SBOE Weekly Ed Links: 08-26-2018

By: Matt Repka, Policy Analyst

Here’s our rundown of this week’s top education news and events in the District and around the country!

SBOE IN THE NEWS
Karen Williams: School can be a warm, exciting place to be | The DC Line
A student’s voice | David Grosso
Meet Marjoury Alicea, SBOE’s bilingual student representative | DC Language Immersion Project

NATIONAL
How Do You Get Better Schools? Take the State to Court, More Advocates Say | The New York Times
A lawsuit alleges that Minnesota knowingly allowed towns and cities to set policies and zoning boundaries that led to segregated schools, lowering test scores and graduation rates for low-income and nonwhite children. Last month, the state’s Supreme Court ruled the suit could move forward, in a decision advocates across the country hailed as important.

Schools add laundromats to battle absenteeism | CBS News
At schools across the country, officials are tackling student absenteeism by focusing on a non-educational problem: a lack of access to laundry facilities.

Bills and Bulletproof Backpacks: Safety Measures For A New School Year | NPR
As students prepare to go back to school, more and more parents are thinking about school safety. A recent poll found 34 percent of parents fear for their child’s physical safety at school.

Why School Spending Is So Unequal | Governing
Governing calculated per pupil current spending for all school districts in the nation with 100 students or more, using data from the Census Bureau’s 2016 Annual Survey of School System Finances. In most states, as in New Jersey, the top elementary-secondary school districts reported spending from two to six times more than those near the bottom.

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Louisiana’s Content Leader Initiative – A Guide to State Support of Local Education Agencies

By: Matt Repka, Policy Analyst

Educators and school leaders from across the state of Louisiana – and some guests from the District of Columbia – assembled in New Orleans last month to participate in four days of intensive professional development around English language arts (ELA) instruction and content. More than 300 educators participated in the ELA Content Leader training this year, a marked increase from 70 educators in the training’s inaugural summer one year ago. The Content Leader trainings were designed and led in partnership with SchoolKit and Teaching Lab.

The Content Leader Initiative is a project of the Louisiana Department of Education and its Louisiana Believes state plan. The purpose of the initiative is to train educators from across the state on a high-quality ELA curriculum that those educators can take back to their school districts, training other educators in their school or network in how to deliver the new materials. This is the second year of the initiative, which will take place across nine days of professional instruction over summer and fall 2018. The first four days took place last week, and the remaining five professional development days will be staggered throughout the fall. giving educators time to apply the new content and methods in their classrooms and obtain feedback and evidence to bring back to later professional development sessions.

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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 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 Visit to Meridian Public Charter School

By: Matt Repka, Policy Analyst

Last month, SBOE staff visited the middle school campus of Meridian Public Charter School in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Northwest Washington, DC. Meridian PCS, which first opened in the 1999-2000 school year, has a total enrollment of roughly 700 students from PK3 to 8th grade.

The school’s mission is “to inspire a passion for learning in our students and to help them build their self-confidence and self-respect through academic achievement.” Last school year, the school was named a winner of Mayor Muriel Bowser and the State Board of Education’s Every Day Counts! Attendance Competition, which recognizes students and schools with exemplary attendance rates.

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In The Age of Inequality, Does Public Schooling Make a Difference?

By: Matt Repka, Policy Analyst

Last week, SBOE staff attended a panel event on Capitol Hill on the implications of rising economic inequality on American public education. Titled “In the Age of Inequality, Does Public Education Make a Difference?” and presented jointly by the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the American Educational Research Association, the panel assembled a group of academic researchers who have published extensively on the role of schools in society.

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DCPS Chancellor Wilson Promotes Reign Initiative on #FacebookLive

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.

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