November 2018 DC Public Charter School News

Celebrating Public Charter School Quality
Charter Sector Graduation Rate Continues to Exceed State Average
Graduation rates are the number of students graduating from high school in four years (even though some graduates take longer). The four-year rate for this past 2017-18 academic year for public charter school students was 72.4%, a slight drop of 1.0% - from 73.4%.  (The graduation rate for the state, which includes both public charter schools and DCPS, dropped 3.9 percentage points to 68.5% this year.)

Adding in the percentage of students who graduated in five years brings the five-year graduation rate of public charter schools up to 80.9%  Unfortunately, we can’t compare this with DCPS and statewide rates as these are not being released. 

Read more about DC’s graduation rates and rates by student population here

Celebrating Our Top-Peforming Schools and Winners of Our Best Practice Awards

On Thursday November 29, we celebrated the achievements of our 53 top-ranked (or, Tier 1) public charter schools at our annual
Celebrating Best Practices in Public Charter School Education event. We also honored our 11 Best Practice Award winners. These winners are individuals who are committed to and have significantly contributed to DC's charter school sector. Learn more about the winners here and below. 

TIERific Principal
Rachel Tommelleo, Center City PCS - Brightwood

TIERific Teachers
Francis Richards, Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom PCS
Alexis Rosario, Cedar Tree Academy PCS

TIERific Student
Kalkidan Haile, E.L. Haynes PCS

TIERific Parent
Nicole Fitzgerald, Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom PCS

TIERific Community Partner
Joyful Food Markets

Excellence in Data Management
Jodi Ihaza, Briya PCS

Excellence in Special Education Programming
Wanda Gregory, Capital City PCS

Excellence in English Language Learner Programming
Alicia Passante, Center City PCS 

Excellence in Program Innovation 
Stephanie Remick, Washington Leadership Academy PCS's Internship Program
Zeleta Green, E.L. Haynes PCS, Credit Recovery Program

For a list of School Quality Report rankings, click here

People of Public Charter Schools

Photo Credit: SEED PCS of Washington, DC 

“I have had three children that have attended or attend SEED PCS. Having my children go to a boarding school was an adjustment, but the emphasis on college access and completion gives me hope that my children will be successful. The school enhanced their support for all students and families through college tours, family workshops, and opportunities for parent leadership. I know my voice is heard and used to make decisions. I see how the school has worked overtime to make decisions based on supporting every student’s unique potential.” - Shermelle Smith, Parent

How Inspired Teaching Demonstration PCS Has Done Just That: Inspire Teaching, Inspire Students, and Inspire Parents


Photo credit: Clifton Durant

Clifton Durant is an Inspired Teaching Demonstration PCS parent. Here is his story: “It was seven years ago that I showed up at an information session in search of a different school for my four-year-old and listened to some people I’d never met talk about a school - which until the day before, I’d never heard of (it only existed in theory and by charter at that point). They used words like 'Integrity', 'Imagination', 'Intellect', 'Inquiry'; and phrases like 'teaching the whole child' and 'student-led learning'.

None of these words or phrases were new to me, of course, neither was it unfamiliar to hear these words used in the selling of a school. But it was the way in which they spoke about their commitment to these words that showed that they were no longer just words; they were ideals transformed into the mission. This mission for the charter was not only Inspired Teaching’s but also the communities.

They spoke of their mission not just being theirs and the staff’s, but they insisted that the entire community’s effort would not only be needed, but encouraged. They were visionaries and they were able to share their vision of this place where a commitment to ideals not only mattered, but is practiced.

So seven years, three location moves, and a second child later, my wife and I have been able to witness and be a part of the growth of this place built on ideals, and a commitment to those ideals. We don’t always get it right. But that just makes the commitment to getting it right, that much stronger."

 Center City PCS - Trinidad Places the Arts at the Forefront of Education


Photo Credit: Center City PCS

Avanti Fernandez started teaching at Center City PCS - Trinidad seven years ago when after-school clubs were nonexistent and No Child Left Behind had drastically reduced classroom time devoted to the arts. Avanti - as a novice teacher - often found herself questioning this approach and remained dedicated to finding a balance where a variety of art mediums, such as painting, drawing, drama, and music could be used as learning tools in her classroom.

In the last couple of years, Trinidad has embraced an arts initiative. As someone who is a firm believer that integrating the arts enhances critical thinking, cognitive ability, reading and math skills, Avanti is proud to see this new arts initiative grow at Trinidad. Avanti said, "By launching initiatives to expand our enrichment program to include a music, dance, and drama department, we are bridging the gap between arts education and academic achievement. Our school has made great strides toward not only revitalizing the arts but also using them to rekindle our school spirit."

YouthBuild PCS's Approach to Helping Adult Students Succeed


Photo credit: YouthBuild PCS

Katherine Mojica, a student at YouthBuild PCS, has seen significant improvements in her academics. First, the small classes based on the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS) has been a better fit for Katherine. Students are separated into classroom cohorts based on their pre-test scores; students on similar academic levels can get more focused instruction. As a result, Katherine has increased her comprehension skills in reading, science, and social studies and she is on her way to earning a GED diploma!  

Upcoming Events
December 17 - Board Meeting
The Board will hold its next monthly meeting on December 17 at 5 p.m. *The meeting will be held at DC PCSB (3333 14th Street NW, Suite 210). 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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