D.C. Public Charter Schools Collaborate with English Schools to Improve Student Outcomes

Thursday, October 29, 2009
For Immediate Release:  October 29, 2009
Contact: Audrey Williams  202-328-2748
Washington, D.C. — Teachers and school administrators from five D.C. Public Charter Schools are meeting this week in Washington, D.C. with teachers and administrators from schools in The West Midlands (The Black Country) in England to collaborate on innovative educational practices that will support student achievement and school leaders in both countries.  The Transatlantic Schools Innovation Alliance is a partnership between the D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB) and the United Kingdom’s Department of Children, Families and Schools designed to bring American and English schools together to learn and understand how best practices can help schools improve student achievement.
A major outcome of this project is to engage educators in collaborative research projects that will lead to solutions and positive changes in the school environment and improve student outcomes.  The Transatlantic Schools Innovation Alliance has similar partnerships with schools in New York and Boston.  The Annenberg Institute for School Reform is providing advisory support with the research component of the project.
“I am pleased with the English school with which we are paired because we have similar challenges such as how to engage boys to increase their achievement and building leadership capacity from within,” said Jami Dunham, head of school at Paul Public Charter School.  “Our 9th Grade Academy curriculum includes a global awareness component, so this collaboration fits perfectly in the work we are doing to create global citizens,” Dunham said.
The project includes study visits this week to the participating D.C. public charter schools: Capital City Upper School, Cesar Chavez School for Public Policy, Paul, SEED Public Charter School of Washington and Washington Mathematics Science Technology.  The teachers and administrators of these D.C. charter schools hope to visit the West Midlands schools in England in the spring 2010.

“This project allows schools to create globally conscious citizens who are cognizant of the issues that impact their communities and society as a whole,” said Josephine Baker, executive director of the D.C. Public Charter School Board.  “It gives teachers an opportunity to embrace various perspectives and practices in public education outside of the U.S. that speak to familiar issues.”

The D.C. public charter school component of the project is funded through federal funds for school improvement activities.  However, the PCSB is seeking grantors and donors to support charter school participants’ study visits to the schools in England next spring.
The D.C. Public Charter School Board currently oversees 57 public charter schools on 99 campuses, serving more than 28,000 students living in every ward of the city.  Public charter schools now serve 38% of all public school students in Washington, D.C.