Key Takeaways from the SBOE

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Key Takeaways from the SBOE

March 2019

In March, the SBOE continued its important work on teacher retention by welcoming a panel of experts from nonprofits and national associations to testify on best practices in teacher retention and data collection. The State Board is committed to continuing its work on this vital issue and appreciated hearing from experts on how other states and districts handle teacher retention challenges. At our public meeting, we also honored Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, Women’s History Month, and the D.C. high school  basketball championship winners.

Last week, we launched our application period for new Student Representatives and Student Advisory Committee members. Are you a rising sophomore, junior, or senior who wants to make your voice heard on education policy here in the District? Apply today!

Engage with your State Board members on the issues that affect you the most. All students, parents, educators, and community members are invited to provide testimony on education issues at our monthly public meetings. Call us at (202) 741-0888 or email us at to find out how!

Please note that April’s Working Session will be held on Thursday, April 4 at 5 p.m. and April's Public Meeting will be held on April 24 at 5:30 p.m.

2019 SBOE Members

Ruth Wattenberg
President, Ward 3

Markus Batchelor
Vice President, Ward 8

Ashley MacLeay
Emily Gasoi
Ward 1
Jack Jacobson 
Ward 2
Frazier O’Leary
Ward 4
Zachary Parker
Ward 5
Jessica Sutter
Ward 6
Karen Williams
Ward 7

Contact the SBOE

441 4th Street NW
Suite 530S
Washington, DC 20001

(202) 741-0888 (TTY:221)

Teacher Retention

The DC State Board of Education is an independent voice on education for the city’s public school families and residents. District residents expect the State Board to bring their ideas, concerns and needs to the attention of city leaders and especially to the state policymaking process.

Teacher retention is a significant issue in the District of Columbia, and disproportionately so in our highest poverty schools. This month, our panel on teacher retention at our public meeting included experts from non-profits and national associations who testified on best practices, outlining the types of data that are needed and how it can be used to strengthen teacher retention.

Invited panelists included representatives from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), the National School Boards Association (NSBA), and Urban Schools Human Capital Academy (USHCA). The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) also submitted testimony on the topic. The panelists and State Board engaged in discussion that highlighted existing data work in districts in Rhode Island, Indiana, and Mississippi, the importance of peer feedback and mentorship, the impact of teacher evaluation systems, and ways to capture and collect information via exit surveys and stay surveys.

Teacher Retention Panel March 2019

Teacher Retention Panel at March Public Meeting

Watch the Testimony

Apply Today! Serve as Student Representative / Student Advisory Committee Member

The application period for new Student Representatives and members of the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) for SY 2019–20 is now open! We encourage DCPS and public charter high school students who are passionate about their local school community and who desire to represent their peers in the education policymaking process to apply online at The application period will close on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.

Tatiana Robinson 2018

I am proud and honored to be serving my second consecutive term as one of the Student Representatives. This role has provided me with the opportunity to work with District policymakers as it relates to education and public safety, build upon my leadership and public speaking skills, and provided more opportunities for advocacy like serving as the Co-Chair of the Student Advisory Committee and creating a peer-to-peer mentoring program for students across the city.

~ Tatiana Robinson, current SBOE Student Representative and Ballou High School senior

Marjoury Alicea 2019

As a Student Representative, I am the connection between students in the District of Columbia and the policymakers for education. Not only has it given me the opportunity to be an advocate for students, but I am able to connect with my community as well.

~ Marjoury Alicea, current SBOE Student Representative and Capital City Public Charter School senior

President Ruth Wattenberg 2019

Whether they are testifying during a public panel or working together during monthly meetings, Student Representatives and SAC members are fundamental to the work of the SBOE. Our Student Advisory Committee members told us that they and their classmates spent months—in multiple years—in classrooms with substitute teachers who were simply not positioned to provide them the education they needed. They made us aware of this urgent problem. And our policy recommendations will address it.

~ Ruth Wattenberg, Ward 3 Representative and President of the State Board of Education

Apply Today

State Board Resolutions & Bylaws

This month, the State Board approved three items related to the budget and administration of the agency. The first items were a resolution laying out the priorities of the State Board and the adoption of FY2020 budget enhancement requests.

Priorities for research and public input will focus on:

  • Continuing our review on the STAR Framework and related issues
  • The turnover of teachers and principals in D.C. and retention efforts
  • The use of state standards, with a focus on the provision of a rich education in science, social studies, and the arts, especially at the lower grades
  • Credit recovery and the recommendations of the high school graduation requirements task force
  • The review and appropriate revisions of state standards
  • Serving as a voice for D.C. families on key educational issues

The State Board will report on the status of these priorities in its annual report at the end of calendar year 2019. Board members also approved a revision to the State Board’s bylaws that would increase transparency around any possible conflicts of interest. Under the new language, Board members will transparently list their connections to DC-area education organizations on the Board’s website, plus any recusals would be announced prior to every public meeting.

Read the Resolutions

ESSA Task Force

ESSA Task Force March 2019

ESSA Task Force March 2019

In March, the task force heard an update from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) on improvements and additions to the state accountability framework, and continued its work towards developing committee recommendations to submit to the State Board this summer. OSSE plans to use feedback received to set up a system for continuous improvements to the D.C. school report card and STAR framework system, including potential modifications to design and display online. For more information on the work of the task force and copies of minutes and video recordings, please visit

Office of the Student Advocate Releases Student Discipline Guide

District of Columbia Student Discipline Guide

Earlier this week, the Office of the Student Advocate released its District of Columbia Student Discipline Guide, a helpful resource created for students, families, and school staff that explains new rules that all public schools must follow under D.C. law. Developed in partnership with the Every Student, Every Day (ESED) Coalition and the Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education, this guide helps students and families understand their rights and provides a roadmap for how to challenge a disciplinary decision at school.

In September 2018, ESED Coalition began partnering with the Office of the Student Advocate to create a family-friendly “know your rights” resource for parents and families reflecting rights established in the Student Fair Access to School Act of 2018. The law, passed by the D.C. Council in May 2018, limits out-of-school suspension of students in kindergarten through eighth grade to serious safety incidents and bans its utilization in high school for minor offenses. If exclusion becomes necessary, the bill protects a child’s right to an education while they are off premises and requires a plan for the student to successfully return to the classroom.

Each District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) and public charter school must ensure its discipline policy falls in accordance with all relevant D.C. and federal laws. The student discipline guide arms parents and families with the tools to ensure their school is following the new policy. The guide highlights terms to know and breaks down organizational structures families and educators should understand, connecting families and educators to resources that can offer additional support as needed. The District of Columbia Student Discipline Guide can be accessed online and will be available in print within the next few weeks.

Faith Gibson Hubbard 2019

Families often feel alone and overwhelmed when figuring out how to move forward when a school makes a discipline decision impacting their student. We have noticed that families as well as schools are confused about not only the changes the law made to student discipline policies but also what the policy changes mean for their child.

~ Faith Gibson Hubbard, Chief Student Advocate

Serena Hayes 2019

Every day we receive calls from families who don't understand school laws and policies. When we engage with school staff and administrators, we often learn that they too misunderstand the same policies. With a mutual and accurate understanding of new discipline laws, schools and families can better collaborate, as they strive to improve education outcomes for children. Our hope is that the Discipline Guide serves as a vital resource tool for families and schools.

~ Serena M. Hayes, Ombudsman for Public Education

Read the Guide

Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education

Ombudsman Services 2019

The Latest From Our Blog

March Research Roundup

SBOE #EdPolicy Research Roundup

This month, we highlighted two reports that touch on the important issue of teacher and principal retention. One highlights a collaboration between the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and the second was published by the Education Commission of the States (ECS).

Digital Pioneers Academy Visit

A "First Friday" at Digital Pioneers Academy

SBOE staff and Board members Staff visited Digital Pioneers Academy as part of First Fridays—a series of monthly learning tours that spotlight D.C. charter schools. This public charter middle school is the first-ever computer science focused middle school in the District. 

We're Looking for a Summer Policy Fellow

The SBOE seeks an organized and passionate Policy Fellow to assist in the education policy and research needs of the agency. The Policy Fellow will also support the SBOE with its day-to-day operations and by attending community meetings and events. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis through April 30, 2019.

Apply Today

Upcoming Meetings

April Student Advisory Committee Meeting

The Student Advisory Committee (SAC) serves as the voice of students in the State Board’s work. The SAC meets at least once per month, sending a report with recommendations to the State Board each year.


April Working Session

Members of the State Board convene monthly to discuss education policy issues.

April ESSA Task Force Meeting

The SBOE Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Task Force, comprised of education stakeholders and community members from across the District, has met monthly since August 2017. Members collaborate to discuss the District’s ongoing implementation of this federal law and its impact on the local education landscape.

April Working Groups

Working Groups enable members to discuss key issues and focus areas that the State Board has identified as priorities for 2019. The discussions will provide members the opportunity to share thoughts, recommendations, and next steps for the SBOE. All meetings are held at 441 4th St. NW, Suite 530S.

Teacher Retention | April 19 at 10 a.m.
Rich Curriculum | April 22 at 5 p.m.
Research | April 22 at 6:15 p.m. 

Social Studies | April 22 at 7:30 p.m.

April Public Meeting

Make your voice heard! All students, parents, educators, & community members can testify on education issues at every public meeting. Call us (202) 741-0888 or email to sign up! Deadline to sign up is Monday, April 22 at 5 p.m.

SBOE Calendar

OSSE's Fifth Annual Adult College Completion Fair April 6

Are you 18 or older and interested in going to college? Did you start college but were unable to finish? If that’s you, join OSSE for the Fifth Annual Adult College Completion Fair on Saturday, April 6, 2019, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at One Judiciary Square, 441 Fourth St. NW.

Adult Completion Fair

RSVP Today