Ruth Wattenberg represents Ward 3 on the DC State Board of Education (SBOE). This update is adapted from her October 31st newsletter, which includes DC’s Covid-19 vaccination sites for 5- to 11-year-olds, the last calls for input on Wilson High School’s new name, and a survey on DC’s STAR school rating system. Subscribe by contacting Wattenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s your view on whether DC should rate school quality with 1-5 “stars”?
Take the State Board of Education’s survey on DC’s school quality rating.
DC’s public schools are rated annually (except during the pandemic, when PARCC tests, a key ingredient of the rating, aren’t being given!) with one to five stars. Are you familiar with it? Do you use it? Does it rate what’s important to you?
Last year, the State Board of Education (SBOE), after hearing from experts and community members and conducting its own research, adopted an interim report outlining what it learned and a resolution that identified three major concerns with the rating:
- It “produces ratings that are systematically lower for schools that enroll larger proportions of students designated at-risk — and that these lower ratings do not necessarily reflect lower quality education.”
- Under our current system, a low rating does not clarify the schools’ deeds and leaves all but a few schools “without the state support they need to provide the stronger education their students need.”
- Recognizing that the rating may place excessive weight on test scores, “We may want to provide a broader view of school quality by expanding the range of STAR indicators included in our current rating.”
As a result of these concerns, the SBOE is now preparing recommendations for improving how the District reports on school quality. Please let us know what you think. Is it important to have ratings, or is transparent information on school quality and performance what you need? Either way, what are the elements of school quality that you are most interested in knowing about?
Click here to take the survey by 5 p.m. Monday, November 8th.
Where to get your 5- to 11-year-old vaccinated
Wattenberg’s original newsletter includes a list of the first DC pop-up vaccination clinics for the next group to be made eligible for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine: children 5 to 11 years old.
These are the Ward 3 locations and dates:
- Murch Elementary School (4810 36th Street NW) on November 13th
- Palisades Recreation Center (5200 Sherier Place NW) on November 16th
- Janney Elementary School (4130 Albemarle Street NW) on November 19th
In addition, according to Mayor Bowser’s office, “families will be able to be vaccinated at more than 60 pharmacies, hospitals, and health centers in DC that will have the vaccine.”
Community groups may also request pop-ups through vaccineexchange.dc.gov, which helps connect the community to local vaccine providers.
Mark your calendars
Thursday, November 4th, 2:30 p.m.: Last chance to weigh in on renaming Wilson High School!
As many of you know, the DC Council voted last year to change the name of Woodrow Wilson High School. The name change process called for a community survey to inform the subsequent process, followed by a proposal for a new name from the mayor, followed by a vote by the DC Council.
Last December, the survey was conducted, and a plurality of those participating favored “August Wilson” for the new name – after the great African-American playwright. The mayor followed with a formal proposal to rename the school “August Wilson High School.” The DC Council has now proposed to rename the school “Jackson-Reed,” after the high school’s first African-American teacher and Vincent Reed, the school’s first African-American principal who then became the superintendent of DC Public Schools.
The council held a hearing two weeks ago on the renaming, and will hold another one this coming Thursday, November 4th. To see the previous testimony, click here.
If you want to weigh in on the name, you may:
- Testify virtually on November 4th (click here to register). The deadline for registering to testify is Tuesday, November 2th.
- Submit written testimony to email@example.com.
- Email Council members.
Monday, November 8th, 7 p.m.: The next meeting of the Ward 3 – Wilson Feeder Education Network (W3EdNet).
We are very happy to host DC Public Schools Deputy Chancellor Melissa Kim and Social Studies Director Scott Abbott.
This will be an opportunity to ask Deputy Chancellor Kim about such topics as COVID and schools (testing, outdoor lunches and education, vaccinations, virtual learning), overcrowding in schools and the recent community working group, and the upcoming budget cycle.
Director Abbott will be talking with us about the new DCPS curriculum and instructional approach for elementary social studies and math.
Register here, and you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Zoom meeting.
Tuesday, November 9th from 6 to 8 p.m.: FY23 DCPS Budget Hearing
Testimony will be limited to three minutes during the hearing. Witnesses should provide their documents, including a written copy of their testimony and any supplemental information, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.