State Board in the Community: 01-31-2018

By: Kit Faiella, Policy Fellow

In December 2017 and early January 2018, the Board members attended a variety of events around the DC community, interacting with students and parents alike. Many Board members took tours of schools during December and January, witnessing teachers and students in action firsthand.

• Ashley Carter (At-Large) visited Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

• Laura Wilson Phelan (Ward 1) highlighted the tremendous work of our #DCGradReqs Task Force as a panelist on a National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) webinar focused on equity in high school graduation requirements.

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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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Proposed: New DCPS Teacher Contract

Yesterday, Mayor Muriel Bowser welcomed back DC Public Schools (DCPS) teachers for School Year 2017-2018 with a huge announcement. DCPS teachers are finally close to getting a new contract. At Bunker Hill Elementary School in Ward 5 with several education leaders at her side, Mayor Bowser unveiled a new teacher contract proposal that, if approved, will yield a 9% raise for DCPS teachers. Mayor Bowser was joined by City Administrator Rashad Young, Councilmember David Grosso, Deputy Mayor for Education Jennie Niles, DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson, Washington Teachers Union President Liz Davis, and Bunker Hill Elementary School Principal Kara Kuchemba to announce the news.

Under the proposed contract, educators will receive:

  • salary increases, including a 4 percent retroactive increase in Fiscal Year 2017, a 3 percent increase in Fiscal Year 2018, and a 2 percent increase in Fiscal Year 2019;
  • additional benefits; and
  • structured collaborative engagement between DCPS and the WTU on various issues, including extended-year schools.

Over the last school year, DC Public Schools employed more than 4,000 teachers who served approximately 50,000 students across 115 schools. Teachers have not received a base salary raise since 2012. DC Public School teachers enjoy the highest first-year teacher salary nationwide at $53,000 currently.

The nearly 4,500 members of the Washington Teachers Union are now tasked with voting on the proposal over the next two weeks. Eleven extended-year schools began school yesterday and the remaining schools will start the school year on Monday, August 21.

IMPORTANT LINKS:
Mayor’s Press Release
Mayor Bowser’s Facebook Live Announcement – Recording
Councilmember Grosso applauds tentative new teacher contract
Tentative Contract

New Members of SBOE HS Graduation Requirements Task Force

Today, we announced the new members of our High School Graduation Requirements Task Force! This initiative, announced earlier this month, marks an historic city-wide effort to review, analyze and, as necessary, make thoughtful, implementable recommendations to adjust DC’s high school graduation requirements for all DCPS and public charter school students. The Task Force, under the leadership of Ward 1 representative Laura Wilson Phelan and Ward 8 representative Markus Batchelor, will consist of 26 members who will provide unique insights relevant to high school graduation.

The application period closed at 12:00 noon on Friday, June 23, 2017. Each application was subsequently anonymized to ensure objectivity in selection. The SBOE Educational Excellence & Equity Committee reviewed each application and selected the following members to serve on the task force. To view a list of everyone who applied to the task force, click here.

The SBOE is excited to work with such diverse voices, including representatives from our education governing bodies, on such an important issue. Below are the selected members of the Task Force.

Laura Wilson Phelan (co-chair)
• Ward 1 Representative, SBOE
• Chair, SBOE Educational Excellence & Equity Committee

Markus Batchelor (co-chair)
• Ward 8 Representative, SBOE
• Chair, SBOE Public Engagement & Outreach Committee

Celine Fejeran
• Deputy Director, Raise DC
• Public Charter School Parent
• Ward 5 Resident

Cara Fuller
• Principal, DCPS Ballou Stay High School
• 5 years experience as Principal
• Ward 8 Resident

Carol Randolph
• Chief Operating Officer, DC Students Construction Trades Foundation (Ward 7)
• 16 years working to expand trade skills in District schools
• Ward 4 Resident

Cathy Reilly
• Executive Director, Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators (S.H.A.P.P.E.)
• Ward 4 Education Alliance, C4DC
• Ward 4 Resident

Cosby Hunt
• Senior Officer of Teaching & Learning, Center for Inspired Teaching
• Public Charter School Parent
• Ward 5 Resident

David Tansey
• Math Teacher, DCPS McKinley Tech High School (Ward 5)
• Math for America, Washington Teacher’s Union (WTU)
• Ward 5 Resident

Dwan Jordon
• Senior Advisor for High School Research, Friendship PCS
• Former Principal, Sousa MS (DCPS); Friendship Collegiate PCHS (Ward 7)
• Ward 4 Resident

Jahari Shelton
• Student, Sidwell Friends School
• Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development
• Ward 7 Resident

Jimell Sanders
• Director of Engagement, DC Language Immersion Project
• DCPS Parent
• Ward 7 Resident

Julie Camerata
• Executive Director, DC Special Education Cooperative
• Public Charter Middle School Parent
• Ward 1 Resident

Karla Reid-Witt
• Family Dynamics Specialist, JumpStart
• DCPS High School Parent
• Ward 7 Resident

Kimberly Martin
• Principal, DCPS Wilson High School
• 15 years experience as High School Principal
• DCPS Parent
• Ward 3 Resident

Larry R. Greenhill, Sr.
• Vice President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 26
• 20 years experience with District apprenticeship programs
• Ward 8 Resident

Latisha Chisholm
• Special Education Coordinator, Anacostia High School
• Former English, Science, and Special Education Teacher
• Ward 8 Resident

Sandra Jowers-Barber, Ph.D.
• Director, Division of Humanities, University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC)
• Former History Professor
• Ward 4 Resident

Sanjay K. Mitchell
• Director of College & Alumni Programs, Thurgood Marshall Academy PCHS
• Former Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions
• Ward 7 Resident

Senovia L. Hurtado
• Bilingual School Counselor, School Without Walls
• DCPS High School Parent
• Ward 5 Resident

Shenita Ray
• Director of Online Operations, Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies
• 10 years experience in higher education
• Ward 5 Resident

Tom Brown
• Executive Director, Training Grounds, Inc.
• DCPS / Public Charter School Parent
• Ward 7 Resident

Erin Bibo
• Deputy Chief, College & Career Programs, DC Public Schools (DCPS)

Jane Spence
• Deputy Chief, Secondary Schools (MS/HS), DC Public Schools (DCPS)

Justin Tooley
• Special Assistant for Legislation & Policy, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)

Naomi DeVeaux
• Deputy Director, DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB)

SBOE Student Representative
• Member of 2017-2018 Student Advisory Committee, SBOE (TBA)

This task force will examine the following questions and recommend changes to the graduation requirements based on its findings:

  1. What do we as a city want our high school diploma to mean?
  2. How should we measure whether a student has achieved the standards of a diploma?
  3. What changes to DC’s graduation requirements, if any, should be made to ensure our diploma reflects achievement of these standards?

Task force meetings will meet two times per month, starting in July and concluding in Spring 2018. District residents will have many opportunities to stay involved and provide input throughout this process. The SBOE will convene parent focus groups and student focus groups to both generate ideas for the task force to consider and to brainstorm ideas during the course of discussions. The focus groups will be representative of the demographics of students in the city, where half of all DCPS and public charter students reside in Wards 7 and 8. For the latest updates on the work of the task force, please visit sboe.dc.gov/gradreqs.

2nd SAC Report: Graduation Requirements and Hall Sweeps Top Student Concerns

At June’s public meeting, State Board members voted on the final version of the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) report presented by SBOE Student Representative Alex Dorosin of Wilson High School. Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 9.56.59 AMThis report is the second annual report presented by the Student Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC met four times over the course of the 2016­-2017 school year and selected seven key topics that the SAC feels can be changed or improved in the DC education system.The proposals submitted by the SAC focused on graduation requirements, security, access to humanities and civic engagement courses, hall sweeps, food and nutrition, grading systems, and student socialization.

Student representatives have been pivotal to the success of the work of the SBOE. Our student representatives and SAC members offer a unique perspective on how policies actually impact the District’s students. SAC Mtg May'17The Student Advisory Committee serves as the voice of students in the State Board’s work. They are consulted on all issues of policy before the State Board. Student Representatives serve as co-chairs of the Student Advisory Committee.  The Committee is composed of a minimum of 15 high school students, one from each of the 10 largest (by student population) high schools in the District and 5 additional members from other high schools.  Read the report here.

Seeing Out-of-School-Time Through Equity Lenses

By: Tara Adam, Policy Fellow

On Thursday, May 25, Mila Yochum of the DCPS Out-of-School-Time System Set-Up Team, led a lively discussion centering on the question, how can resources be distributed to support equity within the District? The goal of the afternoon was to help the OST Team determine an equity lens through which RFP applicants should be scored for 2017-2018 award year.Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 11.23.31 AM

Prior to delving into the group exercise, Ms. Yochum emphasized that equality does not equate to equity, and that it is OST’s responsibility to ensure there is an equitable distribution of the available RFP 2017-2018 $2 million dollar grant, not an equitable access to it. Although there is a standardized rubric for the grant review process, bonus points awarded will  be awarded to  applicants who further the OST’s equity movement.

The group of stakeholders assimilated eight themes in which they believed the equity lens should be centered on: mental and emotional health, enrichment opportunities, transportation, poverty, under-resourced schools, special populations, geography, and organizational capacity. The group then delved into identifying key concerns and concepts associated with each theme. For example, the stakeholders’ agreed that youth programs targeted at professional development and opportunities for personal growth  should be a core concept related to enrichment.  

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 11.24.37 AM

During the session’s debrief numerous participants commented on their desire for collaboration and the creation of an Out-of-School-Time community where ideas and resources can be shared. Moreover, numerous stakeholders voiced a concern over the definition of who an “at-risk” student really is.

This discussion was part of a series of six conversations held by the DCPS OST Set-up Team. Following the conclusion of the six sessions a vote will be held to determine the three most popular themes in which an equity lens will be developed for the RFP 2017-2018 grant. This process will only be applicable to this  grant year.

CrossTalk DC: DCPS Student Inspiration Exhibition and Dialogue

In collaboration with the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Anacostia Community Museum, DCPS Office of Family and Public Engagement invited students, parents, staff and community to a facilitated discussion on Thursday evening exploring, “What does it mean to be the other?”

dcps-pub-engagement-1

DCPS student photography and selected passages from the play District Merchants served as a kickstarter for lively discussion and conversation at the picturesque Anacostia Community Museum. District Merchants by Aaron Posner, an adaptation of Merchants of Venice, set in post-Civil War DC juxtaposes the experience of two DC merchants: a newly emancipated black man and an immigrant Jew. The play explores themes regarding gender, race, religion, and power.

In her final event serving as Chief, Family and Public Engagement, Ms. Josephine Bias Robinson, kicked things off with opening remarks. Ms. Robinson welcomed 4 students from local Wilson High School, School Without Walls, and Ballou High School to the front of the room. Each student talked about their photo and what inspired them to take these inspirational shots. dcps-crosstalk-itinerary

Ms. Shanita Burney, Deputy Chief, Family and Public Engagement went on to lead the facilitated discussion and interactive activities with the crowd surrounding culture, race and identity. Participants worked in groups and talked about reflections on excerpts from the play as well as reactions to the students’ photography.

CrossTalk is a community engagement initiative that connects members of the public, encouraging them to think about race and religion thoughtfully and deeply through the lens of literature and history. To learn more about the CrossTalk DC initiative, click here.