General Assembly OKs bill to re-establish Nowell Academy to assist pregnant, parenting teens

 

STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly has approved legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) that would re-establish the Sheila C. “Skip” Nowell Academy, an institution that focuses on the diverse needs of pregnant and parenting teens, as a state school.

The bill (2024-H 7560, 2024-S 2807), which is supported by the Department of Education, would also change the operating structure of the academy to establish a cooperative agreement among school districts. Under the legislation, it would become a public school and cease operating as a charter school.

“This is a unique structure that will enable students who are at risk of failure to have the support they need, keep them in school, and give them daycare for their children,” said Representative McNamara, who chairs the House Committee on Education. “It would allow any student in any school district to apply for this alternative program that is geared specifically for their needs.”

The academy has existed for 12 years as a charter high school, filling a need statewide for students who need special supports because of their status as pregnant or parenting, including offering daycare for children so their parents can go to school. Because of its unique program, the school has faced many challenges as a charter school, particularly when it comes up for renewal.

“I have the privilege to know the work that this school has been doing for years, providing opportunities for young women and parents who want to finish their high school education,” said Senator Cano, who chairs the Senate Committee on Education. “And I think it’s important that we provide them with the necessary support to continue doing their good work.”

Changing it to a public state high school would give the academy the long-term support it needs to continue building on its foundation of giving pregnant and parenting students the unique services they require.

The Department of Education hopes to make the school a model, where enrollment would be referral-based. As a charter school, the academy is currently compelled to use the charter school lottery system, establishing several deadlines that do not line up with the needs of students who may not even know they are pregnant at the time the application period ends.

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

 

 

The Supreme Court is getting rid of a Trump-era ban on "bump stocks." The court ruled Friday that the firearm accessory that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire more quickly can't be included in a 1934 law banning machine guns. The decision was 6-3 on ideological lines, striking down a regulation imposed during the Trump administration. Despite the ruling, bump stocks remain illegal in 18 states.       The Supreme Court is not yet ruling on Donald Trump's claims of presidential immunity. The court did not make a decision on the consequential case today, but may do so on June 20th when its next opinions are released. The case impacts some of Trump's pending cases, including his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Trump argues he is immune from prosecution because his actions fell under official conduct that should be protected, and was not a private act.       Floridians can expect even more rain today after days of severe weather and flooding. Non-stop rain has drenched parts of the southern half of the state for days now -- including Miami. Governor Ron DeSantis already declared a state of emergency. Thunderstorm activity in the region is expected to subside by the weekend, but forecasters say flash flooding and urban flooding will remain possible through Saturday.       Kate, Princess of Wales, says she is making "good progress" in her treatment for cancer. In a rare statement Friday, the British royal said she is still undergoing chemotherapy and that she has "a few more months" of treatment remaining. She also announced that she will be attending a military parade Saturday to mark King Charles the Third's birthday. This will be her first official public appearance since she revealed she has cancer.       Ukraine is rejecting Russia's demands to bring the war between the two countries to an end. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would end the war if Ukraine agreed to certain conditions. Those include Kyiv [[ KEEV ]] dropping its ambitions to join NATO, pulling out troops from four Ukrainian provinces claimed by Moscow. The proposal from Russia came just a day after the U.S. and Ukraine agreed to a new ten-year security agreement.       The USA cricket team is continuing to make history. The team has advanced to the next stage of the men's T20 Cricket World Cup after its match against Ireland was rained out in Florida Friday. The point earned by the USA due to the game being called off meant the team qualified for the Super Eight stage of the tournament. The USA will now be placed in a group of four of the final eight teams, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semifinal round.