IN THE NEWS
The UCAP School 30th Anniversary Event Celebrates Founder and Director Robert DeBlois
Raising Record $90,000 to Support Future Programs
May 16, 2019
The UCAP School celebrated its 30th Anniversary by honoring its Founder and Director, Robert (Rob) DeBlois, as he prepares to retire at the end of the school year. As UCAP’s pioneer leader and visionary, DeBlois has maintained an unwavering belief that every student has the ability – and deserves the opportunity – to succeed in school and beyond. The April 17, 2019 anniversary celebration brought together 200 guests, including alumni, parents, staff and former staff, long-time supporters and new, to honor DeBlois and ensure that his work continues. A record $90,000 was raised through the event, which was hosted by the Fund for UCAP, a private, non-profit organization established to support the enhancement of UCAP’s personalized learning environment. The proceeds of the anniversary event will benefit the school’s Beyond U programs, which provide students with essential academic, physical, and cultural enrichment experiences after school, on the weekends, during vacations, and throughout the summer.
DeBlois founded The UCAP School (then called The Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program) in 1989 to demonstrate that public education must address, and is capable of, meeting some of its most serious challenges. He created a school that rewarded students for their demonstration of knowledge and skills instead of providing credit for time in a classroom seat. The model, unheard of at the time, provided a safety net for failing students, helping them to succeed in middle school by enabling them to learn in a supportive, personalized environment, catch up with their grade, and return to high school prepared and ready for success. Throughout its history, The UCAP School has utilized innovative, best practice approaches in designing the school’s curriculum and in addressing students’ needs. This keen focus on continuous improvement and a commitment to student-centered learning has consistently shown that students who need a second chance can – and will – take advantage of opportunities. Under DeBlois’ direction and working in collaboration with the Providence, Cranston and Central Falls school districts, The UCAP School has enabled more than 2,000 middle school students to gain the skills and knowledge to support their success in high school and beyond.
At the event, Dan Corley, Head of Community Prep and a member of the Fund for UCAP board, presented DeBlois with a student-made award, stating, “One reason Rob is such a gifted educator and leader is his love for those around him. His quick wit and good humor help him to hone that love. Also, key for UCAP’s success is that he knows that he can’t do it all by himself. He is great at inviting others to work and have fun with him. He knows how to build community.”
Upon accepting the award, DeBlois said, “I am fortunate to have built my professional life, and much of my personal life around UCAP – the students, the teachers, professionals from all walks of life, and other educators. I’ve been able to do work that is worthwhile and meaningful, and my family has supported me and the school throughout. The work that we do at UCAP is so important. We are trying to bring to life the promise of opportunity that is a hallmark of our heritage as Americans. It really does take a village, and UCAP is an example of how this can occur.”
DeBlois then presented his wife Bonnie DeBlois with an award in recognition of her stalwart support, emphasizing, “…her volunteerism from the inception of the school…Without her support and involvement UCAP would not have happened.”
Jeannine Nota-Masse, Superintendent of the Cranston School Department and a member of the UCAP Board of Directors, said, “While it may be hard to imagine the school without Rob’s steadfast leadership and vision, it is the legacy of that leadership and vision that will enable The UCAP School to grow, thrive and adapt to keep pace with the evolving education landscape.”
DeBlois’ role as Director of The UCAP School will end with the close of the 2019 school year. Following a national search, a new Director will be announced on June 1, 2019.
Joe Wilson, Jr., of Trinity Rep, served as Emcee and Auctioneer again this year and helped UCAP reach its fundraising record by playing bidders off each other and reminding attendees how the proceeds impact the students.
Interim Director of Development
The UCAP School
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