September 04, 2012
First Week of DCPS Positive and Productive
School Opening Highlights
District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) welcomed back thousands of students across the city for the 2012-2013 school year that started on August 27th. While official enrollment numbers won’t be available until later this fall, DCPS is on track for a positive and productive year that will include modernized facilities across the district, new math standards and curriculum, innovation and technology and improved instruction. These improvements and efforts all come under the strategic direction of A Capital Commitment, DCPS’ five-year, bold plan to improve the school district.
“In schools, in classrooms and in the community, you can feel the energy and enthusiasm about this school year,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “With our great teachers, excellent school leaders, our high expectations and our students ready to succeed, the bar is set high for an amazing year.”
This school year, DCPS will use a new, rigorous math curriculum based on nationally-recognized standards. Last year, DCPS implemented new literacy standards. With these efforts, DCPS is leading the nation in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. This includes a more rigorous curriculum for students, high-quality professional development to teachers, and aligned assessments to measure student progress.
School Opening Highlights
- Serving more students: 13 new early childhood education classrooms opened up 201 new pre-school and pre-K seats for DCPS' youngest learners. In addition, the Tools of the Mind curriculum is expanding this year to 76 classrooms in 19 schools. 25 new classrooms will serve students with special needs within DCPS.
- New Staff: This year, DCPS hired more than 450 new teachers and 16 new Master Educators. 24 schools opened with new principals.
- Modernizations and Renovations: Thanks to the Department of General Services, more than a dozen schools saw improvements to their school facilities including major renovations at Anacostia High School, Moten Elementary School and Turner Elementary School and summer work projects at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, Brookland Education Campus, Bruce-Monroe Elementary School, Ketcham Elementary School, Lasalle-Backus Education Campus, Leckie Elementary School, Nalle Elementary School, Simon Elementary School, and Ross Elementary School; modernization of Stuart Hobson Middle School is underway.
- Textbooks and Necessary Materials: Over the summer, close to 90,000 textbooks and supplies were delivered to schools.
- Proving What's Possible (PWP): 59 schools received PWP grants ranging from $10,000 to $490,000 to innovate around time, talent and technology.
- Combating Truancy: DCPS will hire eight dedicated social workers this year to help address and prevent truancy in the 2012-2013 school year. DCPS also expanded the Byer Court Model to six schools. This model provides early intervention services to truant students. Through the model, there are weekly mock court sessions held with truant students and their parents. Volunteer DC Superior Court judges host sessions for 10 weeks including both group activities and individual meetings.
- Blended Learning: Kramer Middle School will transition to a blended school model for the 2012-2013 school year in which half of instruction will be delivered through online courses and half will be face-to-face instruction. The online approach is designed to improve college readiness through 21stCentury Skills, intensify a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) instruction, and keep students engaged through technology and a robust curriculum.
- Reading and Learning: At Hendley Elementary School, Principal Sean Davis set up a library cove in the lunchroom where students can take a break to read on carpet and bean bag chairs to encourage strong literacy throughout the day.
- Enhancing After School: Using their Proving What’s Possible funds, Noyes Education Campus is offering an academic/enrichment after school program for all students in partnership with a University Instructors, a community-based organization specializing in delivering positive student outcomes. A focus of the program is those students whose performance is just below satisfactory to help accelerate reading and math skills.
- Great Leadership: Whittier Education Campus’ new principal Tenia Pritchard has hit the ground running. Parents and the community are so excited about her leadership and the quality school programs that more than 50 new students enrolled at Whittier this year. Ms. Pritchard has been a teacher, assistant principal and now principal. At Cardozo High School, new principal Tanya Roane comes to DCPS from Richmond. Cardozo is off to a great start under Principal Roane’s leadership. She previously served as a classroom teacher for eight years and as a principal at a high-performing high school in Richmond.
- Encouraging Creativity: Three schools, Hardy Middle School, Kelly Miller Middle School and West Education Campus, will offer a school-wide enrichment program for the first time at DCPS. This program is different from magnet programs in other school districts in the area because there is no application necessary – it’s open to all students enrolled in the school.