SBOE Weekly Ed Links: 08-10-2018

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

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

NATIONAL NEWS
New Teachers Are Often Assigned to High-Poverty Schools. Why Not Train Them There? | EdWeek

This fall, the Denver public schools are piloting a program aimed at training new teachers in the buildings where they are most likely to be assigned: the city’s high-poverty schools. The district is testing the strategy with six new “associate teachers” who will teach part-time and spend the remainder of their day observing master teachers in action and planning their own lessons.

Most Principals Like Their Jobs. Here’s What Makes Them Change Schools or Quit Altogether | EdWeek
Principals love their jobs, but some would ditch their current jobs immediately if a higher-paying gig came along, according to a new survey of the profession. Some 94 percent of principals say they are satisfied at their current schools.

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A Letter from the Ombudsman – Joyanna Smith

Dear Colleagues, Partners, and Friends,

After nearly five years, I am leaving the Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education. I have learned so much from my incredible colleagues at the State Board, charter schools and DCPS schools, advocacy partners, education organizations, and students and families.  With my colleagues, we were able to re-establish an office that supported thousands of families, the majority of which represent the most disenfranchised in our city, particularly in Wards 5, 7, and 8. Through the office, we have demonstrated that establishing trust and ensuring confidentiality between schools and families can result in positive outcomes for students.

In the Office of the Ombudsman, we addressed issues that were brought to our attention by providing direct intervention; we also addressed these same issues on the systemic level through our engagement with local, state, and national education leaders. Our office became a venue for parents, students, and families to have a real voice in addressing systemic inequities that are causing our children, particularly children of color, to fail.  We implemented a dispute resolution system with the vision that educational equity extends beyond formal equality and promotes a barrier free system in which students have the opportunity to benefit fully from their public school systems.

Our office’s work has been recognized nationally, and our recommendations have been implemented locally. Over the years, as the Education Ombudsman, I have observed positive changes in this city, and though a number of challenges remain, these changes indicate that disruption of inequitable systems is not only possible, it’s starting to happen every day.

I look forward to my new role as the DC Regional Director of Rocketship Public Schools as it gives me an opportunity to continue the important work of advancing educational equity by taking lessons learned through thousands of interactions with schools and families to promoting the growth of quality schools in Washington, DC.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as the second Education Ombudsman in DC.

Warmly,

Joyanna

Outgoing Ombudsman for Public Education

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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SBOE Weekly Ed Links: 08/03/2018

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

Check out our rundown of the top education news and events this week in the District and around the country!

SBOE QUOTED IN THE NEWS
The Progressive Happy Hour: Young People, Young Leaders | PFAW

NATIONAL NEWS
Major Changes Planned By Department Of Education | WAMU
The Education Department unveiled a plan to rewrite and roll back important rules that govern colleges and their accrediting agencies. The department says it wants to reduce obstacles to innovation, but critics worry this will lower school standards and hurt students.

How History Classes Helped Create a ‘Post-Truth’ America | The Atlantic
The author of Lies My Teacher Told Me discusses how schools’ flawed approach to teaching the country’s past affects its civic health.

Here’s some advice for CPS’ future Chief Equity Officer in year one | Chalkbeat
On Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education is expected to vote on CPS’ 2018-19 budget, which lists a new four-person Office of Equity as a $1 million line item. The board also plans to vote on a proposed revision to its student code of conduct to help address racial disparities in suspensions.

Teachers Weigh in on Pay, Safety, School Choice, and Evaluations in New Survey | EdWeek
In a year marked by teacher activism and demonstrations, educators are urging policymakers to listen to them. Now, a new survey details teachers’ opinions on more than a dozen education issues.

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#Ward5EduTownHall Recap

By: Dyvor Gibson, Administrative Support Specialist

On July 24, 2018, another town hall meeting was held in Ward 5 at the Lamont-Riggs Library in the District of Columbia. This was one of a series of meetings initiated on behalf of Councilmember (At Large) David Grosso where community members, parents, students, school administrators, and other stakeholders continued numerous conversations to weigh views and sentiments on specific subject matters presently impacting schools. The audience consisted roughly of 35 attendees in total. There were six student-led panelists during the meeting; one of which was our most recent State Board of Education (SBOE) Student Representative Tallya Rhodes – valedictorian and graduate of Woodson Senior High School.

The discussion centered on what a student’s “dream school” would look like, along with identifying roadblocks students encounter within the educational system that continue to spark debate. The discussion also included what forward-thinking solutions would resemble.

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A Privilege to Learn and Serve

By: Maria Salciccioli, Senior Policy Analyst

 

Friday, July 13th was my last day at SBOE, and I’ve been reflecting on a wonderful year and a half. Although I’d lived in DC for six years before I started at SBOE, having worked as a teacher, researcher, and political appointee at the US Department of Education, I didn’t know much about education in the city I lived in, including exactly how SBOE, OSSE, the DME, DCPS, and PCSB worked together to educate the roughly 100,000 students who attend public schools in DC. Since joining the agency, however, I’ve had the privilege to both learn and serve.

As Senior Policy Analyst at SBOE, I worked as project manager for our two task forces – High School Graduation Requirements and ESSA. The graduation task force convened stakeholders from across the city, held in-depth discussions on what we want District graduates to know and be able to do, and created recommendations that are designed to improve student preparation and ensure that a District diploma is meaningful and is conferred to graduates who are well-prepared for college and career. The process was eye-opening – bringing together stakeholders from across the city means that it’s incredibly difficult to come to consensus on the best way to support children, but it is critical to have a variety of voices at the table, and I think the recommendations were stronger because of the diverse input that went into them. The ESSA task force is partnering with OSSE to ensure the ESSA plan is implemented with families in mind, and the outreach OSSE and task force members have engaged in is unprecedented across the country. Even though it has been a groundbreaking effort, there is still hard work to do with family engagement, and I am excited to see where the Board takes its practices over the years to come.

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State Board in the Community: July 2018

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

In July, SBOE members visited DCPS and charter schools and participated in important community gatherings across the District.

Jack (Ward 2 / Vice President) was honored with a Multilingual Education Visionary award by DC Language Immersion.

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SBOE Weekly Ed Links: 07/28/2018

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

Check out our rundown of the top education news and events this week in the District and around the country.

SBOE QUOTED IN THE NEWS
Who Gets Access to Data About D.C.’s Public Schools? | Washington City Paper
SBOE Rejects Credit Recovery Proposal, Seeks Public Guidance | Washington Informer

NATIONAL NEWS
Charter school network spreads ‘personalized learning’ model nationwide | EdSource
In 2012, with a goal of creating “self-directed learners,” Summit redesigned its two high schools and opened two new schools. A key element of Summit’s model is an online platform developed with engineering help from Facebook.

How Many Seats Do Teachers Get on the State Board of Ed.? In Most Places, None | EdWeek
State boards of education craft policies on curriculum, assessment, and other areas that directly affect day-to-day classroom life. But the professionals most affected by those decisions—teachers—often don’t have a seat at the boardroom table.

Where Can Districts Turn for Personalized Learning Resources? | EdTech
Organizations and government agencies are doing their best to help educators respond to the growing demand for individualized education.

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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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