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D.C. EDUCATION BRIEFS: Henderson Celebrates 5 Years at Helm

Members of the community are invited to join DCPS faculty, staff, students and parents in wishing Chancellor Kaya Henderson the best as she celebrates her fifth year as chief administrator.

Henderson continues to carry out the reforms she has ushered in since the departure of predecessor Michelle Rhee during her five-year tenure — significant in itself, as the average urban superintendent only lasts three years.

Her anniversary comes as DCPS has been distinguished as the fastest-improving school district in the nation.

DCPS On the Move

D.C.’s public schools continue to be the fastest-improving urban school district in the country, according to data released late last month from the 2015 Trial Urban District Assessment.

Students’ test scores grew by eight points in 4th-grade reading over the 2013 test, representing the biggest increase of any school district, and the largest increase in the history of the test.

While students also achieved a four-point increase in 4th-grade math scores, there was no change in 8th-grade reading scores, as well as a two-point drop in 8th-grade math scores.

“These TUDA results show that we are making the right investments in our schools and in our students,” Henderson said. “We still have work to do to ensure all of our students are performing at the highest level. But I am proud of our reading and math results, especially among our 4th-graders.”

Meanwhile, DCPS continues to improve each year on the TUDA assessment: In 2007, DCPS was last among urban school districts participating in TUDA; this year, DCPS is now ranked 10th out of 21 districts in 4th-grade reading, and 11th out of 21 districts in 4th-grade math.

“DCPS sealed its standing as the nation’s fastest-improving urban school district with these new scores,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools.

‘Love My Principal’

DCPS’s final #‎lovemyDCPSprincipal‬ shoutout goes to Cynthia Robinson-Rivers, who leads the newly-reopened Van Ness Elementary School and early childhood center in Southeast, which will add additional grade levels each year.‬

Student Achiever

Maria Carranza, a sophomore at Columbia Heights Education Campus in Northwest, always pushes herself to achieve more.

As an honor roll student, Maria also attends Dual-Enrollment courses at the University of the District of Columbia, and participates in studies through her high school’s Hospitality Career Academy. After graduation she plans to attend Georgetown University.

“I came to the United States from Colombia when I was five. My mother stopped going to school after 6th grade, and my father dropped out to work,” she said. “I want to make my parents proud by preparing myself to be somebody. I think DCPS is a place where they want you to have a future.”

Public Charter Schools ‘Report Card’ Scores

D.C. Public Charter School Board Executive Director Scott Pearson released a statement in late October regarding results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card.”

“In D.C.’s public charter schools, NAEP shows six years of steady improvement, which is good news for District students and families,” Pearson said. “We’ve cut the distance between D.C. and the rest of the nation’s performance in half since 2009. We have every expectation that trend will continue.”

The test examines a sample of students in grades 4 and 8 on reading and math every two years. Here’s a look at some of the charter schools’ results:

  • 4th-grade reading: The average scale score in public charter schools increased from 205 in 2013 to 209 in 2015. Students with disabilities, eligible for free and reduced lunch, Hispanics and African-American students scored above the district average for their subgroup.
  • 4th-grade math: Students with disabilities, eligible for free and reduced lunch, and African-American students outperformed the state average for their subgroup.
  • 8th-grade reading: Scores continue to outpace the District averages from 2013 to 2015 for all underserved subgroups with reported data. Hispanic students saw the largest gains from 2013 to 2015, increasing by 6 points.
  • 8th-grade math: Overall scores continue to exceed the District average of 263. Students eligible for free and reduced lunch, Hispanic, and African-American students and performed at or above the state average on the assessment.

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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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