College Visions alumni, Michaelle Larracuente is now the Founding Principal of Excel Academy Charter School Rhode Island! It is a tuition-free charter public K-12 school opening in the fall of 2022! Read her interview below to learn more!
What is the name of your school and where is it located?
Name: Excel Academy Charter School Rhode Island
We are still working to finalize our long term location but we are looking to be located in the South Side of Providence.
What motivated you to open a school?
Honestly, I am underwhelmed with many of the public options currently available to our Providence families. There are amazing middle schools such as Community Prep. And yet, with the demands of the growing population, if we do not have high quality opportunities for elementary and middle school, our children will always struggle. High school is challenging for many reasons already, adding on significant learning gaps contributes to our consistent drop out rates for black and brown youth in our community.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
Location is challenging. We do not want to go the route of taking anything away from the city of Providence ie. being given a building that is in use by PPSD. In terms of real estate, there are specific regulations to qualify to open a school and have it be safe. So finding a building where we want to be located has been the most challenging.
Overall, resistance to charter schools is understanding. No one school is the same and so if someone has had a negative experience, it is normal to be skeptical of another identifying in the same category. I am looking forward to earning the trust of local stakeholders and partnering with them as we found and grow into our 4 school plan over the next 10+ years.
What are you most excited about and proud of?
I am most proud of being seen as someone with the heart and the mindset to take on this opportunity. It by far will be the most important thing I have ever done. This work is deeply personal to me. After the John Hopkins report I felt such rage and despair about the current experiences of young people who look like me; who are growing up in the same neighborhoods and city as me. I am not looking to be “the best”- this does not exist. I do strive to work intentionally with our exceptional team (staff and youth/families we serve) who are aligned in leading unapologetically to dismantle oppressive practices and build our young people to be confident and fearless as they develop a deep love of learning and curiosity in our world.
We are super excited that Michaelle is embarking on this new journey and wish her the absolute best!