Key Takeaways from the SBOE

District of Columbia State Board of Education

 Key Takeaways 

May 3, 2018


Credit Recovery

During this month’s working session, the SBOE welcomed representatives from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for a discussion about credit recovery regulations in District public schools. This session followed our panel in April, which included Dr. Jordan Rickles, Principal Researcher, American Institutes for Research and Jennifer Zinth, High School & STEM Director, Education Commission of the States. Members were presented with and asked questions about best practices regarding credit recovery around the country and how we can ensure that it is being used in the best way here in the District of Columbia.

The SBOE and OSSE have expressed interest in creating statewide guidelines for credit recovery. This spring/summer, the Board will work closely with OSSE to pass statewide credit recovery guidelines to ensure students are adequately supported and the use of these courses is not further abused.

OSSE Timeline for Credit Recovery

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#DCGradReqs Task Force

High School Grad Task Force April 2018
Task force members at the final meeting

Our SBOE #DCGradReqs Task Force held its final meeting on Wednesday, April 25. Catch up on all of the action by watching the replay here. Members made final recommendations regarding personalized learning plans, community service hours and mastery in math and foreign language and reviewed the format and timeline of our final recommendations report.

To close the meeting, co-chairs Laura Wilson Phelan (Ward 1) and Markus Batchelor (Ward 8) thanked members for their participation and for bringing their unique perspectives. The final version of the recommendations report is inclusive of the majority and minority opinions that emerged during the course of the task force.

A final draft report was presented to the State Board this Wednesday, May 2, at our working session. At the Board’s May 16 public meeting, SBOE members will vote to formally accept the report. If the report is accepted, the Board can request that OSSE transform the recommendations into regulatory language to make the thoughtful recommendations of this representative group of stakeholders a lasting part of the way we support students toward graduation and life after high school.

We urge you to continue making your voice heard by emailing or by filling out our online form here. We also encourage you to join our Facebook discussion group here to share your voice with the community.

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Ombudsman Quarterly Report

Ombudsman Quarter 3 Report 2018

Joyanna Smith, Ombudsman for Public Education, presented the Quarter 3 Report for her office’s work helping District families during this month’s working session. Top issues the team dealt with include special education, school environment and school discipline. The Ombudsman and her team are responsible for helping students and parents resolve problems as they engage with the District of Columbia Public Schools and public charter schools. The Office offers conflict resolution services to parents, families, and students and is committed to resolving school related complaints, disputes and problems quickly and efficiently in all areas that affect student learning.

For more information about the office’s work, visit If you have questions or need help, you can call 202-741-0886 or email

Read the Report

Student Advocate at National Conference

The Office of the Student Advocate is proud to be presenting about equitable family engagement in policy at the 2018 Community Schools National Forum from May 2-4, 2018 in Baltimore, MD. They will highlight their family partnership model and discuss the impact that lack of parent and family voice, access, and power has in policy construction.

Recently, the office hosted its Special Education “Know Your Rights” Workshop Series in Ward 6 in conjunction with Councilmember Charles Allen, State Board Ward 6 Representative Joe Weedon, and the Capitol Hill Public School Parents Organization (CHPSPO).

In addition to the special education series, the office also hosted its first Citywide Bullying Prevention Workshop with DC’s Office of Human Rights Citywide Youth Bullying Prevention Program. The success of both events is due in part to the interagency relationships and community partnerships the office has worked to establish to serve families in a more intentional and comprehensive way.

For more information about the office’s outreach and engagement efforts, head over to If you have questions or concerns about public education in DC, give the office a call at 202-741-4692 or email

OSA Community Event 2018
Community members at OSA Ward 6 special education event

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ESSA Task Force

On Tuesday May 1, the ESSA Task Force met for its tenth meeting since August 2017. Representatives from OSSE updated task force members on the design of the new citywide school report card. To design a report card tool that’s helpful for parents and families, we need your help! To collect feedback, we encourage you to take OSSE’s online survey by this Friday, May 4. You can also help spread the word to your networks by sharing the survey or hosting an in-person session using an engagement toolkit. All of the materials you need to host a successful session are available on the OSSE website. The report card is an important part of DC’s responsibilities under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and will debut in December 2018.

Task force members also learned more about the recently held Family Engagement Summit in Baltimore, MD. A team spearheaded by ESSA Task Force Chair Dr. Lannette Woodruff attended the U.S. Department of Education's Family Engagement Summit in Baltimore, MD last month. The Summit convened teachers, family members, and other school and community stakeholders to share best practices and action plans to benefit students and schools. The Summit was application only, and SBOE was chosen for submitting a proposal that outlined ways to amplify parent power and inform families in Wards 7 and 8 about the ESSA plan and the new school report card. Task Force member Maya Martin, Executive Director for Parents Amplifying Voices in Education (PAVE), served on the Summit team alongside Sharona Robinson, Community Action Team Coordinator Wards 7 & 8 for DC Public Schools, Melissa Bryant, Director of Culture at DC Scholars, and Cassi Zeledon, Kindergarten Individualized Learning Specialist for Rocketship Public Charter School.

Check out the meetings materials here. The Task Force next meets on Tuesday, June 5.

ESSA Task Force May 2018
Task force members during this month’s meeting

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DPR & DCPL Summer Activities Update

During our April Meeting, the SBOE welcomed Themba Masimini, Deputy Director of Programs from the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Kimberly Zablud, Director of Public Services and Ellen Riordan, Assistant Director, Youth & Family Services, from the District of Columbia Public Libraries to provide an update on summer activity offerings across the District.

Want to learn more about enriching summer opportunities for your young person at DC recreation centers and local libraries? Visit, or the Summer Strong DC website at


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SBOE in the Community

Spring has officially sprung for State Board members! This past month, the members of the Board participated in and attended enlightening and fascinating events around the District.

  • Ashley (At-Large) read to students at Cedar Tree Academy as part of the Read Across DC Campaign.
  • Ruth (Ward 3) braved the cold and attended the Nationals opening day game.
  • Similarly, Joe (Ward 6) attended opening day… for the Capitol Hill Little League!
  • Lannette (Ward 4) met Redskins players Anthony Lanier II (DL) and Jeremy Sprinkle (TE) at LaSalle-Backus’ ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new library!
  • Markus (Ward 8) hosted a talk with DCPS Interim Deputy Mayor for Education Ahnna Smith during his monthly “Meet with Markus” discussion.
  • Laura (Ward 1) attended a live conversation between local DC philanthropist David Rubenstein and Mayor Muriel Bowser.
  • Karen (Ward 7) and Ashley (At-Large) attended the Every Day Counts event at Eclectic Cafe in Ward 7.

The State Board also had the opportunity to visit two schools around the District in April.

  • Ashley (At-Large), Ruth (Ward 3), and members of the SBOE staff toured Jefferson Middle School Academy in early April.
  • Joe (Ward 6), Ruth (Ward 3), and members of the SBOE staff and Ombudsman's Office toured Seaton Elementary school in mid-April.

The State Board looks forward to continuing our engagement with the community throughout the month of May!

Karen & Ashley at Every Day Counts!
President Karen Williams and At-Large Representative Ashley Carter at Every Day Counts! Summit

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