June 2017 DC Public Charter School News

Congratulations Graduates!
We are so proud of all of the students who are graduating this year, and we look forward to their continued success. In the 2016-17 school year, DC's public charter schools graduated more than 1,000 high school seniors. Additionally, several public charter elementary, middle schools and adult education schools held ceremonies for students completing Pre-Kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade, or finishing their adult education program, respectively. 

Photo Credit: Howard University Middle School
As a way to honor the graduates, The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools held a campaign to share stories from graduating students across the country about the importance of their public charter school education. Here is an excerpt from Jayden Mercedes, a graduating 8th grader at Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science: 
Being a young, Black girl with dyslexia is no easy thing. Just writing this is difficult because some of the letters don’t appear to be what they seem. Imagine having this problem throughout your life. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I passed from year to year, but one year my mom kept me back anyway. At first, it felt like a curse, but then I realized it was a blessing. I had an extra year to get on grade level academically. I worked harder, smarter, and more focused than my peers. So much so, I am now ranked seventh in my entire graduating 8th grade class...Howard University Middle School has helped me a lot...This [public] charter school really has made a difference in my life! Read more of Jayden's story here and other stories like Jayden's here.
Students of Public Charter Schools
Why Adult Education Matters

Photo Credit: Academy of Hope PCS

I loved everything about Academy of Hope. I felt so welcomed and encouraged since the first day I came to classes. The staff is amazing and the teachers are incredible! I remember when I started school, I felt like I didn't have the platform which is English. I didn't think it was possible to catch up, but then I said 'this is going to be difficult not impossible'. I used obstacles to challenge myself to get my GED, [and] all I can say [is] that it was worth it. - Carlos Lorenzo, a recent graduate of Academy of Hope PCS

Cedar Tree Academy PCS Students Grow Gardens

Photo Credit: Cedar Tree Academy PCS

Each May, teachers and students at Cedar Tree Academy PCS prepare soil and plant seeds in their gardens. The gardens help students learn counting and measuring, while also teaching them lessons about science, nutrition, and wellness. Students get to water, harvest, and take the fruits of their labor home. This year, the students are harvesting cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, and pumpkins, which are used at the school's annual Harvest Festival in October. Cedar Tree Academy participates in OSSE’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), which provides a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as a healthy snack option to all elementary students in participating schools. Cedar Tree Academy encourages nutrition education and community partnership, with the goal of instilling life-long healthy eating habits at an early age. 

Capital City PCS Student Introduces Former First Lady Michelle Obama 

Photo Credit: Capital City PCS

Capital City PCS student, Bruktawit Tesfaye, introduced former First Lady Michelle Obama at the Partnership for a Healthier America 2017 Summit. Capital City is a Let’s Move Active School and Department of Education Green Ribbon School, two initiatives started during the First Lady's service in the White House. In 2015, a handful of their students, including Bruktawit, were invited to the White House Kitchen Garden to harvest vegetables and cook with Mrs. Obama. Bruktawit shared how this experience and her Capital City education have inspired her to be healthy and active. She reflected, “I’m thankful for these experiences because now I eat healthier and being healthy makes me more active and engaged with learning.” Watch her full introduction here (starting at 1:06:02). 

Creative Minds International PCS First Public Charter to Receive IPC Accreditation 

Photo Credit: Creative Minds International PCS

This spring, Creative Minds International PCS (CMI) became the first public charter school in the United States to receive the International Primary Curriculum accreditation. CMI has pioneered the use of this project-based and student-centered curriculum in a public charter school. The International Primary Curriculum, or IPC, is used throughout the world, in 90 countries. It includes international learning goals to assess progress toward a sense of international mindedness. Accreditation, a multi-year process, required parents, students, teachers, and administrators to articulate a shared vision for the school and demonstrate that CMI students develop strong character, an international perspective, and a deep engagement in interdisciplinary learning.
Golnar Abedin, Executive Director of CMI, expressed pride in the accomplishment: “Reaching this milestone shows that Creative Minds International is delivering on the promise of offering a high quality international education program to public school students in the District of Columbia,” she said.

Upcoming Events
July 10 - Join Our Parent Council 

Parent involvement is key to a student's success. The DC Public Charter School Board seeks parents of currently enrolled public charter school students to join its Parent Council. Members of the Council will meet regularly, make recommendations on Board policies, and actively participate in ward and citywide meetings and initiatives. Interested? Complete this form by July 10. 

July 17 - Board Meeting
The Board will hold its next monthly meeting on July 17 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss various issues related to public charter schools and to hear from the public. *The meeting will be held at DC PCSB offices (3333 14th Street NW). A meeting agenda will be available here

Watch the meeting on our website. Missed last month's meeting? Read a summary here.

*Meeting location is subject to change. 

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