Retention Forum 2018 (Courtesy of SBOE)

The DC State Board of Education recently partnered with EmpowerEd, a teacher advocacy organization, to host a public forum on teacher and principal retention to identify potential solutions to issues that both the traditional and public charter sectors are facing.

Thanks to more than 100 educators, policymakers, students, parents, and advocates who joined SBOE, engaging in small group discussions and considered the strategies they would prioritize to address retention, as well as changes needed to implement their proposed strategies.

D.C. has among the highest rates of teacher turnover nationally and among similar urban school districts.

Key takeaways from the retention forum included the need to understand where pressures are coming from and the effect on teachers/principals, create strategies to develop healthier work/life balance, look at extending principal contracts past one year to create consistency, and appreciate teacher value and offer opportunities for mentorship.

Report Card, Transparency Frameworks

In early December, Ward 1, SBOE President Karen Williams joined Mayor Muriel Bowser, State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang, Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn, then-D.C. Public Schools interim Chancellor Amanda Alexander, and DC Public Charter School Board Executive Director Scott Pearson for the launch of the first annual DC School Report Card and School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) Framework.

District families now have access to easy, clear, and meaningful information about schools in order to make the best decisions for their children.

The State Board of Education and its ESSA Task Force also partnered with OSSE over the past year to solicit community feedback and help build the new DC School Report Card.

The ESSA Task Force meets again on Jan. 8.

Creating Leaders

Thurgood Marshall Academy students understand the importance of giving back to the community, as it builds character and leaders.

Ms. Ames, a project associate, shares how she creates leaders through community service engagement opportunities, such as “Kid Power,” an after-school and summer nonprofit organization that inspires leadership through academics and civic engagement.

Ames built a relationship with Kid Power Communication and Development Associate to bring Kid Power to Thurgood Marshall Academy.

Every Wednesday after school, TMA students serve as mentors to students in grades 2-5 and participate in an Academic Power Hour, where students from Malcolm X Elementary receive homework help and one-on-one academic support.

Celebrating ‘Best Practices’

The achievements of 53 top-ranked, or Tier 1, public charter schools were recently highlighted at the annual “Celebrating Best Practices in Public Charter School Education” ceremony.

Eleven “Best Practice Award” winners — individuals, who are committed to and have significantly contributed to D.C.’s charter school sector — were also announced at the event.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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