Admissions FAQs

Why is there an application process if PCS is a public school?
As a charter school, Paul Cuffee School (PCS) operates independently of the Providence public school district. Like all public schools, PCS is free and accepts students regardless of socioeconomic status, academic ability, or ethnicity. Although admissions are open—to Providence residents only—families must apply, with spaces assigned by lottery.

Why do families choose Paul Cuffee School?
Parents and students choose to attend PCS instead of one of their district schools because of its reputation for success, innovative programs, excellent teachers, culture of respect, small class size, and individualized instruction. A major draw is that as a charter school, PCS has the freedom to innovate while still being accountable for student achievement. The RI Department of Education requires charter schools to submit annual reports demonstrating continuously improving academic achievement, highly qualified teachers, and leadership accountability.

Who can attend Paul Cuffee School?
School-age children residing in the City of Providence are eligible to attend.

How old must my child be to be admitted into kindergarten or first grade?
Students must be 5 years old on or before September 1 to be admitted into kindergarten and 6 years old on or before September 1 to be admitted into first grade.

How are students admitted to the school?
Students are admitted through an annual state-monitored open lottery. Rhode Island law governing charter school admissions mandates such a lottery when more students apply than the school can accommodate.

When will the lottery take place?
The lottery for the 2019-2020 year is scheduled for March 1, 2019.

Do siblings of current students get special consideration in admissions?
Yes. Enrollment preference is given to applicants whose siblings are already enrolled at the school. When a lottery takes place, siblings will be admitted first if space is available.

Can I schedule a class visit?
After the lottery in March, if your child has been offered a spot for the upcoming school year, arrangements can be made for a class visit. Because we receive more than 1,000 applications each year, we can arrange class visits only after acceptance.

How many openings does the school anticipate?
We anticipate approximately 50 openings in kindergarten, 8 openings in sixth grade, 20 openings in ninth grade, and limited openings in all other grades.

What is the average class size?
The average class size at the Lower and Middle Schools is 19 and 20 students, respectively. Upper School classes have an average of 21 students.

Does the school provide transportation?
PCS offers bus transportation for eligible students. Eligibility is determined by the distance from household to school. For kindergarten through sixth grade, students must live 1 mile away or more. Students in seventh and eighth grades must live 1½ miles away to be eligible. Upper School students must live 3 miles away to qualify for a free RIPTA bus pass.

Does Paul Cuffee School have an after-school program?
PCS offers a broad range of after-school extracurricular activities for students at all grade levels. These include sports, clubs, and academic and other enrichment activities as well as the After-School Club, which provides daily supervised after-school programming for K-8 students.