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D.C. EDUCATION BRIEFS: Exploring ‘Steamboat Willie’

Educators at Inspired Teaching Demonstration Public Charter School provide students two opportunities a year for “Intermission,” which allows them to do a deep dive into an area of interest that falls outside of the usual curriculum.

The initiative aims to energize students about exploring a new topic that intrigues them. Students choose their course based on a set of options designated for each class.

For example, pre-kindergarten students choose from topics ranging from slimes, food science, animation, mud and more.

During the animation intersession, they studied different types of animation and watched one of the first cartoons created, “Steamboat Willie,” which helped them find inspiration to draw their own cartoons.

DCPS Budget Increase

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently launched DCPS’ “Pocket Budget Guide,” a first-of-its-kind resource for school communities to better understand the school system’s fiscal year 2021 school budget planning.

The budget will include a 4 percent increase to the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula over last fiscal year’s amount, which will result in schools receiving, on average, an 8 percent budget increase.

“Across all eight wards our goal is the same: to make sure every student and every school has the resources they need to succeed,” Bowser said.

The mayor’s budget highlights include:

• Maintaining or expanding key investments closest to students and families, and on average, DCPS schools are receiving an eight percent budget increase for fiscal 2021.
• Sustaining the Empowered Learners Initiative with a multimillion-dollar investment to close the digital divide and reach a 1:1 student-to-device technology ratio by 2022 by adding grades 4, 7, and 10 for next school year.
• Continuing to invest $2.1 million in DCPS Connected Schools that provide students and families with wraparound services, including family wellness and behavioral health supports, housing, childcare, and financial assistance referrals, as well as supports to address chronic absenteeism.
• Making a new $500,000 investment by 2022 to support early literacy intervention programs to help reach our goal of every K-2 student reading at grade level.
• Introducing new, targeted assistance funds for a subset of schools that may benefit from additional resources to support their ongoing school improvement efforts.

Charter School Arts-Based Menu

At Creative Minds International Public Charter School, lower school students learn through the International Primary Curriculum framework, which gives students the knowledge and skills required for successful participation in a global society through a project and arts-based international curriculum.

Students can celebrate their learning through culminated experiences like the “What’s on the Menu?” unit. At a recent potluck, families prepared a variety of dishes to serve and students shared their knowledge and global understanding gained throughout the unit.

Aella, a second grader, says this unit helped her “learn about other people and what they eat in their cultures.”

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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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