What are the three most urgent issues that you would like solved in your school or schools in your cluster or ward? 


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Download all responses for this question as of July 1, 2011


 

Curriculum

Budget

Consistency in leadership

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS central office employee  -  Ward 1


 

over use of standardized tests

impact

poor administration

DCPS school-based employee  - 


 

1) Making proficiency in reading and math on the DCCAS a requirement for high school graduation - this way a HS diploma from DCPS will mean that the graduate can read and write

2) Tougher student attendance and tardiness policies

3) Making summer school free for students who need remediation but making students pay for credit recovery (too many students intentionally fail because they say it is easier to pass the course in summer school than to put forth the effort to pass it during the school year)

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 4


 

1) That every child is offered a quality education.

2) That resources and programs are equally distributed across the city.

3) That every child feels safe and are greeted with dignity and respect by all.

4) When every child walks through the front door that they feel empowered and are expected to be high achieving young people.

Professional School Counselor  -  Ward 4


 

Resources for students to be productive and teachers to be effective.  Things such as books, technology and paper would be a start.  Special education compliance is also an issue that needs to be resovled within the school system.  teachers  are being overwhelmed with caseloads and teaching.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 8


 

We need more support (social workers, counselors) for our students who have social-emotional needs.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 5


 

I work with students daily, I have a BS and MS, I must pass the practice

before, I can become a teacher. I teach math, science and technology and not getting paid for it. The public school system should offer temp

teacher until they pass the test . Apply for teacher job has become one of worse job to have.

  - 


 

1. Closing the achievement gap between white students and African American students

2. Meeting the needs of students with special needs in the classroom through collaboration, cooperation, and integrative services

3. Having an administrative team that is capable, innovative, and encouraging and that stays in place for more than two years

DCPS school-based employee  -  Arlington, VA


 

  1. I am an excessed social worker.  I would like that resolved.

2.  Principals who lack managerial skills / team-building skills, that issue needs immediate attention and correction.

3.  Climate in the schools i.e. teacher attitudes.  Many DCPS teachers, east of Rock Creek Park, at the elementary school level bully the children.  There needs to be emphasis on modeling appropriate behaviors coming from administrators to teachers.  Yelling at children in schools is unacceptable behavior.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Montgomery County, MD


 

Technology-if we are striving toward teaching children in the 21st then we need to provide teachers and student with the equipment. All of our computers are decommissioned.

Custodians that clean.

Food services workers that care.

DCPS school-based employee  -  I live in Ward 4 but work in Ward 8


 

1. Extra curriculum actives for Early Childhood students. (Pre School - Kindergarten)

2. Lunch provided fresh daily, not delivered in boxes.  We need to bring back the stoves and ovens in all dcps kitchens.

3. More working computer throughout the schools.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 6


 

More school counselors

Additional computers and up to date technology

Effective community partnerships

 

DCPS central office employee  - 


 

(1) inequity of resources between schools

(2) truancy/motivation to come to school

(3) additional academic support to assist students who are behind (outside of the standard school day, and not an additional responsibility on the teachers' shoulders)

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 1


 

The three most urgent issues that I would like solved in all the schools are:

1.  Every school should have a full-time Librarian, Art, Music, PE, and Foreign Language Teacher.

2. Excess only those positions that are not impacted by the direct contact with children.

3. Every school should have assembly programs around each disipline and holiday.For Example, Book of the Month, School Book Fairs, DEAR, Career Day, American Education Week, Community Read-Ins.

Community member, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 7


 

--establishing an alternative high school or setting for students who are chronically truant and continue to fail their classes--we are not meeting their needs in the regular schools!

--more money for supports and resources for comprehensive high schools who have to serve ALL students.  The students need anger management classes, basic life skills, more social workers to deal with social/emotional issues, etc.

--improved leadership at the school, cluster, and central office levels

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 4


 

* democratic system of decision making (ward 3 is famous for having strong 'personalities' demand more for themselves. Leaves the rest of us in the dark. We just lost a Principal due to these few people who took them upon themselves to represent the majority who loved our principal.

* All Principals should be trained to deal with parents and should be emotionally stable and compassionate to all parents. I think in the past downtown has 'prepped' our principals for a fight with our diffciult parents....these parents should at least be heard.....but ignoring them or warring with them should not be an option. someone that is a diplomat...

* Meanigful PDs and gatherings with other teachers in the same area of teaching.....professionals of the same field can learn so much for one another, and it does not cost a thing.

 

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 3


 

underachievement

lack of family support/involvement

disjointed curriculum/tests

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 6


 

Improving special education services.

DCPS prospective parent / family member  - 


 

  1. Dramatically increase parent involvement.

2.  Reduce Special Education and Transportation costs.

3.  Reduce the political and game playing that causes students to get caught between unions and reformists.

 

DCPS central office employee  -  Central Office


 

I would like an overhaul of IMPACT.  It is too stressful and harsh.  It should have more of a coaching componint to it.  Encourage teachers to be creative and try new methods without the feat that their ratings will fall.  Also, MEs should have come from all wards of the city.  The ME who sawme suggested using VOYAGER, which is a remdial program, while I have students that are more in need of enrichment.  I felt like she had never seen my programs before and had a bias agains anything new.

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 4


 

-I would like to see a really good overall and attention paid to school climate with school administrators and teachers.

-I would like to see fairness with an evaluation tool that measures our teachers and other educators.  Teachers and other educators should have input on what this should and will look like.

-I think that we really need good qualified administrators who are properly trained and have experience.

DC government employee  -  Ward 1


 

Discipline, structure, academic challenges

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 4


 

-Student centered administrators who are not driven by test scores

-Updated and clean facilities

-Supportive and caring teachers

Community member  -  Ward 5


 

Getting parents to trust and believe in DCPS and its ability to education all children; Fixing communication between central office and DCPS schools so it's clear, not a duplication of efforts and two-way; making sure we have highly qualified school staff and making sure we know how to retain them

DCPS central office employee  -  Ward 6


 

- low expectations for students

- lack of respect for students

- poor quality teachinng

DCPS central office employee  -  Ward 6


 

Improving Middle and High Schools.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 7


 

high teacher/student ratios

insufficient supplies and technology

inadequate facilities and resources

DCPS prospective parent / family member  -  Ward 2


 

Efficiency in Human Resources

Streamlined financial processes limiting the hoops that our business manager must jump through

Improved behavioral and social-emotional school-based support

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 6


 

Ellington School of the ARts Dance department three issues that I would like to see resolve are:

1.  Each student in the dance department treated equally and fairly.

2.  Each student in the dance department given a chance to audition and not have the dance department always select their favorite students.

3.  Students treated with respect and not name called.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 1


 

- would like a school where my neighbors and I feel comfortable sending our children: a safe, welcoming place where learning is exciting. Ideally would love to see special programs like Reggio Emilio, language immersion etc. (inboundary is Brookland-Bunker Hill)

- a new middle school for Ward 5 (perhaps w/ a special program like arts infusion or IB) to give people the confidence to try it.

parent who would send my child to DCPS if it were like the above.  -  Ward 5


 

Renovation of all bathrooms and locker rooms and an adequate supply of hand soap and toilet tissue.  This is a health and hygiene issue and greatly impacts the students and staff physical health.

DCPS parent / family member  -  PG county


 

Renovation of school buildings because I think children can appreciate their learning environment when it's clean and new, including the playground areas.

More academic enrichment!  Reading and Math are important, but it would be great if there were other outlets that would make school enjoyable.

Demand more from parents and children!  I want to know that my child is being pushed to reach his fullest potential, so there should be higher standards of performance and parents need to help with homework and meeting those expectations.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 2


 

I have no faith in DCPS middle school in my cluster

I do not think the children are safe nor are they inspired to learn there

I don't think children are taught to analyze and problem solve, but rather to just memorize

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 3


 

1. Better school facilities for all of our DC children

2. Flexibility in teaching to DCCAS

3. Wrap-around services...make sure there is broad array of after/before school programming for students, parents and teachers. Maybe through Joint-Use of facilities to attract some of these services such as health care, dentist, strong support for PTA and after school child care.

DCPS prospective parent / family member  -  prospective parent possibly moving to Ward 8


 

Truancy is a big issue, a lot has to be done with faculty and administrators sending youth home for things such as not having uniforms or being in the hallways. DCPS regulations are not always followed- youth sent home with no warning, no written documentation and suspended ( no in school suspension either). These things increase truancy rates.

Engaging students who a least make it to school-- why are they not in class or in the hallways (sending them home is not a solution)?

Uniforms- most low-income families are unable to wash their children's uniforms with the convenience ( due to lack of funds or inconvenience of not having a washer/dryer). Students should be supplied with a weeks worth of uniforms is they are to be penalized and suspended for in compliance.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 8


 

  - 


 

1) A middle school that our students (Ross Elementary) can feed to. One that meets the same standards that have beem implemented at the elementary school. Any parent that would send their child to Shaw Middle School whould be guilty of child neglect.

Every morning I get up at 7:00 A.M. look outside and witness the education migration. It runs east to west. Every child that wants a good school is in a car, bus, bike, or train. They are like wildebeest running to the small pool of good schools. Why?

You have some of the best school bulidings of any city in the country. You have no plan to fill them, fix them, turn them around.

2)You teach to the test. I understand that and to a degree I agree with it. Teachers students and parents are stressed out until the DCCAS is over. After the test the teaching almost stops. In fact the level of teaching diminishes so much that many students regress. Why do they waste this time. They do not want to move ahead of the set curriculum. Why? I see struggling kids in the 3rd grade that needed help 5 weeks ago now, it just play time for them. They are doomed right now.

3)A computer literacy program starting in elementary school needs to happen. It's already late but not to late.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 2


 

Professional and knowledgeable staff- every time I visit my daughter's school the security guard is rude and nasty or on her cell phone. If I have a question about an event or activity the school is hosting, the administrative never have a direct answer for me.

Safe and trustworthy environment- There is beer bottles and drug paraphernalia always found around the school. My daughter's classmate was severely hurt when I came to pick her up for dismissal, I was the only one that contacted her parent that evening. The little girl's parent should've been contacted immediately. 

Clean and Organized school ground- Trash is always on the side walk, playground.

More out of school activities- I live in Ward 8, my child and her neighbors should be exposed to activities outside of the community. When children are confined within their community it sets them up for ignorance and containment.

 

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 8


 

1) The lack of flexibility to challenge students in the school curriculum.   When a child already knows the material to be covered they are just given extra work to do to keep them occupied while the teacher focuses on the children who don't understand the material. Thus they get more quantity of the same level and are not challenged or do not get taught at a higher level.  

2)  overcrowded schools and classrooms.   2nd grade classes with 27 kids with one teacher and no aide were chaos this year. 

3) Lack of true interest in parental involvement. Example - each principal was encouraged to have a meeting with parents regarding next year's school budget (how they would allocate the moneys they are anticipating for next year).  However these meeting were set after the principal's budget was due into DCPS main office.   So much for parental involvement.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 4


 

Budget allocations, school equity, Commcations from Cetnral to Schools

DCPS central office employee  -  Ward 1


 

We need better leadership.  The Assistant Principal is terrible and needs to go. The Principal is being replaced, but we still don't know who the next Principal will be.

In addition to leadership issues, our specials are terrible. The specials teachers haven't been properly trained and do not seem to be held to any particular standards. The science teacher puts the kids in front of videos every day. The music teacher is constantly yelling and only teaches the kids civil rights songs and spirituals. The librarian has no class management skills and resorts to  yelling at the kids all the time.

For the most part, the classroom teachers are good, but there are a few who are really bad who just keep getting shuffled around and need to be fired, not just moved to other grade levels.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 6


 

The most urgent issue with my school or schools in our cluster is holding parents responsible for students arriving to school on time to receive breakfast or being feed when they arrive.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 5


 

1. There are too many children with disabilities in segregated settings. Many children who are in general education schools are still segregated from typically developing children (e.g. autism wing at Cardozo High School). This is harmful for children with AND without disabilities.

2. There are few inclusion programs for children with disabilities in nonpublic schools to come back to. This area must be prioritized if DCPS wants to reduce its special education costs by bringing children with disabilities back.

3. While Early Stages has greatly increased capacity over the last 2 years, there are still many children aged 3-5 years who need early intervention and are not being identified. This also requires improvement of the Part C system in identifying children birth through 2 years.

Community member  -  Ward 2


 

More parental involment.

Every child should come to school every day on time.

Middle school students should not talk to staff like you are the child an their the adult what be do about this.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 7


 

- organizing and systematizing special education

- providing social services and social/emotional support for children in Title I schools

-

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 2


 

1. support for new teachers: either through instructional coaches, mentor teachers, or another avenue

2. transient locations of SPED students (influx from charter schools after count day)

3. PD around SPED for gened teachers

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 5


 

suspension rates of students- ESPECIALLY SPED students.

all research shows that suspension does nothing to deter negative behavior, and it only allows for studnets to fall further behind when they are away from the classroom. Many of our students experience "community based trauma" ( e.g. gun violence, gangs, drug addicted fam members) - in turn students act out or carry over how they act in the streets into the schools- and then we suspended them and send them back into the community. DCPS needs effective, research based in school suspension to hel remediate problem behavior. continual suspension is doing nothing to HELP the student.

-  schools consistently follow IDEA laws with in SPED Depts.

DCPS school-based employee  -  not sure?


 

Raising academic achievement and school environments so that all schools, not just some in some wards, are on a level playing field and people are scrambling to get their kids in them.

Before and After-school programming options

Parent education and engagement

 

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS alumnus, Business / non-profit community member  -  Ward 5


 

McNally

DCPS alumnus  -  Ward 8


 

Technology in every classroom

Budget for each school library

Support for behavior management

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 6


 

School Library Budgets in all Schools

Literacy Coaches in all Schools directing an effective Guided Reading programs with adequate resources

More outreach to under served parents such as poor Latinos

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 3


 

* Need a decent MS and HS in Ward 5

* Need to deal with student misbehavior and discipline in such a way that teachers can teach

* Need to have real staff development and training for the various content areas

retired teacher, former DCPS student, former DCPS parent  -  Ward 5


 

1. Teachers being there: I want to walk into a classroom and see the correct number of teachers (so in early childhood a teacher and aide) that are aware of what's going on in their classrooms.

2. Teachers that care: I want to walk into a classroom and feel a positive environment. I want to see teachers that are actively and purposefully creating a positive classroom community and have a real connection/relationship with their students.

3. Teachers that put children first: So often I see teachers that care about THEIR own life/job/evlautions and are not their for the right reasons. I want teachers to put kids and their well-being first.

DCPS central office employee  -  dpcs central office so all wards


 

  1. Safety of all students.

2. Opportunity for students to partake in unique learning opportunities that are most interesting to them (and/or parents), even if it is outside of the normal curriculum.

3. Opportunity for parents and other community members to easily volunteer to help teach and/or mentor students.

DCPS prospective parent / family member, Community member  -  Ward 3


 

1. Student, Staff, and Teacher safety

DCPS central office employee  - 


 

1. A clearer vision and approach to teawching and learning.

2. Cynicism, fear, and low morale on the part of teachers and administrators.

3. Too much focus on standardized tests.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 1


 

1. Solve the discipline problem in our public schools.

2. Build or rebuild a HS and MS in Ward 5.

3. Bring back city wide curriculum departments in major subjects.

  1. Eliminate test prep.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 5


 

Teachers to have uniformly high expectations that they are capable of implementing.

Dealing with kids with learning issues and behavioral issues.  Too many teachers just feel lost in how to help these children, including my own ADHD child.

Effective, organized communication strategies and processes between parents and teachers.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 5


 

Every school in the District needs a vibrant, well-stocked, professionally staffed school library. Students need to learn how to ask questions, find answers to those questions, share their knowledge, and evaluate what they might do differently in the future. With these bedrock skills, no subject will be beyond their reach. They will have developed a disposition for learning that will follow them throughout their lives, empowering them to understand the world around them and succeed in whatever endeavor they choose.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 3


 

There needs to be a much stronger, urgent emphasis on social-emotional education. You can teach all the standards and pass all the test, but if the minute you leave the school building, you have no regard for your brother, and wipe out a life like it's nothing, it's pointless.

there should be something along the lines of Social Justice built into the curriculum for every grade level. Every population. Everyone doe's not have an outside support system,  We need to teach survival skills, both economic, mentally and spiritually, with out crossing the line between church and state. In other words an alternative to fist and guns.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 5


 

The three most urgent issues that I think need to be solved in our schools are as follows:

 (1)  The way in which children are disciplined and the level in which the children understand the  importance of respecting people in authority over them (teachers, principles, vice principles, staff, etc.)

(2)  There has to be sufficient supplies in order for an art teacher to carry out lesson plans.  If a teacher does not have basic supplies it creates a big problem in carrying out the lessons.  Supplies are a must as an art teacher.  Your life in the classroom depends on it.

(3)  The maintenance of the buildings and the control of rodents is not well kept up due to having children eat in the rooms for one and not in one designated place.

DCPS alumnus, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 5


 

1) Low standards and expectations - even at Wilson High School, most students are not performing at grade level and the students who are able to perform at a high level are challenged so much less than their peers at suburban and private high schools. Students need to arrive at college prepared or they need to graduate with the skills they need to hold a job. Everyone in the schools needs to expect that from students. 2) Disparities in performance between schools in ward 3 and other schools.  This kind of goes without saying.  3) Teachers and administrators who don't have the skills to be working with students.  When emails, phone calls, announcements and letters home from schools have grammatical and spelling errors in them there is a problem.  While obviously people cannot and should not be dismissed for spelling errors, this example along with other elements of the DCPS experience (low quality worksheet assignments from 1980, watching Pocahontus as a 9th grade class assignment for DC History [I did this], and taking gym classes for 5 years in which I probably did a total of 20 activities, etc) are indicative of the continuing low quality of school personnel.

DCPS alumnus  -  Ward 3


 

- Accountability. Some teachers within my school seem to act as if they are above any kind of repercussions for negative actions. I have seen and heard about teachers striking students, insulting them, threatening them with physical violence. The culture of the school system over the past 20 years has allowed this to occur, and while I see it slowly improving, it is a process and we still have work to do. I don't want to be labeled as the "snitch" in my building because I'm the only one who reports these behaviors to the principal. Similarly, teachers routinely walk around in unprofessional attire, whether it's track suits, or sports jerseys, or tennis skirts, or bosom-bearing tops... it send a poor message to our students when our teachers cannot act as the professionals they were hired to be.

- Facilities. A lot of the facilities within my school are old or non-existent, and that creates a lot of chaos and confusion whenever our students are asked to watch a play in the cafeteria, or are served food from a cart in the kitchen.

- Security. We pay four security guards decent money to, realistically, sit at a front desk and complain about teachers not doing their jobs. Doors leading into the building are propped open. Security doesn't do routine rounds of the building. They allow students from other schools to walk into our building without a pass; it causes chaos, confusion, and the belief that our students are allowed to have outside guests, or parents, wandering the halls whenever they'd like. Our school has become more orderly as of late, but that has more to do with leadership and nothing to do with security.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 4


 

less meetings in the morning to allow time to communicate  with  parents that bring their students to school in the morning

More relaxed environment

less tessting

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 2


 

1,  Student achievement measured primarly by narrow, one point in time, standardized testing -- rather

2.  Teachers' work and evaluations dictated too much by their students' testing results instead by multiple factors

3.  Schools don't all feel warm and welcoming and accessible to all -- the students and staff in them, the parents, and the communities around them

DCPS alumnus, Business / non-profit community member  -  Ward 1


 

Allow the students at Garfield School  to read their own Houghton Mifflin Pupil's Edition instead of having the teacher read to them everyday for 20 minutes. Allow the students to have whole classroom instruction for reading so that they can use their Practice Books  and work on the reading standards instead of having them in centers for 40 minutes without supervision.  Make every principal work as hard as Angela Tilghman & have her share her portfolio with the other DCPS principals. Finally, find an office job for  Barbara Adderley so Tilghman can carry out her educational vision for the students at Garfield!

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 8


 

Equality of opportunity, regardless of ward, economic status, or special ed needs.

parent of a DCPS alumnus  -  Ward 6


 

Better teachers!  (Teachers who have the professional tools and personal initiative to inspire their students.  Teachers who are kind, mature and know how to manage their classrooms effectively.)

Safety!  (When I drop my child off I do not have the assurance that the teachers are paying attention, doing head counts, and have basic awareness of where the students are at all times.  I have had several personal experiences this year where I have seen children wandering outside the school because they were left behind and the teachers were completely unaware and not terribly concerned when the child was returned.  This is completely unacceptable.)

Class sizes!  The class sizes are simply too large to provide the the one on one teaching that our children need.  Something needs to be done!

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 3


 

For our school, Hyde-Addison:

1)clear articulation of the near-term vision for our school in concrete terms, including what our plans/aspirations are for a)class size; b)programmatic improvement; c)facilities improvement; as well as a clear committment to strive for the very best that DCPS has to offer. 

2)we need a gymnasium for our school.  if we have a gym, our kids WILL learn to play regulation sports, we can have a full-range of extracurricular actitivities (like those offered at other DCPS schools), etc.

FOR DCPS:

3) a clear articulation of the near-term vision for overall quality and offerings at middle school and high school level.  As a parent of young children, i join many of my school's parents in trying to see into the future for our children at DCPS.  Do we stay in DCPS schools all the way through?  or, are we better off cutting our losses and move out to the suburbs asap.

 

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 5


 

Rid the system of IMPACT. What a waste of time, energy, focus, money, and opportunity to educate our school children!

Improve facilities.

Provide paperback novels for every high school student so they may prepare for A.P. and I.B. exams.

 

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 1


 

I would like for DCPS to be held responsible for teaching all of its children by not sending our students to private schools and St. Colleta's because central office hasn't 'figured it out yet but by keeping these kids in our schools and communities because they deserve to be here.

As a teacher, I've had a very difficult year explaining to parents "although your child has made remarkable progress, according to Norma Villanueva and Dr. Nyankori, there just isn't a *place* for your son next year, "please consider a private school at the publics expense". This is devastating to the stakeholders, myself and the parents.  

There is NO reason why we can't educate EVERY child in a DCPS school. NONE.

We need to build classrooms, demand for excellent inclusion, and do whatever we need to do to keep every single one of our students in DCPS.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 3


 

Dealing with  distruptive students that will enable both the disruptive student and their classmates the ability to learn.

Using the so called wrap around services (do we still have them) so students can get the help they need and parents are held accountable.

A curriculum that includes all educators (art, music,p.e., teachers as well as librarians) what they bring to the educational table

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 7


 

I feel like the teacher's need more training on dealing with inner city children.

IMPACT is gone.

We need to keep a principal more than 2 1/2 years. 

 

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 1


 

Parental Involvement and accountability

Teacher Involvement and accountability

Unity among the school - no ECE, upper and middle schools - WHOLE school, WHOLE child

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS prospective parent / family member, DCPS alumnus  -  Ward 7


 

-Nonresidents in DCPS schools taking slots that should go to District residents

-Rude, disrespectful behavior in and out of school

-Lack of parental involvement (the nonresidents don't have time to get involved and that contributes to the bad behavior)

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 2


 

Inequity in educaitonal opportunites for different students who attend different schools.

Poor teachers.

Disrespect.

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 4


 

Principals and teachers are too stressed over DC CAS and the students feel the pressure and stress. Learning is less authentic and classrooms are hostile.

Teachers should have more access to professional development. DCPS Professional Development Days need to be more relevant to the schools' individual needs. More emphasis on pedagogy and classroom management.

Community member, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 3


 

1) Students who can't read on grade level receive high quality, intensive, multisensory, research-based reading intervention.  The science of teaching reading has evolved to the point where we know how to teach almost everyone how to read.  DCPS must catch-up.

2) We must stop wasting valuable resources by pushing schools to provide all special education services in the general education setting.  We have SO many adults in our classrooms who are acting as ineffective aides, and, for the most part, it is not their fault.  We must put the systems in place needed to harness all of this current wasted potential for the good of our students.

3) We need a comprehensive, district-wide positive behavior support plan.

Community member, DCPS central office employee  -  Ward 5


 

Class size is too large, the Fillmore Art school is not acceptable, and the facility is not kept clean.

DCPS parent / family member  -  zip code 20007


 

1.  I would like to increase the desire of students to write and love doing it.

2.  I would like for each school to develop a mentor program within each school made up of individuals from the community (business private and public).  Only those individuals ready for developing CONSISTENT relationships with students should participate.

3.  I would love to see active learning plans for student suspended from school.  In school suspension should take priority over sending students home to get into more trouble.  Parents are not there most of the time.  Student only increase their skill for becoming defiant.

DCPS central office employee  -  Ward 4


 

Effective Disciplinary procedures

Less emphasis on standardized testing

principal leadership

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 6


 

principals that are hostile to teachers and do not build a community with staff, teachers and parents

at the high school level, we need to refocus on what colleges truly need our children to be able to do and stop the practices in HS that lead students to graduate without adequate preparation such as credit recovery and summer school courses that lack rigor, the practice of "test corrections" that lead students to believe they will get a second or third chance to improve grades, the undue emphasis on project based activities that do not help students to master skills essential for success in college courses such as note taking, listening to lectures, reading large amounts of text and extracting important information from it, etc.

instituting and requiring attendance at well-structured Summer Bridge programs for students entering middle school and high school.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 1


 

Finding teachers who enjoy learning and can pass along that zest for learning to kids. 

Supporting teachers so that they can focus on their real work. 

Finding more ways for parents MS and HS students to be involved in schools.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 6


 

1. More support for  the students who are performing below level on math and reading assessments.

2.  Professional and caring teacher who really care for our children, those who encourage them not humiliate them for   low academic performance.

3.   More active, effective and constant counseling for students who are failing grades, absences, low performance and reach their parents.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 4


 

-reduce class size

-better handle disruptive kids

-improve ninth grade program

 

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 3


 

1.  Teaching to the test -- boring for students, uninspiring for teachers

  1. Bullying/safety issues
  2. Racial/economic self-segregation

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 1


 

We have no middle school that isn't failing.

There is no form of accelerated learning, especially in math, or gifted and talented program.

We have lost our world language program.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 2


 

_ school is overcrowded

_ constant uncertainty about budget/funding

_ there is too much training to the test

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 3


 

Stable leadership

Need parent groups that are more inclusive and functional

Food that isn't gross

Community member  -  Ward 1


 

More accountability by the teachers and administration - too many e-mails and calls go ignored and unanswered.

Better environment for the children - currently there exists a culture of disrespect and inappropriateness.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 2


 

Continue to strengthen and maintain educational excellence

Give our children well-rounded educations  which include extracurriculars

Healthy food

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 6


 

1) Improving academic performance (not just test scores but increasing achievement)

2) Greater parental/community involvement/investment in the education process and DCPS

3) Attracting, maintaining and promoting effective teachers (not based on tenure or credentials but their effectiveness in promoting learning, curiosity, and creativity)

DCPS prospective parent / family member  -  Ward 4


 

1. Unresponsiveness of administrators in protecting our children from the known children with problems. One day they are gone for whatever reason and the next day they are back committing the same offenses besides the fact that this is not their neighborhood school.

2. Cleanliness of bathrooms; regular maintenance; filter changes in water fountains; bathrooms equipped with soap and toilet paper

3. Review of teaching assistants and their effectiveness. Too many of them sitting around when they should be interacting with the children in an appropriate manner.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 4


 

Facilities

Budget

Headquarter Support

DCPS alumnus, Community member  -  Ward 6


 

1) Availability in high-marked charter or DCPS schools.  My daughter will be ready for pre-school next year and although we have a list of 20 schools within a decent distance of our home we'd like to send her to, the consensus from our peers is that less than 5% are getting into the lotteries of these schools when out of boundary.  The school we are currently slotted for (Shaed Elementary) is not adequate for our child.  We are considering Emery, but would like more than one option.  Luck on the lottery draw is not enough. 

2) I would like to see more language options and language-emersion programs and schools.  I would like my daughter in a Spanish-English emersion program (or any language, really) and there are only 2 schools within a decent driving distance of our home that offers this option, and the one we're most interested in is LAMB because of the Montessori component, and at last count there are 35 spots and 600 applications.

3) I'd like to have a way to compare both charter schools and DCPS schools.  The DCPS list is ok, but needs a lot more depth, and I've found that many schools aren't completing them.  For example, they may have a language or PE program, but they're listed as having neither because they didn't complete the survey.  It would be great if we could compare DCPS schools with charter schools so that we can look at the whole picture.

4) Not an urgent issue, but I think it would be great to have some part-time pre-school and pre-k options.  All the DCPS PS and PK options I've seen are 5 days a week and full-time.  While I LOVE the fact that there's free full time school available fore 3 and 4 year olds, some parents like me might benefit for part-time so we can easy our kids into school when they've been home with us full time since birth.

FYI - we are open to trying our daughter into DCPS schools for PS and PK, but if we don't feel like her educational options are meeting our expectations by PK, we are planning to move out of state where public schools are better.  We don't have the means for private school (and I much prefer the idea of public school where kids are from diverse racial and economic backgrounds), but we do have the means to move across the country if it means putting our child in a school where she will thrive.  I taught in Baltimore public schools for a bit, and I've seen far too many negative attributes there and in DCPS schools (except the ones we have a small chance to get into via lottery) that we will be moving in 2 years unless a better school option is presented to us.  I love living in Ward 5, where it is "real", and I have no desire to move to upper NW or Capitol Hill to "get into an ok school".   Kids and parents outside these areas deserve better.  But those families with means will not be putting their kids in the schools in their current states in Ward 5, 8, etc. and "take one for the team" to improve the school.  The schools have to get better in order for active, education-driven parents to stick around.  There are a lot of us out here, we've had many parent meetings, in Edgewood, Bloomingdale, Eckington, Brookland, Woodridge - and we're all very frustrated with our options now.  Dare I say this, but Michelle Rhee was on the right track - we have to dig deep and make some serious changes or nothing will be accomplished by 2025 or any other year.  If you can make changes, you have our support!  Thanks for doing this survey.

DCPS prospective parent / family member  -  Ward 5


 

 

1.A state-of-the-art program for getting non-English speakers up to speed faster while preserving bilingual programs.

2. Higher-quality aftercare programs--enrichment, not just babysitting.

3. Teachers who still fall back on using "punishments" (like losing recess).

 

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 1


 

Proper communication in the school takes place.  As an Immersion School, alot of communication is strickly in Spanish and for us English speaking parents, its very difficult to know what is happening at the school because everything is in Spanish.

Organized Aftershool Activities - children are everywhere and facilitators have a lack of enforcing structure.

School PTA - there is no proper leadership at the school.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 4


 

Stuart Hobson (where my 5th grader is now) -- THE FACILITY IS  MESS, from broken lockers to electrical outlets that don't work to a boiler in need of replacement.  It's great to have a few "state of the art" buildings - but there's got to be a way to address these kinds of issues quickly too. It's demeaning to students and staff and demoralizing to parents.

Stuart Hobson again -- there are still A NUMBER of teachers who are unprofessional to students (yelling, name-calling, etc) and unresponsive to parents (not responsive to emails, unprepared for conferences) - while a new principal will be hired for the whole cluster school this summer, these are problems that are long standing, and also exist at Watkins.  The Cluster school needs at least 2 principals, and ones who will hold ALL staff to higher standards.

 

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 6


 

I would like my 3 children to be able to attend the same school.  Due to the popularity of my school, Brent Elementary, my third child is on a waiting list. He is an out of bounds sibling. 

I would like to see expanded emphasis on success plans for all students, parents, teachers and administrators. 

I would like to see a reduced emphasis of teaching to a test.  The amount of energy spent on the DC CAS seems crazy and is not productive.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 6


 

We want smaller class sizes.  27-29 children per class are too many.  We should aim for 20 children or less.

We want a slightly longer school day so that foreign language and the arts can be included more readily into each school day.

We want healthier, more nutritious lunches to be served.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 3


 

1) Maintaining a balance between out of boundary students' needs and neighborhood children's needs when issues of race, class, and cultural differences occur.

2) Inclusiveness and involvement of both Pre-Stevens ES parents and the new direction of the Educational Campus goals.

3) Improving the level of education and drive of the upper grades above the third grade. Many parents are considering leaving after the third grade due to teaching and the behavioral problems of the upper grades.

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS alumnus  -  Work - ward 2 and live in ward 7


 

teacher quality, class size & non-responsiveness of principal

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 4


 

We don't think that there is yet an acceptable middle school option in our ward--and this is unacceptable.  Kids finish our elementary schools and don't have a clearly excellent option.

Staff turnover:  Our most outstanding teachers must be rewarded and retained!  This means that they should be encouraged to keep learning through professional development that matches their interests.  They should be rewarded for going above and beyond in both teaching and learning. 

Aftercare is a consistent weak link.

The math curriculum is challenging but seems rather diffuse?  It is better now than when it was Everyday Math.  But I'd like know more about it. 

 

 

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 6


 

1. I want enough improvement in my ward's high school--Eastern--that I would feel comfortable sending my child there.

2. I would like the physical plant of my son's middle school--Stuart Hobson--to be at least on par with Alice Deal.

3. I would like to see more families from Watkins Elementary send their children to Stuart, which would mean countering some misinformation from fourth grade teachers about the school.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 6


 

-Having a principal at the Capitol Hill Cluster who can really make the school coherent, implement best practices in education, and promote a culture of calm.

-I'd like to see kids going outside everyday...with exceptions only for lightning or way below zero. We need the school to be behind policies that help kids get the movement they NEED during the day, rather than keeping them in for recess for discipline reasons. This is a tragedy. We will have a new playground in the fall, we need to have policies in place that reflect best practices, latest research, and common sense about the need for children to play, be active and be outside.

-I would like the entrance Watkins to be welcoming and coherent, such as making improvements in the terrible signage outside the school (it looks like an institution in the worst sense of the word), better communication with parents who come in for drop off (you wouldn't believe how much confusion there is surrounding a simple, daily, procedure -- it's chaos), to behavior in the cafeteria (I regularly see the security guard yelling -- YELLING-- at children. The security guard? Does she even have any qualifications to be interacting with students? She is certainly not implementing the responsive classroom, which the school says it follows).

DCPS parent / family member, DCPS alumnus  -  Ward 6


 

Our elementary school Stoddert is great but I'm concerned about the stability and quality of education at Hardy Middle School.

There have been so many improvements throughout DCPS thanks in part to the Fenty Administration. Will the progress continue during Mayor Grey's term?

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 3


 

Poor academic performance and no straightforward articulation of challenges and issues responsible for poor performance and no clear strategy for school improvemen; unmet demand for quality education by growing number of neighborhood parents with infants and toddlers who want to stay in neighborhood and who value diversity and education but won't sacrifice or compromise their standards. Gentrifiers/affluent whites, long-term AA and Hispanic population is recipe for possible tension.  DCPS has no unified strategy and is inconsistent in its interest level and commitment to addressing the opportunity here.  Deck is stacked against creation of community schools in general, e.g. school that is 60% OOB pop, virtually no one on admin staff lives in DC, let alone the neighborhood -- makes parent involvement and cohesion with community difficult, offers very little basis for community business and instituttional support, weak incentive for busy councilmember to actively advocate for the school as school constituency does not vote in his/her ward.

Overall, the system is fundamentally perverse and structurally unsound.

DCPS parent / family member, Community member, community leader  -  Ward 2


 

1. Stability and safety in the schools, my child has had 6 principals by 8th grade, 5 of those since 4th.  Suspensions for fighting were slowed at a child's middle school for fear of not meeting "no left behind goals" resulting in bullies and thieves returning to their victims.

2. My child will be entering high school, more AP and honors classes

3. The option for middle school and High school kids to take summer classes that are not just for graduation, like PE or algebra so they can place ahead and have more time for additional academics. Both Florida and Ohio offer such programs.  This also allows students who are involved in after school activities a little slack.  Who wants to do a sport and take PE?  Especially if it is not a school league

DCPS parent / family member  -  I live in 1 kids in ward 2 schools.


 

1. The school lacks a clear curriculum administered across the grade so the quality of a student's education depends entirely on the teacher.

2. The school has an ineffective assistant principal. She lacks leadership skills (the students barely know who she is or what she does and the parents know not to bother approaching her with problems), organizational skills (she forgets meetings, double books rooms, can't remember from one day to the next details about large school events that she is in charge of), communication skills (her oral presentations are an embarassment; prospective parents at the open house made comments in the hall saying, "what an idiot,") and discipline skills (she enforces rules inconsistently, she walks away from

disturbances instead of towards them, she offers incoherent explanations of the rules to students).

3. The relationship with parents has changed from partnership to "come when we call and give us money."

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 1


 

Deciding which schools feed into which middle schools.

Upgrading buildings

Safety of kids while at school- safe school buildings and protective and vigilante adults supervising our kids.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 6


 

1. Getting at the root causes of poor attendance and dealing with them effectively.

2. Poor availability of and/or maintenance of vital tools - fax machines that can't seem to "talk to" the IEP/SEDS records intake system or work only intermittently; unavailability of sufficient numbers of texts; broken or malfunctioning printers and computer equipment and no one to service them; the list goes on.

3. An all-compassing culture that does not value education enough to pursue it avidly and a culture of mutual mistrust. I have seen way too many adversarial relationships, rather than a "let's pull together and make this happen" approach to education. When I arrived at my current school, I found that teachers do not issue textbooks to their students because "students will trash them," and parents who do not insist that their children study hard at home, read outside of school requirements, and get to school on time. How can a child develop good study habits at the age of 16 if he or she has not developed them in elementary and middle school? Parents and children need to know what is expected of them both. And teachers should stop lowering their expectations.  People have a habit of rising to expectations if we respect them enough to tell they can do it and giving them the tools to achieve. This requires trust in one another.

DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 7


 

Violence and lack of respect from students aimed at teachers and other students.

More communication across the board between parents, students, and teachers.

Focus on more reading time for students to do homework during school hours where the kids can get help from the teachers or aides.  Although I have a college degree and very successful at work, homework has become increasing difficult for me to understand as my children move into middle school.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 7


 

I wo0uld like to see some stability in the principal position at our elementary school (Murch). We have had 5 Principals in 7 years or so and I think the school has suffered as a result.

I would like to see a solution to the Hardy middle school problem so that kids from currently unserved elementary schools have somewhere to go (the equivalent of Deal which is a huge success).

Nothing for Number 3!

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 3


 

Creative (or any) consequences for bullying - i.e., community service, in-schools suspensions

More opportunities to challenge gifted and talented students that are not dependent upon an individual teacher's ability to do differentiated teaching and creative lesson plans - I have heard of too much reliance upon worksheets and practice exams.

Building community between the parents and teachers within our 3 different programs.

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 7


 

- Teachers being treated as other professionals.

- Children with special needs be given appropriate intervention that enable them to be equipped to make their contribution to society.

 

DCPS parent / family member, Community member, DCPS school-based employee  -  Ward 7


 

Increased academic standards/rigor

More robust "specials" like art, music, language

Improved teaching/rigor in upper grades

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 3


 

- I would like incentives for performance when moving to middle school. Lottery sucks - why bother, when grades don't matter?

 - More emphasis on anti-bullying and safety

- More emphasis on learning, not drilling and chasing after the DC-CAS test scores

DCPS parent / family member  -  Ward 3


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