Filed under Education News

SUMMERTIME LIVING & LEARNING IS EASY

Teachers, students and parents all look forward to summer vacation. Well… at least teachers and students do! Summer vacation is an opportunity for teachers to become re-energized, relax and to just release all the pent up stress from the school year. In the minds of most students, the summer months are a time for them to have fun, fun and more fun. From an educational standpoint, two months is a long time for students to be completely free from any exposure to reading, writing and arithmetic.

There are many ways that parents can help students hone these skills for the upcoming school year, in ways that are fun and relatively inexpensive or FREE!  Writing is an area that many students at all levels struggle with. The familiar cry from students from the elementary to secondary levels tends to be “I don’t know what to write about”. Encouraging students to write about things or places that they are experiencing during the summer are a great way for them to practice writing descriptive, narrative or persuasive essays. For example, one of everyone’s favorite summertime activities is eating ice cream. Instead of just allowing students to eat the ice cream and move on with the rest of their day, parents could ask students to write a review and to create a poster advertising their favorite ice cream flavor. Another activity could be to ask students to write an essay that would persuade their parents to allow them to have an ice cream party. Another way that students can hone their writing skills is by writing a review of a place that they have visited, such as a restaurant or amusement park.

There are plenty more exercises parents can do with their child to practice other skills. Most businesses have websites that encourage visitors to detail their experiences with their products or services. This gives students real world experience that they can use in the future.  Math skills can be put to work in a fun way by allowing students to help with grocery shopping and budgeting, by computing the price of items after a coupon has been applied.   Instead of relying on a GPS, parents can enlist the help of students by having them read a map and the directions to a particular destination.  For most people summer vacation means fun, and it should be a fun time for students, teachers and parents. However, summer activities should include opportunities for students to work on, hone, and refine academic skills that they will need for success in the upcoming school year. Summertime living can be easy and educational!!!

Angelique Kwabenah
Reading Teacher
The Incarcerated Youth Program

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THIRTEEN SCHOOLS SET TO HAVE EXTENDED SCHOOL DAY TO ‘PROVE WHAT’S POSSIBLE’

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At Neval Thomas Elementary School, Mayor Vincent Gray joined by Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced the winners of the Proving What’s Possible grant funds to encourage innovation and dramatically improve student achievement in public schools.

With 85 percent of the $10 million dollar going to the 40 lowest performing schools in the District, the Chancellor and Mayor are looking to use technology in a creative way, increase STEM education, and foster innovation to heavily increase student academic gains.

But perhaps the most striking among the Proving What’s Possible initiatives, is the extended school day in 13 public schools including CW Harris Elementary, Dunbar High School, Malcom X Elementary School, Kelly Miller Middle School, and Tyler Elementary School.

During the press conference, Chancellor Henderson confirmed that these schools will serve as pilot runs before taking the extended school day system-wide. According to Henderson, parents and teachers are supportive of this initiative and DCPS will work with the Washington Teachers’ Union to ensure compliance with the teachers’ contract.

The push for an extended school day according to Mayor Gray, comes from the inability to complete all education during the normal day. The extended school day will allow for other kinds of learning.

As a DCPS teacher, what do you think of the idea of an extended school day?

Share your thoughts in a comment below, on Facebook or Twitter

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MEET OUR INTERN!

Did you know that more than 20,000 interns come to Washington, D.C. each year? The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) is celebrating its 3rd Annual Intern Appreciation Week!  Washington D.C. interns provide the District with an invaluable amount of time and talent each year. InternsRock! is a way to show appreciation to interns, their hard work and their contributions and here at WTU, we would like to congratulate and show appreciation for our intern LaTasha!

LaTasha T. Mosley
Washington, D.C.
Spelman College
2015; Child Development

What are your responsibilities and duties at WTU?

As a Public Relations and Membership Intern, I am responsible for assisting the department and ensuring that information and news is relayed to the members. This includes but not limited to, posting news regarding teachers, DCPS, and other related news on our blog, ensuring effective communication tools are in place, and helping out in any other way that I can.

Why did you decide to work for WTU?

As a future educator, I wanted to get an in-depth look at what affects our teachers, our school system and  most importantly our students. I believe that working at WTU has allowed me to achieve this goal and more by placing me in a position to see both sides of the spectrum. I am now left to determine how can I indeed help improve education for all students.

What are your career goals?

I aspire to be a reformer of America’s public education system. As a product of DCPS, I have seen too many of my peers fall through the cracks of this system. Knowing that importance of parental improvement, continued enthusiasm for learning and pursuit of higher education, I want all students despite their ethnic background, parent’s income/educational background and extraneous circumstances to pursue higher education and go on to change the world.

What activities are you involved in at school?

I am a member of a community service organization, Sisters Keeping It Real Through Service (SKIRTS) where we stimulate  our school community through hosting various events, panels on controversial issues, and servicing our local community. Also, I am a mentor in our little sister organization, Maintaining Innocence Is Never Impossible of SKIRTS (MINISKIRTS) where I mentor middle school girls at a local middle school on various issue that affect them with hopes of them knowing that each one of them are beautiful, intelligent, and kind young ladies. I hope to join more activities this coming semester.

What else are you doing this summer besides volunteering?

In my spare time, I volunteer at Carroll Manor Rehabilitation Home with the Alzheimer residents. I also am spending as much time as I can with my family and friends while I am home and also my dog, Coco.

POETRY SLAMS HELP STUDENTS BE HEARD

On Saturday June 2, twelve high school poetry slam teams from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia came together for a battle of words at the Inaugural Louder Than a Bomb DMV Youth Poetry Slam.  The competition was fierce and the judging brutal. Only one DC team made it to the finals and that team won 1st place: our own Wilson High School slam team, Motley Society.  Congratulations to Reina Privado, Christopher McFadden-Gooding, Anastasia King, D’Mani Harrison-Porter, Mackenzie Hahn, and Asha Gardner for their excellence in writing and performance and teacher coach/sponsor – Pamela Gardner.

Louder Than a Bomb High School Poetry Slam Festival is an event that was started and has thrived in Chicago for over a decade. The program partnered with the DC Youth Poetry Slam Team, organized by Split This Rock, an organization that explores and celebrates how poetry can act as an agent for change. Jonathan Tucker, the organizer of the DC Youth Slam team, works with teens and teachers from high schools across D.C, Maryland and Virginia to begin poetry clubs to their schools. Tucker acknowledges the effort teams and teachers put in voluntarily to keep the clubs going.

“Students only perform for three minutes and listen the rest of the time,” says Tucker. “They need to listen and understand others who live across the river or outside their neighborhoods.” Another reason DC Youth Poetry Slam teams are successful are their ability to allow students to be valued for their voice, how they speak and what they have to stay. “Often in school, they aren’t valued in that way. Here, they are the boss and they make the rules. It is empowering for young people to have a room full of their peers and adults intently listening to them,” he went on to say.

Submitted by:
Pamela Gardner
Library Media Specialist
Woodrow Wilson High School

For more information on Louder Than a Bomb DMV or the DC Youth Poetry Slam team contact Jonathan Tucker at

Jonathan B. Tucker is a performance poet, facilitator, youth worker/advocate, community organizer and coach of the DC Youth Slam Team. He also works with Teaching for Change and regularly hosts open mics and slams at Busboys and Poets, BloomBars, The Fridge, and other community art spaces in which he also teaches creative writing and performance.

For more information on Motley Society at Wilson High School, contact Pamela Gardner at

Students from Wilson High School performing for the crowd

Also, congratulations to Wilson scholar, Asha Gardner, on being selected as one of six youth poets to represent Washington, DC in the international youth poetry competition – Brave New Voices. Brave New Voices will take place in Berkley California later this year.

Connect with DC Youth Poetry Slam

  • Twitter: @DCYouthSlam
  • Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dcyouthslam

DC PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO REPLACE 18 PRINCIPALS

There are a number of principals leaving DCPS, as the District is replacing 18 of its public school principals, most of whom were hired by former Chancellor Michelle Rhee. DC Public Schools spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz declined to say how many of the 18 principals were retiring, resigning or being fired. The Washington Examiner reported the number of principals turning over in the school system.

  • 2008, 43 principals
  • 2009, 26 principals
  • 2010, 20 principals
  • 2011, 24 principals

A number of the schools facing new principals had their 2011 standardized tests lower compared with the previous year. Full Washington Examiner article here.

*If you are a DCPS teacher, please be sure to complete our principal evaluation form. All ID numbers will remain confidential and entries anonymous.*

Where principals are being replaced next school year
Aiton Elementary School
Ballou STAY High School
Brookland Education Campus at Bunker Hill*
Browne Education Campus*
Cardozo Senior High School
Alice Deal Middle School**
Garfield Elementary School
Garrison Elementary School
Langdon Education Campus*
Moten Elementary School
Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School
Prospect Learning Center
Seaton Elementary School
Shaw Middle School
Walker-Jones Education Campus
Washington Metropolitan High School
Winston Education Campus
H.D. Woodson Senior High School
Note: Current as of 6/5/12
*Ward 5 middle schools are being restructured, but changes are not expected until the 2013-2014 school year. It’s not clear if principal turnover at these schools is related to the new plan.
**Deal’s principal resigned midyear. It is possible the interim principal will continue into next year, so Deal could be removed from the turnover list.

Read more current education news in our Short Reads.

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