The state education department and school district have released a so-called turnaround plan outlining five-year goals for the system. The document is the result of hours of community forums and discussions, which began in before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools in mid-March. The plan comes about a year after an independent report from Johns Hopkins University laid bare the numerous shortcomings of the district, and prompted the subsequent state takeover last November.

The goals include dramatically increasing proficiency rates on the state's standardized test scores, including the city's eighth grade math proficiency rate from just seven percent to fifty percent. A previously stated goal, to hire more educators of color, was made clearer in the document. The district wants a third of the educator workforce to be people of color by 2025, and anticipates needing to hire at least 52 people of color for available positions each year to reach that goal.

Some anticipated parts of the turnaround, including the granular steps needed to reach the goals or the possible closing of school buildings, are not included in the document.

"We will be taking buildings off-line," said State Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green during a press conference Tuesday. "COVID did come in and has made this a little more problematic. A few more hurdles to jump through. When you are going to take a building off-line you want to meet with the community in person and you want to have those conversations."

Infante-Green conceded that the pandemic will make parts of the turnaround challenging to implement. Providence Superintendent Harrison Peters said the effort could also incorporate lessons learned during the three-month school shutdown and switch to remote instruction.

"We’ve really learned a lot through this crisis that we’re going to try and use to reinvent," said Peters. "And that’s why this plan has to be fluid, because most of it wasn’t written with COVID19 in mind. And now that we’ve had this experience there are already opportunities to iterate and innovate the plan."

Another major part of the turnaround effort has also begun. The state and the Providence Teachers Union began renegotiating the contract, in person and socially-distanced earlier this month. The contract is set to expire at the end of August.