D.C. EDUCATION BRIEFS: Teachers Give Board an Earful

The DC State Board of Education heard directly from teachers in both DCPS and public charter schools on the effects felt by students when teachers leave their school.

Public witnesses also shared thoughts and comments as well as some reasons they believe teachers tend to leave District schools.

They suggested:

• Hiring more qualified, experienced teachers could lead to less frequent meetings and professional development.
• Leaders should aim to look at achievement holistically versus just test scores, which would take pressure off administrators and teachers.
• Employing supportive superintendents who know the schools, teachers, and students will help teacher development and retention.
• Many teachers may have content knowledge, but need to develop more experience working in diverse communities.
• Pressure of IMPACT system: Some teachers are fearful and with the frequency of standardized exams, there is not enough time to evaluate data.

Making Their Voices Heard

More than 30 Friendship Public Charter School students from Tech Prep High in Ward 8, and Collegiate Academy in Ward 7, recently attended the D.C. Council’s Charter School Day.

Friendship students greeted council members with confidence, listened and learned from other students, and raised spoke on issues that affect their school communities. They also asked council members how to secure funding for more college visits and study abroad programs, advocated for yoga and meditation resources that support students’ mental health, and called on council members to support construction of a Friendship football field.

Enrollment Increase, Tier Jump

The number of students attending top-ranked public charter schools increased for the fourth year, according to the DC Public Charter School Board’s recently released School Quality Report.

This year, 48 percent of public charter school students — or 20,985 — are attending high-performing, Tier 1 schools, up from 45 percent — or 19,498 — in the 2017-18 school year.

Ten schools made the jump from Tier 2 to Tier 1 this year, with Shining Stars Montessori Academy PCS improving by 31 points. In addition, nearly nine out of the 10 public charter high schools either earned Tier 1 ranking or improved overall from the previous year.

“This is a comprehensive look at schools and public charter education in the District,” said Rick Cruz, board chair. “Our ratings look beyond test scores and include academic growth, graduation rates, family satisfaction, and much more. For families attending or considering a public charter school, this is a valuable and easy-to-use tool.”

Flag Football Season

An exciting flag football season at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Southeast recently ended with the team finishing as runners-up in the PCSAA Championships against Maya Angelou on Oct. 10.

TMA senior CeJun Peaks reflected on his time as team captain, their PCSAA championship and what’s next: “The team will continue to build and grow. I will be moving on to play basketball and run track but will always be available to support them.”

Volunteer Spotlight

Ky’Eisha Penn volunteers at Thurgood Marshall Academy as part of the school’s Mentor Program and Howard Law Academy program.

Currently a third-year law student at Howard University, Penn attended Florida State University for her undergraduate studies and Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University for graduate school.

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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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