My family moved to Cranston in March 2008. The following week while we were putting things together in our new home, I went to the school department building on Park Avenue looking for …
My family moved to Cranston in March 2008. The following week while we were putting things together in our new home, I went to the school department building on Park Avenue looking for information about pre-K opportunities for our daughter, who was almost 4 years old at the time.
A first good impression about the way Cranston serves its residents came to us the day after I visited the School Department; we received a letter informing us not only that they had spots available for pre-K, but also what steps were needed and where to go. For me personally, that was an encouraging experience, mostly because I spent countless hours trying to secure pre-K opportunities for refugee children in other school districts, and despite going through the registration and evaluation process, I never got any of them through the system. The only savior option that was always available was the Head Start program.
Now I am asking to myself this question: “What is it that makes our quality of life better?” Even if you feel financially safe, because you have some savings, a job and a sound-retirement plan, you do not have all that is needed to live a quality life. You still need a neighborhood. If you have children, you need schools. You also need public libraries. You need a professionally trained police force with safe engaging protocols to follow, and other city or municipal services that directly impact neighborhoods and their residents.
All these things are precisely what make the city of Cranston a great place to live and raise a family. I do not know how this came together, if it was planned, or if it evolved through a natural or spontaneous discourse, but I see a model of cohesive and embracing leadership that encompasses execution of responsibilities from all relevant city departments.
From a perspective of direct municipal services to its residents, and from my own family experience, I am grateful to the Public Works, Senior Services, Parks and Recreations, and Fire departments. But a significant contributing factor to this vision of city leadership is found in the coordinated, constant and efficient work of the city’s schools, public libraries and police.
The School Department’s leadership has been consistent, focused and engaging. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the school superintendent, and school-level administrators, have shared a persistent message of reassurance and confidence. I sense that they have been acting as administrators but with the fragmenting heart of a parent. And that is reassuring.
The public libraries system is atypical; it is not like an isolated room that you may access through a long-barriered passage to reach a discouraging point of deficiency. The Cranston public libraries significantly support and nurture our school children, without mentioning all the other services offered to the community at large and to the city's limited-English speaking residents.
Cranston has developed a kind of city structured-leadership model that is certainly uncommon, and that is rooted in its community values and sense of pride.
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