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Rhode Island School Superintendents' Association


  • 22 Jan 2015 10:48 AM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)

    Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996

    Congress enacted limitations on certain foreign students planning to study in U.S. public elementary and secondary schools. The "Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996," which took effect on November 30, 1996, places the following restrictions on students seeking F-1 visas who wish to study at public secondary schools. The student (or his or her sponsor) is required to reimburse the public secondary school for the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of education for the intended period of study. Proof that such tuition has been paid must be evidenced on the I-20A-B application form for the visa. Waivers are not allowed. This law also limits school attendance to a maximum of 12 months for secondary students under F-1 visas. Overseas advisors should know that this law additionally prohibits attendance in public elementary schools, K-8, or publicly-funded adult education programs by any individuals coming under F-1 status. These restrictions do not apply to students who come to the United States under a J-1 visa, nor do they apply to private schools. Violating the law or failure to reimburse the school district can lead to a student being barred from the United States for five years.

    The F-1 foreign student's obligations under U.S. immigration regulations are to:

    ·         provide evidence that the unsubsidized cost of tuition for any academic study in the United States is paid in order to obtain their visa

    ·         have sufficient financial resources for the anticipated stay in the United States

    ·         have a residence abroad to return to upon completion of the program in the United States

    ·         always maintain lawful immigration status while in the United States by keeping a valid passport, not working without authorization, and leaving the United States upon expiration of the visit or securing an extension of permission to stay if needed.

    F-1 non-immigrant students must maintain a full course load while in the United States. They must follow a specific transfer procedure if they change schools. They are eligible for certain types of employment, provided the Designated School Official or DHS grants permission before the employment begins.

    Both the F-1 Visa and M-1 Visa are non-immigration student visas which allow international students to study and live full-time in the US. If you want to study more than 18 hours a week at any course of study you will need to secure either an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa. First, however, you will need to determine which type of student visa is right for you.

    The F-1 Visa is designed for students who will be attending and academic program or full-time degree program at a university, school, or college which is approved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If you will be attending any traditional style of school were you will be studying a traditional type of academic program, such as the arts, humanities, sciences, or technology, you will need the F-1 Visa. You also need the F-1 Visa if you will be attending high school or elementary school in the United States and are not a US Citizen or Green card holder. If you are taking language classes in order to master English in the US, you may also need to apply for the F-1 Visa, depending on where you will be studying English.

    The F-1 Visa also gives you more options and a little more flexibility than the M-1 visa. For example, the F-1 Visa is usually granted for four years or more, and allows you to transfer to a university or college more easily. If you have the F-1 Visa, you can also sponsor your unmarried children and spouse as dependents. They can live and stay with you in the US with an F-2 visa while you pursue your studies.

    The M-1 Visa is used for vocational and nonacademic courses of studies. If you are engaged in some types of language programs, flight school, technical studies, cooking classes, some types of technical studies, cosmetology programs, religious vocational schools, and other types of degree programs that do not fall into the traditional academic category, you will need to apply for the M-1 Visa. You may also need the M-1 Visa if you are applying for a school which is not approved as a traditional institution. Some non accredited schools, for example, may require you to apply for the M-1 Visa because the school is not approved as a traditional faculty of learning.

    Generally, the M-1 Visa is granted for shorter periods of time than the F-1 visa, since the nonacademic and vocational programs offered at most US schools are of shorter duration. In general, you can stay in the US for two years with the M-1 Visa. The M-1 Visa is generally granted for one year at a time and you may apply for extensions after that. There are also more restrictions with the M-1 Visa. For example, you cannot continue on to an academic or university program on your M-1 Visa; you will need to apply for the F-1 visa. As well, when studying in the United States under the M-1 Visa, you must maintain full-time course status. You can only reduce your course studies to part time for medical reasons and only for up to six months. As well, you can only transfer schools within the first six months of your course of studies.



    A J-1 visa is known as an exchange visitor, holders of this visa are participating in a program that's aim is to promote cultural exchanges between the two countries (programs can be like student studies, or short term visits, etc.). It is monitored and exchange visitors and programs are accepted into it by department of state. A lot of programs require that the exchange visitor return to their home country for at least two years after the program has ended in order to pass along the cultural learnings. See the state department website for more information: 

    An F-1 is a student visa that allows a foreign national to enter into certain levels of study in the U.S., even public high school, providing that they have the necessary funds to pay for school tuition. Attendance is limited to 12 months for a public secondary school, though, so if you wanted to spend your entire high school career in the U.S., you would have to attend a private institution.

    Department of State rules for student visa.pdffederal handbook on visas for foreign students. - 1.pdf

    federal handbook on visas for foreign students. - 1.pdf

  • 16 Dec 2014 10:48 AM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)


         Rhode Island School Superintendents’ Association

    Rhode Island Association of School Business Officials

                                JOINT RISSA/RIASBO

                          LEGAL INSTITUTE

                                    RISSA    GENERAL MEMBERSHIP  MEETING

                                                Friday, January 9, 2015

                                    Radisson Airport Hotel in Warwick


    Open to all RISSA and RIASBO members.

                                           Presented by the Law Firm of

              Brennan, Recupero, Cascione, Scungio & McAllister LLP




    11:30 - 12:00             Registration and Lunch

                                                                          Sponsor Presentation


    12:00 – 12:15            RISSA General Membership Meeting

    1.    Call to Order

    2.    President’s Comments

    3.    Approval of Minutes of August 14, 2014*@

    4.    Adjourn


    12:15                          Introduction and Explanation of Presentations


                          12:15 – 1:15             Breakout Session I


    1.     Access to Public Records   


                                                          2.    Residency, Homeless and Visas    


    1:20 – 2:20               Breakout Session II


    1.    Administrative Contracts                                                      

                                                          2.    Employee 504 Plans               


    2:25 – 4:00               Plenary Session Current Cases, Laws and Trends

                                                          by Attorney Ben Scungio

    RIDE Cases, Social Media, Evaluation Law,


    The 2015




    Is sponsored by

    The East Bay Educational Collaborative


    The event is free for RISSA and RIASBO members and teams from their districts. Contact Tim Ryan (RISSA) ( or John Ritchotte (RIASBO) to register.

  • 08 Dec 2014 10:25 AM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)


    On November 20 RISSA members from nearly every district in the State attended a professional development activity for public school leaders the Hassenfeld Institute at Bryant University.  

    The seminar, Foundation for Success: Superintendents Managing the Transition to a New Administration, was attended by superintendents as well as the leadership team from the Rhode Island Department of Education. Gary Sasse, Director of the Institute, led the first session by discussing the best practices and opportunities with the next gubernatorial administration and newly elected school committees. Dr. Elzobtbek Rustambekov  of the Management Department then conducted a fascinating discussion of multi-stakeholder collaboration.

    The afternoon discussion, moderated by Gary, led an open and in-depth dialog between district and State educational leaders regarding their goals and perspectives and laid the groundwork for an ongoing, formal structure for collaboration. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Gary Sasse and Kate Cantwell from the Institute and the hospitality of Bryant University.

  • 08 Dec 2014 10:23 AM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)

    Mrs. Karen Tarasevich, Superintendent of West Warwick Public Schools, participated in President Obama's Connected ED program at the White House today.  You can view the agenda for the entire day at the White House website.  You can also watch President Obama's speech in which Superintendent Tarasevich and the West Warwick Public Schools was mentioned:


    President Obama mentions Mrs. Tarasevich & WWPS at 12:10 mark

    We are so proud of Mrs. Tarasevich, and the entire West Warwick community!

  • 17 Oct 2014 10:51 PM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)

    Carol Blanchette has been appointed Superintendent of the Jamestown Schools, taking over for Marcia Lukon, who announced her retirement in June after seven years at the post.

    Carol, the Vice-President of RISSA, has been the Assistant Superintendent in the CHARIHO school system since 2008.  She was the unanimous top choice of the search committee. 

  • 27 Aug 2014 11:12 AM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)


    Barry Ricci, Superintendent in Chariho, Selected as 2015 Rhode Island Superintendent of the Year


    Barry Ricci, Superintendent of the Chariho Regional Schools, is the 2014-15Rhode Island Superintendent of the Year. His selection by the Rhode Island School Superintendents' Association (RISSA) was announced at its General Membership Meeting on August 20. The ovation accorded to Mr. Ricci by his colleagues was an indication of the high esteem in which he is held.  The award recognizes outstanding achievement in school district leadership, dedication to the education of all children, commitment to the community, and service to RISSA.  The award was presented to Barry by Dr. Michael Barnes, Foster Gloucester Superintendent, and winner of the 2013-14 award. In addition to his fellow administrators, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, the event’s guest speaker, Dr. Todd Flaherty, Crowley Award winner of 2014, and Katherine Sipala, Superintendent of the Narragansett Schools and RISSA President, were in attendance.

    Mr. Ricci has served as the Superintendent in Chariho since 2005 and previously served the district as Assistant Superintendent from 2001to 2005.  In addition, Mr. Ricci has been recognized as a Milken Foundation National Educator, Rhode Island Music Educator’s Association’s “School Administrator Award”, as Principal of Western Coventry Elementary School, was awarded the US Department of Education National School of Excellence, Rhode Island Principal of the Year and National Distinguished Principal in 1996.

    Under Mr. Ricci’s leadership, the district has taken a global approach to closing achievement gaps. This effort has focused on the entire at-risk population regardless of subgroup, such as socio-economic status, or limited English proficiency. This effort has produced substantial improvement in academic achievement for all groups.  As further evidence of his leadership, the district is now providing foreign language instruction beginning in kindergarten and has embarked on a 1:1 MacBook Air initiative at the High School.

    Mr. Ricci has been an active member of RISSA serving multiple terms on the Executive Committee, Special Awards Committee, Legislative Committee, and has been a leader in professional development through the Enhanced Leadership Development Network. He is also active in statewide committees and policy development. He currently serves on the state ESEA Committee, a special committee on graduation testing requirements, and the Career and Technical Education Accountability Measures Committee.

    Mr. Ricci received his bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College and master’s degree in Elementary Education from Providence College.

    Mr. Ricci will be honored by the American Association of School Administrators at the National Conference on Education to be held in San Diego in February 2015 

  • 19 Aug 2014 1:20 PM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)

    Ana Reilly was appointed Superintendent of the Portsmouth Schools in July.  She comes to the position after serving as Superintendent in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.  Ms. Riley worked 16 years in that city's school district as a chemistry, biology, and physics teacher at Durfee High School and as principal at the elementary and middle school levels.

    She has been recognized in Dartmouth for her focus on improving student achievement, working with district stakeholders to develop a strategic improvement plan guided by core values and multiple measures of student data. 

  • 28 May 2014 1:31 PM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)



    The selection of the RISSA Superintendent of the Year shall be made by the RISSA Special Awards Committee subject to the policy revised by the RISSA Executive Committee on May 3, 2012.

    AASA Criteria
    All applicants must be active members of AASA and will be measured against the following criteria:

    Leadership for Learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in his or her school system.

    • Communication – strength in both personal and organizational communication.
    • Professionalism – constant improvement of administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and motivation to others on the education team.
    • Community Involvement – active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues.
    • RISSA Involvement – active involvement in RISSA activities and demonstrated commitment to the goals of the organization

    RISSA Criteria/Procedures

    • Three consecutive years as a full-time superintendent in Rhode Island (current year is included)

    ·         Actively involved in RISSA activities

    ·         Any active or retired member of RISSA may nominate one of the eligible candidates.

    ·        Nominations are due by: June 9, 2014

    ·        All superintendents nominated will be asked to submit a resume with a declaration of their wish to be considered.  If there are more than 5 nominees, the Special Awards Committee will use the resumes to select the finalists who will then be required to complete a minimum of three questions prior to the meeting of the selection Committee in July.  If a superintendent was nominated and submitted responses in 2014, he/she may opt to leave answers as previously submitted, update them or submit new responses.

    ·        Any member of the Special Awards Committee nominated will be replaced for this process.



    ·         Michael Barnes(SOY 2014)

    ·         Sue Lusi

    ·         Georgia Fortunato

    ·         Bernie DiLullo

    ·         Fran Gallo

    ·         Rosemarie Kraeger  (SOY 2006)

    ·         Steve Lindberg

    ·         Victor Mercurio

    ·         Bob O’Brien (SOY 2010)

    ·         Donna Ottaviano (SOY 2012)

    ·         Frank Pallotta (SOY 2013)

    ·         Bill Rearick

    ·         Barry Ricci

    ·         Roy Seitsinger

    ·         Kathy Sipala (SOY 2011)

    ·         Kristen Stringfellow

    ·         Phil Thornton

    ·         Vonna Donoyan

    ·         Phil Auger



    NOTE: AASA considers a person who has previously been selected to still be eligible.

  • 28 May 2014 1:14 PM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)

    Mario Andrade will be the next superintendent of the Bristol Warren Regional School District.

    The school committee chose Dr. Andrade to succeed outgoing chief Melinda Thies, who submitted her resignation letter earlier this month. Mr. Andrade, a career educator who grew up in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and had been assistant superintendent since 2009, starts on July 1.

    “I’m very excited,” Mr. Andrade said. “I think there’s a lot to be said for someone within the school district (being named superintendent). You know the strengths and weaknesses.”

    The school committee chose Mr. Andrade after an internal search, and he said that he has definite ideas about what the district should focus on over the three-year life of his contract.

    One of the most important areas includes focusing more on science, math, engineering and technology at the high school and middle school levels. He also wants to augment and strengthen the high school’s guidance department.

    Another area would be the continual goal of improving student achievement. And finally, “obviously the last one is our financial situation, to make sure we are fiscally responsible.”

    “Being in the district and seeing the effects of the funding formula over the past three years, I think it’s important to work together. I think Melinda has done a great job bringing (various sides) together … it’s something we are going to have to continue to focus on.”

    Over the course of his career Mr. Andrade taught in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, most notably in Central Falls, where he was a special education. Later, he was also assistant principal at Rogers High School in East Providence, and in Central Falls. Along the way, he earned a doctorate in education.

    The good thing about teaching special education, he said, is that he had a chance to have a large impact on a small group of 10 or 15 students. Though he misses the classroom, he learned after becoming an administrator “that I was able to make more of a difference for a greater number of students.”


  • 14 May 2014 10:47 AM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)

    RISSA awarded two $1,000 scholarships at the Annual Meeting luncheon on May 9. The winners of the Rising Star awards were Ni Din of Mt. Pleasant High School in Providence, and Paige Pajarillo of Chariho. Providence Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi and Chariho Superintendent Barry Ricci presented the awards and lauded the outstanding recipients.

    The $1,000 Crowley Award Scholarship will be awarded by this year’s recipient, Dr. Todd Flaherty to Adedeyo Monteiro, also from Mt. Pleasant High School and a participant in the Rhode Island College Crusade.


2480 Post Road, Warwick, RI  02886

Mailing Address:  PO Box 7791, Warwick, RI  02887

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