Key Takeaways from the SBOE

District of Columbia State Board of Education

Key Takeaways

March 1, 2018

#DCGradReqs Task Force Update

#DCGradReqs Mtg 02-28-2018
#DCGradReqs task force members participate in group discussion

Our SBOE #DCGradReqs Task Force resumed its important work reviewing the District’s high school graduation requirements, meeting on February 13th and February 28th. Community members are encouraged to make their voices heard in the discussions related to graduation requirements through our other forums.

Key Takeaways

  • Task force members discussed their reactions to the final Alvarez & Marsal report
  • Groups broke out to discuss the impact of the report on the work of the task force
  • Members agreed the best path forward for the group was to focus on and explore possible policy solutions / statutes that help LEAs better prepare students for high school, graduation, college, and career
  • Members discussed current policies that may be barriers to success for students, educators, schools and LEAs.

We encourage you to make your voice heard in the following ways:

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February Ceremonial Resolutions

On February 21st, the State Board honored the teachers, administrators, staff, and schools who won the 2018 DC Public Schools Standing Ovation and Rubenstein awards. Every year, the education community joins together to celebrate top DCPS educators committed to excellence for all students.

Ward 5 representative Mark Jones introduced a ceremonial resolution recognizing Peggy Cooper Cafritz who passed away on February 18th. Peggy Cooper Cafritz, a longtime Ward 3 resident, philanthropist and community leader, had a tremendous influence on public education in the District of Columbia. In 1974, she co-founded the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a public high school serving District students with a unique dual curriculum combining college-preparatory academics with specialized arts instruction. A tireless civil rights activist, she served as the District of Columbia Board of Education President from 2001 to 2007.

Part of the role of the State Board is to be the conduit from the community to the government. SBOE members welcome the opportunity to recognize the outstanding hard work of schools and community members during public meetings.

SBOE February Ceremonial Resolution

Read the Resolutions

Office of the Ombudsman Releases Quarters 1 and 2 Report

The Office of the Ombudsman recently presented to the Board an update of work completed over quarters 1 and 2. Notable updates include a shift of the bulk of casework to full-time trained staff, acceptance of fewer cases to ensure high quality service, and the application of lessons learned from individual casework to more deeply engage in systemic work to improve learning for all students. The office's systemic analysis focused on systemic issues that homeless families face when they first enter the system in order to enroll and exclusionary practices such as school discipline measures which serve as a barrier to access for some of our most vulnerable families. The report also synthesizes expert testimony for the Fair Access to School Act of 2017, which focused on issues related to autonomy, implementation, impact, and school climate.


Read the Report

Office of the Student Advocate Releases Quarters 1 and 2 Report

The Office of the Student Advocate recently released its School Year 2017-18 Quarters 1 and 2 Report, providing an in-depth look into the office’s work from August until January. This year, the office has expanded the categories for data collection to capture Requests for Assistance by ward of residence, school ward, and race.

The report also introduced the Parent & Family Go-To Guide, now available on its website. The guide is a collection of resources designed to help families navigate the public education system in DC with topic areas ranging from achievement/testing to enrollment.

If you have questions or concerns about public education in DC, give the office a call at (202) 741-4692 or email

Office of the Student Advocate Logo

Read the Report

SBOE in the Community

Even though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow at the beginning of the month, and six more weeks of winter were predicted, the SBOE Board members have been active in attending many events across the District during the month of February.

Joe Weedon (Ward 6), Laura Wilson Phelan (Ward 1), and Markus Batchelor (Ward 8) attended the Standing Ovation awards ceremony, honoring DCPS students, faculty, and staff for their accomplishments during the 2017 calendar year. Karen Williams (Ward 7) and Markus Batchelor (Ward 8) attended a community meeting held at Ballou High School, to address the attendance issues impacting DC schools

Earlier this week, Ward 3 representative Ruth Wattenberg, Ward 4 representative Lannette Woodruff and SBOE staff visited the new campus of DC International School. The group was welcomed by Principal Simon Rodberg and taken on tours of the building by pairs of student ambassadors. The SBOE team was able to sit down for a roundtable discussion with Principal Rodberg, Ms. Deirdre Bailey, Assistant Principal, Allison Sandusky, the Director of Student Culture and Lauren Games, the Communications Associate.

Laura Wilson Phelan 02-2018

Joe Weedon 02-2018

Markus Batchelor 02-2018

DCI School 02-2018
Door Decoration at DCI School

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