By Franco Estores, Policy Fellow
I began working with the State Board in July of 2021. I had just moved to D.C. at the time, and the weather was warm, spirits were high, and I was excited to begin my new career at a new workplace. Back then, I would have had a difficult time imagining how integral my time at the State Board would be to my life here in the District. But over the past eight (8) months, the State Board has become so much more than a workplace to me; it has become a community (coincidentally the name of a great sitcom). It will be very difficult for me to pick just three (3) of my favorite moments from my time at the State Board, but for the sake of a short and neat list, I will try my best to do so. So here we go.
1. Ice cream social @ Southwest Soda Pop Shop
This might be cheating slightly, but my first experiences with the State Board happened before I actually started working there. On July 2nd, just a few days before my fellowship officially started, I went to an SBOE ice cream social held at the Wharf. It was great to meet everyone in person and it was to see how tightly knit the SBOE family was. The weather was warm, spirits were high, and the ice cream was amazing (I got birthday cake, which I believe is criminally underrated).
2. Fall Engagement sessions
I was very fortunate to attend both of the in-person Fall Engagement sessions held by the State Board in 2021, the first in Deanwood Recreation Center in Ward 7 and the second at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Ward 2. At both events, I was able to see the elected State Board members in their element speaking about education issues that they were very passionate about. I also appreciated the opportunity to actually interact with our constituents, since it made the work we do feel very real. Great stuff!
3. Weekly policy team meeting ice breakers
You might be thinking “Franco, how did 10 AM weekly team meetings make it into the top three?” Great question, especially since I’m not a morning person. Here’s how. My colleague and fellow Policy Fellow, Giselle had the groundbreaking idea to have a different ice breaker question at the beginning of each of our weekly policy team meetings. I appreciated how creative all of the team members were willing to get with those questions and how willing everyone was to share the most honest answers they could. Some of my favorite moments from these icebreakers were the discovery that Alex does not have an internal monologue, that one of Caitlin’s favorite Valentine’s Day candies was Fun-Dip, that Darren’s favorite horror movie is also The Thing, and that Giselle’s superpower of choice would be super-strength, but not in a way that would change her appearance at all so it would be a great party trick.
That’s all just a small fraction of the things that I have enjoyed at the State Board. One thing I became known for among the Policy Team was lists and rankings of this ilk, so I find that this is a very fitting way for me to go out. I hope reading this gave you a taste of the great culture and environment that has been created by the phenomenal people at the State Board.