D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Credit: Courtesy photo

“Over the past two years, my administration has worked to expand learning opportunities for students throughout Washington, D.C. Since coming into office, we launched an extended school year at 11 public schools, opened DC’s only all-boys public high school, Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, fully funded a travel abroad program for DCPS students, increased access to libraries and books and, through internship programs, expanded access to hands-on learning opportunities.

“This year, we made historic investments in education, investing an additional $220 million in the modernization of schools and increasing the level of funding schools receive per student. With increased enrollment and graduation rates and increased academic achievement, DCPS continues to be the fastest improving urban school district.” — Mayor Muriel Bowser, Dec. 8, 2016

2016 School Equity Reports

The District recently released its School Equity Reports for the 2015-16 school year, which focus on measures that include, but are not limited to, enrollment, discipline and student achievement.

The reports, which were released on Dec. 9, also provide schools, families and communities transparent and comparable information for public schools across the city.

“Equity Reports are a prime example of how the District continues to prioritize collaboration between our education agencies to meet the needs of families,” said Deputy Mayor for Education Jennie Niles. “I am proud of the strides we are making toward providing transparent resources that support our efforts to deliver high-quality education to all of our students.”

In addition to individual reports for DCPS and the D.C. public charter schools system, there are aggregate reports citywide, for PK3-12, and for adult/alternative schools. Combined, the reports provide an important macro-level view of education in D.C.

“These reports continue to be an important resource for our community as families navigate the education choices that are best for them and their children,” said State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang. “Because of the broad range of information contained within the reports, and the fact that we have now been producing these reports for four years, families are able to compare year over year trends on much of the data. This is vitally important as we look at where our schools are doing well and where we need much more support to ensure that all our students have access to a high-quality and equitable education.”

Winter Break

Dec. 22 – Jan. 2: No school for students and teachers

School Lottery

The “My School DC” lottery is now open for the 2017-18 school year, and students and their parents are encouraged to not miss out on a spot at one of the city’s 115 schools.

For more information, go to www.myschooldc.org. To locate an in-boundary school, go to dcatlas.dcgis.dc.gov/schools.

‘Girl Talk’

Cherisse Hayes, a senior at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in northwest, gets visibly excited when talking about the Girl Talk Club.

Female students from Georgetown University visit the girls every Friday at lunch for an hour, just talk about topics such as school and life.

“We talk about how we want to manage ourselves better. … We feel safe to talk about whatever. We go through a lot of self-reflection that helps us be better,” said Cherisse. “It’s like a big sister thing. We see what we could be, and they learn stuff from us too.

‘Really Dramatic!’

Theodore Roosevelt High School freshman Tariha loves being part of the Theatre Club because it’s like “her little family.”

In addition to adjusting to life in high school, she’s working on her monologues and perfecting her voice. When asked why she joined the Theatre Club, Tariha laughs and says, “I’m really dramatic.”

Charter Exams, Graduation Rates on Rise

While the on-time high school graduation rates in D.C. have improved over last year — 69 percent for D.C. Public Schools and 72 percent for D.C.’s public charter schools — there’s been a similar trend of continued improvement by students taking the city’s new standardized tests.

Now in their second year, the new tests which are academically more rigorous than the old D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System, must be taken each year by students enrolled in both DCPS and the District’s public charter schools.

“D.C. public charter schools have led the way in fostering innovation, strong academics, and caring and safe learning environments,” said Dr. Ramona Edelin, executive director of the D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools. “They have much to share that could further improve student performance, making a quality college education and rewarding careers accessible to more of the District’s public school students.”

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