D.C. EDUCATION BRIEFS: School Completes First Year

Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast has completed its first year — and boasts a waiting list for the upcoming academic year.

Listing as the District’s only single-sex public high school, the building which honors the first African-American U.S. Commerce Secretary, is part of DCPS’ “Empowering Males of Color” initiative.

At the end of its first year, which was celebrated last month, about 90 percent of the school’s entering freshman class remained enrolled.

The school expects to graduate its first senior class in 2020.

Summer Calendar

The summer break begins on Friday, July 14 for DCPS’ extended year students. Summer school ends for DCPS’ traditional-year students on July 28.

Graduation Task Force

The DC State Board of Education has announced the members of its new High School Graduation Requirements Task Force. The 26-member task force, under leadership of Ward 1 representative Laura Wilson Phelan and Ward 8 representative Markus Batchelor, will review, analyze and, as necessary, make thoughtful, implementable recommendations to adjust DC’s high school graduation requirements for both DCPS and public charter school students.

“Through our open and transparent process, we received a remarkable 113 applications from parents, community leaders, and education stakeholders across the District,” said Phelan. “We are thrilled that this task force represents DC’s students, with over 50 percent of selected members residing or working in Wards 7 and 8.”

The task force members include: Celine Fejeran, Ward 5; Cara Fuller,Ward 8; Carol Randolph, Ward 4; Cathy Reilly, Ward 4; Cosby Hunt, Ward 5; David Tansey, Ward 5; Dwan Jordon, Ward 4; Jahari Shelton, Ward 7; Jimell Sanders, Ward 7; Julie Camerata, Ward 1; Karla Reid-Witt, Ward 7; Kimberly Martin,Ward 3; Larry Greenhill Sr., Ward 8; Latisha Chisholm, Ward 8; Sandra Jowers-Barber, Ward 4; Sanjay Mitchell; Ward 7; Senovia Hurtado, Ward 5; Shenita Ray, Ward 5; Tom Brown, Ward 7; Erin Bibo, DCPS; Jane Spence, DCPS; Justin Tooley, Office of the State Superintendent of Education;Naomi DeVeaux, Public Charter School Board; and a SBOE student representative, to be announced.

Charter School Honoree

Jayden Mercedes lists among students honored in a campaign by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools for sharing their stories about the importance of their public charter school education.

“Being a young, Black girl with dyslexia is no easy thing. Just writing this is difficult because some of the letters don’t appear to be what they seem. Imagine having this problem throughout your life. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with,” said Jayden. “I passed from year to year, but one year my mom kept me back anyway. At first, it felt like a curse, but then I realized it was a blessing. I had an extra year to get on grade level academically. I worked harder, smarter, and more focused than my peers. So much so, I am now ranked seventh in my entire graduating 8th grade class. … Howard University Middle School (in Northwest) has helped me a lot. … This [public] charter school really has made a difference in my life.”

Adult Education Graduate

Carlos Lorenzo, a recent graduate of Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School in Southeast, reflects on his academic experience:

“I loved everything about Academy of Hope. I felt so welcomed and encouraged since the first day I came to classes,” said Lorenzo. “The staff is amazing and the teachers are incredible. I remember when I started school, I felt like I didn’t have the platform which is English. I didn’t think it was possible to catch up, but then I said, ‘this is going to be difficult not impossible’. I used obstacles to challenge myself to get my GED, [and] all I can say [is] that it was worth it.”


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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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