Erica Jones, a senior and volleyball standout at D.C.'s McKinley Technology High School, plans to attend Ohio State University. (Courtesy of DCPS)
Erica Jones, a senior and volleyball standout at D.C.'s McKinley Technology High School, plans to attend Ohio State University. (Courtesy of DCPS)

Erica Jones, a senior at McKinley Technology High School in Northeast, has been on the varsity volleyball team all four years of high school, an accomplishment she attributes to the “very rare” overhead serve she displayed in middle school.

Erica, who also plays basketball, hopes to continue playing sports in college, but only if it “doesn’t get in the way of academics.”

She wants to attend Ohio State University to major in psychology and minor in physical therapy, and when asked what sets her apart, Jones responded: “people don’t think that I’m tenacious. I’m very tenacious. I like to stand out, and I’m very competitive. I don’t like to lose.”

Education Fest

My School DC is sponsoring “EdFEST 2015,” the District’s only citywide public school fair, on Dec. 12 at the D.C. Armory in Southeast.

Parents and guardians are invited to come out and explore D.C.’s many public school options (PK3-12) for their children.

Representatives from more than 180 DC public and DC public charter schools will showcase their programs. In addition, with the launch of the My School DC common lottery application on Dec. 14 for the 2016-17 school year, EdFEST serves as the perfect opportunity to ask questions about schools and their related services and programs from those who know first-hand.

EdFEST will also showcase many free services and recreational activities for everyone in attendance. Interpretation in sign language, Spanish, Amharic, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and French available throughout the day. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit

DCPS Athletics On the Upswing

DCPS is on the rise with more than 3,300 of its high school students having participated last year in athletics, up more than 9 percent from the previous year.

This year, 14 high schools welcomed a new athletic coordinator, responsible for organizing teams, events and recruiting students.

An investment of more than $750,000 in new equipment will be shared across high schools, including helmets, scoreboards, hurdles and balls.

Educators at Public Charter Schools Honored

Jessica Cunningham, a principal at KIPP College Preparatory Public Charter School, and Joscelyn Reed, a teacher at Friendship Public Charter School Chamberlain Campus, have been honored with awards for their excellence in education.

Cunningham got the surprise of a lifetime when she received the prestigious Milken Educator Award, while Reed was named Friendship’s Teacher of the Year.

Local Schools Team Up to ‘Man the Block’

Richard Wright Public Charter School, along with Paul, Cesar Chavez, Washington Math Science Technology, and IDEA public charter schools, participated in the recent “Man the Block” event — a call to action that works to minimize challenges students face from threats of harassment crime, and violence as they travel home from school.

Additionally, the “Man the Block” program which provides escorts for students from classes to Metro stations, promotes opportunities to increase mentorships while building relationships and increasing awareness for more bikes and bike lanes for school safety patrols, improved sidewalk conditions and community advocacy.

Dual Generation Program

Staff at Briya Public Charter School in Northwest, are now offering parents the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, learn English as well as computer and parenting skills, and civics instruction while preparing their young children for school.

The education model, known as “Dual Generation,” serves children up to age 5 and their parents.

“It’s really this partnership, this high level of family engagement that we believe is our recipe for success,” said Lisa Luceno, director of Early Childhood Education at Briya.

New Programs and Ribbon Cuttings

Three public charter schools recently celebrated the opening of their newly-renovated schools, while another school celebrated the launch of a new program.

Among them:

  • IDEA Public Charter School and DC Students Construction Trades Foundation opened a new career and technical education training facility for high schoolers;
  • DC Scholars Public Charter School opened its newly-renovated 72,100 square foot facility at the Northeast campus;
  • Creative Minds Public Charter School opened a new campus at the 68,000 sq. ft. Sherman Building in Ward 5; and
  • Paul Public Charter School features a state-of-the-art gymnasium, walking track, dance and art studio and library/media center.

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