Charting the course 
        for public education...

Rhode Island School Superintendents' Association


  • 06 May 2015 11:36 AM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Victor Capellan and Jeannine Notta-Masse on their appointments as Superintendent of Central Falls and Cranston.

    Victor has served as Assistant Superintendent of Central Falls and comes to the position after a stint at Mass Insight.

    Jeannine has been the Assistant Superintendent of Cranston and is an active RISSA member, serving on the Strategic Planning and Safety Committees.

    We are very pleased that these two excellent professionals are on the job. 

  • 30 Mar 2015 10:46 AM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)

    Below is the link to an OpEd written by Superintendent Barry Ricci on How to Make RI Schools the Best:

  • 04 Feb 2015 1:53 PM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)

    The Rhode Island School Superintendents’ Association eighth annual Paul W. Crowley Award is awarded to Tom DiPaola Ph.D. Director of the Education Leadership Doctoral Program at Johnson & Wales University. The presentation will take place in the State Room of the Rhode Island State House at 3:00 pm on March 4, 2015.

    The PAUL CROWLEY AWARD is given each year by the Rhode Island School Superintendents’ Association to a Rhode Island citizen who, in his or her professional and personal capacity, has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to improving the quality of education for the children of Rhode Island as did Representative Paul Crowley throughout his career as a state representative from Newport. A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a deserving senior planning a career in education and graduating from a Rhode Island public high school to be selected by Dr. DiPaola.

    Dr. DiPaola has a long history of being a passionate advocate for public education. He has been a leader in special education, education reform, and best practices through his work at the RI Department of Education, the Westerly Public Schools, and Johnson and Wales University.

    Tom served as the Director of Special Education in Central Falls (1977-84), Pawtucket (1984-91) and Providence (1991-92. He was the Director of the Rhode Island Technical Assistance Project from 1991-2000 and assisted the late Representatives Sherlock and Crowley which resulted in reforming the special education process by focusing on early reading difficulties, common among many of the children who were entering the ‘system”.

    Dr. DiPaola has served as an active member of the Rhode Island School Superintendents Association, Superintendent of the Westerly Public Schools, and State Director of Special Populations  at the Rhode Island Department of Education and remains one of the most respected leaders of public schools in our State. He is married to Nadine Champlin DiPaola.  He is also the parent of two children – son Chris who is the owner and operator of WBLQ radio in Westerly RI and daughter Jaime who is a military veteran specialist in student academic services at JWU.

    Speakers at the presentation included Governor Raimondo, House and Senate Legislative leaders, and Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. The award will be presented by the Rhode Island School Superintendents Association President Kathleen Sipala, Superintendent of the Narragansett Schools.

  • 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. 


2480 Post Road, Warwick, RI  02886

Mailing Address:  PO Box 7791, Warwick, RI  02887

(p) 401.272.9811, Press 3
(f) 401.272.9834
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software