Our History as Educators who Build Futures
The William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School opened in 1971 to serve the needs of students in the Blackstone Valley area (Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, Burrillville, North Smithfield, Smithfield, Pawtucket, Woonsocket). The capacity of the school, known at that time as the William M. Davies, Jr. Vocational School, was 600 students. In 1976, Woonsocket Area Vocational School was opened and Woonsocket, Cumberland, Burrillville, and North Smithfield sent its students to this new facility. The new center was not a stand-alone school that offered both academic and technical training, but was a skill center offering technical training only. The town of North Providence was added to the list of communities Davies served at that time. The Davies School operated on an alternating week of academics and a week of technical training until 1993.
In 1991, an amendment to public law created a new entity, the William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School, which arose out of the collective thinking of the business sector that the vocational training being provided statewide at the time was ineffective, and the students were not given the proper tools to assist the businesses and industries in being competitive. The Davies School was to become a model school which could be replicated in a total of five regional areas throughout the state and replace the existing vocational system that was in place.
Moving beyond vocational training.
The Davies School became a “limited-purpose” local education authority (LEA) with an appointed board of trustees and directed by a director/principal. It would be fully funded by the State of Rhode Island through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The crafters of the amendment spelled out the duties of the director/principal, the board of trustees, the commissioner of education, and the Board of Regents, that oversees all public education and directed the school to create a “model” career and technical school.
In 1992, a 100,000 sq. ft. addition was built onto the 100,000 plus sq. ft. building erected in 1971. The existing facility is approximately 220,000 sq. feet which includes a 9-room modular building and another laboratory next to the existing facility. The design of the new addition was predicated on the week-about model and assumed that adults would be educated along with typical high school age students bringing capacity to 950 students.
At the time of the completion of the addition in September 1992, an entirely new administrative team was hired by the newly appointed director/principal and the board of trustees. In 1993, a new format and direction was implemented which required reducing the number of minutes students would be training in technical areas and moving that time into academics. Students would be in academics and technical training in a modified block format for grades 9-11 and a week-about format would remain for seniors allowing for out-of-school placements or extended in-school project activities.
Today, we enroll up to 850 students across all regions of Rhode Island. Davies students receive two complete educations: a comprehensive high school education plus specialized training in a career area.