Thank you, Farewell and congratulations, Emily!

This moment is bittersweet for me. This is my final newsletter as my term ends January 1, 2019. It has been a true privilege to represent the residents of Ward 1 on the State Board of Education. Thank you for your support, your questions and your commitment to DC students through these 4 years.

Through the course of my term, I have worked hard to provide more information and transparency to Ward 1 residents and have especially focused on providing more opportunities for parents and guardians to engage in their children's schools. Whether it was sharing the vision and ideas of Ward 1 elementary school principals with you through my "Meet the Principal" series or leading two city-wide task forces to ensure our graduation requirements enable all students to pursue pathways that best met their needs, I strove to elevate the voices of the families and students who are furthest from opportunity.

While I was campaigning, I shared with a group of voters an experience I had running part of a marathon. A friend of mine had asked me to join her in running it, and so I jumped in at mile 16. I am a 3-mile runner and expected to run just 3 miles. But the experience was too invigorating to stop there. Crowds lined the route and cheered us on. They gave us water. They met our basic needs and more. I ran 9 miles that day and could’ve run for much longer. I shared my vision during my campaign that we, as members of this broader DC community, need to line the streets for our students, for our own children and for others'. We need to do what those strangers did for me that day -- provide the encouragement and support to achieve more than what seems possible.

Through the course of my term, I have come to deeply believe that if we are to close opportunity gaps in our city, we must invest more in relationship-building. It is not enough to provide tools and information without human support. It is not enough to teach and not get to know the families of students. It is not enough to send a report card home without school staff and families sitting together, sharing information, and forming a plan together to support the student. The barriers faced by families who have been marginalized by our system -- whether because of poverty, legal status, skin color or other reason -- extend far beyond information and physical resources. The barriers persist in interpersonal experiences that leave some feeling unwelcome, isolated and unrecognized. We can and we must do better.

Serving on the board has given me the gift of these lessons, and should you wish to stay in touch, please do so through theEmily.Laura.jpeg nonprofit I started (www.kindredcommunities.org) that addresses the heart of the opportunity gap by building relationships between families of different backgrounds. I would welcome hearing your ideas as I continue to serve the students and families of DC through Kindred.

I want to thank Councilmember Brianne Nadeau for being such a selfless partner through these years. We are so fortunate to benefit from your service. I also want to thank Jason Andrean, Callie Kozlak and member-elect Emily Gasoi for running very competitive campaigns to fill this seat. Campaigning is tiring, thankless, unpaid work, and you have given so much of yourselves to improve the education of our students. I am delighted to pass the torch to Emily (see photo on right), an educator and fellow mother, as she takes on this role January 2, 2019. You may reach her at emily.gasoi@dc.gov then. She will be carrying on this newsletter and website. Congratulations, Emily!

Finally, I want to thank my amazing husband, Michael, for supporting me from the moment I considered running all the way through the over 150 community and board meetings over these years. His care for our children and moral support allowed me to give this job my all. And to my daughters, Grace and Lillian, who were just 4 years old when I ran, I hope that when you are old enough to understand all of this, you are proud of your mama.




Community News

Welcome, Chancellor Ferebee and Deputy Mayor Paul Kihn!

Ferebee.pngEarlier this month, Mayor Bowser announced her pick of Lewis Ferebee to be the new chancellor of DC Public Schools. Ferebee comes from Indianapolis Public Schools where he is currently superintendent. Dr. Ferebee spent time in North Carolina in various leadership roles and served as both a teacher and principal. He will start on January 31 and must be confirmed by DC Council before formerly assuming his role. See more here and here about his beliefs and background.

Paul Kihn was approved by DC Council as the new deputy mayor for education for DC on December 4, 2018. Deputy Mayor Kihn brings experience advising schools and school systems on ways to improve as a former consultant and served as deputy superintendent of Philadelphia Public Schools. As the superintendent's second-in-command there, he helped to lead the system through a significant transformation, including improvements in teacher and principal hiring and development, a transition to common core standards, the promotion of evidence-based innovations in schools and classrooms, a wholesale revision of charter authorizing policies and procedures, and strategic allocation of diminishing resources.

My School DC Common Lottery

Apply_MySchoolDC.jpgThe My School DC common lottery is a single, random lottery that determines placement for students at all participating schools. Student-school matches are based on the number of available spaces at each school; sibling, proximity, and other lottery preferences; how each student ranked his or her school choices; and each student's random lottery number. The deadlines for this year's lotteries are Feb. 1 for grades 9-12 and Mar. 1 for PK3-grade 8. See MyschoolDC.org for more information.


State Board News

DC School Report Card & ESSA Task Force

The biggest news at the state level is the release of the DC School Report Card, which represents the first time the public can see DC_School_Report_Card.pnginformation about all of our schools – traditional and charter – in the same presentation format. See this website - https://dcschoolreportcard.org/ to learn more, and see below for analysis and info about Ward 1 schools. The State Board of Education and its ESSA Task Force partnered with OSSE over the last year to solicit community feedback and help build the new DC School Report Card. As you are reviewing the ratings, keep in mind that there is room for improvement, and they will continue to evolve. For example, high school scores do not include any credit for student academic growth yet because we lack consistent ways to measure this year-to-year across all schools. Likewise, none of the ratings reflect any input from families or teachers about their school, such as whether the climate is welcoming and supportive, because we lack these measures, too. OSSE has committed to continue to refine the report card to include such measures.

This said, the report cards are a tremendous asset as they provide information we haven't had access to in one place. For example, through this site we can see that in Ward 1 we have several schools that are defying citywide trends related to serving at-risk students. These schools have found ways to allocate resources, train and support teachers and work with families to ensure that children furthest from opportunity are achieving at high-levels, and these schools are some of the best in the city. These are schools with 4 and 5 star ratings. I encourage you to dive into the data.


- OSSE Resource Page for Parents


- DC School Report Card Overview (English) (Spanish)

- DC School Report Card Detailed Walk Through

- STAR Framework Overview (Spanish)  (English)

Sample information about Ward 1 schools from the new report card

Bancroft ES

  • Bancroft’s growth-to-proficiency and median growth percentile metrics exceed District averages in English language arts and math by more than ten points each
  • Offers dual-language English-Spanish instruction
  • School has extensive external partnerships: DC United, Girls on the Run, Latin American Youth Center, Asian American Lead, and the Young Playwrights’ Theater, a local arts nonprofit (for 4th graders)
  • English Language Learners are 56 percent of the student body

Benjamin Banneker HS

  • Application school
  • One of the few 5-star schools in the city
  • 100% 4-year graduation rate and 100% of students take AP/IB classes
  • 74% African American; 20% Latinx student enrollment
  • 83% of the teaching staff as 6 or more years of experience, far exceeding the District average

Bruce-Monroe ES

  • 93% of teachers have two or more years of experience
  • Partnerships with Girls on the Run, DC Scores, Teatro de la Luna, and the Washington Ballet
  • Offers dual-language English-Spanish instruction
  • English Language Learners are 59% of the student body
  • Student re-enrollment is high (88%, within a point of the District target)
  • In-seat attendance is high (95.5%, within half a point of the District target)

Cardozo EC

  • 64% of teachers have more than six years’ experience, above the District average
  • Cardozo partners with City Year to provide additional tutoring and mentoring support
  • The only Ward 1 high school to offer JROTC

Columbia Heights EC

  • The only Ward 1 high school to offer dual-language English-Spanish instruction
  • Participates in the Early College Program and National Honor Society
  • Over 98% of CHEC high school students participate in Advanced Placement coursework, well above the District average

Cleveland ES

  • Offers both dual-language immersion and traditional programs; out-of-boundary students can apply to either
  • 92% of teachers have two or more years of experience
  • Cleveland’s in-seat attendance is high (95.6%, less than a point from the District’s target)
  • Cleveland also scores high on the “emotional support” STAR framework score

HD Cooke ES

  • HD Cooke’s growth-to-proficiency scores exceed the District averages by more than 15 points in English language arts and more than ten points in math
  • Runs on an extended year schedule, the only Ward 1 elementary school to do so
  • Offers International Baccalaureate Primary Years curriculum
  • Diverse: no racial/ethnic group comprises more than 60 percent of the student body
  • HD Cooke scores high on the “emotional support” and “classroom organization” STAR framework scores

Marie Reed ES

  • In the top 8% of all District schools; the only Title 1 elementary school to receive 5 stars
  • 98% of teachers have two or more years of experience
  • Diverse: no racial/ethnic group comprises more than 60 percent of the student body
  • Offers dual-language curriculum
  • At-risk students at Marie Reed outperform District targets on the STAR framework in English
  • Exceeds District averages in growth-to-proficiency and median growth percentile measures in both English language arts and math

Tubman ES

  • Tubman’s median growth percentile and growth-to-proficiency metrics in Math exceed the District’s targets
  • Student re-enrollment is above average
  • Diverse: no racial/ethnic group comprises more than 60 percent of the student body
  • English Language Learners are 51 percent of the student body
  • Students receive 300 minutes of physical activity time per week, or one hour/day—the most of any Ward 1 elementary school

Teacher & Principal Retention Forum

On November 28, the SBOE partnered with EmpowerEd, a teacher advocacy organization, to host a public forum on teacher and principal retention with over 100 educators, policymakers, students, parents, and advocates to identify potential solutions to issues that both the traditional and public charter sectors are facing. Our October report provided us with data, but developing solutions requires that educators, parents, school leadership, and policymakers work together.

Key Takeaways

  • Need to understand where pressures are coming from and the effect on teachers/principals
  • Create strategies to develop healthier work/life balance
  • Look at extending principal contracts past one year to create consistency
  • Appreciate teacher value and offer opportunities for mentorship
  • Offer more flexible staffing to enable teachers to step into more leadership roles

Office of the Ombudsman and Student Advocate Annual Reports

The Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education presented its Annual Report for School Year 2017–18 at the November SBOE public meeting, as did the Office of the Student Advocate Annual Report for School Year 2017-18. In this report, the office highlighted the offices' impact over the last year and offers an analysis of the data collected over the last year.


News from your Schools*

BMPV_12.18.pngBruce-Monroe at Park View

The Bruce-Monroe community is thriving in our newly renovated cafeteria, kitchen, gymnasium and parent center!  Our 101-year-old building is grateful for the interior and exterior facelift!  We are looking forward to welcoming future Bruce-Monroe Chargers during this year’s open houses (1/17, 1/31, 2/14, 2/28 at 8:15am). 

Columbia Heights Education Campus

During the week of December 10th, the entire CHEC community will be engaged in International Week, an informative celebrationCHEC_Singer_12.18.png of multiculturalism at the campus and in DC.  Activities throughout the week include a competition between Smaller Learning Communities to decorate hallways and doors to celebrate the holiday season from an international perspective and the culmination event – the International Dinner on December 13th with a full auditorium program for an audience of 600 CHEC community guests.

Photo: CHEC Celebrates Multiculturalism with Japanese singer Kana Uemura

Marie Reed

MR_12.18.pngMarie Reed is proud to have earned the highest rating from OSSE – 5 stars – under the new STAR framework!  This is validation of the tremendous work our teachers and families do to ensure students come to school every day ready to learn, achieve at the highest levels, and contribute to a loving, supportive learning environment.  We are also pleased to have been named as one of three finalists for the 2018 Equity Award.  DCPS will announce this year’s winner at the Standing Ovation ceremony in February.  Marie Reed staff and families work daily to overcome systemic inequities and ensure the most resources are available to those who need them the most. 

Photo: Math coach Libby Sanchez works with 3rd grader Elena to test her math fact fluency skills during lunch.  This is part of our school-wide math fact fluency goal. 

Cardozo Education Campus 

This semester has been one of celebration at Cardozo. Our students and staff have had successes both in terms of academics and extra-curricular activities. Some of our highlights include:

- Close to 100 students on semester 1 honor roll

- Hispanic Heritage Night Celebration with over 150 participants

- Week-long Homecoming activities

- Middle School Soccer Team championship victory

- 95% SAT and PSAT participation rate

If you'd like to know more about what the students and staff of Cardozo EC are up to, follow us: 

Instagram: @cardozo_ec Twitter: @CardozoEC

Photo: 1- Students at the honor roll celebration breakfast.

HDCooke_12.18.jpgHD Cooke

HD Cooke was proud to attend EdFEST 2018! We are ready to help families apply for the lottery for the 2019-2020 school year! If you need assistance completing the application, please stop by our main office and we are happy to help! We will also be hosting several open houses to give families a chance to visit our fabulous school! For more information on dates, please visit the DCPS open house website: https://dcps.dc.gov/openhouse​.


Tubman is excited to have earned 4 stars on the OSSE STAR Rating system. We are proud of our students, teachers and families and are eager to continue working together to grow all of our learners. Tubman is excited to kick off open house season. Tubman Open House dates: Tuesday January 8, 2019  9:00 am, Saturday February 2, 2019 10:00 am, Tuesday February 12, 2019 5:00 pm, Tuesday March 12, 2019 9:00 am. If none of these dates/times work, please reach out to amanda.delabar@dc.gov. Tubman is also pleased to announce we have been selected as a Community School in partnership with Mary’s Center. This will allow Tubman to increase our after school offerings and offer further services to support our students and families.


Bancroft is proud to be one of the four schools in Ward 1 to receive a 4-star rating. Contributing to this rating was the amazing work that the staff did to make sure its English Language Learners received whatever support necessary to close the achievement and equity gap. That is why Bancroft received nearly all of the possible points a school could earn under the PARCC growth metrics in Reading and Math. Helping to make that growth possible was the amazingly successful Saturday Academy program, in which parents and their children attend once per month to receive support with reading and learning at every level. Now that we are well into the 2018-2019 school year, the work continues, and we are pleased to announce that on November 17th we set a new record for Saturday Academy with 85 students and 70 parents in attendance! This is one large way that Bancroft is leveling the playing field and closing the achievement gap for its English Language Learners and Latino students, and how that work was reflected in this year's STAR rating system. As in the words of the children's book author Sharon Creech, Bancroft is "A Fine, Fine School!"


On December 6, Oyster-Adams 8th grade students, along with students from three other DCPS schools, were invited to listen to a panel discussion of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS), who experienced the tragedy of a school shooting on February 14, 2018.  In response to this tragic event, several MSDHS students launched the March for our Lives movement, which is committed to ending gun violence.  Through the panel discussion, Oyster-Adams students were able to hear how this event affected the students, understand more about the March for our Lives movement, and learn how they can take action to help end gun violence in America.


It’s been a busy fall at Garrison, highlighted by the launch of Writer’s Workshop (including monthly publishing parties!), the first steps of our journey towards Conscious Discipline, and the formation of our first parent dialogue group as Kindred’s newest partner school.  We even had a December visit from Mayor Bowser to celebrate the opening of our new playground.  Come join us for an open house at 9am on Jan 8, Feb 5, or March 5 to find out why Garrison is among DCPS’ fastest-growing schools!



*I have included news from schools who submitted information to me. All Ward 1 DCPS schools are invited to submit information.

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  • Emily Gasoi
    published this page 2019-04-12 21:47:50 -0400
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