By: Matt Repka, Policy Analyst
District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Antwan Wilson conducted a Facebook Live interview on Friday to talk about a new initiative in DCPS focused on young women of color. The interview, conducted from the DCPS Central Office in Northeast Washington, briefly discussed DCPS’ new “Reign: Empowering Young Women as Leaders” initiative, which promotes opportunities for young women of color in the school system. The initiative will continue through the 2017-18 school year.
CLOSING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP
“Mayor Bowser has committed to closing the achievement gap and taking steps to ensure that our students are all positioned for success…we want to make sure that regardless of where our students attend school that they are put in the best position to succeed,” Wilson said in the interview Friday. “These grants are focused on helping our young women build community, grow their leadership skills, gain confidence, and we also want to impact academic outcomes.”
PROGRAM LAUNCHED IN MARCH 2017
First launched back in March, Reign is “a multi-pronged initiative for young women of color focusing on leadership, health and wellness, and identity,” according to the initiative’s website. The initiative aims to empower female students in DCPS to build leadership skills through new and increased in-school resources and community events like workshops and conferences. DCPS is also making available Reign Innovation Grants that aim to promote “academic development and social-emotional supports.”
MAYOR BOWSER AND CHANCELLOR WILSON ANNOUNCED 12 RECIPIENTS
Last Wednesday, Bowser and Wilson announced the first 12 recipients of those grants. Four elementary schools, two middle schools, three K-8 combined education campuses, and three high schools were selected. Grants range from $20,000 to $56,000 and will support new in-school resources like mentoring, financial literacy workshops, social emotional learning curricula, and new clubs and extracurricular activities.
Via Facebook Live Friday, Wilson offered more details on the grants and reiterated his enthusiasm for the initiative and its multi-layered approach. “There’s an academic focus as well as a focus on social-emotional learning, image and leadership,” the chancellor said. “All of those things working together can serve our students very well.”