After a cold winter highlighted by numerous scandals plaguing our public school system, there is hope that Spring will bring us better news and a path forward (as well as some Nationals wins).
The Troubling News.
Over the past year, our city’s public school system was roiled by revelations that over 1/3 of last year’s diplomas were issued to students who should not have received them, due to either excessive absences or failing grades. Last spring, the Washington Post reported that the city's claimed decline in suspension rates was based on doctored records. It was only weeks ago our DCPS chancellor Antwon Wilson resigned and Interim Chancellor Amanda Alexander was named; preceded just a few days by the news that the Deputy Mayor of Education resigned for her role in facilitating the improper transfer of the Chancellor’s child. We’ve also seen reports of an investigation into residency fraud at Ellington was being “slow-walked” in order to protect the Mayor’s re-election chances.Read more
I hope everyone enjoyed Hilloween and has a great (and safe) time Trick-or-Treating tonight!
Please mark your calendars and make your voice heard at these upcoming events!
State Report Card Focus Group
Your feedback is critical to helping OSSE build an effective tool to both help us improve our schools. This focus group will be an opportunity for you to share what you want to see in DC’s new school report card.
DC Public Schools Announces Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Hearing
NOTE: This event is typically not well advertised or attended. It is a TREMENDOUS opportunity to make your concerns heard.
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.
I hope you're enjoying the summer break. Please be careful during the heat and check on any friends or neighbors who lack air conditioning. Encourage those in need to visit a cooling center, spray park or other safe location. Click here or visit DC.gov to find a listing of emergency centers, spray parks, and other resources.
ESSA Advisory Task Force – Deadline to Apply is July 24 at 12:00 PM
Join me on the city’s ESSA Taskforce and help us ensure that our city’s school accountability plan includes strong additional measures for high school academic growth, school climate, and well-rounded education. Please be thorough in your applications.Apply here: bit.ly/essataskforce
E Ball Enrollment Extravaganza
Happy Summer! As our schools close for the summer, I want to take a moment to share a few items about the State Board of Education's work this summer and welcome our new DCPS school leaders to Ward 6. But, first, remember to sign-up and win prizes for reading this summer!
Summer Reading 2017
The DC Public Library's Build a Better World Summer Reading challenge encourages all readers to explore books, resources and library services. Register and play online or pickup a game board at your neighborhood library.
Join Chancellor Wilson & Principal Young to discuss their vision for Eliot-Hine June 21 11am at Eliot-Hine MS.
I encourage the Eliot-Hine community to join Chancellor Wilson and Principal Young on Wednesday morning for a conversation about our vision for Eliot-Hine. While the Chancellor has repeatedly expressed his support for Eliot-Hine and it's IB Middle Years Programme, this year's budget allocation failed to follow DCPS's funding guidelines for IB schools, resulting in a shortage of funds to adhere to the IB programme requirements. I hope to see you there to advocate for a vision for Eliot-Hine that will allow all its students to reach their full potential.
Principal Announcements for School Year 2017-2018
I want to thank Principals Peter Young (Brent), Isamar Vargas (Eliot-Hine) and Dawn Clemens (Stuart-Hobson) for their service to our community and welcome three new leaders to our neighborhood:
- Norah Lycknell, Brent Elementary School
- Eugenia Young, Eliot-Hine Middle School
- Kristofer Comeforo, Stuart-Hobson Middle School
Click here to see all the new principal announcements from DCPS.
The high rate of school leader and teacher turnover in our neighborhood schools is alarming. Nearly 38% of DCPS teachers in high poverty schools will not return to the same classroom next year (vs national average of 16%). In the past two years, 10 #Ward6 schools have seen changes in leadership. I was proud to join my colleagues on the State Board of Education in calling for the Council to hold a hearing on these issues and will continue to push for additional conversations on these issues. (more here). Mr. Grosso, the Education Committee Chair, has decided to consider this issue as part of broader conversations about the DCPS strategic plan in the fall.
High School Graduation Task Force
Join the State Board of Education in rethinking the District’s Graduation Requirements: Learn more and apply to join the task for here: https://sboe.dc.gov/gradreqs
ESSA Advisory Task Force
Last month, the State Board of Education voted to create an ESSA Advisory Task Force to conduct community roundtables and focus groups to gather input on the remaining ESSA accountability plan measures, pilot studies, and school report cards from essential District education stakeholders. I’m proud to announce that I’ve been nominated by the Board’s president to serve on the Task Force and look forward to ensuring that our city’s ESSA plan includes strong additional measures for high school academic growth, school climate, and well-rounded education. Look for more information in the coming weeks.
Council Adopts 2018 Budget
Among the highlights of the Council’s budget as passed are:
- The Universal per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF), the keystone metric in schools funding, will increase by 3%, which is double the 1.5% proposed in the Mayor’s budget
- Concretely, this change will net $11.5 million in additional funds for DC Public Schools and $7.2 million for DC Public Charter Schools.
- Seven public and charter schools will see their renovations accelerated due to the Council’s proposed budget: Jefferson Middle School, West Education Campus, Capitol Hill Montessori School at Logan, Anne M. Goding Elementary School, Eaton Elementary School, Shaw Middle School, and the Browne Education Campus.
Check out more: http://dccouncil.us/news/entry/unanimous-council-passes-fy-2018-budget
Have a great summer!
Good evening –
I hope everyone is enjoying the wonderful Spring weather and has a wonderful Spring Break. Below are some updates on the work we’ve done at the Board of Education over the past few weeks and information on school budgets and related issues. As always, #ThankYou for your support.
Matched to a school or called off a waitlist? For info on how to enroll your student, visit MySchoolDC or the school you plan to attend. Enrolling early helps schools plan for the upcoming year; please take a few moments to enroll NOW.
Chancellor Wilson @ Eastern Senior HS.
Join me in welcoming Chancellor Wilson to #Ward6 & Eastern Senior High School (1700 East Capitol Street, NE) tomorrow, April 11, from 6:30 – 8:30 PM.
Mayor Bowser announced her Fiscal Year 2018 Budget last week (press release; direct link). While the budget represents the city’s largest investment in public education – over $1.58 billion for DC’s public schools – it includes just a 1.5% increase in the amount spent per student. In a time of record surpluses, I’d hoped for a greater increase and have heard from schools across Ward 6 about cuts and tough funding decisions.
With regard to the School Modernization Budget, available here, I continue to be concerned that the process of developing the city’s modernization priorities is not being done, as recommended by the Deputy Mayor’s Boundary Taskforce, with public input and that we continue to utilize bad data in determining needs. Even for the modernizations that have moved forward, we lack clear enrollment projections and an overall vision for our schools. I strongly believe that the learning conditions impact student performance and will continue to advocate for a transparent process that involves the community.
Make Your Voice Heard!Read more
Please join me on Feb 21 at Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan or on Feb 27 at CHAW to share your thoughts on the District's proposed State Accountability Plan.
Ward 6 | Feb. 21 | 6-8 p.m. | Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan, 215 G St. NE. Register here for Feb. 21
Ward 6 | Feb. 27 | 6-8 p.m. | Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 Seventh St. SE. Register here for Feb. 27
If you can’t join us in #Ward6, please join another conversation. Click here for more information.Read more
I hope that everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season and that 2017 is off to a wonderful beginning! I’m eager to continue building upon what we’ve accomplished in our schools across #Ward6 as I look forward to the work in front of the State Board in 2017.
Before diving in, I’d like to thank my colleagues Mary Lord (At-Large), Kamili Anderson (Ward 4), and Tierra Jolly (Ward 8) for their work on behalf of our city’s students. It’s been an honor to work with, and learn from, them. I am also excited to welcome Ashley Carter (At-Large), Lannette Woodruff (Ward 4), and Markus Batchelor (Ward 8) to the State Board of Education. And, I’d like to offer my congratulations to Councilmembers and ANC members who took office earlier today. Together, we can move our schools and communities forward, providing great educational opportunities for all students in our city.
News & Announcements:
Modernizations -- Maury ES
DCPS will be meeting with the community on January 12th at 6:00 PM at Maury ES to discuss the expansion of Maury ES and possible changes to the project with the community. I hope that we can pack the room to show DCPS that our community takes these decisions seriously and wants to be involved.
As we near the end of 2016, I want to thank everyone for their input into the work the State Board of Education is doing to develop a new accountability system for our schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and highlight some important decisions that will be made in the coming weeks.
First, I want to thank everyone who provided testimony at the State Board of Education’s November 16 public meeting. The Board heard loud and clear that the community wants to see our city look beyond test scores as we evaluate our schools under the new ESSA regulations. We look forward to working with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) in updating the draft proposal to include more emphasis on individual student growth, a survey of school climate and culture, and other performance measures (in-seat attendance, re-enrollment, etc).
It’s not too late to make your voice heard. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
There are also a number of other education topics of interest happening in our community.Read more
I hope that everyone has had a great start to the 2016-17 school year. As we’ve kicked off the new school year, the State Board has been hard at work. We’ve begun our work to bring the District into line with new federal accountability rules under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). I’ve also renewed my call for the Deputy Mayor of Education to come to #Ward6 to explain how the District’s School Facilities Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) was developed and to engage our community in developing a vision and priorities for our schools. I’ve also raised issues with the DC School Lottery about ways to promote enrollment stability. And, the Board is also working with OSSE to update the District’s residency verification procedures and requirements.
Please let me know if you have any question and please MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD on these on other important issues.Read more