Today, the Rhode Island Department of Education announced that Blackstone Valley Prep High School, Blackstone Valley Prep Elementary School 2, and fifteen other schools across the state are Commended. BVP staff, scholars, and families are once again proving that demographics do not define destiny , that a zip code need not determine one’s educational opportunities.

Founding BVP teacher and founding Elementary School 2 leader Colleen Colarusso said, “Today’s announcement is five years in the making and started when BVP Elementary School 2 opened its doors in 2011 to its first class of kindergartners. Our scholars, staff, and families have built a school that focuses on a supportive culture for all kids. I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished together.” Of those schools given a commended rating, BVP is home to the only high school and only two high poverty schools on the list. By design, BVP is intentionally diverse, serving two urban and two suburban communities, unified by one mission to support the academic success of all students.

Founding leader of BVP High School Jonathan Santos Silva shared, “This news couldn’t come at a better time. When we learned earlier this month that our current lease would not be extended, staff and scholar morale was negatively affected. Moments like this remind us all that our success is about the collective efforts of a tremendous group of families, scholars, and educators! We will celebrate for a short while, but then it is back to keeping our heads down and focusing on preparing every scholar for the future.” Just today, this feature in The Atlantic serves as important context and as a reminder that integrated schools are gaining (promising) national attention.

The network serves just over 1,400 students, grades K10. Executive Director Jeremy Chiappetta is staying focused on the bigger goals. “News like today’s announcement reminds me and all of us what our work is about proving what is possible for all kids . Despite obstacles, or perhaps because of them, BVP is committed to solving the challenges that come our way. We are committed to supporting the success of our scholars, both today and tomorrow.”