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October 2011 Newsletter

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The following is a monthly e-newsletter for parents, families and advocates of DC's public school students.



DC School Reform Now at the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Summit


As new members of the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network, DC School Reform Now was fortunate to be invited to the PIE Network Summit, held from September 26th-28th in Seattle, Washington.


DC School Reform Now joined national leaders in state level education reform advocacy such as Stand for Children, 50CAN and the Education Trust, as well as many homegrown state-level organizations. Also at the Summit, were thought leaders in the education policy world such as Mike Petrelli from the Fordham Foundation, Rick Hess from the American Enterprise Institute, Richard Lee Colvin from Education Sector, Marguerite Roza from the Gates Foundation and Cynthia Brown from the Center for American Progress.


Our team had the opportunity to learn from experts in the fields of teacher quality, school accountability, state and district education budgets, media and communications, charter schools, turn-around schools, human capital development, common core standards implementation and digital learning. Best of all, DC School Reform Now was able to network with outstanding education reformers from all over the country, share best practices and discuss how best to positively impact the lives of our students.



DC School Reform Now Launches New Website


On September 15th, DC School Reform Now's newly re-vamped website went live. If you haven't already, please visit our site. As we continue to update and improve our website, we welcome your feedback as to what information or features might be helpful for you.


We hope that this site will serve as a one-stop-shop for information on public education in the District.



DCSRN in the News


In case you missed it, DC School Reform Now's Executive Director, David Pickens, was profiled in the Sunday edition of the Washington Examiner, a day ahead of Standing Ovation. Mr. Pickens was featured in a recurring column called, "My Washington," which highlights leaders in the Washington, DC community.


Read the article here.



Standing Ovation


Standing Ovation, hosted by DC Public Education Fund, is the highlight of a year-round initiative, including the Blue Ribbons for DC Teachers campaign  and Teacher Appreciation Week, to celebrate and reward DCPS' most effective educators.


On September 19th, DC community members, business leaders and civic leaders met together at the John F. Kennedy Center to applaud great DCPS teachers. The teachers honored at Standing Ovation are the teachers who received the "Highly Effective" rating on the IMPACT teacher evaluation system.


Read DCPS' press release  regarding the teachers and principals who received the Excellence in Teaching Awards, the Rubenstein Awards for Highly Effective Teaching, the Excellence in Leadership Award and the Rubenstein Awards for Highly Effective Leadership. These educators were nominated through letters of recommendation from families, current and former students, their colleagues, school leaders and community members. Excellence Award winners will receive $10,000 and Rubenstein Award winners will receive $5,000.


Principal of the Year


As the first-ever winner of the Excellence in Leadership award, Maria Tukeva, principal of Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC), was also named the District of Columbia Public Schools Principal of the Year, on September 16th. She received special recognition for this honor at Standing Ovation.


Read DCPS' press release about Ms. Tukeva.


Teacher of the Year


In addition to being honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award, Shira Fishman, a math teacher at  McKinley Technology High School, was named the District of Columbia Public Schools Teacher of the Year on September 16th. She received special recognition for this honor at Standing Ovation.


Read DCPS' press release about Ms. Fishman.



Obama Senior Adviser, Valerie Jarrett, visited Dunbar Senior High School


On September 23rd, top Obama adviser, Valerie Jarrett visited her father's alma mater, Dunbar SHS. Joined by Dr. Yvonne Seon and Antoinette "Toni" Cook-Bush, these prominent African American leaders shared their personal connections to Dunbar Senior High School and discussed their lives, legacy and ties to the Dunbar community.


The event was sponsored and organized by The History Makers, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of African-American history. Established in 1870, Dunbar SHS has a proud tradition as the first high school for black students in America and was considered the nation's best high school for African Americans during the first half of the 20th century. The event gave students an understanding of the Dunbar legacy and their potential to achieve greatness.


Read DCPS' press release on the event.



President Obama's Back to School Speech at Benjamin Banneker High School


On September 28th, President Obama gave his third annual back to school speech. This year, he gave his speech at Benjamin Banneker High School in Ward 1. President Obama was joined by Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and reminded students that they truly are America's future.


View DCPS' coverage of the event.


View the White House's coverage of the event.



Ward 5 Great Schools Initiative Meeting


On September 29th, DCPS hosted the "Building Tomorrow Together: Ward 5 Great Schools Initiative" meeting at Luke C. Moore High School. The meeting was held in response to community concern about the lack of a traditional, stand-alone middle school in Ward 5. Community members were concerned that the academic rigor, facilities, athletics and extra-curricular activities offered at Ward 5 schools were not sufficient for their middle school students.


In attendance was Ward 5 Councilmember,  Harry Thomas Jr. At this meeting DCPS representatives, representatives from the Ward 5 Education Council and concerned parents and community members discussed their options and the possible grade configurations available. DCPS will host another meeting in mid-November to discuss the proposed grade configuration. They then plan to solicit input from community members and host a third meeting in January to discuss the implementation of new options in Ward 5.


Learn more  here.



Hopes and Dreams


This summer over 8,500 people shared their ideas during DCPS' Hopes and Dreams campaign. DCPS heard from people all over the city - students, parents, community members and staff and will use their ideas to help create DCPS' strategic framework.  


The second phase of the Hopes and Dreams campaign has begun and DCPS held two community visioning meetings on October 1st and the 5th. Everyone was welcome to attend these meetings to review and discuss the findings of the Hopes and Dreams campaign and draft vision statements as a basis for DCPS' strategic planning process.  


For more information, click here.  



Upcoming Events


Parent Teacher Conference Day


Parent Teacher Conference Day will take place on Monday, October 17th. There will be no school for students that day. DCPS offers some great advice for parents on how to get most out of your parent teacher conference. Click here  to read more.


DC Public Charter School Board Meeting


DCPCSB will hold their monthly charter school board meeting on Monday, October 17th. To find out what will be on the agenda, visit their website.


DC College Fair


On Tuesday, October 18th, all middle school and high school students are invited to attend the 2011 DC College Fair at the Washington Convention Center. Over 300 colleges and universities will be represented. Parents and families are also encouraged to attend with their students.


All DCPS students will be provided with transportation to the Convention Center. Click here, for more information.


DC State Board of Education Meeting


DCSBOE will hold their monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 26th. For more information, visit their website.


End of First Term: Records Day


The end of the first term will be on Friday, October 28th. All students will be dismissed at 12:15pm.  


For more information, click here.



Coming Up...


Give to the Max Day


DC School Reform Now will join hundreds of other area non-profits in Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington, a one-day fundraising event on November 9, 2011 that will unite local Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC communities to support nonprofits serving the area.  


The goal of Give to the Max Day is to get tens of thousands of people to support their favorite nonprofit or cause, raising more than $3 million in donations and grants in just 24 hours.  


DC School Reform Now hopes to raise money to support our efforts to provide DC students and families with what they need to receive the highest quality education possible.  


Learn more here.


High Quality Schools Campaign


As we've mentioned in previous newsletters, this fall, DC School Reform Now will be launching our High Quality Schools Campaign. Our team is in the process of talking with partner schools, developing curriculum and materials and beginning outreach to community members.


Stay tuned for more about the High Quality Schools Campaign.



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The team at DC School Reform Now

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