Castle on the Hill- Our Visit to Cardozo Education Campus

Cardozo Visit May 2019

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

Last week, Cardozo High School Assistant Principal Matthew Kennedy and his leadership team welcomed State Board members Ruth Wattenberg (Ward 3 / President), Ashley MacLeay (At-Large), Emily Gasoi (Ward 1), and some of my SBOE staff colleagues for a school tour and lively education policy discussion at one of Ward 1’s education campuses. Cardozo Education Campus is essentially three schools in one, with a middle school, mainstream/traditional high school, and an International Academy for English language learners in one building. The historic “Castle on the Hill” campus serves students from grades 6–12 at this neighborhood DCPS school in the District’s northwest neighborhood of Columbia Heights.

During the first portion of the visit, we sat down with Assistant Principal Matthew Kennedy to learn more about the unique programs offered at this combined middle/high school. In addition, State Board members engaged in a discussion with school leaders and teachers on different ways to measure academic growth during high school. Academic growth, the progress a student makes over a particular time period, is one of the indicators used by the District in its STAR Framework and in its school report card. This visit was timely as the State Board looks forward to a proposal from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) related to a high school growth measure next month.

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Langley Elementary Touts Conscious Discipline

Langley Elementary Visit 2019

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

Earlier this month, Langley Elementary School Principal Vanessa Drumm-Canepa and PTSA President Christina Svolopoulos Robbins welcomed State Board members Ruth Wattenberg, Ashley MacLeay, Jessica Sutter, and some of my SBOE staff colleagues to tour their school. Langley ES is a PK–5 neighborhood DCPS school with approximately 300 students, located in the District’s Northeast neighborhood of Eckington in Ward 5.

During the first portion of the visit, we sat down with Principal Drumm-Canepa and Ms. Svolopoulos Robbins to learn more about the programs offered at Langley. Principal Drumm-Canepa and Assistant Principal Shaunte Jennings have transformed Langley in the past two and a half years through the implementation of a social-emotional learning (SEL) program called Conscious Discipline.  

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State Board in the Community: June 2018

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

In June, SBOE members criss-crossed the District visiting DC public schools and public charter schools, attending high school graduation events, and participating in important community gatherings.

Karen (Ward 7 / President), Ashley (At-Large), and Joe (Ward 6) attended Mayor Bowser’s press conference announcing the new search committee for DC Public Schools Chancellor

Karen (Ward 7 / President)
was the keynote speaker at Total Sunshine’s annual school grade awards ceremony honoring D.C.’s public and charter high school valedictorians and salutatorians

Jack (Ward 2 / Vice President) honored award recipients at the Critics and Awards Program for High School Students Awards (Cappies) ceremony

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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 at School Without Walls

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

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Last month, Principal Richard Trogisch and his team welcomed SBOE members Ruth Wattenberg, Joe Weedon, and some of my SBOE staff colleagues to tour the beautiful School Without Walls campus. “Walls,” as the school is affectionately known, is the only DC Public Schools high school located in Ward 2 and is currently an application school. This public magnet high school first opened its doors in 1971, and since that time has become a shining star in DCPS.

During the first portion of the visit, we were treated to a 15-minute senior project presentation from a graduating senior. Every Walls student is required to pass a class devoted to one senior project/paper in conjunction with George Washington University. Each SBOE Board member and staff had the opportunity to provide feedback to the student, who did a terrific job. Every student walks out of Walls knowing how to write a research paper.

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State Board in the Community: May 2018

By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist

In May, SBOE members criss-crossed the District visiting DCPS and charter schools, attending community events, and participating in important policy summits.

Karen (Ward 7 / President) lauded District teachers for their exceptional contributions at the Gold Standard of Excellence Awards.

Jack (Ward 2 / Vice President)
honored parents, families, and the LGBTQ community at the PFLAG 45th Anniversary Reception.

Ruth (Ward 3)
attended #FirstFridays at Rocketship Rise Academy and visited the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum.

Ashley (At-Large) and Joe (Ward 6)
were up early to join District students at the Bike to School Day event.

Markus (Ward 8)
joined Councilmember Trayon White and members of the community to help along safe passage routes near Ballou High School.

Ruth (Ward 3) and Joe (Ward 6)
joined SBOE staff during May school visits to School Without Walls and Center City Shaw.

Laura (Ward 1)
participated in the citywide PAVE Parent Policy Summit on education.

Joe (Ward 6)
joined students, District employers and partners at Eastern High School’s College and Career Day.

The State Board looks forward to continuing our engagement with the community throughout the month of June!

Diversity Matters: Getting Public School Choice Right

By: Maria Salciccioli, Senior Policy Analyst

On May 15, Ruth Wattenberg (Ward 3 Representative) and I attended Diversity Matters: Getting Public School Choice Right. The event was sponsored by The Century Foundation (TCF) and hosted at the Newseum. The morning opened with the release of a new research report, National Snapshot of Charter Schools’ Integration Efforts. The research focused on “diverse-by-design” charter schools, meaning those with both a stated commitment to diversity and a diverse student body, defined as both socioeconomically diverse (30% – 70% of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch) and racially diverse (no more than 70% of any racial group). The researchers, Halley Potter and Kimberly Quick, identified 125 schools that met these criteria out of 5,692 they studied. In 100 districts that held these successful charter schools, common practices included:

• Redrawing boundaries (this included 40 of the 100)
• Weighted lotteries
• Intentional charter school locations
• Targeted outreach to families of underserved students
• Weighted pre-k lotteries, with opportunities for pre-k students to stay at the school in the years to come
• Magnet schools that pull from the entire district
• Transfer policies with preferences for low-income students

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SBOE Stops By Seaton Stingers

By: Kit Faiella, Policy Fellow

On April 19, State Board of Education members Ruth Wattenberg (Ward 3), Joe Weedon (Ward 6), and staff members from SBOE and the Ombudsman’s office visited Seaton Elementary School, located a few blocks northeast of Logan Circle in Shaw. An enthusiastic and multicultural school, the Stingers are a very diverse community of students! The after school coordinator, Ms. Kirkpatrick, was our tour guide and we were joined by prospective parents.

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Seaton has a very progressive approach to technology in the classroom, using a blended learning model starting in Kindergarten. There are also carts of laptops and iPads on each floor of the school, bringing the school very close to a 1:1 ratio for students and computers. There can be more done, however, to achieve that goal of 1:1.

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State Board in the Community: April 2018

By: Kit Faiella, Policy Fellow

Spring has officially sprung for State Board members! This past month, the members of the Board participated in and attended enlightening and fascinating events around the District.

Ashley (At-Large) read to students at Cedar Tree Academy as part of the Read Across DC Campaign.


Ruth (Ward 3) braved the cold and attended the Nationals opening day game.


Similarly, Joe (Ward 6) attended opening day… for the Capitol Hill Little League!

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NAEP Results Are In

By: Abby Ragan, Policy Fellow

On April 10th, practitioners, scholars, researchers, and advocates, including members of SBOE staff and Representative Wattenberg, gathered together to celebrate the release of the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results, known as the Nation’s Report Card. The biennial assessment is considered one of the most reliable measures of student achievement for elementary and secondary students in the U.S.

The morning started with Dr. Peggy Carr, Acting Commissioner at the National Center for Education Statistics, discussing the transition to digital based assessments (DBAs) and the results of the 2017 NAEP assessment. Nationwide, significant gains were only seen in 8th grade reading since 2015. For the most part, DC is on par with national averages and has remained stagnant since 2015. However, the data delivered is useless without context; this was provided through three panels on the state perspective, literacy, and TUDA.

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