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Fall 2017

Fall 2017

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! MR_outside.png

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 laura.wilson.phelan@dc.gov.


Adelante!
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(photo above: Marie Reed students enjoy their new playground.)

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Summer 2017

Summer 2017

The past quarter has been an exciting one in DC education. Our new chancellor has been visiting many schools and developing DCPS's new strategy. The mayor presented a budget that didn't provide per student funding at a level that kept up with inflation, but the Council countered it and restored funding. Controversy emerged over favoritism in the lottery among DC officials. 

Through this all, our amazing principals and teaching staff have been plugging away to provide students with consistently excellent education. In ourWarchec_car.pngd 1 elementary schools, we bid farewell and extend our gratitude to Principal Dawn Foreman who served at Cleveland and Principal Collin Hill from Garrison. We welcome new principals Anna Krughoff (who was assistant principal at Marie Reed) to Cleveland and Brigham Kiplinger to Garrison!


On the State Board, we recently launched the application process for a citywide task force to review high school graduation requirements, which I will be co-leading with my colleague Markus Batchelor from Ward 8. Stay tuned as we announce selected task force members at the end of the week!

Best wishes to all for a safe and relaxing summer.

Adelante!
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(photo above: The CHEC Team for the 2017 Washington DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix)

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Spring 2017

Spring 2017

So much has happened since the last newsletter! To begin, many of our Ward 1 schools were recognized for excellence at the District’s Standing Ovation Awards last month. Congratulations to:

  • Anita Berger, Principal of the Year, BannekerScreen_Shot_2017-04-12_at_3.56.11_PM.png
  • Art Mola and the Bancroft team, Excellence by an Academic Leadership Team
  • Katie Larkin, Highly Effective Principal, HD Cooke
  • Bruce Jackson, Highly Effective Assistant Principal, Cardozo
  • Anna Krughoff, Highly Effective Assistant Principal, Marie Reed
  • Bobbie Verdegaal, New Teacher of the Year, Cardozo
  • Sandra Gutierrez, Highly Effective School Staff, Oyster-Adams
  • Imelda Lopez-Diaz, Highly Effective School Staff, Bancroft

Those recognized are selected from amongst their peers across the entire District, and the awards ceremony is held at the Kennedy Center. This is a tremendous honor! Congratulations!

IMG_4688.JPGThe State Board spent the last few months soliciting feedback from residents about the new school accountability framework. I personally led conversations with parents and school personnel from nearly all of our elementary schools. The result was the passage of a new framework for assessing school performance that will begin in school year 2017-18, with the first results to be shared in the fall of 2018. Please find more information below about the details and my vote on this important issue.

The work of sharing information about our schools with the community continues with the launch of discussions related to school report cards. These are different from the accountability framework in that they don't count as part of the official state rating system, but they include very information that many of you have expressed interest in knowing about your schools. Report cards could include whether the school is dual language, what types of extracurricular activities are offered and teacher retention rates. The State Board, together with several partner organizations, will begin a range of community input opportunities. I’ll be sure to share these out as soon as the timeline is developed.

It’s hard to believe that this school year is nearly over! Happy Spring Break to all!

Adelante!

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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 (laura.wilson.phelan@dc.gov). 

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.

Adelante!

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Fall news!

Fall News!


I hope all are enjoying the fall and, for those who celebrate, Happy Halloween! Our Ward 1 schools are doing amazing things! Be sure to check out the News from our Schools update below to learn about the creative academic and enrichment initiatives our talented principals are putting in place. OysterNov16-2.png

As always, your input on the critical policy decisions under consideration by the State Board is welcome! Before the end of the year we will vote on new residency requirements for school enrollment as well as shape our recommendations for our new accountability law -- Every Child Succeeds Act. Please reach out with your ideas!

With election season upon us, don't forget to head to the polls! Early voting has started within Ward 1 at Columbia Heights Community Center at 15th and Girard Streets.

Adelante!
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Back to School!

Back to School!

Welcome back to all students and families who have begun the new year! There are many changes underway with the resignation of Chancellor Henderson (see below) and our own Ward 1 schools Marie_Reed_bus.pngundergoing transitions. Bancroft and Marie Reed students are at transitional campuses as their buildings are modernized, and HD Cooke students are piloting year-round school. 

As you'll see from the updates below, educators worked hard over the summer to ensure students were welcomed and engaged on Day 1 of the new year. All 11 Ward 1 DCPS principals (including our just over-the-border neighbor, Garrison) returned this year, demonstrating their enduring commitment and leadership for our students.

As many of you are aware, DC's standardized exam (PARCC) results  have been released, and, overall, the District's scores improved. I've included an update and links to data below.

I'm looking forward to working with you in the year ahead!

Adelante!
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Spring News!

Spring News!

I hope the warm weather is providing for opportunities for relaxation and calm as school lottery results have been released, students enter into PARCC testing and the school year winds to a close! 

I'm pleased to share that the collaborative effort to raise funds for Ward 1 schools is progressing! We've had three meetings 
now with parent and principal representatives from Ward 1 elementary schools. We are formalizing plans for our structure and priorities. If you haven't gotten involved yet and would like to, please attend our next meeting at El Tamarindo (1785 Florida Ave NW) at 7:30 this Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30 pm.

I'm also embarking on a new effort to diversify and balance the parent voices that influence our education policy and discussions across the city. If this topic interests you, please reach out! I would welcome your thoughts and partnership as I build a plan and implement ideas. See below for additional updates on the State Board's work.

For more regular updates about what is happening in our schools, please like my Facebook page! 

Adelante!
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PS - Did you catch them? All seven amazing Ward 1 DCPS elementary school principals took time from their busy days to share their vision and hopes for their schools as part of the Meet the Principal video series. Be inspired, and watch them all!
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More than the sum of our parts

Did you catch them? All seven amazing Ward 1 DCPS elementary school principals took time from their busy days to share their vision and hopes for their schools as part of the Meet the Principal video series. This effort is part of my commitment to keep everyone informed about our schools and to invite your involvement. Our principals want the wider community to know more about thPrincipals.JPGem and their schools. They want our collective support.  

 

There are so many ways we can support our schools. Parent leaders and I met in February to discuss the possibility of joining efforts in a big Ward 1 fundraiser for our schools. What do you think? Would you be willing to help? Should 
parent_photo.jpgthe idea move forward, we will need support in many types of roles. Do you have other ideas about how we could join forces to create more than the sum of our parts? I would love your ideas! Please email me at laura.wilson.phelan@dc.gov. 

I welcome your feedback on the videos and other information you would like to know about our schools. To further my communication with you, please like my Facebook page! 


Adelante!
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January 20, 2016

Launching Meet the Principal!

principal1.jpgI’m excited to launch Meet the Principal, a set of videos to introduce our incredible elementary school principals to the community. Each week, I’ll be sharing a new video as a part of this series. I hope you will be inspired to support our Ward 1 elementary schools after hearing about their vision for their schools and love for their students. Please share these videos with others interested in learning more about our Ward 1 schools!

Click the video to watch!

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Stay Connected Meet The Principal video series