State Board of Education Task Force members hold a work session regarding D.C.'s graduation rates. (Courtesy of D.C. State Board of Education)
State Board of Education Task Force members hold a work session regarding D.C.'s graduation rates. (Courtesy of D.C. State Board of Education)

The State Board of Education thanked D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Superintendent Hanseul Kang and others for releasing the full report from Alvarez & Marsal, titled “D.C. Graduation Review.”

The report shows pervasive failures by leaders in the District’s education sector to keep the best interests of students in the forefront of everything they do.

For years, the District’s graduation rate has far outpaced its assessment scores and teachers and school leaders have felt the pressure to raise test scores and increase graduation rates. Now, armed with conclusive evidence of the results of that pressure, D.C. has an opportunity to address the failures and correct the systemic issues that were highlighted in the reports.

The State Board of Education will be reviewing current policies from graduation requirements to school attendance rules and, working with OSSE and the Bowser Administration, will address deficiencies identified in the report with a commitment to best practices for our students.

New Diploma Holders

More than 350 adult D.C. residents were recently recognized for earning their D.C. State School Diplomas by passing tests of the 2014-Series General Educational Development (GED) or completing the requirements of the National External Diploma Program (NEDP).

The event, themed “Together We Transform,” took place on Feb. 24 at University of the District of Columbia, University Theatre under sponsorship of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang joined other D.C. education leaders to encourage the new diploma holders to take the next step in their career pathway, by either enrolling in a two- or four-year college or university, entering an apprenticeship or industry-certification program.

Survey Results

Results from the recently-released 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education reveal several positive trends related to tobacco and alcohol use as well as the consumption of sugary drinks among D.C. youth. The survey results also highlight areas of concern related to condom use and mental health that must be addressed to ensure D.C. students are reaching their maximum academic potential and living healthy lives.

“These data are a valuable tool for helping us direct our time, funding, and efforts,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “We hope that the results are helpful to educators, schools, and health care providers as we all seek to better support the health and wellness needs of our students.”

The biennial YRBS evaluated a representative sample from 8,578 high school students at 34 D.C. public and public charter high schools and 8,799 middle school students at 57 D.C. public and public charter middle schools in spring 2017. YRBS data are compared to results from 2007, 2012 and 2015 to show trends over time.

D.C. Public Charter Schools Award Excellence

Earlier this year, six individuals — a principal, teacher, data manager, parent, student, and community member — received the D.C. Public Charter School Board’s first-ever TIERific Education Award.

The individuals who were nominated by their peers, embody excellence by deeply enriching their school communities.

The honorees:

• Teacher Excellence Award: Judy Kittleson, Briya PCS, teacher

• School Leadership Excellence Award: Principal Nazo Burgy, Center City PCS – Petworth

• Excellence in the Public Charter School Community Award: Seneca Scarboro, Alpha Leadership Project

• Student Excellence Award: Isaiah Smith, Washington Latin PCS, student

• Excellence in Data Practices Award: Dominique Coote, Capital City PCS, data manager

• Parent Leadership Excellence Award: Anise Walker, Friendship PCS – Collegiate Academy, parent

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