Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through Policy

By Lauren Dunphy-Kinne, Policy Fellow

The National Education Association (NEA) hosted a panel discussion to examine the influence that advocacy efforts can have on policies related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and how they play out for students and teachers in the classroom. The panelists included:

  • Murshed Zaheed (moderator), Founder, Pacifica Strategies
  • Ronnie Lau, Federal Lobbyist, National Education Association
  • Dr. Heather Shotton, Vice President of Diversity Affairs, Fort Lewis College
  • Amanda Meyer, Director of Improvement, CORE Districts and Independent Contractor
  • Desiree Carver-Thomas, Researcher and Policy Analyst, Learning Policy Institute

Zaheed opened with a pertinent quote from Representative Ayanna Pressley: “Those closest to the pain should be closest to the power.” Zaheed urged DEI advocates to make sure those in leadership roles hear their voices. Below is a summary of key points made during the discussion, followed by an analysis of where D.C. is when it comes to DEI advocacy and action. 

Equity in education continues to be critically important, especially considering the rising diversity among student populations nationwide. Carver-Thomas pointed out that teachers are the number one in-school factor related to student improvement; equitable distribution of teachers should be a priority. This is an equity issue because teacher shortages primarily impact low income students. Carver-Thomas’ research shows that when students are given access to a diverse set of teachers, all students have positive results, especially those who identify with the racial or ethnic background of their teacher. These positive impacts include increased graduation rates, higher attendance rates, increased engagement, and feeling academically challenged, just to name a few. Further, Carver-Thomas explained, having a diverse set of role models in childhood can address biases in adulthood.

Panelists offered explanations as to why we don’t see more diversity in teacher preparation programs or the educator workforce. The data, Carver-Thomas suggested, point to teacher preparation programs: people of color are more likely to find more affordable ways to come into the teaching profession, which often do not include key teacher preparatory coursework or student teaching experience. While it offers a more affordable route, it creates a vicious cycle where teachers of color feel underprepared and ultimately quit after a few years, undermining the goals of DEI advocates. Lau added that the teacher shortage crisis is a multifaceted issue that differs vastly across states, but that both the rising cost of college and student debt have a “severe impact” on the educator crisis. They act as barriers of entry to the teaching profession – people don’t want to take on loans for a job that won’t pay them enough to get out of debt. Many teachers with debt ultimately quit for higher paying jobs. Historically, people of color carry more debt than those who are white. Educator diversity is a paramount concern when providing equity in education; “there are not enough black and brown educators in the classroom right now; debt is a huge reason why.”

Another important piece of increasing diversity of teachers, Shotton added, is promoting equity in access to higher education for Black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC). Furthermore, Shotton emphasized the importance of preparing educators to engage with an increasingly diverse student body through the use of culturally inclusive pedagogy and curriculum. Meyer added that equitable grading policies should be considered by schools as a way to minimize bias and reflect student progress more accurately. 

Meyer provided input from a key perspective: teachers. After all, policy is nothing without its implementers. Meyer expressed that teachers have the desire to create change within education, yet many feel that they do not possess the knowledge or tools to do so. Her work aims to get educators involved in the process of education policy making, which she sees as an imperative link between policy and practice in both directions. Many times, well-intended policies are not fully reflective of what’s really going on in classrooms – this link allows teachers to provide input on existing problems and realistic solutions.


How does this relate to D.C.?
After attending this informative webinar, I wanted to know more about educator diversity in D.C. and what steps D.C. is taking to recruit and retain BIPOC teachers.  

Where is D.C. now?
Data collected by OSSE in their D.C. Educator Workforce Report from May 2022 shows discrepancies between the number of students enrolled in DC who are Black/African American and Hispanic/Latinx, and teachers in those racial/ethnic groups. Figure A.2 below illustrates this point. While students in the District do benefit from having a diverse group of teachers, and many students do have access to teachers who match their racial and ethnic backgrounds, Black/African American and Hispanic/Latinx teachers are underrepresented when compared with the demographics of the student body in D.C. Conversely, white and Asian teachers are overrepresented when compared to the demographics of the student population.

Appendix B (see below) also shows the breakdown of students, teachers, and school leaders by race and ethnicity. While the percentage of Black school leaders (63%) more closely reflects the percentage of Black students (63%), the percentage of Hispanic leaders (9%) is still far from the percentage of Hispanic students (19%), and white school leaders (18%) are overly represented compared to the white student population (12%).

 


Through OSSE, educator preparation providers (EPPs) prepare candidates to earn an educator credential in DC. As shown below in Figure C.6, the demographics of those who complete the program do not mirror the public school student population in DC; DC disproportionately prepares more White/Caucasian and Asian educators than Black/African American and Hispanic/Latinx educators, compared to the student populations.

Looking Ahead
DC Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools are home to many excellent educators from diverse backgrounds who benefit all students. However, there is still work to be done in ensuring DC schools recruit and retain more educators of color, reflective of our student populations.

In her research, Carver-Thomas explains that “Grow Your Own” programs can help to recruit and retain teachers of color. In the spring of 2022, OSSE launched the Educator Preparation “Grow Your Own” Program Grant in order to strengthen the teacher and paraeducator pipeline. American University School of Education will prepare high school students and DC public school graduates to become teachers, while Relay Graduate School of Education will serve current D.C. paraprofessionals with a baccalaureate or master’s degree in teaching. Both routes provide grantees with licenses to teach in D.C. and cover the program costs. 

The extent to which DC’s Grow Your Own program will assist in recruiting and retaining BIPOC teachers is yet to be known, but is a promising leap in the right direction. Additional steps that could be taken to promote more teachers of color in D.C. include:

  • Expand student loan forgiveness to retain teachers of color
  • Increase pay for teachers
  • Training staff to mitigate racial bias in hiring practices
  • Include BIPOC staff as active participants in the hiring process
  • Foster positive and inclusive collegial relationships & school environments

Lauren Dunphy-Kinne is a Policy Fellow for the D.C. State Board of Education

Giselle’s Policy Fellowship Takeaways

A year ago I was gearing up to start my Policy Fellowship at the D.C. State Board of Education. As with most new opportunities I felt waves of excitement followed by small pits of nervousness. Today is my last day with the State Board, and similar feelings are coming up as I think about the transition to my new position as an Instructional Aide for a moderate/severe special education classroom. This blog is a reflection of my one year at the State Board, but it’s also a letter to incoming Policy Fellows who may be wondering what to expect. 

This fellowship was one of my most transformative work experiences. Apart from the vast professional growth, I also learned so much about D.C.’s complex education landscape. My goal from the onset of this fellowship was to gain a better understanding of the education policy process and learn how government agencies were advocating for and implementing improvements for all students. I had big questions like: 

  • What’s being done to make schools more equitable in the D.C.?  
  • Who has the decision-making power for schools in D.C.? 
  • In what direction are D.C. schools headed? 
  • What hurdles remain keeping the State Board from advancing its goals? 

Then I started the Policy Fellowship, and at first I felt like an observer, taking in as much information accessible to me. I read a lot of the reports and memos released by the State Board; I took diligent notes at different D.C. Council hearings and roundtables, as well as State Board working sessions and public meetings. My most significant takeaways came as I listened in and took notes at D.C. Council hearings—it was interesting to hear from D.C. residents and government witnesses, but it was even more interesting to see what resulted from these meetings. A new piece of legislation? More accountability from a specific government agency? Policy may move slowly, but it surely does move when enough people continue advocating for a cause and making their voices heard. 

Patience and perseverance are necessary when working in the policy-world. In simply observing, I learned so much and started forming answers to my initial questions. Then, something changed a few months into the role and I started getting more leadership opportunities. I got research requests, led trainings and meetings, assisted with the policy fellow hiring process, and was asked for my input on State Board agenda items. New questions started forming, and my momentum to continue this policy work grew. 

Which leads to another takeaway: Education and policy have more overlaps than one might think. Although I’ll be in the classroom this upcoming school year working as an instructional aide, I understand that my role as an educator holds political influence. Educator perspective is desperately sought out by government actors and is critical to properly influence education policy. Knowing how to get involved in policy can be intimidating and confusing to an educator, but this fellowship opened my eyes to the different avenues available for educators to have their voices heard. 

As my time at the State Board ends, I can confidently say that this fellowship exceeded my expectations. I learned so much, and felt that my input and ideas were valued. I leave this fellowship knowing that I will devote my career to education, both in policy and in the classroom.   

A Letter from our Executive Director, John-Paul Hayworth

By John-Paul Hayworth, Executive Director

Residents of the District of Columbia:

I have been honored to serve you as the Executive Director of the D.C. State Board of Education for the past seven years. Today, I am announcing my departure from the agency, effective on Friday, June 10, 2022.

Over the past seven years, I have been challenged to do more, be better and work harder every day on your behalf. I am deeply grateful for the trust put in me by the State Board of Education and, by extension, you. Thank you very much. I am very proud of the work the State Board has accomplished in my tenure and am confident that the State Board will continue to pursue and achieve statewide education policy that makes a difference in educational equity and opportunity.

Our motto, Justitia Omnibus, is more than words. It is a call to action; one that can unite us in service to the city we call home. Let us move forward with urgency and purpose, together.

Highlights from the 2022 Annual AERA Meeting

By Giselle Miranda, Policy Fellow

Overview

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) held its annual meeting this year on April 21–26, with this year’s theme being “Cultivating Equitable Education Systems for the 21st Century”. The conference was hybrid with virtual sessions held via Zoom and in-person sessions held in San Diego, California. Staff of the State Board of Education (Darren Fleischer, Policy Analyst and Giselle Miranda, Policy Fellow) only attended virtual sessions that members of the State Board requested.The sessions happened to be the ones most relevant to the work of the State Board.

Below we’ve shared highlights from virtual sessions that we thought offer helpful insights to support our work on the Student Advisory Committee (SAC), the Advocacy & Outreach Committee, and the Teacher Practice and School Support Committee. We end the blog by posing potential next steps the State Board can take with this information. Click here for the full Annual Meeting presentation, which was intended to brief members at the May working session.

Session Highlights

Student Advisory Committee (SAC)

Related to the work of the SAC, three groups of speakers presented their research during the session “The Bigger Picture: The Impact of Policy and Student Organizing on Systemic Change”—each presenter detailing the importance of raising student voices and reflecting them into school systems’ policies and practices. For example, Samantha Guz (The University of Chicago) shared that policies and practices like multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) and school discipline are unsustainable when they are defined and implemented without considering students’ perspectives and individual needs; Guz explained that in order to amplify student voices within schools, the school staff need to be equipped with the language and mindsets to value student voice and act on their unique perspectives/experiences. Marcia Watson-Vandiver (Towson University, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education) shared that her study focused on high school graduates to better understand their school experiences and how to improve inequitable practices within the school system—this work served to provide the study’s student participants with critical agency that would help inform systemic changes within schools.

This session highlighted the importance of including recent high school graduates in State Board-led research and advocating for training and support systems that support student voice in the education policy process. Takeaways for SAC members include bridging different student groups (i.e., leadership groups versus student voice groups) within schools to further amplify and galvanize student support around education issues.

Advocacy & Outreach and Board Governance 

There were several sessions that touched on families’ experiences and advocacy work within schools and school systems—such sessions lent themselves to the work of both the Advocacy and Outreach Committee and the Board Governance Committee. One of the sessions, titled “Advocating, Educating, and Policy Making: Family and Community Engagement to Advance Equity, included five papers presenting a range of education issues from families’ perspectives. 

One common finding shared amongst presenters included a sense of collective responsibility families felt towards other children and that however small, families saw the benefits of being engaged despite advocacy being time-consuming, uncomfortable work; such benefits included building knowledge, social skills, and gaining access to decision-making spaces. For example, Dr. Janelle Brady (Ryerson University) described Canadian Black mothers navigating anti-Black systems in the education system, employing strategies of Black resistance, change-making, and sharing strong school-community relationships in the form of “other mothering” (going beyond immediate family members to uplift others in communities of color) through social activism. Diana Casanova (University of California – Berkeley) reported in her study that family members participating in advocacy for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic were motivated to make changes in the education system beyond their family, engaged in shared decision-making, and through their advocacy work, gained knowledge, social skills, and power to gain access to decision-making spaces.

Other presenters pointed to schools and even teachers serving as potential barriers to student learning and family advocacy. In their paper, Muna Altowajri and Dr. Bryan Duarte (Miami University) found that teachers of color held more positive views of parents of color compared to their white counterparts, who held more deficit perceptions when the child was either an English language learner (ELL) or a Limited English Proficiency (LEP) student; their study also found that educators who took an English language learner course as part of their teacher preparation program had more inclusive and positive framing of parents of color.

Session presenters recommended that schools and education agencies should strive for offering opportunities for families to engage in authentic, not superficial, decision-making processes, advocate for teacher training to counteract implicit and explicit racism, promoting fairness in technology (improving the educational background of family members and providing training), and advancing equity through mapping and partnering with community organizations to gain insight and give power to historically marginalized families.

Teacher Practice and School Support

Out of the many AERA sessions related to the Teacher Practice and School Support (TPSS) Committee’s work, one that stood out was entitled “Alternative Certification Pathways for and From Diverse Communities and Contexts”. This session highlighted reasons why the teacher pipeline struggles to grow and diversify; a significant reason being the wide-range of financial barriers teacher candidates face while participating in educator preparation programs (EPPs). For example, Victoria Theisen-Homer (Northern Arizona State University) and Nathan Martin (Arizona State University) found in a recent survey that program cost was one of the main reasons that prevented prospective teachers of color from entering EPPs. Dr. Ashley Cartun and her colleagues (University of Colorado, Boulder) found that students in their EPP program found their unpaid residency requirement unsustainable and an additional financial strain that created more stress.

The session presenters also offered solutions that states/education advocates are implementing to address these challenges. Ms.Theisen-Homer, for example, mentioned that Arizona created a free teacher residency program to combat high attrition rates in the state. The goal is to recruit more teachers or color and address Arizona’s teacher shortage issue. Students who commit to the program would get a $15,000 stipend during their apprenticeship year (year two of the two year program), and must commit to teach in Arizona for two years to have their tuition cost fully forgiven. Dr. Cartun is currently advocating for legislation in Colorado that would compensate student teachers to attract more teacher candidates and alleviate financial stress prospective teachers face while participating in EPPs. 

While the DC State Board’s focus has largely been on teacher retention and supporting current teachers, we also recognize that teacher recruitment is a large part of the education landscape. We can’t support recruitment efforts without first reexamining how to eliminate barriers that are keeping prospective teachers from pursuing the needed certifications. The research presented at this AERA session can help inform our recommendations for diversifying teacher recruitment and support collaborative efforts with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and EPPs to build a teacher pipeline that reduces financial barriers.

Next Steps

The AERA annual meeting offered important insight on recent research in the education field. The D.C. State Board will use the latest research to focus its efforts to bolster student engagement in the policy process, support families navigate complex school systems, and uplift teacher recruitment efforts to ensure the District has a highly-qualified and diverse teacher pipeline. The State Board looks forward to next year’s annual meeting. For more information about AERA please visit their website here.

SBOE #EdPolicy Roundup: October 2021 – Impacts of COVID-19 on K–12 Public School Employees

By: Giselle Miranda, Policy Fellow

This month, the D.C. State Board of Education (SBOE) continues its efforts to make education research and policy concepts accessible to all stakeholders in the community. The October 2021 #EdPolicy Research Roundup features key takeaways from a September 2021 MissionSquare Research Institute report, “K-12 public school employee views on finances, employment outlook, and safety concerns due to COVID-19”

As done with previous reports, the State Board will discuss the key and relevant findings of this report and explain its implications on and connections to the State Board’s current work and priorities.

Summary: MissionSquare Research Institute released an updated report from an online survey they conducted in May 2021 asking about the impacts of COVID-19. The survey received 1,203 responses from full-time state and local government employees, including 493 K–12 school employees and 710 other government employees. The updated report focuses on the K–12 employees’ views on COVID-19 impacts on their employment and finances, as well as general COVID-19 safety concerns. And, where applicable, the survey compared responses between K–12 employees and other government employees to gauge similarities and differences among public sector employees’ perceptions of COVID-19. 

  • As a result of COVID-19 and changes in learning modality, 39 percent of K–12 employers reported working more hours now than they worked prior to the pandemic. (see figure 1)
  • K–12 employees were nearly twice as likely as other government workers to report difficulty in adjusting to changes in their jobs due to the pandemic (42 percent and 22 percent, respectively).
  • K–12 employees were significantly more likely than other government employees to have reduced the amount they were saving since the start of the pandemic; 46 percent  of K–12 employees have reduced the amount they are spending on essential or non-essential expenses. 
  • K–12 employees most commonly reported feeling stressed (52 percent), burnt out/fatigued (52 percent), and/or anxious (34 percent) about COVID-19 while at work, and were significantly more likely than other government employees to report feeling these things. (see figure 2)
  • When asked what realistic actions employers could take to improve the workplace, K–12 employees recommended promoting safety by following CDC guidelines and providing/enforcing the use of PPE, issuing bonuses or raises, and allowing work from home/remote work options.

 Figure 1 Source              

Figure 2 source

State Board Context

Two DC Council roundtables held last month—one on the re-opening of public schools (September 21) and the second on school facilities conditions (September 28)—highlighted frustrations of students, parents, and teachers related to the recent return to in-person learning for the 2021–22 school year. These sentiments are not new. The State Board conducted a survey similar to the one conducted by MissionSquare Research Institute in January 2021. The survey received 1,060 responses from public-school teachers representing 185 schools from DCPS and DC public charter schools. One of the key findings was that 75.2 percent of teachers reported feeling slightly or very uncomfortable returning to in-person teaching. 

Months after the State Board survey results were collected, 42 public witnesses testified at the State Board’s August 18 Public Meeting and 7 public witnesses testified at the September 22 Public Meeting to express continued concern with in-person learning.


Quotes pulled from public testimony:

“I am among the many concerned parents of unvaccinated children worried about unmasked children eating lunch indoors, inexcusably weak COVID-guidance, testing and quarantining rules from DCPS and others that is clearly based more in politics than science and the lack of virtual options for families with legitimate fears among rising cases in DC. I urge the State Board to act on these concerns right now.” Scott Goldstein, EmpowerED

“Our students and their families will be at significant risk if they re-enter our schools unvaccinated. The numbers for 12–18-year-old vaccination rates in Wards 5, 7 and 8 are staggeringly low. It is irresponsible to force families to send students to school in-person if their child is not vaccinated, regardless of the reason for it. Families should have virtual options.” Laura Fuchs, DCPS Teacher

“Proposals for DCPS and DC PCS Regulations: Mandate a standing virtual option/hybrid model. This will remove the number of families who do not want their students in classrooms and prioritize families with students who ‘need’ to be in classrooms… This is an unprecedented time but it has now been almost 2 years in the pandemic and it is time


Additionally, the 2021–22 school year has demonstrated significant school staff shortages. Perry Stein of the Washington Post reports that “each day of this academic year, the 52,000-student school system requests an average of 179 substitute teachers, but only fills 121 of those requests” (source). In response to the substitute shortage the district faces this school year, the District intends to spend nearly $40 million to hire additional contact tracers, substitute teachers, and workers who handle COVID-19 logistics in schools. The State Board hopes to learn even more in the coming months about the effects of returning to in-person learning for the 2021–22 school year on teachers—analyzing any publicly available data and resources on the topic.

A Friday Trip to Amidon-Bowen: Remarks from Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona

By Emily Gasoi, Vice President and Ward 1 Representative

On Friday, April, 30th I had the opportunity to hear our Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, speak during his visit to Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, which was his final stop on his ‘Help is Here’ School Reopening Tour.

Not surprisingly, Secretary Cardona’s talk focused on his quest to reopen our nation’s schools in the fall. But he opened with a personal story about a young child he met during his school visiting tour. This set the tone for a message about meeting broad national needs without losing sight of the fact that every school community is made up of the individual hopes, interests, and needs of its many stakeholders and that children must be centered in every effort toward reopening.  

He talked about what he learned by visiting schools across the country that had made strides toward bringing the community back in person. He shared high level takeaways, including that he understood that a successful return in the fall would require funding that would allow schools to hire additional staff, make buildings safe, assess students and meet them where they are. Fortunately, he noted, “Help is on the way – lots of federal money is being delivered to schools” to make these efforts possible.  

Another point that Secretary Cardona underscored was the importance of including the “voices of all stakeholders” in the conversation about what school should look like in the fall. He reiterated several times the need for “intentional collaboration” across stakeholder groups and that we must “keep equity at the center of all our decisions.” During his remarks, he acknowledged that teachers and principals have shouldered the lion’s share of the burden of educating students during this unprecedented school year. In his closing words, Secretary Cardona offered gratitude and summoned continued courage, asserting “the pandemic has only sharpened our swords to face the challenges ahead.”  

If you’re interested, you can view his full remarks here:

Presenting the State Board’s Teacher Retention Survey at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting and the ECDataWorks Building Resilient Data Analytics Conference

By Darren Fleischer, Policy Analyst

As part of the D.C. State Board of Education’s (SBOE) commitment to public engagement, we have had the pleasure of presenting at three education-related conferences, sharing findings from the 2020 D.C. Teacher Attrition Survey

The first education-related conference the State Board participated in was at the 11th Annual DC Data Summit in July 2020, which is featured in our previous August 2020 SBOE blog post. This year, we continued to share our findings with a wider audience at two national education conferences—the ECDataWork’s national meeting on Building Resilient Data Analytics on February 23, as well as the 2021 American Educational Research Association’s (AREA) Annual Meeting on Accepting Educational Responsibility on April 8.

ECDataWorks

At the virtually-held February ECDataworks meeting, I joined fellow State Board policy staff Alex Jue as a panelist in the session entitled “Early Childhood Workforce Participation and Persistence,” alongside:

  • Amy Yagil, Data Systems Coordinator, Pennsylvania Key, who is leading data efforts to make enhancements to Pennsylvania’s early childhood education workforce registry—the goal being that the state will maintain complete records of training and employment for everyone who works in a childcare setting.
  • Kathy Thornburg, Senior Early Childhood Technical Assistance Provider, AEM Corporation, was part of a team in Missouri that recently completed a study on the early childhood workforce on military bases.  The study led to recommendations for workforce development that have improved quality and persistence.

Alex and I provided the purpose and background of the 2020 Teacher Attrition Survey, as well as findings and recommendations from the report as they relate to early childhood educators. Questions from the moderator as well as audience members included, “What are the big workforce questions that your agency is tackling? What strategies are being used to gather and analyze workforce data? What is the data telling you?  What are the strategies you have used to make information visible and useful to decision makers? Where does the State Board go from here?” 

Alex and I stressed that the original intent of the study was to cover Pre-K–12 educators, and the sample size of early educators participating in the study was too small to include in some analyses around early childhood educators, including why educators left. In our concluding remarks, Alex and I shared resources and the presentation slides with the audience, as well as answered a question from one of the audience members regarding the Teacher Attrition video and how to effectively communicate research findings to stakeholders and the general public. 

AERA Annual Meeting

For the virtually-held April 8 AERA Annual Meeting, Ward 4 Representative and Teacher Practice Committee Chairperson, Dr. Frazier O’Leary joined Alex and me to present at a roundtable session entitled “Teacher Reopening Teacher Retention and Response to School Reopening.” The two other session panelists included:

  • Trang Pham-Shouse, Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership, Pennsylvania State University, who presented her paper “Factors Influencing Intention to Teach of Preservice Teachers in Vietnam.”
  • Lauren Stark, Assistant Professor of Education, Bowdoin College, who presented her paper “It’s Not Our Responsibility: Educator and Union Resistance Against the Unsafe Reopening of Schools.”

Similar to the 11th Annual DC Data Summit presentation, Frazier described the purpose and background of the 2020 Teacher Retention Study, Alexander discussed the methodology of the it, and I provided an analysis of data that indicated high levels of educators’ passion for teaching, lower reported levels of feelings of support from school leadership, and the significance of educators native to Washington, D.C. versus non-native educators with regards to the number of years they remain in their teaching positions at school. I also included State Board policy actions prior to and following the 2020 Teacher Retention Study, including the follow-up All-Teacher Survey Report that was published in March 2021.

One audience member noted the importance of the State Board’s work in relation to unions and asked about the future of this work around improving teacher attrition in the District in years to come. Other audience members asked our thoughts on whether compensation and/or benefits were tied in with the findings of the 2020 Teacher Retention Study. Lastly one audience member asked about further information on how the District’s teacher evaluation system, IMPACT, might have played a role in teachers’ desire to stay or leave their schools or the education profession.

Frazier, Alex, and I shared State Board resources and the video mentioned earlier in this post, highlighting the study’s findings.

The State Board looks forward to further sharing findings from its studies with education policy wonks, educators, and the general public at large, including findings from the 2021 All-Teacher Survey Report and future studies. Let us know your thoughts on these reports and feel free to suggest upcoming events and conferences if you would like us to share findings from these studies.

SBOE #EdPolicy Roundup: April 2021 – Strategies for Successful School Librarian and Teacher Collaboration

This month, the D.C. State Board of Education (SBOE) continues its efforts to make education research and policy concepts accessible to all stakeholders in our communities. In honor of National School Library Month, the April #EdPolicy Research Roundup features one report: Strategies for Successful School Librarian and Teacher Collaboration from the American Association of School Librarians.

As we have done in previous posts, the State Board will discuss the key findings of the report and explain the implications on the State Board’s work and priorities.

Strategies for Successful School Librarians and Teacher Collaboration

Summary: School librarians are essential to student achievement as they provide collaboration, resources, and guidance to school communities. This study explored three examples of collaboration between a teacher and school librarian to understand more about what strategies made it successful. 

The findings indicate that the school librarians in this study used many different strategies to lead the collaboration to success. These strategies included initiating the collaboration, securing support from the principal, identifying a shared vision with all collaborators, collecting and analyzing data about the progress of the collaboration, holding regular meetings, and documenting the collaboration. These strategies aligned with the table above. 

State Board Context

Outdoor Storytime

On April 14th, 2021, members of the DC State Board of Education (DCSBOE) partnered with the DC Public Library to organize a city-wide Outdoor Storytime. Councilmembers Trayon White, Janeese Lewis George, and Brooke Pento also participated. 

At the April Public Meeting, Allister Chang, (Ward 2 Representative)  expressed his love of libraries and concern at the possibility of cutting librarian positions. He also suggested the detrimental impact communities would face without a librarian. Several other State Board members echoed Chang’s sentiments. 

“It has been a long, hard year of too little socializing and way too much screen time. That is why, now more than ever, we need to find safe and creative ways to reconnect, to celebrate and learn together.” – Emily Gasoi, Ward 1 DCSBOE Member

“Kids need to be with kids. Kids need to be outside. We need models for learning outside, as the pandemic continues. Outdoor Storytime has it all.” – Ruth Wattenberg, Ward 3 DCSBOE Member

“Reading is a fundamental building block of education and reading together is a wonderful and  simple joy. I am proud that the DC State Board of Education is making time to gather with our neighbors in all eight wards today to celebrate the chance to be together and read together. Thanks to the DC Public Library and all event participants for making time to read outside with us!” – Jessica Sutter, Ward 6 DCSBOE Member 

The State Board of Education also passed CR21-9 Honoring National School Library Month.

Check out the highlights from each of the ward’s story time events!