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D.C. EDUCATION BRIEFS: Community Service Leaders

Students at Thurgood Marshall Academy in southeast D.C. are showing the importance of giving back to the community while building character and leadership skills.

The students make their mark through community service engagement opportunities such as “Kid Power,” an after-school and summer nonprofit organization that inspires leadership through academics and civic engagement.

Every Wednesday after school, TMA students serve as mentors to students in grades 2-5, and participate in an “Academic Power Hour,” where students from Malcolm X Elementary receive homework help and one-on-one academic support.

Ombudsman Appointment

After an extensive search process, the State Board of Education (SBOE) appointed Serena Hayes as the District of Columbia Ombudsman for Public Education.

Hayes, who succeeds Joyanna Smith, is the third person ever to serve in the post originally established as a critical component of the Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007 and reestablished as part of the State Board in 2014.

The Office of the Ombudsman is an impartial, independent and neutral office that uses mediation and conflict resolution to resolve complaints and concerns for parents and families regarding public education in the District.

Principal of the Year

The SBOE recently issued a ceremonial resolution honoring DCPS 2019 Principal of the Year Maisha Riddlesprigger of Ketcham Elementary School in Ward 8.

Riddlesprigger is a 10-year DCPS veteran who started out at Davis Elementary School before assuming the helm four years ago at Ketcham.

Under her leadership, Ketcham’s enrollment has increased and the school has seen dramatic gains in student achievement on statewide exams. Ketcham was also the highest-rated DCPS elementary school in Ward 8 in 2018.

Public Testimonies

Students, parents, educators and community members are invited to provide testimony at SBOE public meetings.

Individuals and representatives of organizations who wish to comment at meetings are asked to notify board staff in advance by phone at 202-741-0888 or by email at sboe@dc.gov no later than 48 hours before the meeting.

School Calendar

Jan. 18 (all day) – Term 2 midterms/finals begin

Jan. 21 (all day) – Term 2 midterms/finals end

Jan. 25 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day (No school)

Jan. 26 (10 a.m.) – Term 3 begins

Jan. 29 (all day) – Feeder Fest at Coolidge HS

Feb. 1 (all day) – Term 2 Marks due in Aspen

Feb. 9 (10 a.m.) – My School DC application deadline for grades 9-12

Young Performers

Thanks to DCPS’ partnership with Washington Performing Arts, students are learning to play and compose music on the keyboard starting in kindergarten.

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Dorothy Rowley – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I knew I had to become a writer when at age nine I scribbled a note to my younger brother’s teacher saying I thought she was being too hard on him in class. Well, the teacher immediately contacted my mother, and with tears in her eyes, profusely apologized. Of course, my embarrassed mother dealt with me – but that didn’t stop me from pursuing my passion for words and writing. Nowadays, as a “semi-retiree,” I continue to work for the Washington Informer as a staff writer. Aside from that, I keep busy creating quirky videos for YouTube, participating in an actor’s guild and being part of my church’s praise dance team and adult choir. I’m a regular fixture at the gym, and I like to take long road trips that have included fun-filled treks to Miami, Florida and Jackson, Mississippi. I’m poised to take to the road again in early 2017, headed for New Orleans, Louisiana. This proud grandmother of two – who absolutely adores interior decorating – did her undergraduate studies at Virginia Union University and graduate work at Virginia State University.

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