Edward Daft, the interim Superintended of the East Providence School Department, has served in the position for a year now and during that time, the city has faced many trials and tribulations. With those challenges, however, there have also been triumphs. The Townie recently sat down with Mr. Daft, an EPHS alumnus (class of 1985). He was eager to talk about all of the events of the past year and where the School District must move from here. One issue, however, was at the top of the list.
“The budget issue was the biggest challenge the School Department dealt with this year,” said Mr. Daft. “We’ve been working with the city and the Budget Commission in order to address cash flow and planning. We are working on a 5-year plan right now to address these issues.”
While the budget issue has been his biggest challenge, it was not the only obstacle for the School Department.
“Everyday presents its own set of challenges and we do our best to deal with them each as they arise,” says Mr. Daft.
Aside form the challenges of the last year there were also some victories. Among those successes was the completion of the the first phase of the bond project that upgraded safety and security at the high school. Considering the scope of the construction at EPHS last summer, it was an amazing feat that the schools were able to open on time.
"This was a big accomplishment because we were on a limited time line but we succeded thanks to the efforts of the School District staff and Project Managers,” says Mr. Daft.
In another bit of good news, EPHS received praise from the Rhode Island Department of Education for improvements in state test scores. Mr. Daft is proud of the efforts of everyone at the High School.
"EPHS was recognized by the Commissioner of Education, Ms. Gist, and we had further success at the High School and the Elementary Schools with the NECAPs."
Mr. Daft also noted that these accomplishments are made all the mores impressive when considering the other events that occured in the city this year.
“I feel that we made great progress under the circumstances. With everything going on in the city, the students and staff have not lost hope. They have never lost their focus,” said Daft.
One might think that the difficulties that the city has seen over the past year would have put a strain on the sense of Townie Pride that has long been a binding force for the school community. Mr. Daft does not think so.
“Townie Pride is absolutely still relevant and important today,” he said. “This is evident in the commitment to the city and district that the community has shown. For example, this year citizens built playgrounds and painted buildings for the schools. That’s all Townie Pride and it is impressive.”
WIth the end of the school year just about here, Mr. Daft will be happy to put another in the books and get ready to start fresh in September.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their support for the district and city this year. The commitment to the students and families in the community has been excellent. With all that has been going on everyone really rose to the challenge and kept their focus,” said Mr. Daft.