Fresh Start 2017

The State Board welcomed three newly elected members earlier this month and set to work on diving into the State Superintendent's recommendations related to the Every Student Succeeds Act. I've included more detail below, but, in short, this is big. If you are someone who cares about how the system holds schools accountable for results, this is a major chance to weigh in. The Board is consideringIMG_4731.JPG questions such as: 

  • How much should test scores count in a school's rating? 
  • Should student proficiency count more, less or the same as how much a student grows academically?
  • What other factors, such as attendance or school climate, should count and how much?

Together with the State Superintendent's office, we will be holding a series of public dialogues throughout the city during the month of February. I will also attend several elementary school PTO meetings during February to get parent input. I will share dates once they are released. Feel free to reach out to me directly with your ideas ( 

Finally, welcome to our new chancellor Antwan Wilson who starts officially in his role on February 1. And thank you to interim chancellor John Davis for leading so brilliantly over the past several months. The city is indebted for your years of service to our students.



State Board News

State Board year in review

The State Board has published its annual report from 2016. Please click here to read the Board’s full Annual Report.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

As mentioned above, the core focus of the Board's work for the next two months will be thoroughly considering and vetting the State Superintendent's proposal for the revised school accountability Screen_Shot_2017-01-16_at_4.50.33_PM.pngsystem. All of the documents, including the most recent draft plan, can be found on the Board's e-meeting website here. The latest proposal includes academic testing to count for 80% of a school's score, however in a different way than our current system.  Instead of school points being awarded only according to proficiency scores, the score would also include growth. This means that for the first time, schools where students are growing in proficiency but not yet proficient would be rewarded. Half of the 80% would go toward proficiency and half toward growth. The remaining 20% would be divided among attendance rates, re-enrollment, English language proficiency (required by Dept of Education), PS3 & PK4 standards (for elementary schools only), and graduation rates (for high school only).

The biggest question for the Board is whether this set of data will motivate the right priorities for schools. We have heard from the public and experts, for example, that some measure of school climate should be included. But there are concerns from the State Superintendent's office that this is an untested, new provision, and shouldn't be rolled out citywide before being piloted or tested on a smaller scale. Some education leaders also have shared that school climate is an input -- not an output -- and therefore doesn't belong in an ultimate accountability measure. What do you think? 

I'll be at several community meetings in February to collect public input, including Tubman PTO meeting Feb. 10 at 8:45 am and Bruce Monroe at Park View's PTO meeting on Feb. 9. Wards 1 and 2 Education Collaboratives will co-host a meeting open to the public on Feb. 7 from 7-8:30 pm, the location is being finalized. Please come and share your thoughts!

For more information about ESSA, including upcoming engagement opportunities and previous meeting materials, please visit and     


News in your schools!*


This year Bancroft Elementary School is taking family engagement and academic interventions for very deserving students to a new level. We want to share a video with you, courtesy of two of our amazing teachers, Mr. Carrasco and Ms. Florez, that shows how a simple gesture can bring a great amount of joy to our students' lives.

In the video you will see the students who are in the newly formed ExpeDCionary Learners group, designed to give English Language Learners an opportunity to engage with the world around them. TheseScreen_Shot_2017-01-16_at_4.41.14_PM.png students sold Christmas tree ornaments at the Bancroft Tree Sale and with the money they made, paid for their own ice skating adventure at the Sculpture Garden in downtown DC. During that trip they told their teachers that they "don't get anything for Christmas or the holidays" so with the remaining money, the teachers decided to buy each of them a small present. "We had them write letters to Santa, who miraculously made an early trip [to Bancroft] just before we left for winter break". And here is what happened...

Este año la Escuela de Bancroft está implementando programas de una forma muy impresionante para familias, e intervenciones académicas para estudiantes muy merecidos. Queremos compartir con ustedes un video, gracias a dos de nuestros maestros maravillosos, Sr. Carrasco y Sra. Florez, que demuestra la forma en que un gesto sencillo puede iniciar mucha alegría en las vidas de nuestros estudiantes.

En este video vas a ver los estudiantes de un programa que se llama ExpeDCionary Learners, que provee Aprendiz de Ingles la oportunidad de experimentar con el mundo alrededor. Estos estudiantes vendieron adornos para árboles navideños durante la Venta de Arboles, y con el dinero que recaudaron, pagaron por su propia aventura de patinaje de hielo en el Jardín de Escultura del Centro DC. Durante ese paseo les dijeron a sus maestros que "nosotros nunca recibimos regalos para las Navidades o otras fiestas" pues con el dinero que sobró, los maestros decidieron comprarle a cada uno un regalo. "Les hicimos escribir cartas a Santa Claus, quien de milagro hizo un viaje temprano [a Bancroft] antes de las vacaciones comenzar". Y esto foe lo que sucedió...

Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC)

CHEC invites community members to consider coming in to volunteer to be a Portfolio Panelist. CHEC students will be presenting their academic portfolios during the week of January 23rd to 27th.  You will CHEC_Academic_Porfolio_Presentations.JPGhave an opportunity to listen as students present their work, ask questions about their presentations, and support them as they reflect on the year’s work.  

CHEC educators believe portfolio assessments are a unique opportunity to judge academic achievement in a way that can inform instruction and provide needed feedback to students and parents alike.  The Portfolio Presentation panels are comprised of educators and community volunteers and we invite you to participate as a panelist, or drop by and observe these presentations.

You can choose any day, any time frame and you will receive guidelines on how to assess presentations.  If you would like to volunteer to help, please email Mila Lopez-Elmore at or call (202) 939-7700 ext. 5017 


Cardozo EC warmly embraces our school partners! Our Parent Teacher Organization sponsored a delicious Holiday Dinner feeding over 200 family and friends on December 20, 2016.  This family-style meal reinforced the long-lasting shared values of community and collaboration.   Also, Cardozo International Academy and Student Government leaders hosted a government panel with DC Council Members on December 16, 2016 highlighting a variety of policy topics around education.  Finally, the Cardozo Advanced Placement "AP for ALL" initiative continues to gain local and national attention as the program was featured in the Washington Post and ABC7 News.  Cardozo Clerks will continue to rise in 2017!

Marie ReedMR_kids_at_rd_race.png

This winter our Reed Runners are in full form, representing the Proud Panthers at the Jingle All the Way 5K and Girls on the Run 5K!  The Marie Reed community is excited to be making strides with 
identifying our common vision for the arts as we prepare to become the first Dual Language Arts Focus school in DC!  In the coming weeks we will identify our vision for the arts at Marie Reed, which will include a rich representation of the diverse cultures and communities we represent here.  Our building in Adams Morgan is making great progress with the renovation and is on schedule to be completed by August 2017! 

HD Cooke

IMG_4735_1_.JPGHappy new year to our fantastic community!! HD Cooke is returning from a much deserved winter break to intersession week. Students who have been invited to intersession week will work on strengthening their math and reading skills. All students will return to school on January 9. The new year will bring more rigorous learning as we continue our Extended Year calendar.


Photo caption: We had a full house for our 2016 Winter Concert!


Tubman has had an amazing first semester of exploring our city and making learning come alive! PreK and Kindergarten students have explored various careers in our community visiting the fire station, Giant and hearing from parents about their work.1st grade is creating their own math manipulatives to master the concept of a 10-frame. 2nd grade explored how technology has changed over time at the Newseum and 3rd grade had IMG_8230.JPGvisits from living raptors including a bald eagle from the Department of Forestry. 4th grade discovered the rich history that existed and thrived here before European arrival by going to the Native American Smithsonian. 4th graders also held a Colonial Jobs Fair after much research!  All 5th graders have authored a play through our partnership with Young  Playwright’s Theater and spent the day exploring Lincoln’s life by visiting Lincoln’s Cottage and the Lincoln Memorial. 5th grade also got to partner with the Slovenian Embassy to learn more about Slovenia. Tubman students sent students in Slovenia traditional ornaments they made and Tubman students also learned to Waltz!  Tubman got to participate in the First Lady Michelle Obama’s last garden harvest, Girls on the Run and in our first Hour of Code. Tubman was honored to welcome our new Chancellor, Chancellor Antwan Wilson as the first DCPS school he visited. Students shared their love of math and we shared our social-emotional curriculum PATHS. This is small sampling of our semester at Tubman and we look forward to continuing learning more and growing together as we make learning come alive! 

*I have included school news from those schools who have submitted information to me. I welcome updates!

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