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DC School Reform Now is educating, organizing and advocating to build support for public education strategies that prepare kids to become college and career ready.

March 2012 Newsletter

March 2012 Newsletter

District and Charter News

Results from the Out-of-Boundary Lottery Released
The DCPS Out-of-Boundary Lottery for the 2012-2013 school year has been released. The lottery system allows parents the opportunity to apply for seats outside of their assigned school. Results were mailed to the address listed on the application and can also be found online.

Signed Letters of Intent are due by April 2 and completed enrollment packets are due by May 2. Waitlisted students may move up on the list throughout the spring and summer. To monitor your status on the waitlist, please contact the schools directly. For more information, email, or visit

DC Public Education Finance Reform Commission (PEFRC) Releases Equity & Recommendations Report
On July 10th, 2010 the DC City Council authorized the creation of the PEFRC to produce and deliver to the Mayor and the City Council an “Equity & Recommendations Report” for improvement and reform to the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF). The report was released on February 17th, 2012 and can be viewed here

DCPS has released their initial Fiscal Year 2013 Budget
The school-based budget allocations for 2012-2013 were released at the beginning of March. The budget can be reviewed, here. To comply with DC Official Code, DCPS officials presented the budget to the city council during annual budget hearings—the presentation can be reviewed, here.  DCPS has also presented the budget to Local School Advisory Team (LSATs) and that presentation can be reviewed, here.

Annual Enrollment Audit Shows Public Charter School Enrollment Continues to Increase
The DC Public Charter School Board announced that the enrollment for the 2011-2012 school year increased by 8 percent from the following year. For the past three years, enrollment at public charter schools has been steadily increasing, as more and more parents are choosing to send their children to charter schools. Enrollment in traditional public schools, however, declined by 1% from last year’s audit report.

Much of the growth has been in younger grades in both public and charter schools. Mayor Gray emphasizes the need for DC early-childhood education to coincide with universal Pre-Kindergarten offerings. Read more here

DCPS Unveils New Middle Grade Opportunities for Ward 5
DCPS is working with community members from Ward 5 to create new middle grade programs at three schools. The plans include a stand-alone Arts Integration and World Language middle school at Brookland, an International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Browne Education Campus, and a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) integration program at McKinley Middle School.

The results of a Fall 2011 survey showed that Ward 5 parents wanted a more rigorous academic curriculum for their children, as well as several middle grade options. Community committees are working with DCPS officials to have the programs opened for the 2013-2014 school year. Read more here.

OSSE Submits NCLB Waiver
OSSE submitted DC’s application for an NCLB waiver on February 28th, 2012. OSSE held over 50 meetings to discuss with different stakeholders what was most important to them. Superintendent Mahaley says, “This application is not a retreat from accountability, but instead a commitment to be smarter and more focused in how we evaluate students, set higher standards and expectations for teaching and learning and place schools in the best possible position to succeed.” Read about it here

High Quality Schools Campaign Partner School Spotlight

Meet Coreil Dickinson

Why did you want to partner with DC School Reform Now for the High Quality Schools Campaign?
DC School Reform Now is doing the important work of ensuring that Stanton Elementary students receive a high-quality middle school education when they graduate from fifth grade. They are educating families about what high-quality middle schools look like, taking families on middle school visits to see this in action, and guiding families through the out-of-boundary application process.  DC School Reform Now is expanding the educational opportunities for our students and ensuring that they will continue to receive an excellent education!

Read the rest of the interview here.

High Quality Schools Campaign Parent Spotlight

Meet Eunice Baker

Why did you want to participate in the High Quality Schools Campaign?
I wanted to participate in the High Quality Schools Campaign because I know my granddaughter faces a big challenge ahead of her, and without education, she won’t make it.  I have been to schools where the kids were unruly, running in the hallways and the administration was yelling at the kids. The schools I saw with the High Quality Schools Campaign were like night and day. The kids were disciplined, paying attention; I didn’t even see kids in the hallway unless they were going to the bathroom or to lunch. I could tell these schools were all about learning.

Read the rest of the interview here.

What is New with DC School Reform Now?

As school choice season winds downs, DC School Reform Now has been hard at work wrapping up our High Quality Schools Campaign for the school year. We have been able to meet so many new parents and families many of whom have participated in workshops, bus tours and school fairs with us. We’re proud to report that we have helped parents to submit over 300 applications to high quality traditional and charter schools across the district and that number is still growing.

This month, we will be hosting two events for college students interested in learning about what is happening in education reform in DC. We will be hosting a group of students visiting DC on alternative spring break from the University of Oregon and also a group of young college leaders from across the country through the Teach for America Rising Leaders Fellowship.

We’re also happy to be participating in ongoing talks with partner organizations across the city—such as Flamboyan Foundation, City Bridge Foundation, FOCUS and Great Schools about how to best serve parents and families.

In Case You Missed It: Must Reads

DC Council Chairman calls on Mayor Gray to maintain charter school funding. Read about it here.

Controversy continues over potentially falsified test scores on the DC-CAS in 2008 and 2009, here and here. Chancellor Henderson denies claims of cheating here and here.

Report from the Education Trust says parents are not getting the necessary information from their students’ schools, here.

A new study reveals that principal turnover leads to poorer test results for schools, here.

Kenyan McDuffie talks about his plans for education in Ward 5 if he is elected to the DC Council, here.

DCPS will begin gifted education programs in some of its schools starting next academic year. Read about it here.

Congress passed two GOP bills that will reduce the federal government’s involvement in education, here.

Bill Turque and Lisa Gartner discuss whether or not DCPS should have chartering authority here, here, and here.

Jay Mathews writes about the pitfalls of DC’s Common Core standards here.

Many discuss DCPS’s decision to start testing kindergarten students, here and here.

A new report argues that charter schools are more racially segregated than traditional public schools. Read about it here.

Deborah Simmons discusses the state of public schools in DC here.

Chairman Brown’s College Preparatory bill did not receive positive feedback from DCPS officials, here, here, and here but is making its way through the DC Council, here and here.

DC charter schools show surprising suspension and expulsion rates, here.

Projections show that DCPS routinely receives more money than it should, while public charter schools’ receive less than they should based on the timing of student enrollment counts. Read about it here.

OSSE has hired American Institutes of Research to begin looking into the quality of special education programs in DC, here. Will special education budgets be cut? Read more here.

Enrollment is down in traditional public schools, but up in public charter schools. Read more here, here, and here (Our Executive Director quoted).

New IRS regulations could affect retirement plans for charter school teachers, here.

DC launches campaign to target students repeatedly skipping classes, here.

PCSB votes not to close IDEA public charter school, here, but will close Community Academy’s Rand Campus, here.

Clark Ray is named the first district-wide athletic director to unite DCPS and charter schools, here. 

Many are upset over the proposed school-based budget allocations for the 2012-2013 school year. Read about it here.

DCPS has plans in Ward 5 to open new programs that will diversify its middle grades options for students, here and here.

OSSE hires firm to investigate the validity of 2011 District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS) results. Read about it here.

Reactions to the Equity & Recommendations Report produced by the DC Public Education Finance Reform Commission can be read here.

Bill Turque’s interview with Chancellor Henderson can be read here.

All of these news articles and more can be found in the Latest News section at DC School Reform Now’s website. 

Get Involved

Murch Elementary School is hosting a tour on Thursday, March 15 from 9:30- 11:00 AM at 4810 36th St NW.

Hyde-Addison Elementary School is hosting an Open House on Friday, March 16 from 9:30-10:30 AM at 3219 O St NW.

A school fair will be held at the Community Academy Public Charter School’s Rand Campus for the students and families of this school as it will be closing at the end of the school year. The fair is to be held Friday, March 16th, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at 33 Riggs Road NE.

The City Year Leadership Fair is Friday, March 16 from 2:00-5:00 PM at 1875 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1130.

Ward 6 residents and Tommy Wells are holding a community meeting regarding Ward 6 Middle Schools on March 19th, 6:00pm at Maury Elementary, 1250 Constitution Avenue, NE.

The DC Public Charter School Board Meeting is Monday, March 19 from 7:30-9:30 PM at 1436 U St NW, Suite 401.

The State Board of Education Meeting is Wednesday, March 21 at 5:30-7:30 PM at 441 4th St NW.

The DC Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Fair 2012, will be held on March 24th at Wilson High School. For more information email or

The Flamboyan Foundation is pleased to invite middle and high school teachers in Washington, D.C. public and public charter schools to apply for Family Engagement Middle and High School Teacher Fellowships ($2,000). The Fellowship is designed to recognize middle and high school teachers in DCPS or Washington, D.C. public charter schools who do a good job engaging families in ways that accelerate student learning and are interested in growing the knowledge base of what works in family engagement at the secondary school level. Up to ten teachers will be chosen for this thirteen-month opportunity to strengthen their own practice and adapt tools, templates, and programs for family engagement to better fit the middle and high school context. The Family Engagement Middle and High School Teacher Fellowship application process is not time-consuming, and we urge you to consider applying and/or to share this information with other teachers who might be interested in this opportunity. Applications are due to Lela Spielberg at at 9 a.m. on April 12th.

All of these opportunities and more can be found on the Events page of DC School Reform Now’s website. 

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