Putting #StudentsFirst: Our Vote on Credit Recovery

Credit recovery is supposed to provide students that have already failed a course the opportunity to make up or recover the credit. The regulations submitted to the State Board by OSSE were an attempt to provide statewide guardrails on a chaotic mix of programs, varied interpretations of policies or the complete absence of policies. The State Board unanimously rejected the proposal because, in our view, they would not provide any change in the practice of credit recovery in the District of Columbia.

The State Board believes we need to begin a long overdue conversation about how state agencies are better able to support excellent classrooms. It is a conversation that our caregivers, teachers, and students have been asking for: how do we harness the power of government and public education to ensure equity of opportunity for all students.

Credit recovery is a last resort. Every time a teacher acts with a student that is struggling, we need to be there to provide support. Every time a student falls behind, we need to be there to catch them up. A student that is struggling in a class shouldn’t have to fail the course before the teacher and the school can help. That is a failure of the system, not the student.

On the fundamentals, we agree with OSSE that credit recovery needs clear guidelines and rules, but not without a larger discussion about how the education system is serving individual students. Working together, as a community, we must ensure that the state agencies are supporting caregivers, teachers, and school leaders to provide students with the help they need to prosper by reducing barriers and ensuring equity of access and opportunity. We must hold our school leaders and agencies, not just teachers responsible for student outcomes, and empower our students and their caregivers to be decision-makers in education.

The State Board rejected the proposed regulations to put students, not the system, first.

Transforming Public School Teaching in the Nation’s Capital

By: Maria Salciccioli, Senior Policy Analyst

One of the most interesting conversations I attended this summer was the report release event for FutureEd’s A Policymaker’s Playbook: Transforming Public School Teaching in the Nation’s Capital. The event opened with remarks from Council Chair Mendelson, Council Education Chair Grosso, and Interim Deputy Mayor Smith. Thomas Toch then presented some of the findings from his report. He said that the Rhee era, under Chancellors Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson, was marked by a “transformation of the profession from low-status occupation with weak standards to performance-based professional providing recognitions, responsibility, collegiality, support, and significant compensation.” He noted that these improvements were actually what Michelle Rhee’s critics were looking for, and no other districts have accomplished them to the same extent. The results were achieved through initiatives that unions and Rhee’s other adversaries opposed, but also those they supported:

  • The IMPACT evaluation system
  • Performance pay and staffing (top salaries rose in the 10-year period from $87,000 to $132,000 for 10-month schools)
  • The LIFT career ladder, which provides leadership opportunities for classroom teachers
  • School-based professional development through the LEAP system

The result was a greater number of new hires with teaching experience (from 66% to 84%), retention of 94% of highly effective teachers and only 49% of minimally effective teachers (who only make up 5% of the teaching force). However, Toch acknowledged that there are still troubling facts and trends: only 15% of black students scored proficient on PARCC reading assessments, LEAP implementation is uneven, zoned high schools are a major challenge, and poverty is a formidable barrier. He concluded by saying that despite these issues, schools are much better than they were before the reform era.

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2018 National Forum on Education Policy

By: Matt Repka, Policy Analyst

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) held its annual National Forum on Education Policy in late June 2018 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC. Hundreds of state legislators, state board members, principals, teachers, and other education stakeholders attended the three-day event, which featured presentations, workshops, and addresses from prominent elected officials, educators, and researchers, including former U.S. Secretary of Education John King.

ECS is a nonpartisan national organization that assists state government officials in developing education policies. Founded over 50 years ago, its objective is to bring state officials together to share best practices on how to improve the quality of education in their states, and to provide research and other resources to better inform policymakers.

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SBOE Weekly EdLinks: 07/15/2018

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

Here’s your weekly rundown of education local/national news and events here in the District.

SBOE QUOTED IN THE NEWS
D.C. Officials Irked by Report of Unlicensed Teachers | Washington Informer

Statement on Mayor’s Veto of School Promotion and Graduation Fairness Emergency Act of 2018 | Markus Batchelor

How 2 Communities in DC, One White One Black, Work Together | Afro

NATIONAL NEWS
Detroit schools will hire teachers without classroom experience, sparking debate | Chalkbeat
Detroit’s main district is proceeding with a plan to hire teachers who are certified but have received no training in the classroom — adding an element of controversy to efforts to fill hundreds of teacher vacancies by the end of summer.

Indiana State Board of Education approves graduation pathway policy | Fox59
The Indiana State Board of Education (Board) on Wednesday approved policy guidance for Graduation Pathways by a 10-0 vote. The policy guidance will be used by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and schools across the state to implement Graduation Pathways, which the Board approved in December 2017.

Controversial Discipline Program Not to Blame for Parkland School Shooting, Commission Finds | EdWeek
A controversial school discipline program adopted by the Broward County, Fla., district to reduce student arrests cannot be blamed for the shooting by a former student there, a state commission said Tuesday.

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SBOE Weekly EdLinks: 07/06/2018

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

Starting today, we are launching a weekly rundown of education local/national news and events here in the District!

SBOE QUOTED IN THE NEWS
Bowser Waited Until After The Primary to Find The Next Public Schools Chancellor | Washington City Paper

Student journalists at Wilson High’s Beacon look to build on high-profile year | DC Line

NATIONAL NEWS
K-12 and the U.S. Supreme Court: Highlights of the 2017-18 Term | EdWeek
After a major term for K-12 education the year before, the U.S. Supreme Court had a more measured term in 2017-18.

The Largest Teachers’ Union Predicts a 14 Percent Membership Loss Over Two Years | EdWeek
The National Education Association is projecting a nearly 8 percent membership loss over the course of the next school year, along with a $28 million budget reduction, due to an adverse Supreme Court ruling.

New York, Virginia become first to require mental health education in schools | CNN
New York’s law updates the health curriculum in elementary, middle and high schools to include material on mental health. Virginia’s law mandates that mental health education be incorporated into physical education and health curricula for ninth- and 10th-graders.

Ohio teacher evaluations get an overhaul teachers like | Columbus Dispatch
Once again, Ohio teachers are going to face a new state-mandated evaluation system — but this time, most agree it’s a good thing. Ohio lawmakers have struggled for years to craft a teacher evaluation system that both teachers and administrators think is fair, not overly burdensome and actually furthers the goal of better classroom instruction.

Education by the Numbers: 9 Statistics That Have Made Us Think Differently About America’s Schools This Academic Year | 74
Even with a perpetual media carnival unfolding around the Trump presidency, and ahead of midterm elections that could result in an even more hectic news environment next year, the events of 2018 have been shaped to an extraordinary degree by America’s K-12 schools.

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State Board in the Community: June 2018

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

In June, SBOE members criss-crossed the District visiting DC public schools and public charter schools, attending high school graduation events, and participating in important community gatherings.

Karen (Ward 7 / President), Ashley (At-Large), and Joe (Ward 6) attended Mayor Bowser’s press conference announcing the new search committee for DC Public Schools Chancellor


Karen (Ward 7 / President)
was the keynote speaker at Total Sunshine’s annual school grade awards ceremony honoring D.C.’s public and charter high school valedictorians and salutatorians

Jack (Ward 2 / Vice President) honored award recipients at the Critics and Awards Program for High School Students Awards (Cappies) ceremony

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SBOE Student Rep Co-leads Ward 8 Education Town Hall

By: Matt Repka, Policy Analyst

Earlier this week, Councilmember David Grosso kicked off his series of education town halls in Ward 8 at the Anacostia public library. This was the first of eight such town halls, one in each ward of the city, over the summer. The town hall was led by five youth leaders, including our very own outgoing Student Representative Tallya Rhodes!

Approximately 30 community members, including students, teachers, parents, principals, and other stakeholders joined the town hall to share thoughts and ideas about schools in the District. Members of the media were present as the five students on the panel facilitated a robust discussion.

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Center City Shaw – Character / Excellence / Service

By: Matt Repka, Policy Analyst

Last month, State Board members met with teachers and administrators at Center City Public Charter Schools’ Shaw campus to visit classes and discuss their school. Principal Alicia McCloud, assistant principals Natasha Taylor and Rashaida Melvin, and managing director Demetrial Gartrell welcomed Board Members Ruth Wattenberg (Ward 3) and Joe Weedon (Ward 6) and staff from SBOE and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education to their school.

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SBOE at School Without Walls

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

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Last month, Principal Richard Trogisch and his team welcomed SBOE members Ruth Wattenberg, Joe Weedon, and some of my SBOE staff colleagues to tour the beautiful School Without Walls campus. “Walls,” as the school is affectionately known, is the only DC Public Schools high school located in Ward 2 and is currently an application school. This public magnet high school first opened its doors in 1971, and since that time has become a shining star in DCPS.

During the first portion of the visit, we were treated to a 15-minute senior project presentation from a graduating senior. Every Walls student is required to pass a class devoted to one senior project/paper in conjunction with George Washington University. Each SBOE Board member and staff had the opportunity to provide feedback to the student, who did a terrific job. Every student walks out of Walls knowing how to write a research paper.

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State Board in the Community: May 2018

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

In May, SBOE members criss-crossed the District visiting DCPS and charter schools, attending community events, and participating in important policy summits.

Karen (Ward 7 / President) lauded District teachers for their exceptional contributions at the Gold Standard of Excellence Awards.


Jack (Ward 2 / Vice President)
honored parents, families, and the LGBTQ community at the PFLAG 45th Anniversary Reception.


Ruth (Ward 3)
attended #FirstFridays at Rocketship Rise Academy and visited the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum.


Ashley (At-Large) and Joe (Ward 6)
were up early to join District students at the Bike to School Day event.


Markus (Ward 8)
joined Councilmember Trayon White and members of the community to help along safe passage routes near Ballou High School.


Ruth (Ward 3) and Joe (Ward 6)
joined SBOE staff during May school visits to School Without Walls and Center City Shaw.


Laura (Ward 1)
participated in the citywide PAVE Parent Policy Summit on education.


Joe (Ward 6)
joined students, District employers and partners at Eastern High School’s College and Career Day.


The State Board looks forward to continuing our engagement with the community throughout the month of June!