Happy Fall! I hope all of those with school-aged children have had a smooth transition back to school. There are many exciting updates to report from our schools. Nearly all Ward 1 schools saw an increase in PARCC scores this year, with Bruce Monroe at Park View leading the way with 9% and 11% gains in English language arts and math, respectively. (See more below.) Congratulations to our hard-working school principals, students and their families!
Marie Reed and Garrison reopened on-time with beautifully remodeled buildings. Chancellor Wilson has released his new 5-strategy for DCPS, which places a new emphasis on socio-emotional learning.
I have launched a new task force to review our high school graduation requirements to ensure that they set the standards for subject areas and content most important for our students in preparing for life after high school. The task force application process was historic in that all applications were posted online, together with the criteria. We selected representatives reflective of the demographics of our student body with half either working or living in Wards 7 and 8. See this article in the Washington Post announcing the launch of our task force.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback. Please share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(photo above: Marie Reed students enjoy their new playground.)
PARCC Scores Released
The PARCC test is given to students in grades 3 and up to measure both individual student proficiency and school-level growth and progress. While it is important to keep in mind that this is only one measure, and there are many unmeasured elements of school quality, PARCC scores help to project the percentage of students who are on track to succeed in college. In fact, the city’s overall proficiency rates, which hover around 30%, are fairly close to the overall percentage of DC high school graduates who complete college.
In Ward 1, we are seeing increases in general in our PARCC test scores. More students are achieving the “proficient” score. What’s equally promising is the number of students who are approaching proficiency. In this detailed breakdown of school scores, you can see that the number of students on level 3, which falls just below proficient, is growing with some schools having over 70% of their students at level 3. Overall across our city, scores are up. DC Public Schools saw a tremendous increase this year of 6.4 points in English language arts and 3.5 points in math.
Despite these improvements, we must keep in mind that an alarming number of our students are not performing on these tests at grade level. On top of this, white and Asian student scores grew at 2-5 times the rate of Black and Hispanic students, thereby widening the already stark opportunity gap for students (see graphic). The question that keeps me up at night is, “What will it take for all students to thrive in DC?” What can we each do to change these outcomes?
Every Student Succeeds Task Force
You may recall several months ago a big push for public input on DC’s plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act. As part of the plan, DC must devise a new “report card” that each school would publish for families and the broader community to understand how and what the school is doing. PARCC scores are just a part of this. The State Board, under the leadership of Ward 4 representative Dr. Lannette Woodruff, has convened a ESSA Advisory Task Force to help advise the SBOE over the next two years. Task Force members include parents, community leaders, education agency leaders, students, teachers, school leaders, and nonprofit personnel who work in relevant fields. Meetings are open to the public.
High School Graduation Requirements Task Force
The State Board has also convened a task force to review DC’s high school graduation requirements. I and my Ward 8 colleague, Markus Batchelor, are leading this group. With a clear focus on ensuring that all students across the District succeed in college and career, this task force will review, analyze and, as necessary, make thoughtful, implementable recommendations to adjust DC’s high school graduation requirements for all DCPS and public charter students. Ushering in a new wave of transparency, all applications for the task force were open to public review, and we designed the task force to be representative of our student demographics, half of which come from Wards 7 and 8. We meet every other Wednesday, and meetings are open to the public. The public can also add their comments through several virtual portals. Read more here.
News from your schools!*
The 2017-2018 school year is off to a great start at Cardozo Education Campus! We celebrated modest gains on PARCC in English and Math this past Spring. Our students also excelled by passing their Advanced Placement assessments with record-level growth performance!
Every moment is a teachable moment as we continue to prioritize highly-effective teaching practices based on pedagogical research and our students' academic and social-emotional development. Our scholars benefit from opportunities to extend their learning at lunch with a new chess club and they also engage in project-based learning opportunities in each class. Thank you for continuing to partner with Cardozo!
It’s been a busy first month in our beautiful new building! Highlights include:
A visit from Chancellor Antwan Wilson during the first week of school
- Learning the “Read, Baby, Read!” chant during All-School Morning Meeting
- Celebrating Back to School Night on Sept 13 with Garrison families
Garrison is a school on the rise, with lots of Wildcat Pride. We have spaces available in grades K-5 – come visit and join us! Learn more at garrisonelementary.org and follow @PrincipalKipGES on Twitter.
Columbia Heights Educational Campus
CHEC has started the new school year with many developments and initiatives:
- To date we have had 14 home visits completed! Leading the count on the high school side 9th and 10th grade teams – our goal is to have friendly informative home visits by teachers for 40% of the 1,400 student campus
- Fall sports are in full swing with Archery, Boys and Girls Soccer, Football and Girls Volleyball
- Trifilio Tango provided the entire campus with a great performance to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month
- CHEC students participated in social justice workshops to produce a message that represents their beliefs about how the DACA should be preserved
- Over 500 families attended the CHEC Back To School Day
Tubman is thrilled to open our new Outdoor Classroom! Students and families will be able to enjoy the space for years to come. We have dramatically increased our garden space, have an outdoor teaching space and a cooking space with a burner and a grill!
Additionally, Tubman has a new website-teamtubman.com. Purchase one of our new t-shirts or support Team Tubman at the community yard sale (and find some great finds) on September 23 throughout Columbia Heights. Or get some new threads and benefit Tubman at the J. Crew Back to school event (at the JCrew Men’s Shop, 1618 14th St NW) on September 23rd. We are excited to begin what we know will be an excellent school year-Welcome Back Tubman Toads!
Oyster-Adams Bilingual School had its 3rd straight year of PARCC score gains. Overall, our students gained 8 percentage points in Reading and 2 percentage points in Math. We are proud to share that we are closing the achievement gap by showing gains among our students who receive free and reduced meals, Black/African American students, Latino students, and students receiving Special Education services.
In addition, Oyster-Adams Bilingual School just received the DCPS REIGN grant. REIGN is the empowering girls of color initiative that is in its debut year and Oyster Adams was awarded the 2nd highest prize in the city by DCPS. Middle School Dean Daniela Morad and 6th grade science teacher Jan Schuettpelz worked on this grant proposal throughout the summer and now have $55,000 to invest in empowering our Latina and Black/African American girls in the middle school.
Welcome back to Cooke! The school year has started off strong with our second year of Extended Year School! We have had some exciting happenings at school already:
- Celebrated the solar eclipse
- Had a Turkish puppet show
- Had some good improvements with our PARCC scores
We are looking forward to a great year of more successes. We will be heavily involved in our Global Studies curriculum this year as we work to bring the world to Cooke. Stay tuned for lots of fun happenings.
The Marie Reed Panthers are beaming in our newly renovated space! There is abundant natural light, upgraded and expanded technology in all classrooms, completely new cafeteria and playgrounds, as well as beautiful new common spaces for teachers and students to share. We are also riding high on the news that our PARCC scores increased for the second year in a row – up 4% in both ELA and Math, demonstrating that Marie Reed students are among the hardest-working and brightest in the city! Check our website for updated Open House information.
*I have included news from schools who submitted information to me. All Ward 1 DCPS schools are invited to submit information.