James Bonnette conducts daily check-ins with scholars, encouraging them to have a good day and to be positive role models for their peers at Achievement Prep Public Charter School. (Courtesy of Achievement Prep PCS)
James Bonnette conducts daily check-ins with scholars, encouraging them to have a good day and to be positive role models for their peers at Achievement Prep Public Charter School. (Courtesy of Achievement Prep PCS)

James Bonnette, also known as Mr. B., is one of the first faces Achievement Prep Public Charter School scholars see as they enter the building each day.

Bonnette, as the elementary school culture specialist, conducts daily check-ins with scholars, encouraging them to have a good day and be positive role models for their peers.

“Coach B. is a father figure to the scholars on the basketball team, and holds the young men accountable for their grades, their behavior in school, and their skills on the court,” said Achievement Prep Principal Yolanda Barber.

Bonnette is also the middle school basketball coach and physical education aide, who takes pride in building strong relationships with scholars.

Exploring Student Homelessness

The State Board, at its March 4 meeting, continued to explore barriers faced by students and families experiencing homelessness.

Federal and city law attempts to ensure that students with insecure housing are able to continue their educations, but in practice, it can be a daily challenge to move across the city to attend school.

The board also focused on a draft resolution that includes recommendations for additional action by other agencies to better serve families.

Commencement Ceremony

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education recently recognized the accomplishments of more than 305 District residents who earned their DC State School Diplomas by passing the tests of the 2014-Series General Educational Development (GED®) or completing the requirements of the National External Diploma Program.

The commencement ceremony, held Feb. 29 at the University of the District of Columbia, was themed “Real Breakthroughs!”

As they celebrate their accomplishments, diploma recipients are taking the next step in their career pathways, by either enrolling in a two- or four-year college or university or entering an apprenticeship or industry-certification program.

Charter School Excellence

African American students make up more than 70 percent of the 43,556 students served by D.C.’s public charter schools. These students are achieving higher proficiency rates in English language arts and Math on PARCC, while more students are graduating in four years, prepared for college and the workforce.

Facts:

• In SY 2018-19, African American students graduating in four years improved by 5.5 percentage points from the prior year, exceeding the state graduation rate for this same student group by 12 percentage points.
• On the PARCC English language arts assessment, African American students — consisting of more than 75 percent of the test-takers in the sector — improved in proficiency by 2.6 percentage points from SY 2017-18 to SY 2018-19, the highest improvement of any race/ethnicity group in the sector.
• The 2017-18 Equity Report shows African American students in the charter sector have over a 90 percent in-seat attendance rate, higher than the 2017-18 in-seat attendance state average.

Lunch Book Club

Hubert Dixon, a fourth grade teacher at Sela Public Charter School, provides an opportunity for some of his students to get in some extra reading time.

When his Lunch Book Club started with two fourth grade students, word quickly spread to other fourth graders about how much fun they had reading about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The following week, all the fourth graders showed up to read with Mr. Dixon.

His book club is now helping students embrace a positive attitude toward reading.

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