RSI Corporate - Licensing

State of American Pre-K: New Report Shows 1.5 Million Kids (and 1 in 20 3-Year-Olds) Enrolled

The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie

“One and a half million American children were enrolled in state-funded preschool programs in the 2015–16 school year, a new high, the annual State of Preschool Yearbook found. The District of Columbia was again the top-ranked jurisdiction for enrollment of 3- and 4-year-olds in state-funded preschool programs and for total spending on those programs, according to the report from the National Institute for Early Education Research, which is affiliated with Rutgers University. D.C. in 2008 passed a landmark law guaranteeing universal preschool to students in the city. Most attend programs run out of district and charter schools, where rigorous standards mean the youngest learners are taught by trained educators and programs are funded at high levels.”(more)

D.C. Approves ESSA Accountability Plan That Emphasizes Testing Standards & Transparency

The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie

“Washington, D.C., leaders tonight will consider the city’s final Every Student Succeeds Act plan, previewing fights likely to reoccur across the country as states work toward an early-April deadline for submission to the Department of Education. The plan, written by the office of State Superintendent Hanseul Kang, will come before the nine-member Board of Education, where it will likely pass but not without opposition, primarily over its strong emphasis on test scores. Advocates say the plan is strong: it focuses on student achievement and, responding to community concerns, more heavily weights student growth rates on tests over proficiency. It would rate district and charter schools on the same five-star system — key in a city with a broad school choice movement, universal enrollment, and a lottery system but without an easily understood metric to compare schools now.”(more)

Is it becoming too hard to fail? Schools are shifting toward no-zero grading policies

The Washington Post – Moriah Balingit and Donna St. George

“School districts in the Washington area and across the country are adopting grading practices that make it more difficult for students to flunk classes, that give students opportunities to retake exams or turn in late work, and that discourage or prohibit teachers from giving out zeroes. The policies have stirred debates about the purpose of issuing academic grades and whether they should be used to punish, motivate or purely represent what students have learned in class…Proponents of the changes­ say the new grading systems are more fair and end up being more conducive to learning, encouraging students to catch up when they fall behind rather than just giving up…But many are critical of the shift, arguing that teachers are losing important tools to enforce diligence and prepare students for college and the workplace.”(more)

Privacy Questions Mount After DC Exposes 12,000 Students’ Data

Education News – Grace Smith

“Washington, D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education announced that the private data of approximately 12,000 of the District’s public school students was erroneously uploaded to a website and was accessible to the public for several hours. This information was made known through a memo sent internally, and the children’s data was taken down on the same day, writes Perry Stein for The Washington Press. Education officials said the information was accidentally uploaded to a D.C. Council public Dropbox account before a council hearing on the education department. All of the students are part of the Individualized Education Program in which students with special needs are provided with personalized education plans.”(more)

Is more physical education at school linked to higher student math scores?

The Washington Post – Perry Stein

“The amount of time students spend doing physical activity in school appears to be linked to higher standardized math scores in D.C. schools, according to a new American University study that examined the success of the city’s Healthy Schools Act and found that schools offering more physical activity had significantly better math success…Schools across D.C. struggled to meet those targets for physical education, but those that provided about 90 minutes each week saw higher standardized math scores, according to the report.”(more)

My first years of teaching: How hands-on training helped me hit the ground running

The Hechinger Report – Sarah Fitzpatrick

“WASHINGTON — I’m a second-year special education teacher in District of Columbia Public Schools’ Eastern Senior High School, but unlike many teachers who struggle in their first few years, I’ve felt prepared running my classroom since my first day. I was able to engage my students and positively impact their learning while facing minimal behavior issues. I attribute that to my training with Urban Teachers, a rigorous alternative certification program, where I spent an entire year working in urban classrooms and practicing effective teaching techniques before I become responsible for my own class of students. This was accompanied with hours of individualized, targeted coaching and mentorship to ensure my craft was improving and my kids were getting the education they needed. Only 19 percent of D.C.’s eighth graders are performing at or above proficieny in math and reading. Many of our students come to us from low-income neighborhoods and need teachers that are prepared to improve their learning every single day in the classroom. It’s an excellent education that can propel them to succeed beyond high school.”(more)