DC Prep Students Participate in National Walkout Day

On March 14th, DC Prep students lent their voices and actions to National Walkout Day, participating in a series of activities and lessons to advocate for action on gun control and gun violence across the country.

Given the importance of this issue to our students’ safety, and as a tool to underscore the value and potential impact of students advocating for important issues, DC Prep campuses coordinated brief walkouts or teach-ins as deemed appropriate for the age level of our students.

At Benning Middle and Edgewood Middle, the community conducted a scheduled walk out, incorporating student speeches and signs created during their advisory periods. All elementary campuses conducted a “teach-in” as an alternative way to show support, addressing the topic of kindness with lesson plans written by our clinical team.

We also recognize that while the shootings like the one in Florida are tragic, for our students, the issue of gun violence is also directly tied to their safe passage to and from school. In the past year, there have been shootings near some of our students while they were at track practice at the Edgewood Recreation Center, as well as those which happened at 16th and V SE in January during the school day, and others. These events tend to get little attention or response from our city or national officials. In our March 14 demonstrations, we worked to make the connection between some of our students’ experiences and the national debate.

DC Prep stands with our students in demanding progress on gun control. Our children deserve safe communities, and we believe it is time everyone takes steps to make that possible. It is time to listen.

Education Leaders Release Joint Statement on President Trump’s FY19 Budget Proposal

DC Prep has joined a number of other education organizations in releasing the following statement on President Trump’s FY19 budget proposal.

“We also want to underscore the importance of increases to higher education funding for first-generation college students. We are grateful that the President’s budget request maintains the overall investment and maximum grant award for Pell Grants, however this amount still represents a small fraction of the average college tuition in the US. We also applaud that the President’s budget proposes common sense policy changes to modernize the Federal Work-Study by more closely targeting these funds to Pell-eligible students and ensuring that opportunities are career or academically relevant. And at the same time, we are concerned with funding cuts proposed to the Federal Work-Study program which prevent these much-needed reforms from being fully utilized by those same students. As the budget process moves forward we urge Congress to strengthen both programs through increased investment critical for ensuring that students from underrepresented backgrounds have a fair shot at a college degree.”

To read the full statement, click here.

DC Education Leaders Urge Administration to Protect El Salvador Families

DC Prep joins countless education leaders from the nation’s capital in calling for the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Trump Administration, to reverse a decision to end Temporary Protected Status for 200,000 Salvadoran families.

As leaders of schools in the District of Columbia, we value all of our staff, students and families. We value their diverse backgrounds, cultures, and voices and their contributions to our school community. Many students in our schools have been here for 12 years or more and many are citizens since they were born here. The District of Columbia is the only home many of them have ever known. While El Salvador may have recovered from the earthquakes, it is ridden with gangs and violence and has one of the highest homicide levels in the world. Returning families to this unsafe environment is inhumane and is not indicative of what the United States stands for.

To read the full letter, click here.

Meet DC Prep’s Enrollment Team at EdFEST 2017

Save the Date: Saturday, December 9th – 11AM-3PM

DC Prep is participating in EdFEST 2017. The event, sponsored by My School DC, officially kicks off the 2018-19 school year enrollment cycle. On Saturday, December 9th, from 11AM-3PM at the DC Armory our Enrollment Team will distribute information about the application and enrollment processes in the upcoming academic year, and answer questions about DC Prep’s award-winning educational model across all five campuses in Edgewood (Ward 5), Benning (Ward 7), and Anacostia (Ward 8).

This year’s EdFEST will take place just days before the official citywide 2018-19 school year application launches on Monday, December 11th. Stop by the DC Prep table to learn more about enrolling your child at DC Prep – the highest-performing network of public charter schools citywide for the past six years!

For information about EdFest, click here. For more information on DC Prep’s enrollment cycle for the upcoming school year, click here.

2017 DC Public Charter School Board Performance Management Framework Results

Today, the DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB) released 2017 Performance Management Framework (PMF) results for charter schools. The reports offer a comprehensive overview of public charter schools in the city – measuring performance on a variety of indicators including test scores, attendance, and re-enrollment rates, among others – and serve as a resource for families. PMFs score each school between 0-100, placing the school in one of three performance tiers. Tier 1 are top-performing schools, Tier 2 are mid-performing, and Tier 3 are low-performing. 

In the 2017 PMFs, DC Prep’s Edgewood Middle and Elementary Campuses, Benning Elementary Campus, and Anacostia Elementary Campus (AEC) were designated Tier 1. Of special note, AEC achieved Tier 1 status in its first year of being scored.* Benning Middle Campus (BMC) missed the Tier 1 cut-off by six points and was designated Tier 2 for 2017; BMC is doing excellent work and we remain confident that performance this year will result in 2018 Tier 1 status. Looking ahead, we have more to do, including accelerating academic growth for all of our students.

To view DC Prep’s official PMF reports, and to see PCSB rankings for other charter schools citywide, click here.

*PMFs are not calculated for Year 1 schools – 2017 is AEC’s inaugural year of PMF eligibility.

DC Education Leaders Stand Together Against Hate

In the wake of recent tragic events in Charlottesville, DC Prep Principals proudly joined DC Mayor Bowser, Deputy Mayor for Education, leaders from the Public Charter School Board, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and DC Public Schools in cosigning this letter taking a stand against hate – in any form.

“As educators, it is not only our responsibility to develop students academically, but also to help them grapple with the world around them. It is our hope that we can use these events to have deep and productive conversations about inclusion and respect so that everyone in our schools feels loved, valued, and supported.

We stand in solidarity, as one city of educators, against the idea that any human being is less valuable because of the color of their skin, the language they speak, the religion they practice, or any other aspect of their identity.”

To read the full letter, click here.

PrepNext Expands Summer Academy Program

By: Eileen Ortega-Carcamo
DC Prep Class of 2012
Banneker Academic High School Class of 2016
The Catholic University of America Class of 2020

DC Prep’s PrepNext alumni support team recently hosted the third-annual Summer Academy Program over six weeks at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Summer Academy has doubled from its inaugural year in 2015 to serve 55 rising high school freshmen through seniors in partnership with the Summer Youth Employment Program, to provide academic and cultural enrichment for alums in their journey to college.

Summer Academy is also an opportunity for the PrepNext team to connect further with their alumni students, cultivate their work ethics, and help them understand the importance of post-secondary education and college planning.

Throughout the summer, students took a variety of morning academic and afternoon elective courses connected to a timely “Social Justice” theme. Students were also divided and assigned to specific classes tailored to their individual needs:

  • High School Seminar participants worked to develop advocacy, leadership and organizational skills for a positive transition into high school.
  • College Seminar focused on future college preparations, as well as the admissions and financial aid processes. Students met with a college admissions counselor and experienced a mock version of application review and selection. Current post-secondary alums also served on a panel to answer rising juniors’ and seniors’ questions about the college experience.
  • ACT Prep helped rising juniors and seniors strengthen their subject knowledge to prepare for the required standardized test.

Electives for this year’s Summer Academy students included literature, coding, criminal justice, college writing, study skills, Critical Exposure (a photography class in partnership with a local DC organization), and hip hop and step (taught by a DC Prep alum). Gallaudet University’s student lounge provided a space for sponsored after hours for students to interact and enjoy ping-pong, pool, video game competitions, and foosball tournaments.

Summer Academy also provided students with the chance to log community service hours, through volunteering at three local organizations: Bread for the City, DC Central Kitchen, and Central Union Mission. Additionally, students toured NOVA Community College at the Alexandria campus to learn more about alternative college paths, financial affordability, admissions, and academics.

As a program capstone, Summer Academy students, staff, and families gathered for a final presentation that showcased student work throughout the course of the summer’s session. Moving performances included slam poetry, hip/hop and step dance routines choreographed by alums, presentations on college seminar findings, and high school seminar interest and advocacy proposals. In addition, there was a gallery walk featuring student photography special projects.

To view an expanded set of Summer Academy photos, click here.

DC Prep Celebrates the Class of 2017

DC Prep honored the Class of 2017 tonight at a graduation ceremony filled with proud families, friends, team members, and alumni of the Edgewood Middle Campus. In keeping with DC Prep’s tradition, 100% of this year’s graduates have been accepted by college-prep high schools. Among the schools the Class of 2017 will be attending are: Banneker, Georgetown Prep, National Cathedral School, St. Albans, School Without Walls, Sidwell Friends School, and Woodberry Forest.

The graduation ceremony, held at The Catholic University of America’s Hartke Theatre, included student remarks by Jianni Woodson-Brooks and Poet Laureate J’yona Calloway* as well as an address by Tawfiq Abdul-Karim, a Class of 2009 alum.

The 8th grade graduates also honored Malik Shelton – a classmate who died in 2013 – by awarding him an honorary DC Prep diploma and presenting his family with a plant the class has nurtured in his memory, year after year.

Additionally, DC Prep alumni distributed the following awards to the graduates:

  • The Eakin Leadership Award (Named for founding Board Members Lindsay and Terry Eakin, presented to the student demonstrating outstanding leadership while at DC Prep): Malik Holley
  • The Principal’s Academic Award (Given to the class valedictorian, with the highest overall GPA): Peniel Ouabo
  • The Reverend Robinson Community Contribution Award (Named for founding DC Prep Board Member, Reverend Donald E. Robinson, given to student who contributes to the DC Prep community both in and beyond the classroom): Portia Oparaocha
  • The Inaugural Determination Award (Named for President and Chief Academic Officer Katie Severn, for a student displaying tremendous grit, perseverance, and personal character): Ana Onofre
  • The Founder’s Award (DC Prep’s highest honor, named for founder Emily Lawson, given to a student who best exemplifies a combination of all three objectives of DC Prep’s mission – academics, character, and leadership): Ever Torres

Congratulations to DC Prep’s Class of 2017!