As we close out 2017, I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful New Year and healing for our increasingly troubled world. Check out this brief overview of the education happenings that influence Ward 1 residents.
In case you missed it, last weekend was EdFest -- an opportunity to meet parents and school leaders from schools across the city in preparation for selecting schools in the lottery. The school lottery closes for high school students on February 1 and for PK3-Grade 8 on March 1. You may find more details here. The State Board continues to be hard at work on two priority areas: school-level report cards and high school graduation requirements. You many find further details below on our work in these areas. Finally, Chancellor Wilson continues to actively seek community input on DCPS's budget and priorities through monthly community forums. You may find a complete schedule here. The next one close-ish to Ward 1 will be February 6 at 8:45 am at Oyster-Adams (2801 Calvert St NW Campus).
Best wishes for a lovely holiday!
(photo above: Garrison students enjoy learning!)
State Board News
School Report Card Update
You may recall that the DC plan to implement the Every Student Succeed Act that passed last year required a new “report card” that shares information with the public about every school in the city. For the past several months, a task force on the State Board has held public meetings to get input on the content of that information. The Office of the State Superintendent has also held public meetings. You may view some of the presentation materials capturing public input to-date here (including a mock-up report card) and watch the replay of the last meeting here.
In the coming month, the State Board will vote to approve the content (not the format) of the report card. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me via email about the most important components to include in the report card. You may also fill out an online survey with your thoughts.
The next ESSA Task Force meeting will be held on January 8th.
High School Graduation Task Force
As I shared in the last newsletter, I am co-chairing a citywide task force to review DC’s graduation requirements. The recent WAMU report on Ballou High School has cast our work even further into the spotlight. For a nuanced perspective on how complicated it is to identify requirements that will meet the needs of all students, please check out the series on Ron Brown High School by the podcast (NPR) Code Switch. With a clear focus on ensuring that all students across the District succeed in college and career, task force members have been talking with students, teachers, parents and other education stakeholders across the city to gather their input on what, if anything, should change about the requirements. Our meetings are open to the public, and you can view previous meetings on our Facebook page here. Full minutes and information about the task force are published here. We anticipate having a report to share with the full State Board by the end of February. Public comments are welcome by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out an online form here.
Office of Student Advocate Seeks Parent and Student Reps
The Office of the Chief Student Advocate is forming a Parent & Student Advisory Committee to provide a forum for parents and students to assist the Office of the Student Advocate in better serving families throughout DC and to foster conversations and uncover solutions about the issues all stakeholders face within DC’s public education landscape. The office is explicitly seeking applications from Ward 1 residents. More information about the advisory committee can be found on this website under the Parent & Student Advisory Committee tab. Use this link to apply.
News from your Schools*
Marie Reed is proud to be the first school in Ward 1 to partner with the Food Prints program from FRESHFARM, a hands-on science, garden, and nutrition program in which students prepare nutritious meals together. In November, we partnered with Operation Warm and Hollister to provide a free, brand-new winter coat to EVERY child in our school. We are ready for the winter months! Finally, we are thrilled to have been selected as one of eleven schools to receive a Reign Innovation Grant amounting to almost $24,000. This grant will fund science and arts enrichment opportunities for girls in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades as we partner with Dance Institute of Washington and others!
Our students continue to grow and learn and be successful! Our DC Scores students placed 3rd place in the poetry slam contest with their fantastic poem! They were also featured in a WUSA Channel 9 story. bit.ly/HDCookeCBS
For the love of books! We had pajama day at school to be ready for story telling after school. We had a fantastic read-out-loud during our Literacy Night. Teacher and staff read various favorite stories in English and Spanish to students. Families donated cookies to end the night with yummy cookies and milk. Great fun was had by all.
For the first time, Oyster-Adams Bilingual School will send a select group of middle school students to China in the spring of 2018. Students will spend a week traveling from Beijing to Xi’an to Shanghai. Throughout the trip, the students, who are all currently enrolled in Chinese class at Oyster-Adams, will be immersed in the culture and language of China. In addition to this trip, Oyster-Adams will again send two groups of middle school students to Spain for their annual international exchange program. For two weeks, students will visit either Madrid or Bilbao for an opportunity to experience international travel, practice their language skills in a native Spanish-speaking country, and continue to grow as globally minded citizens.
Columbia Heights Education Campus
During the week of December 4th, the entire CHEC community was engaged in International Week, an informative celebration of multiculturalism at the campus and in DC. Activities throughout the week of December 4th included a competition between Smaller Learning Communities to decorate hallwaysand doors to celebrate the holiday season from an international perspective. CHEC language teaching includes French, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Italian, and Spanish and each SLC chose a country that speaks one of these languages, and decorated their classroom doors or hallways based on cultural affinity. This all culminated in an International Dinner on December 7th with a full auditorium program for an audience of 600 CHEC community guests.
Tubman has had a great start to our year! Through our partnership with the US Forest Service, students in grades 3-5 got up close and personal with raptors and learned about how we can positively impact our environment to support the survival of these beautiful creatures. Grades 1 and 2 got to learn more about bugs and all that they do for our world. They got to hold different bugs and learn more about our bug friends. The Tubman Toad DC Scores took 2nd place at the Poetry Slam and our kindergartners became experts on firefighters and how they are community helpers! We have several open houses coming up-come learn more about Tubman and how we make learning come alive!
It’s been a fantastic fall at the NEW Garrison Elementary School! Highlights include:
- Family Nights: Back to School, Hispanic Heritage Celebration, Academic Partnering Meetings, & Family Fun Night!
- We’ve done home visits with more than 95% of our families!
- We were nominated for a 2017 DCPS Standing Ovation Award for Excellence in Family Engagement!
This winter, we’re looking forward to:
- Reading a Million Minutes by May as a school!
- A wonderful winter program on Dec 20 (5:00pm), including our new orchestra program’s first performance – join us!
- Sharing our learning at our Black History Month program on Feb 14!
Please visit our website at www.garrisonelementary.org and follow Principal Kip on Twitter @PrincipalKipGES to learn more about the great things happening at Garrison. We’d love to welcome you for an Open House on Jan 9, Feb 6, or March 6 at 9am!
SATURDAY ACADEMIES AT BANCROFT ARE BETTER THAN EVER!
At Bancroft Elementary School, family engagement is one of the strongest assets the school boasts about, and for good reason. Research overwhelmingly supports how much better children perform academically and behaviorally when parents are authentically engaged and significantly contribute to the climate and culture of their school. A year ago, Bancroft took family engagement to a new level when they launched the Saturday Academies for families and students who were below grade level in reading, and so far, it has been a huge success. Parents have expressed how much they enjoy the experience, and are taking a very active role in supporting their children’s education in and out of school time. At the final Saturday Academy of the previous school year, we asked the parents how we can improve the program, and a unanimous response was “field trips!” Just two months into the new school year, that request became a reality when the entire Saturday Academy group visited the Pumpkin Patch at Butler’s Orchard. The experience was unforgettable. One month later, we had our highest attended session since the program began. The verdict is out, Saturday Academies are not just an amazing learning experience, they’re also fun. Next month’s Saturday Academy will feature two more field trips. Our kindergarten through third graders will go to the Air and Space Museum, while the fourth and fifth graders go to the National Portrait Gallery to see the exhibit of the world famous Mexican painter, Rufino Tamayo. We are proud of the fact that our school and its staff have found ways to make learning a fun, creative experience for the families of struggling students, and we are excited about the opportunities that are on the way. Bancroft was just awarded a community development grant by the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs (MOLA), and a separate one by the DCPS Language Acquisitions Division for English Language Learners for after school programs. Family engagement and Saturday Academies at Bancroft are definitely better than ever, and will continue to get better thanks to these initiatives.
Clerks are on the rise at Cardozo Education Campus! During the month of November, we collected non-perishable food items and turkeys to create over 75 Thanksgiving baskets for Cardozo students and families. We also gave thanks with an International Potluck Dinner. Students continue to apply for college and enjoy numerous college tours to institutions such as the University of the District of Columbia, University of Maryland, etc.
Students will have Winter Break from December 22 - January 2 and students will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of community service projects with our City Year partners.
As we look ahead to 2018, we have a variety of ways to connect with us here at Cardozo. Join Principal Dr. Tanya S. Roane for a Community Coffee on Tuesday, January 9th at 9 am in the school atrium. Also, look out for more information about our Open House events!
*I have included news from schools who submitted information to me. All Ward 1 DCPS schools are invited to submit information.