It’s been a busy start to the school year… Please check out the Fall Festivals this weekend and other upcoming events (there’s a 5K, dinner and movie nights and many other great events happening over the coming weeks to support our schools) and open houses (DCPS Open Houses; DC Public Charter Open Houses, sorry, there is no comprehensive listing, you’ll have to check out the individual school sites).
PARCC scores: Innocent error shows how city test score reports can mislead…
While we should applaud our city’s school systems for their continued growth, we also need to pay closer attention to the growing gaps. The Washington Post reported a few weeks ago that due to a coding error, all of the students at Deal Middle School were classified as “economically disadvantaged.” The result of this error was that our city’s PARCC test scores for “economically disadvantaged” students were inflated. However, in the vast majority of DC schools, all students, regardless of their income, are regularly and routinely classified as “economically disadvantaged” for the purposes of reporting test scores. In other words: What is a coding error at Deal is the accepted, standard practice for the majority of our city’s schools.
This occurs because if 30/40% or more of a school’s students are eligible for free or reduced lunch based on their family’s income, the entire school can opt to provide a free lunch to all students. This option, known as “community eligibility," allows schools to lower the administrative costs/bureaucracy/stigma of identifying and overseeing a system in which some kids in a school get a free or reduced lunch and others don’t. The problem is with the test score reporting; when these students are categorized as “economically disadvantaged,” it means reports about the scores are misleading. My SBOE colleague, Jack Jacobson, joined me in penning an op-ed to explain this – and call attention to our city’s growing achievement gaps – that you can read at Greater Greater Washington.
The City Paper also covered this issue and, as my colleague from Ward 3, Ruth Wattenberg stated, the way we report scores "are misleading in multiple ways. When students who are not disadvantaged get coded as disadvantaged, as appears to be the case in many schools, the scores of disadvantaged students will seem higher than they genuinely are.”
Please join Chancellor Wilson and me on Monday, Oct 23 for a Community Town Hall on Equity in Education at Brent Elementary School. The event begins at 6:00 PM.
#ESSA TaskForce Update
Our SBOE ESSA Task Force held its third meeting on October 3rd, continuing their important work of devising education policy recommendations related to the District’s implementation of ESSA and the development of the District’s new School Report Card.
The next CHPSPO meeting will be on Monday, October 23 at Stuart Hobson (410 E Street, NE) at 6:00 PM. At this meeting, #ESSA Taskforce members Suzanne Wells, Sheila Strain-Clark, and I will be facilitating a conversation to gain public input on new School Report Card – the Taskforce and OSSE want to hear what YOU want to see in the report card (thanks to Suzanne and Sheila for filling in for me at this one). Our ultimate goal is to develop ONE tool for all public schools that will help parents navigate our school systems and which will inform efforts to improve our schools. Check out the meeting materials here and watch the replay here. We’ll be holding a 2nd session on Nov 1 in Southwest DC and hope to hold at least one additional session in Ward 6.
To see a schedule of upcoming focus groups, or if you’d like more information, please visit sboe.dc.gov/essa. The next ESSA Taskforce meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
High School Graduation Requirements Taskforce
DC State Board of Education’s High School Graduation Requirements Taskforce continues to review and analyze our city’s graduation requirements for all DCPS and public charter students. Please check out their website to see meeting minutes and for information on upcoming meetings.
SBOE Working Session To Be Held on November 6th
Please be advised that the date for our November working session has been moved to Monday, November 6, 2017. We will hold this working session at 6:00 p.m. in Room 1114 at 441 4th St. NW. For more information regarding upcoming meetings, please visit sboe.dc.gov.
SBOE Welcomes New Student Representatives
I want to welcome my newest colleagues – Tallya Rhodes (HD Woodson HS, Ward 7) and Tatiana Robinson (Ballou HS, Ward 8) – the Board’s new student representatives to the board. They were sworn in late last month by State Board President Karen Williams (Ward 7), joined by Ashley Carter (At-Large) and Markus Batchelor (Ward 8) with proud teachers, classmates, and family members cheering them on!
Opportunities for HS Students
The Student Advisory Committee serves as the voice of students in the State Board’s work and is consulted on all issues of policy before the Board. The Student Advisory Committee conducts its meetings approximately once per month and is happy to accept new members. If you are a District of Columbia resident and either a sophomore, junior, or senior in either a traditional public or public charter high school and would like to join, please contact us via email at email@example.com.
Know any high school student who might be interested in a summer internship in a Navy lab next summer? The SEAP program applications will close on 31 October. Check out https://seap.asee.org/ for information.
News & Events
I’ve had the pleasure of participating in several events and interviews over the past few weeks, including:
The Story of Our Schools Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan Exhibit Launch
I was honored to join MaryBeth Washington, Logan Club teacher; and Vincent Gray, Ward 7 Councilmember and Logan School alumni in opening the Story of Our Schools Exhibit at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan. Over the past two years, students have research their school’s history and created an interactive exhibit to tell their community’s story. I’d encourage everyone to stop by the school and check it out. I hope to see them expand to more schools in the coming years.
News4 I-Team on discuss Teacher Credentials
Check it out: DC Teachers Admit Misconduct But Slip Through Cracks
Walk to School Day
It was simply the best EVER. Thanks to all who organized and to everyone who was able to join us at Lincoln Park this year.
Funding and other Council Updates
DC Council Health Committee calls for full-time nurses in every school.
As parents with kids in schools undoubtedly know, the previously common practice of providing full time nurses in all schools has been ended, despite the major protest of parents, schools, and health professionals. The effort to reverse this is now underway. The Health Committee voted unanimously in favor of full time nurses. Many thanks to committee Chairman Vincent Gray, and committee members: W3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, CM Nadeau (W1), CM Todd (W4) and at-large-member CM Grosso. The measure goes to the full Council for a Nov 3rd vote. Then it must be included in the Mayor’s budget.
Mayor Bowser and Chancellor Wilson recently announced new Excellence through Equity & Reign Innovation Grant Programs. To see the full list of school funding for EtE and for more information about EtE, visit the DCPS website. To learn more about the new DCPS strategic plan, check out A Capital Commitment.
DC Council Can Address School Funding Inequities from Washington Laywers Cmte
The quality of an education that District of Columbia students receive still depends far too much on the neighborhood in which they live, the income of their family, the color of their skin, and whether they have a disability. Measures to address this inequity is driven, in part, by the ability of the District to allocate funding for neighborhood public schools. Several charter schools brought litigation to limit the District’s ability to invest in the lowest performing schools and sought a ruling that would enrich private educational entities over the public system. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee worked with a coalition of groups to participate in this litigation and to protect the District’s ability to create high quality schools for every student. In September, the DC District Court rejected the charter Plaintiffs’ challenge and found that the DC Council had the authority to make necessary and appropriate funding decisions. More...
Two More Events:
DC Language Immersion Project
The DC Language Immersion Project will be hosting a discussion in Ward 6 on Sunday, October 22, at 10 am, at 1339 East Capitol St., SE, with Fabrice Jaumont, who is the father of NYC's bilingual revolution. It's an opportunity to talk with other parents who are interested in bilingual education, and learn how communities have created high-quality bilingual programs. Discussions will be held in all eight wards October 21 - 22, along with a kick-off event on October 20. You can register for the Ward 6 event, and find a complete listing of the discussions that will be happening across the city at http://dcimmersion.org.
Near Southeast Community Causes will be bringing together our school leaders for Feeder 3. The event will begin with a Principal Roundtable where school principals will discuss school safety, athletics, and strengthening feeder patterns. Principals from Eastern, Eliot-Hine, Jefferson, and Stuart-Hobson & their feeders will be joined by Council Members, MPD Commander Morgan Kane (MPD), DCIAA, & the 21st Century School Fund. A reception, immediately following the roundtable, is open to PTA/PTO, LSAT, and other community leaders as well as DCPS and other city leaders. For information contact Bruce DarConte @firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading. Please let me know if there is anything that myself or the Board can do to support your schools.