D.C. EDUCATION BRIEFS: Parental Engagement

Le’Zarria Escobar, a seventh grader at BASIS DC Public Charter School on Northwest, shares how her mother engages with Le’Zarria’s teachers to help her be a better student:

“My mom and I are really close with my teachers at BASIS DC PCS. When my mom and school work together, my teachers see me in a different way, which helps me see myself differently, too. It’s nice that my mom and I feel like we can be open and honest with my teachers and principal; we celebrate together and support each other when things get challenging. Just like my teachers help me to be a better student, my mom feels like she can share ideas with the school to make the way that I learn better, too.”

Student Homelessness

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education has awarded $69,800 in McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grant funds to Friendship Public Charter School to serve nearly 400 homeless students.

Children and youth experiencing homelessness are defined as school-aged individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. Specifically, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance funds are used to remove barriers to the identification, enrollment and retention of children and youth experiencing homelessness.

“At OSSE, we know that each child is capable of learning at high levels, but that sometimes these vulnerable students need additional support to access those opportunities,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “This grant will provide much needed assistance that will help eliminate barriers that hinder learning and academic success for students experiencing homelessness.”

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance program, funded through the US Department of Education, provides local education agencies with support for programs and services that help remove barriers for children and youth experiencing homelessness while addressing the challenges that this population faces in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school.

Family Ties

Students, teachers and parents at Perry Street Preparatory Public Charter School in Northeast all attempt to create a familial atmosphere. For example, Felicia Cave not only teaches seventh- and eighth-grade math, she helps her students with the challenges they have at school and home.

Last year, one of her students was misbehaving and falling asleep in class. Cave found out the student was struggling because her family did not have stable housing.

She opened her home to them until they found permanent housing. Now, thanks to Felicia’s help, the student’s grades and behavior have improved.

Vital Connections

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announced the Safer Stronger DC Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement’s Leadership Academy — a school-based initiative aimed at promoting school and community safety by providing wraparound services and mentorship through direct engagement with students and their families at Anacostia High School.

Bowser, schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee and ONSE Director Delbert McFadden also participated in a community building restorative circle with Anacostia students focused on what students need to make each day count.

This school year, Anacostia became one of 10 DCPS Connected Schools, a new $1.6 million investment by Bowser to take the community schools model to the next level. Connected Schools take a whole child, whole school, whole community approach by transforming schools into spaces that support not only a student’s academic development, but a family’s overall wellbeing through access to resources related to health, employment, housing and more.

“We know that when we are out in the community offering support and breaking down barriers to opportunity, we can help reduce violence and put more residents on a pathway to prosperity,” Bowser said. “Through the ONSE Leadership Academy, we will be able to help these students achieve success by connecting them with the resources they need to transition into adulthood and lead safe and happy lives.”

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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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