You have more options than you may think…
Brick & Mortar Public Schools
Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. In Rhode Island, children must attend school between the ages of 6 and 18 years or until they have graduated from high school. Your child must be enrolled in school if they turn six on or before September 1st. see more >
Rhode Island school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly.
Some legal documents are required for Rhode Island students to attend school:
- Certified Birth Certificate/proof of identity
- Official copy of records/transcripts from the previous school the child most recently attended
- A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child)
- Click here to view the immunization requirements
- Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)
Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.
Some typical items on that list include:
- Summer school
- Student parking passes (high school)
- Lost textbooks
- Late or lost library books
- Field trips
- Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)
Public Charter Schools
What are Charter Schools?
Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.
Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Alabama, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke or refuse to renew a school’s charter.
Rhode Island Charter Schools
In Rhode Island there are 3 types of Charter Schools that you can choose from:
District Charter Schools: Schools created by existing public schools, groups of public school personnel, public school districts, or a group of school districts.
Independent Charter Schools: Schools created by: (i) Rhode Island nonprofit organizations provided that these nonprofit organizations shall have existed for at least two (2) years and must exist for a substantial reason other than to operate a school or (ii) Colleges or universities within the State of Rhode Island.
Mayoral Academies: Schools created by a mayor of any city or town within the State of Rhode Island, acting by or through a nonprofit organization (regardless of the time said nonprofit organization is in existence) to establish a mayoral academy.
For a complete list of Rhode Island charter schools, visit the Rhode Island Department of Education.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about charters can be found at the Rhode Island Department of Education.
Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.
Virtual Public Schools
Currently, there are no Virtual Public Schools in the state of Rhode Island.
Join Edchoice & help them pass legislation in Rhode Island!
What makes a school “private”?
Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 190 private schools across the state.
Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.
*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.
Educational Choice Programs
Rhode Island is one of 16 states that Tax-Credit Scholarships. Rhode Island’s tax-credit scholarship program, enacted in 2006 and launched in 2007, offers a 75 percent tax credit to businesses that donate to Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) or 90 percent if donated for two consecutive years and the second year’s donation is worth at least 80 percent of the first year’s donation. SGOs are non-profits that offer private school scholarships of varying amounts to students from low-income households. Learn more about this tax-credit scholarship program’s funding, eligibility, regulations, and governing statutes on this page.
For more information on Rhode Island’s Tax-Credit Scholarships visit EdChoice.
Private Virtual Schools
George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.
International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum
They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.
International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.
The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.
In order for you to homeschool your kids you need to apply for approval from the local school committee. In order to gain this approval, parents must present their proposed homeschooling programs to the local school committee. See Rhode Island General Laws §§ 16-19-1. For more information on Daily hours, subjects, etc. take a look that the resources tab!
Dual enrollment allows students to receive both high school and college credit for certain career/technical education courses taken through an institution while enrolled in high school. The Dual Enrollment program includes college courses offered on the campus of an accredited postsecondary institution and on a secondary school campus, and may include online courses.
Tuition and/or fee payment varies based upon the program and courses offered.
For more information about dual enrollment in Rhode Island visit the Education Commission of the States Rhode Island page.
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