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D.C. EDUCATION BRIEFS: TMA Students Outperform Peers on PARCC

Results on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers show that Thurgood Marshall Academy is the best high school east of the river, and remains one of the top-performing high schools in the District of Columbia, according to D.C. charter school officials.

show that Thurgood Marshall Academy is the best high school east of the river, and remains one of the top-performing high schools in the District of Columbia, according to D.C. charter school officials.

TMA’s 10th-graders took the PARCC exam and outperformed their peers across all subgroups; most notably, on the math portion, students had a 15 percent gain from last year.

“These results are a testament to our students’ hard work and the teachers and staff who prepared them,” said Richard Pohlman, TMA executive director. “While a great number of our students are on track to graduate college-ready, we continue to focus on ensuring that all of our students have the tools necessary to succeed in college and beyond.”

DCPS by the Numbers

46,500 – The school system’s number of enrolled students

3,500 – The number of teachers

111 – The number of the system’s schools and principals

3,500 – The number of classroom aides, social workers, counselors, custodians and other support staff

In His Words: Teacher Jon Berg’s 1st Week at Brent Elementary

“My second-graders and I had a fabulous first week of school. We learned about one another, shared our hopes and dreams and set high expectations for ourselves and our classroom community. We used the first week of school to build a strong foundation for a memorable school year. I would also like to mention how much support I have already received from the parent community here at Brent — it’s been beautiful.

“Before becoming an elementary school teacher, I was a passionate ecologist and conservationist. I earned my master’s degree in environmental education in 2008 and my Bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology in 2006 from the University of Florida. Although I had volunteered in elementary schools throughout my undergraduate program, I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed teaching until my Peace Corps service in Cape Verde, West Africa. While serving, I taught English classes at a neighborhood elementary school, in addition to leading a sea turtle conservation campaign. After completing my service, I moved to D.C. in 2012 to earn my teaching certification through the Inspired Teacher Certification Program. In 2015, I completed a Master of Arts in teaching degree from Trinity Washington University.”

Positive Role Models Keep Students on Track

Excerpted from an article by Stacia Weaver, Charter Schools development and communications manager:

After leaving a government contractor job at the Pentagon in 2015, Kevin Bruno didn’t know what was next. He just knew that the “routine position” left him feeling unfulfilled and in search for something more rewarding. During the summer of that year, Bruno applied for open substitute teacher positions at high schools in East of the River communities—neighborhoods where “students see more negativity than success.” Though Bruno had very little teaching experience, he believed that just being a school presence and a positive role model as a black man could be helpful to students from Wards 7 and 8.

“When I was in high school, there was only one black male teacher in the school,” he said.

Bruno, now a full-time TMA staff member, credits Justin Williams, special-education teacher, Sanjay Mitchell, director of college and alumni programming, and other African-American longtime faculty and staff who, he says, gives students a positive image of black men.

“For the young boys who don’t have a father figure in the home or positive male influences in their communities, they have a hard time believing that they can be different because they don’t see it,” he said.

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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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