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An intriguing new charter school proposal

The Rhode Island Medical Society wants to open a charter school for students in grades 7 through 12 from Pawtucket, Providence, and Central Falls.

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The Rhode Island Medical Society wants to get into the charter school business.

The 211-year-old organization, which advocates for doctors, physician assistants, and medical students across the state, has filed an application with the Rhode Island Department of Education to open a school for students in Grades 7 through 12 from Pawtucket, Providence, and Central Falls.

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Under the proposal, the Medical Preparatory Academy of Rhode Island (MedPrep) would open next fall with 156 students in the 7th and 8th grades, and continue to expand into the high school in the following years. By 2028, enrollment would be 468 students.

Dr. Bradley Collins, a former president of the medical society, is listed as chair of MedPrep. Anthony Francisco, who has worked in Providence and Pawtucket schools, is the vice chair. Nkolika E. Onye, chief of equity and belonging at Providence Public Schools, is also assisting with the school planning process, according to the application.

The school’s goal would be to reduce the disparity that marginalized youth face in the medical field and in post-graduate medical professions. “We will prepare our students in grades 7 to 12 to succeed in top universities,” the application states. “Our mission and vision arose from the clear and growing need for healthcare professionals, and the lack of opportunities for historically marginalized students to gain the foundation and skills necessary to enter high wage careers in medical professions.”

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MedPrep is the only new charter school seeking to open next school year, although the Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts wants to add 5th and 6th grade classes (it currently serves Grades 7 to 12), and RISE Prep Mayoral Academy is asking to get rid of a restriction that caps the number of students from Woonsocket at 50 percent of total enrollment.

The state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to consider the charter school proposals at its Dec. 19 meeting.

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter that also contains links to other important Rhode Island stories, information about local events, and more. If you’d like to receive it via email Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan.