE MONTHS, WE THINK
IT’S BEEN PRETTY ISOLATED. NICOLE MURI: THE DOGS GET A
REWARD FOR A JOB WELL DONE, BUT NOW THE
INVESTIGATION BEGINS. ALFRED: WE CALL IT A ROBOCALL
BASICALLY BECAUSE IT’S AN ELECTRONIC VOICE
THAT’S CALLING IN, WHICH DISGUISES THE VOICE
THAT MAY BE CALLING. NICOLE MURI: THE STATE POLICE
COMPUTER CRIMES UNIT WILL ASSIST LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS TO
TRY TO IDENTIFY THE PERSON OR PERSONS RESPONSIBLE
FOR THE ROBOCALL. ALFRED: WE WERE CALLED IN
WHEN NEWPORT WAS WORKING THE INVESTIGATION ALREADY. THEY NEEDED ASSISTANCE IN
FIGURING OUT WHERE THE CALLS WERE COMING FROM. NICOLE MURI: THESE DAYS, IT’S
NOT AS SIMPLE AS TRACING A CALL FROM A LAND LINE OR CELL PHONE. THESE CALLS ARE BEING
GENERATED ONLINE. IN THE CASE OF THE
NEWPORT THREAT, THEY LOOKED LIKE THEY WERE
COMING FROM OVERSEAS. ALFRED: THE CALLS LOOKED LIKE
THEY WERE COMING FROM RUSSIA BECAUSE IT’S GOING THROUGH A
SYSTEM OF DIFFERENT COMPUTERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THE ACTUAL SERVERS THAT WERE
PRODUCING THE CALLS THAT THE CALLS WERE COMING FROM
WERE SERVERS IN RUSSIA. NICOLE MURI: BUT A LITTLE
OLD-FASHIONED POLICE WORK REVEALED THE CALLS WERE COMING
FROM THE COMPUTER OF A TEEN JUST BLOCKS FROM NEWPORT’S
HIGH SCHOOL. ALFRED: HE ABSOLUTELY IS FACING
SOME SERIOUS CHARGES AND PROBABLY SOME HEFTY
FINES AS WELL. NICOLE MURI: POLICE TELL ME THE
TECHNOLOGY TO DO THIS IS READILY AVAILABLE ONLINE, GIVING THESE
PERPETRATORS A FALSE SENSE OF ANONYMITY AND A FALSE
SENSE OF REALITY. ALFRED: THEY’RE GETTING ON
SPECIFIC WEBSITES AND DISCUSSING HOW THE BEST WAY TO DO IT IS. THEY’RE LISTENING TO ONE ANOTHER
WHILE THEY’RE DOING THE BOMB THREATS. IT BECOMES ALMOST LIKE A GAME
FOR THEM IN A LOT OF WAYS, NOT THINKING ABOUT THE PARENTS
THAT HAVE TO GO PICK UP THE KIDS, NOT THINKING ABOUT THE
RESOURCES THAT THE POLICE ARE USING. LOU TURCHETTA: IT DOES HAVE AN
IMPACT OF KIDS THINKING ABOUT WHAT COULD HAPPEN. NICOLE MURI: DR. LOU TURCHETTA
SPENT MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS AS A SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST IN
RHODE ISLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS. NOW IN PRIVATE PRACTICE, WE
ASKED HIS ADVICE ABOUT MAKING CHILDREN FEEL SAFE AT SCHOOL,
ESPECIALLY AFTER AN EVACUATION AND BOMB THREAT. LOU TURCHETTA: I’D START BY
SAYING THAT BOMB THREATS ARE SIMILAR TO SOMEONE
PULLING THE FIRE ALARM. JUST LIKE WHEN IT’S A FIRE DRILL
PULLED, THE FIRETRUCKS COME, EVERYBODY GETS OUT
OF THE BUILDING, AND THEN THEY COME BACK. THEY HOPE TO FIND THE PERSON
SO THAT THAT DOESN’T CONTINUE. NICOLE MURI: WHILE TURCHETTA
ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THE THREAT OF A FIRE AND A BOMB
ARE VERY DIFFERENT, THE PROBABILITY OF
EITHER IS ABOUT THE SAME. LOU TURCHETTA: THE LIKELIHOOD OF
ANYTHING LIKE THAT HAPPENING IS INFINITESIMALLY SMALL. IF THEY’RE FEARFUL,
ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR FEAR. YOU MIGHT EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE
YOUR OWN FEAR ABOUT THIS. TELLING THEM ABOUT YOUR
OWN FEARS IS HELPFUL, AS LONG AS YOU END
UP WITH REASSURANCE. NICOLE MURI: TURCHETTA SAYS
WHETHER IT’S A BOMB THREAT, SCHOOL PRESSURES,
OR SOCIAL ISSUES, THERE ARE THREE WORDS FOR
PARENTS TO REMEMBER WHEN IT COMES TO HELPING THEIR
CHILDREN THROUGH TOUGH TIMES. LISTEN, LISTEN, AND LISTEN. LOU TURCHETTA: WE NEED TO HEAR
WHAT’S GOING ON IN THEIR MINDS. TOO OFTEN WE’LL TALK OVER THEM. THINK YOU WANT TO HEAR IT
FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE. WHAT DID THEY HEAR? HOW DID THEY INTERPRET IT? ONCE YOU GET THEIR
PERSPECTIVE ON IT, YOU’RE IN A MUCH BETTER POSITION
TO BE ABLE TO DEAL WITH WHAT’S IN FRONT OF YOU. NICOLE MURI: AND WHAT’S IN
FRONT OF YOU MAY NOT ALWAYS BE OBVIOUS, WHICH IS WHY
COMMUNICATION AND REALLY KNOWING YOUR CHILD IS KEY. LOU TURCHETTA: KIDS
AREN’T LIKELY TO SAY, “I AM HAVING A REAL
HARD TIME WITH THIS.” THEY’RE NOT THAT KIND OF
ARTICULATE OR DIRECT WITH THEIR FEELINGS. YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR
CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR. ARE THEY MORE WITHDRAWN? ARE THEY MORE AGITATED? ARE THEY NOT PLAYING WITH
THEIR FAVORITE TOYS ANYMORE, FOR YOUNGER KIDS? WITH OLDER KIDS, IT CAN BE ARE
THEY A LITTLE MORE IRRITABLE? ARE THEY AVOIDING
YOU AS A PARENT? ARE THEIR GRADES DROPPING? NICOLE MURI: KEEPING THE LINES
OF COMMUNICATION OPEN WITH YOUR CHILD COULD NOT ONLY BENEFIT
THEM BUT OTHERS AS WELL. COL BARRY: IF THEY SEE A
PARTICULAR STUDENT OR SOMETHING THAT’S NOT SITTING RIGHT WITH
THEM, THEY KNOW THEIR FRIENDS. THEY KNOW WHO’S IN THE SCHOOL,
WHO’S NOT IN THE SCHOOL. IF SOMETHING’S TROUBLING THEM,
THEN THEY NEED TO REPORT IT. NICOLE MURI: MEANTIME, LAW
ENFORCEMENT AT THE LOCAL, STATE, AND NATIONAL LEVEL ARE ALWAYS
WORKING TO KEEP OUR SCHOOLS SAFE. COL BARRY: I THINK IT’S
IMPORTANT FOR PARENTS TO KNOW THAT WE’RE NOT JUST REACTIONARY. WE’RE CONSTANTLY MONITORING
ALL SORTS OF STATE, LOCAL, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DATABASES. WE’LL GET INTELLIGENCE
FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, AND WE’RE CONSTANTLY MONITORING
THAT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE’RE NOT JUST GOING TO BE REACTIONARY,
THAT WE’RE PROACTIVE. NICOLE MURI: BEFORE WE MOVE
ON TO OUR NEXT SEGMENT, TAKE ONE MORE LOOK AT THESE
CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR THAT YOU CAN LOOK FOR IN YOUR CHILD. IT MIGHT INDICATE A
PROBLEM OR CONCERN. [MUSIC] NICOLE MURI: JIM PURCELL
HAS BEEN THE COMMISSIONER OF POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION HERE IN
RHODE ISLAND FOR ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF. JIM PURCELL: I CAME UP HERE
BECAUSE I LIKE THE WEATHER. I ACTUALLY ENJOY THE COASTLINE,
BOTH HERE IN MAINE AND RHODE ISLAND, SO IT WAS JUST A PERFECT
PLACE TO GO AND CONTINUE MY CAREER. NICOLE MURI: PRIOR
TO COMING UP NORTH, PURCELL WAS THE POSTSECONDARY
COMMISSIONER IN LOUISIANA AND ARKANSAS. JIM PURCELL: IT’S BEEN FUN
TRYING TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES THAT ARE DIFFERENT IN
THE URBAN COMMUNITY. NICOLE MURI: IT’S ALSO BEEN
A FUN CHALLENGE FOR THIS SOUTHERNER TO LEARN
OUR NATIVE LANGUAGE. JIM PURCELL: IT’S BEEN QUITE FUN
TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE AND THE LINGO. THEY DON’T USE MANY CONSONANTS. IN THE SOUTH, WE VALUE THOSE,
AND WE STRETCH THEM OUT MUCH MORE. NICOLE MURI: ALL KIDDING ASIDE,
PURCELL’S MOVE TO THE OCEAN STATE WAS ON THE HEELS OF A
DEBATE BY RHODE ISLAND LAWMAKERS TO ELIMINATE THE STATE’S
HIGHER ED AGENCY ALTOGETHER. JIM PURCELL: I THINK IT WAS JUST
A REALIZATION THAT THERE NEEDS TO ALWAYS BE SOMEBODY THAT CAN
COORDINATE THE ACTIVITIES OF THE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES,
AND THAT’S REALLY OUR JOB. MY JOB IS TO REALLY HELP
THE CAMPUSES WORK TOGETHER, HELP IT TO BE A SEAMLESS
TRANSFER EXPERIENCE FOR STUDENTS, BUT ALSO TO BE
APPROPRIATELY RESPONSIVE TO THE WORKFORCE NEEDS OF THE STATE. NICOLE MURI: PURCELL SAYS
MEETING THOSE NEEDS MEANS MOVING THE STATE’S COLLEGES AND
UNIVERSITY INTO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, BOTH IN STRATEGY
AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT. CURRENTLY, WHEN IT COMES TO
STATE AID FOR HIGHER ED, RHODE ISLAND RANKS
AMONG THE LOWEST. PURCELL CREDITS GOVERNOR
RAIMONDO FOR MAKING A MOVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. JIM PURCELL: THE GOVERNOR LAST
YEAR GAVE A THREE PERCENT INCREASE, AND THAT WAS REALLY
THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN A LONG TIME. WE’RE PRETTY MUCH FUNDED AT A
1963 LEVEL FOR RHODE ISLAND, IF YOU LOOK AT THE TRENDS
OVER THE LAST FIFTY YEARS. THAT’S VERY PROBLEMATIC WHEN
YOU’RE TRYING TO BUILD A WORKFORCE. NICOLE MURI: HOW HAS THE STATE
GOTTEN AWAY WITH THEIR SCHOOLS BEING SO SEVERELY
UNDERFUNDED FOR SO LONG? JIM PURCELL: RHODE ISLAND REALLY
HASN’T HAD TO INVEST IN AN EDUCATED WORKFORCE BECAUSE
OUR ECONOMY WAS SO BASED ON LOW-SKILL MANUFACTURING. THE WORLD HAS CHANGED, AND THAT
INVESTMENT NEEDS TO KICK IN. NICOLE MURI: TOP OF THE
LIST FOR THE COMMISSIONER? TO COME UP WITH A PLAN FOR THE
STATE TO INVEST IN HUMAN CAPITAL AS MUCH AS IT HAS IN FACILITIES
AT ITS COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITY. JIM PURCELL: ANYTIME
STUDENTS TAKE OUT A LOAN, IT REALLY RESTRICTS THEIR
ABILITY TO ACTUALLY PARTICIPATE IN THE AMERICAN DREAM. IT SORT OF DEFERS THAT FOR
TEN YEARS OR TWENTY YEARS. NICOLE MURI: THE GOVERNOR
INCREASED AID FOR SCHOLARSHIPS BY TWENTY-FIVE
PERCENT THIS YEAR. THAT, PLUS A PLAN TO CONTROL
TUITION INCREASES, IS A START. ANOTHER PART OF THE PLAN? HAVING MORE POINTED AND
COMPETITIVE COURSE OFFERINGS TO ATTRACT STUDENTS. JIM PURCELL: WE TALK ABOUT
HAVING GRADUATES IN HIGH-WAGE, HIGH-DEMAND JOBS. THE BROOKINGS REPORT THAT JUST
CAME OUT IDENTIFIED SIX OR SEVEN SECTORS THAT WE SHOULD LOOK AT. THEN WHAT WE DO IS WE’LL LOOK AT
THE DEGREE PRODUCTION IN THOSE AREAS. IF YOU LOOK AT THE WORKFORCE
DEMAND IN RHODE ISLAND, TWENTY-FOUR PERCENT OF THE
GROWTH IN THIS STATE IS GOING TO BE IN HEALTHCARE AREAS. A LOT OF IT IS CERTAINLY AT THE
NURSING LEVEL AND THEN A LOT OF THE ALLIED HEALTH. NICOLE MURI: THIS IS THE PERFECT
TIME FOR THE STATE, URI, AND RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE TO TEAM
UP WITH BROWN UNIVERSITY AND BUILD WHAT WILL BE THE NURSING
EDUCATION CENTER IN DOWNTOWN PROVIDENCE. JIM PURCELL: THIS IS ACTUALLY
A BIG THING JUST IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN GENERAL. CAMPUSES HAVE A TENDENCY
NOT WANT TO SHARE SPACE. HERE YOU HAVE BROWN UNIVERSITY,
A PRIVATE REGIONAL UNIVERSITY, RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE, AND THE
FLAGSHIP UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND ALL IN THE SAME SPACE. NICOLE MURI: A RENOVATION OF THE
FORMER POWER PLANT BUILDING NEAR POINT STREET, THE MULTI-LEVEL
FACILITY WILL COMBINE CLASSROOMS, STATE OF THE ART
LABS, AND EVEN OPEN SPACE. JIM PURCELL: EACH OF THE
CAMPUSES WILL HAVE THEIR OWN FLOORS. THERE’LL BE SOME LABS THAT HAVE
COMMON EXPERIMENTAL ROOMS. BASICALLY JUST A
CAMPUS IN DOWNTOWN. WE DO BELIEVE THAT IT COULD HAVE
USES BY OTHER ENTITIES ALSO AS THERE’S SPACE AVAILABLE. ALMOST LIKE A CONVENTION CENTER
EXPERIENCE FOR SPECIFIC NURSING TRAINING OR PROFESSIONAL
DEVELOPMENT WITH THE HOSPITALS, NURSING HOMES. NICOLE MURI: EVENTUALLY, THERE
ARE PLANS TO EXPAND THIS CAMPUS BY ADDING A PARKING GARAGE
AS WELL AS GRADUATE HOUSING. PURCELL EXPECTS THIS PROJECT TO
BE A WIN-WIN FOR THE PARTNER SCHOOLS, THE CITY OF PROVIDENCE,
AND THE STATE IN GENERAL. JIM PURCELL: THERE’S ALSO IDEAS
BOTH BY BROWN AND BY THE PUBLICS ABOUT EXPANDING OTHER
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES THERE AND RESEARCH INITIATIVES, PUBLIC
AND PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS. REALLY IT’S THE JUMP-STARTING
THE FUTURE OF DOWNTOWN PROVIDENCE. IT ALSO PRODUCES SOMEWHAT OF
AN ANCHOR FOR OUR DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY, REALLY ADDRESSING
SOME OF THE LAND THAT IS BEING REPURPOSED. I THINK IT’S GOING TO MAKE
A BIG DIFFERENCE IN BRINGING BUSINESSES AND
INDUSTRY TO THE STATE. NICOLE MURI: THAT LEADS US TO
ANOTHER PIECE OF THE PLAN FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, ONE THAT
THE GOVERNOR HAS TALKED ABOUT SEVERAL TIMES: PROVIDING
INCENTIVES TO GRADUATES WHO STAY HERE IN RHODE ISLAND AND GIVE
BACK TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY. JIM PURCELL: I THINK THE IDEA OF
REWARDING PEOPLE TO STAY IN THE STATE AND GIVE BACK TO THEIR
OWN STATE I THINK IS IMPORTANT. IT’S FOR THE FIRST COUPLE YEARS. IT’S JUST SORT OF GIVES THEM
A JUMP-START SO THAT THEY CAN ACTUALLY MAYBE INVEST IN A HOUSE
OR BE A PART OF JUST THE WHOLE SETTLING INTO THE STATE. I THINK IT’S JUST A RECOGNITION
OF THE STATE ON THE FACT THAT WE NEED THESE INDIVIDUALS AND THAT
WE WANT TO SUPPORT THEM BECOMING REAL, BONAFIDE RHODE ISLANDERS. [MUSIC] [SOUND OF MOTOR BOAT] NICOLE MURI: NARRAGANSETT BAY. AS WE HEAD INTO
THE SUMMER SEASON, MANY OF US WILL ENJOY SOME OF
WHAT THE BAY HAS TO OFFER: SWIMMING, SAILING, FISHING,
BEAUTIFUL SUNSETS. BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE
OF THE BAY TO EXPLORE. ERIC PFIRRMANN: THEY’RE LEARNING
THOSE ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC OBSERVATION SKILLS. THOSE ARE REALLY IMPORTANT. BUT THEY’RE ALSO OUT
HERE ON A DAY LIKE TODAY, AND IT’S GORGEOUS, AND THEY’RE
PICKING UP THAT APPRECIATION FOR EVERYTHING THAT’S AROUND THEM. NICOLE MURI: SAVE THE BAY
INSTRUCTORS HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH LOCAL SCHOOLCHILDREN FOR
MORE THAN THIRTY-FIVE YEARS, BUT A NEW LAW SIGNED BY
PRESIDENT OBAMA COULD PUSH THEIR NUMBERS HIGHER THAN EVER BEFORE. BRIDGET KUBIS PRESCOTT:
REALLY EXCITING. IN DECEMBER, PRESIDENT OBAMA
SIGNED INTO LAW THE EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT, WHICH
BASICALLY INCLUDES A KEY PARAMETER IN ENVIRONMENTAL
EDUCATION, WHICH IS HISTORIC. WE’VE NEVER HAD SOMETHING LIKE
THAT BEFORE ACROSS THE NATION. IT REALLY OPENS UP THE
OPPORTUNITY FOR ORGANIZATIONS AND FOR CHILDREN REALLY TO GET
OUTSIDE AND LEARN A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT WHAT’S IN
THEIR OWN BACKYARD. NICOLE MURI: THE BILL REQUIRES
EACH STATE TO DO AN ASSESSMENT OF CURRENT ENVIRONMENTAL
EDUCATION IN THEIR SCHOOLS. BASED ON THOSE ASSESSMENTS,
FEDERAL DOLLARS WILL BE EARMARKED FOR EACH STATE TO USE
TO GET CHILDREN IN K THROUGH 12 OUT OF THEIR SEATS EXPLORING
THE WORLD AROUND THEM. BRIDGET KUBIS PRESCOTT: WHAT
THIS WOULD DO IS REALLY ENCOURAGE MORE TEACHERS TO BRING
THEIR STUDENTS OUT OR REALLY TO WORK WITH PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS
LIKE SAVE THE BAY TO PROVIDE THAT ENVIRONMENTAL ED EXPERTISE,
EITHER FOR THE TEACHER THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE CONTENT OR THE FIELD EXPERIENCE. BRINGING THEIR STUDENTS
OUTSIDE, GETTING THEM OUT ONTO NARRAGANSETT BAY,
EXPLORING THE SHORELINES. THOSE KINDS OF OPPORTUNITIES,
WHICH RIGHT NOW ARE KIND OF SEEN AS AN EXTRA OR AN ADD-ON. THIS REALLY HELPS BASICALLY
INTEGRATE IT INTO THE CLASSROOM CURRICULUM. ERIC PFIRRMANN: THESE GUYS ARE
DOING A ROCKY SHORE SCAVENGER HUNT. THEY’RE USING THEIR OBSERVATION
SKILLS TO FIND THINGS, LOOK IT UP IN GUIDEBOOKS,
DIFFERENT FORMS OF GUIDEBOOKS, TO IDENTIFY IT. WE MAKE IT A GAME, SO THAT WAY
EVERYBODY’S HAVING FUN DOING IT. DO YOU GUYS KNOW WHAT
QUARTZ LOOKS LIKE? STUDENT: IT’S WHITE. ERIC PFIRRMANN: THAT’LL DO IT. RIGHT THERE. DO YOU WANT ME TO SIGN
OFF ON YOUR QUARTZ? MM-HMM (AFFIRMATIVE). WHOOPS, SORRY. THAT’S A GOOD ONE. THAT’S WORTH SEVEN POINTS. NICE. NICOLE MURI: SO CLEARLY THESE
KIDS ARE HAVING FUN DOING THEIR SCAVENGER HUNT, BUT DON’T TELL
THEM THEY’RE ALSO LEARNING. BRIDGET KUBIS PRESCOTT: YOU’RE
NOT JUST LEARNING ABOUT HISTORY. YOU’RE NOT JUST
LEARNING ABOUT MATH. IT’S REALLY INTEGRATED. WHEN WE BRING STUDENTS OUT HERE
TO SAVE THE BAY AND WE GO OUT ONTO NARRAGANSETT BAY, THEY’RE
LEARNING ABOUT SCIENCE. THEY’RE DOING MATH. THEY’RE LEARNING ABOUT THE
HISTORY OF THE BAY AND ECONOMICS AND CIVICS AND HOW TO BE
A GOOD COMMUNITY MEMBER. INSTRUCTOR: THIS IS
FIELDS POINT RIGHT HERE. CAN YOU GUYS SEE THAT? AND THAT? FIELDS POINT IS THE BODY OF
LAND WHERE SAVE THE BAY IS. OKAY. THAT’S WHERE OUR BUILDING IS. WE’RE HEADING DOWN THIS WAY. NICOLE MURI: STUDENTS ALSO GET
AN OPPORTUNITY TO GO OUT ON SAVE THE BAY VESSELS THAT ARE
ESSENTIALLY FLOATING CLASSROOMS. BRIDGET KUBIS PRESCOTT: RIGHT
BEHIND US RIGHT HERE IS NARRAGANSETT BAY, AND WE REALLY
USE THAT AS OUR CLASSROOM. WE HAVE EDUCATION VESSELS THAT
WE BRING STUDENTS OUT ONTO NARRAGANSETT BAY WHERE THEY’RE
LOOKING AT WATER QUALITY. THEY’RE GETTING HANDS-ON
WITH THE ANIMALS. WE’RE BRINGING UP ANIMALS
FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE BAY, PUTTING THEM INTO THE TANKS. THE STUDENTS ARE SEEING WHAT
LIVES HERE IN NARRAGANSETT BAY. A LOT OF TIMES THE STUDENTS THAT
WE’RE WORKING WITH ARE FROM RIGHT HERE IN PROVIDENCE OR IN
GENERAL FROM AROUND THE STATE. THEY’VE NEVER COME OUT ONTO
NARRAGANSETT BAY BEFORE. NANCY GRAY: THEY LIVE IN THIS
ONE SQUARE MILE AND THEY NEVER GO BEYOND THAT ONE SQUARE MILE. I HAD ONE STUDENT WHO,
AS SOON AS WE CAME HERE, HE LOOKED OUT AND HE SAID,
“WE’RE GOING ON A BOAT?” I SAID, “OF COURSE WE’RE
GOING TO GO ON THE BOAT. WE’RE GOING TO GO
OUT ON THE WATER, AND WE’RE GOING TO BE ACTUALLY
LOOKING AT SOME REAL SEALS.” HE SAID TO ME, “I’VE
BEEN ON A PLANE, BUT I’VE NEVER BEEN ON
A BOAT BEFORE, EVER.” NICOLE MURI: NANCY GRAY HAS BEEN
A TEACHER IN CENTRAL FALLS FOR TWENTY-ONE YEARS. SIX OF THE TWENTY CHILDREN
SHE BROUGHT TO SAVE THE BAY’S NEWPORT CAMPUS HAD
NEVER BEEN ON A BOAT. GRAY HERSELF HAD NEVER BEEN ON
THIS KIND OF FIELD TRIP WITH HER CLASS. NANCY GRACY: I CAN’T
SAY ENOUGH ABOUT IT. WHAT YOU DO IN THE
CLASSROOM OUT OF A BOOK, AND YOU CAN SHOW PICTURES,
AND YOU CAN SHOW VIDEOS, BUT THERE’S NOTHING LIKE WHEN
YOU TAKE THEM OUTSIDE OF THAT ROOM AND NOW EVERYTHING
BECOMES THREE DIMENSIONAL. IT’S REAL. IT TAKES THAT ABSTRACT,
SOMETHING THAT THEY CAN HOLD ON TO, THAT THEY CAN
TAKE WITH THEM. INSTRUCTOR: WHAT THOSE GUYS DO
IS THEY COME HERE IN THE WINTER TIME. THEY FOLLOW THEIR FOOD, RIGHT? THEY FOLLOW THEIR FISH, AND THEY
END UP HERE IN NARRAGANSETT BAY FOR THE WINTER. THEN THEY GO BACK UP
NORTH INTO CANADA. WHEN THEY’RE ON THEIR ROCKS,
THEY PUT THEIR TAIL UP AND THEIR HEAD UP. THEY’RE IN A NICE
CURVED POSITION, RIGHT? THAT MEANS THEY’RE REALLY
HAPPY WHERE THEY ARE. WHO CAN TELL ME OR PUT A SHAPE
TO THIS BODY WE HAVE HERE? WHAT KIND OF SHAPE IS THIS? IS THIS A SQUARE? STUDENT: NO! NO! INSTRUCTOR: NO. WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? STUDENT: OVAL. FEMALE: AN OVAL. AWESOME. WHY DO YOU THINK IT’D BE GOOD
FOR CELIA TO HAVE AN OVAL-SHAPED BODY IN THE WATER? HOW DO YOU THINK
THAT COULD HELP HER? NANCY GRAY: IT REALLY DOES BRING
TEARS TO MY EYES BECAUSE I THINK THAT IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT
THEY GET OUT OF THE CLASSROOM. I JUST DO. LIKE I SAID, IT BRINGS
A OTHER DIMENSION. NICOLE MURI: IT’S NOT JUST THE
TEACHERS WHO SEE THE VALUE IN EXPANDING THIS
TYPE OF EDUCATION. STUDENT: I LIKE THIS
BETTER THAN THE CLASSROOM. HOW WE GO IN BOATS,
SEEING ALL THESE ANIMALS, LIKE THE ASIAN SHORE CRAB,
SEAGULLS, AND OTHER BIRDS. NICOLE MURI: [JOELLE’S]
EXPERIENCES ARE JUST THE REASON THAT SAVE THE BAY AND OTHER
ORGANIZATIONS WORKED ALONGSIDE RHODE ISLAND SENATOR JACK REED
TO INCLUDE THE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION COMPONENT IN THE
EVERY STUDENTS SUCCEEDS ACT. BRIDGET KUBIS PRESCOTT:
AT A NATIONAL LEVEL, THERE WAS A NO CHILD LEFT
INSIDE COALITION THAT BASICALLY CONSISTED OF OVER TWO THOUSAND
ORGANIZATIONS ACROSS THE WORLD THAT WERE REALLY DRIVING THIS
WORK AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, REALLY WORKING
WITH THE SENATORS, MAKING SURE THAT ENVIRONMENTAL
ED WAS PART OF THE RE-AUTHORIZATION OF THE
ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT. NICOLE MURI: THROUGH THEIR
NEARLY FOUR DECADES OF WORK, THEY HAVE SEEN THE RESULTS
AND KNOW THIS BILL WILL OFFER AMAZING OPPORTUNITIES,
IMPART LIFE-LONG LESSONS, AND POSSIBLY CHANGE THESE
CHILDREN IN THE FUTURE. BRIDGET KUBIS PRESCOTT: OUR
PROGRAMMING HAS REALLY SHOWN THAT TEACHERS REALLY VALUE IT. THE ADMINISTRATORS
REALLY VALUE IT, AND THE STUDENTS
SUCCEED OFF OF IT. BECAUSE YOU’RE GIVING THEM THE
OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE AND DISCOVER IN A WAY THAT MIGHT NOT
BE CONDUCIVE IN THE CLASSROOM. NICOLE MURI: IT’S GOT TO BE
REWARDING AS AN EDUCATOR TO SEE, LIKE YOU SAID, SOME OF THESE
KIDS WHO ARE IN INNER-CITY SCHOOLS WHO HAVE NEVER EVEN SEEN
THE WATER, TOUCHED THE WATER, KNOWN WHAT’S IN THE
WATERS IN RHODE ISLAND. IT’S GOT TO BE PRETTY EMOTIONAL. FEMALE: IT’S SO REWARDING. I WILL TELL YOU THAT AT FIRST A
LOT OF THE STUDENTS WE WORK WITH ARE APPREHENSIVE. “I’M NOT GOING TO DO THAT. NO WAY AND I GOING IN THAT WATER
AND PUTTING ON THOSE BOOTS.” A LOT OF TIMES THOSE ARE THE
KIDS AT THE END OF THE DAY THAT ARE NOT COMING OUT. OR YOU HAVE TO BE LIKE,
“HEY, THE BUS IS LEAVING.” IT IS. IT’S VERY REWARDING, AND THOSE
STUDENTS ARE THE STUDENTS THAT- THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS WE
ALSO TEACH IN OUR PROGRAMMING IS THAT NARRAGANSETT BAY BELONGS TO
EVERYBODY HERE IN RHODE ISLAND. AND THAT’S ALL OUR JOB TO
NUMBER ONE, RESPECT IT, USE IT, AND TO APPRECIATE IT. NANCY GRAY: THEY ARE
COMPLETELY ENGAGED, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ENGAGED,
AND THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE BECAUSE NOW YOU KNOW
THEY’RE ACTIVELY LEARNING. NICOLE MURI: THANK YOU FOR
JOINING US FOR THIS EDITION OF RHODE ISLAND CLASSROOM. I’M NICOLE MURI. IF YOU HEAR OF SOMETHING GOING
ON IN YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL THAT YOU THINK MIGHT BE OF
INTEREST FOR THIS SHOW, GIVE US A CALL OR EMAIL US
HERE AT RHODE ISLAND PBS. [MUSIC]

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