Empowering Families

Bringing families into the educational process

This program is temporarily on hold. For an explanation, please see this message from R2LP Director Leslie Gell.

Empowering Families, a joint initiative of the Providence Public School Department and Ready to Learn Providence, will help parents and other guardians become key players in the education of their children. At the heart of the program is Mind in the Making, an eight-session course that covers the seven life skills every child needs to succeed in school – and in life.

What are the seven essential life skills every child needs? Click here to find out.

Unlike many family engagement initiatives, Empowering Families is creating opportunities for families and school professionals to learn together. The goal, says R2LP Director Leslie Gell, is to give all the adults in a child’s life an understanding of the skills he or she needs to succeed. These are the skills (often called executive function skills) that manage our emotions, intellect and behavior, such as focus and self-control.

DSC_0058Over a four-year period, we are offering Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs to more than 2,500 families, teachers and other school personnel (nurses, cafeteria employees, etc.) in the Providence schools, Pre-K to Grade 3. Our first contact with kindergarten families is at Providence’s Student Registration Center, where we’ve set up a small early learning nook during the kindergarten registration period in the winter.

This year, 2016-2017, we are bringing MITM to families and staff at: Reservoir Avenue, Veazie Street, Robert Kennedy, Mary A. Fogarty, Harry Kizirian, Broad Street Elementary and the Leviton Annex.

In 2014-2015 we offered the program to families and staff  in seven Providence elementary schools, Pre-K to Grade 3: Bailey, Carl Lauro, Fortes/Lima, Pleasant View, L. F. Sackett, Carnevale, and Woods and Young.

In 2015-2016 we offered MITM to families and staff at: William D’Abate, Asa Messer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Vartan Gregorian, George J. West, Frank D. Spaziano and Webster Avenue.

The Mind in the Making Learning Modules were developed by Ellen Galinsky and her team at the Families and Work Institute after years of studying the skills that students who reach their potential possess. In 2016, Mind in the Making became a program of the Bezos Family Foundation. On March 12, 2016, Galinsky came to Ready to Learn Providence to talk with the staff responsible for delivering Mind in the Making to Providence. They told her about the profound impact the program has had on families, educators — and themselves. Galinsky captured their thoughts on this video.


This initiative is largely funded with a grant from the Investing in Innovation Fund, administered by the U.S. Department of Education. We’re also grateful to The A.M. Fund; the Anne E. Casey Foundation; the Bezos Family Foundation; The Campaign for Grade Level Reading; the Hasbro Children’s Fund; the Institute for Educational Leadership; the Kellogg Foundation; The Rhode Island Foundation; and United Way of Rhode Island for their crucial support.

For more information about Empowering Families, or to find out about upcoming classes in Mind in the Making, call Tania Quezada (fluent in English and Spanish) at (401) 490-9960.