Posted tagged ‘education’

Gardeners! Mark Your Calendars for Mighty Greens’ Spring Seedling Sale

April 10, 2017

City Blossoms — a nonprofit dedicated to fostering healthy communities by developing creative, kid-driven green spaces and innovative resources — announced an upcoming seedling sale called Mighty Greens that local gardeners may want to check out. Mighty Greens is a youth-led cooperative business run by students from Cardozo Education Campus and Eastern Senior High School. Mighty Greens combines garden-education with business skills to prepare students for possible next-level careers and job-readiness. Students maintain garden spaces, grow seedlings and produce added-value products, then selling those products and produce back to their communities. There is an information sheet about Mighty Greens  below.

Mighty Greens is hosting an upcoming seedling sale and weekly farmer’s market in our neighborhood! All of the money they earn through sales goes back into their pockets and into maintaining and growing their business. They are currently growing spring (kale, collards, swiss chard, lettuce), summer (peppers, tomatoes, basil, cilantro) and flower (calendula, marigolds, zinnias) seedlings.

Spring Seedling Sale:

  • Saturday April 15th (10-1pm) at the Girard Children’s Community Garden (1480 Girard Street, NW)

The students at Cardozo Education Campus will also be holding a weekly farmer’s market, selling both seedlings and fresh produce:

  • Wednesday April 26th–Wednesday May 31st (3:30-5:30pm) at Cardozo Education Campus (corner of 13th and Clifton)

This is a great opportunity to get a start on your annual gardening and support our local students.

 

New Crowd-Funding Resource for Supporters of Bruce-Monroe @ Park View

September 15, 2015

Guest post from Sarah Sorscher:

bmpv funding imageI wanted to share a new crowd-funding resource with the Park View community that allows parents, community members, and supporters of education everywhere to fund classrooms at Park View’s local elementary school, Bruce-Monroe Elementary at Park View.

Teachers at BMPV cannot solicit donations directly from parents because of federal regulations meant to protect low-income families from being asked to pay added costs when attending school. But these teachers have many deserving ideas for projects, field-trips, and other resource-intensive activities. Often, teachers pay out-of-pocket to make these ideas possible.

Now there is a new crowd-funding resource available to BMPV teachers: adoptaclassroom.org. The current projects for BMPV teachers are listed below. Please consider donating to a worthy local teacher as a way to support our neighborhood school.

Maribel Bravo’s Classroom

Grade(s) Pre-K

Need Pre-K, early learning

Luis Pozo-Lin’s Classroom

Grade(s) 2nd Grade

Need Literacy, reading materials

Jenna Paoletti’s Classroom

Subject Music

Need Arts and music education

Jaytzanie Rivera Andino’s Classroom

Grade(s) Kindergarten

Need Pre-K, early learning

Marlen Joglar’s Classroom

Grade(s) Pre-K

Need Pre-K, early learning

Talking Education with Laura Wilson Phelan

February 2, 2015

Yesterday our Ward 1 representative to the State Board of Education, Laura Wilson Phelan, hosted a community meeting to discuss education priorities with residents. The meeting was held at Bloombars on 11th Street and began at 3 p.m.

Laura Wilson Phelan(Laura talking to neighbors during the meeting)

There were about 15 or so residents at the meeting, including ANC Commissioners Kent Boese (1A08), Rashida Brown (1A10), and Frank Agbro (1D01).  The meeting began with Wilson Phelan having each attendee write their most pressing educational concern on a piece of paper, which was then posted so that all could read what everyone had written. Based on these ideas, there were three central themes that arose.

  • Organizational and physical challenges,
  • Arts and education; and,
  • Language immersion education.

After recognizing these areas of interest, the meeting members broke out into separate groups to discuss 1 and 3 year goals within each and then reported back to the whole.

It was a very interesting meeting with a lot of good ideas. Among the topics shared where concerns about disparities between public and charter schools, the need to re-integrate communities with their local public schools, the value of the arts to education, and the need for more language immersion schools and their value to education as a whole.

Along the lines of building stronger community-school relationships, I shared how valuable it is to find opportunities for each group to interact with the other to build a strong community-wide advocacy group for each school. While this can be done by identifying community and school leaders who regularly meet, I believe there is also value in developing shared programs such as community plays, concerts, or festivals where those living in the neighborhood get to experience and share in the successes of local schools and know first hand both the progress and challenges that schools are facing.

While time didn’t allow for drilling deeply into the issues raised, it was an excellent beginning for Wilson Phelan. She set a strong precedent for what I’m sure will be a sustained collaborative approach to finding opportunities to advance education in D.C.

Laura Wilson Phelan meeting

 

Best Bird Houses in Columbia Heights (1921)

January 22, 2015

Wilson Normal bird houses

In revisiting the photo collections at the Library of Congress, I found the gem above. The photograph was taken on the afternoon of January 20, 1921, and shows a member from the American Forestry Association with children who were awarded blue ribbons for building  bird houses. The photo captures the event located on the western side of the Wilson Normal School. Today, the school is known as the Carlos Rosario public charter school and the location where the children are standing is part of the parking lot.

The construction of bird houses by the students was part of the week-long tree work exhibition at the Wilson Normal School which opened on Monday, January 17th, and ended on Friday, January 21st. While the exhibition had a large educational focus, the general public were encouraged to participate. In additional to the birdhouses and other pupil activities, the event included exhibits of trees, their diseases, insect destroyers, furniture of all kinds and essays on tree values.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the American Forestry Association was engaged in a nationwide referendum to determine what tree best represented America. Selecting the right tree was difficult. President Wilson weighed in during the survey stating that he was “quite unable to choose amongst the infinite variety and richness of American forests.”

The overwhelming result of the referendum among Washington school children was that the national tree should be the oak. D.C. children cast 7,004 votes for the oak – nearly twice as many as cast for the nearest competitor, the elm.

The entire vote breakdown in D.C. from school children in the 1921 American Forestry Association referendum follows:

  • Oak, 7,004;
  • Elm, 3,765;
  • Pine, 1,355;
  • Sugar maple, 1,392;
  • Apple, 1,145;
  • Hickory, 1,060;
  • Dogwood, 619;
  • Tulip, 328;
  • Walnut, 273;
  • Sycamore, 108; and,
  • Various others, 36.

Currently, the national tree of the United States is the Oak, which was chosen in 2004.

National Tree ballot

Scott Simpson: Candidate for the Ward 1 State Board of Education

October 14, 2014
Laura Wilson Phelan, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education (image from campaign Web site)

Scott Simpson, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education (image from campaign Web site)

The fifth and last in the series featuring candidates for Ward 1 State Board of Education is Scott Simpson. You can learn more about Simpson at his campaign Web site here.

Here are the questions each candidate received along with Scott’s answers:

Q: Which Ward 1 neighborhood do you live in?

A: I live in LeDroit Park.

Q: How long have you lived in D.C.?

A: I’ve been a D.C. resident for 12 years.

Q: Why did you decide to become a candidate for the Ward 1 Member of the State Board of Education?

A: I’m running because I want to help make sure our school reform efforts continue and are inclusive. I’m a professional civil rights and education advocate who can give students a representative on the State Board of Education who can navigate the bureaucracy of our education system to get things done, who can provide proper oversight to schools, and can push for the reforms that increase access to a quality education for all students –regardless of their identity, life circumstance, or zip code.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish on the State Board of Education?

A: It’s imperative that the next member of the State Board of Education view the role as an independent education advocate for students and constituents. I would champion greater community engagement from schools and the school system, more supports for teachers, greater access to meaningful data about student achievement, and reforms to ensure that disadvantaged students have access to the resources they’re entitled to under the law.   Our school reforms are working, but not for all students, we need an advocate to make sure that all students benefit from our progress.

Q: How does your professional and/or life experience make you a good candidate for the State Board of Education, and how will it help you be a successful Member of the Board?

A: I’ve volunteered thousands of hours with D.C. youth and understand how some students have had to trek across the city for a quality education or suffer with inadequate access to support services and the resources needed to thrive.

My first job in D.C. was at a youth center working directly with teenagers every day. I worked my way through career college and now I’m a professional education and civil rights advocate at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

My education advocacy at the state and national level has helped to narrow resource disparities in low-income schools, has promoted access to science and math learning, and has helped promote equity in the distribution of qualified teachers.

I’m the only candidate that offers this experience with D.C. students and the know-how to navigate the bureaucracy of our education system.

Q: Is this your first bid for elected office? If not, please describe other elected positions you’ve held, briefly note your accomplishments, and describe how the community benefited by your advocacy.

A: I’m one of the few candidates who has not run for another office. It’s important that the person who serves Ward One on the State Board of Education be interested in the job, not on other political ambitions.

Q: Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

A: I’m the only candidate in this race who has been a consistent presence at the State Board of Education for the past year, who has studied the office at almost every meeting, and who has taken an active interest in the job. I already understand how to make a difference on the SBOE and will put that experience to work on behalf of the District.

You can learn more at www.SimpsonforSchools.org or at http://www.twitter.com/ScottSimpson202. You can also email me directly at Scott (at) simpsonforschools.org.

Laura Wilson Phelan: Candidate for the Ward 1 State Board of Education

October 10, 2014
Lillian Perdomo, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education (image from campaign Web site)

Laura Wilson Phelan, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education (image from campaign Web site)

The fourth in this series featuring candidates for Ward 1 State Board of Education is Laura Wilson Phelan. You can learn more about Phelan at her campaign Web site here or follow her on Twitter at @LWilsonPhelan

Here are the questions each candidate received along with Laura’s answers:

Q: Which Ward 1 neighborhood do you live in?

A: My husband, Michael, and I live in Mt. Pleasant with our twin four-year-old daughters, Grace and Lily.

Q: How long have you lived in D.C.?

A: I have lived in DC for 11 years.

Q: Why did you decide to become a candidate for the Ward 1 Member of the State Board of Education?

A: As a parent, former teacher, and lifelong education advocate, I understand first-hand the challenges facing our parents, teachers, school leaders and students as we work to create the best possible schools for our children.

I have four-year-old twin daughters, Grace and Lily, who attend DC schools. I understand the anxiety of negotiating the city’s lottery system and the difficult choices parents have to make when choosing the best possible education their children.

I started my education career as a bilingual middle school teacher in one of our nation’s toughest schools. I have experienced directly the impact of district policies on educational outcomes for students. As a teacher, I often wished my elected officials had been classroom teachers themselves so that they could better understand the actual impact of their decisions on students, teachers and school leadership.

As a lifelong education advocate, I witnessed the incredible progress that occurs when families and teachers partner with one another to help students learn.   I have led the start up and growth of an education non-profit that focuses on building leadership in education and helping students get the support they need to be successful in life. Today, I am the chief operating officer of a DC non-profit that coaches teachers and principals on how to create strong relationships with families at 30 schools across the city, including four here in Ward 1.

And as a former elected official in Mt. Pleasant, I know how to bring communities together to solve problems.

Now, I am running for school board to bring all those experiences together to improve Ward 1 schools. Our schools have made many improvements, but we still have a ways to go to reach the goal of an excellent education for all.   I have a vision and plan for how to tap the tremendous potential of our families, community members, educators, and elected officials to make rapid progress on the issues facing Ward 1 schools.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish on the State Board of Education?

A: I have personally knocked on over 1,000 doors across the Ward, and my campaign team has knocked on close to 8,000 doors at the time of writing this. I have listened to the concerns and ideas of voters and incorporated their thoughts into my vision.

My ultimate goal as a member of the State Board of Education is to generate measurable progress in ensuring Ward 1 schools meet the academic and social needs of every child. I will have considered my time on the State Board successful if the following is true at the end of my four-year term:

  1. Ward 1 elementary schools improve their results so that children are reading, writing and performing math on grade-level with at least 15% performing above grade-level.
  2. Ward 1 is home to cutting-edge middle school and high schools to which all parents are excited to send their children.
  3. Parents have clearer, well-rounded measures for judging a school’s performance beyond test results, such as teacher turnover and family engagement.
  4. The District has more accurate ways of measuring the progress of students enrolled in bilingual schools, where the emphasis is on reading and writing fluency in two languages.
  5. Families, community members, and school principals are organized and working together on tasks that lead to better academic and social outcomes for all children in our schools.

Q: How does your professional and/or life experience make you a good candidate for the State Board of Education, and how will it help you be a successful Member of the Board?

A: I grew up in poverty as one of 13 children. My father instilled in us a sense that we could accomplish anything we set our minds to with a strong work ethic. He also ensured that we went to great public schools, which set me up for success in college and later in life.

I am very grateful for the fortune of my upbringing and have devoted my life to ensuring that others whose circumstances are less fortunate have equal opportunities in life.

I started my career as a bilingual middle school teacher in one of our nation’s toughest schools and went on to teach high school in the Peace Corps and adult education to recent immigrants. After earning my master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School, I worked in the executive and legislative branches of our federal government to ensure our tax dollars were well-spent to produce meaningful outcomes for those most in need. I have led the start up and growth of an education non-profit that focuses on building leadership in education and helping students get the support they need to be successful in life. Today, I am the chief operating officer of a DC non-profit that coaches teachers and principals on how to create strong relationships with families at 30 schools across the city, including four here in Ward 1.

Beyond my professional credentials, I have demonstrated my personal investment in our public schools and the Ward 1 community. I served as an ANC commissioner in Mt. Pleasant where I helped secure repairs to a neighborhood alley and improved bike safety. I currently serve on the Local School Advisory Team for Bancroft Elementary and played a leading role in developing a community-driven five-year plan to improve results for students. I also serve on the board of Thrive DC in Ward 1, which serves homeless individuals and families.

I have four-year-old twin daughters, Grace and Lily, who attend DC schools, and I understand the anxiety of negotiating the city’s lottery system and the difficult choices parents have to make when choosing the best possible education their children.

All of these experiences have provided me with deep knowledge of the needs of children in our schools to make informed policy decisions on the State Board. I understand first-hand the challenges facing our parents, teachers, school leaders and students and will not need to climb a steep learning curve to begin making progress on the issues facing Ward 1 schools.

Q: Is this your first bid for elected office? If not, please describe other elected positions you’ve held, briefly note your accomplishments, and describe how the community benefited by your advocacy.

A: I previously served as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, representing single member district 1D in Mt. Pleasant from 2010 to 2012. As Commissioner, I played a supporting role in completing the rehabilitation of the Mt. Pleasant Library, strengthening the customer base of our local businesses through outdoor seating, and supporting constituents in their individual neighborhood’s needs. I also played a leading role in getting repairs made to an alley and improving bike safety. I developed a newsletter for residents that I regularly distributed to keep them informed of ANC activities. The community benefited from my efforts through an improved library facility, safer and cleaner alley ways, and safer biking on Mt. Pleasant Street. The community also benefited by my advocacy in cutting through red tape, getting them answers to their questions, and receiving pro-active communications about matters relevant to their community.

Q: Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

A: I believe in possibilities and the potential of our children. I am an avid listener, responsive, and committed to improving our schools. I am a practitioner of collaboration who believes that we, as a community, are part of the solution to improving our schools, and that together we will create the change we want to see. I have begun the work of bringing us together already by building “The Coalition” – an alliance of parents and community members who have committed to helping to improve our schools. I have also met with principals, PTA presidents, and community leaders to hear their ideas and brainstorm solutions about the challenges facing our schools. If you have ideas about what can be done to improve our schools, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. My email address is lauradcschoolboard (at) gmail.com. You may learn more about me on my website, www.lauradcschoolboard.com. Thank you!

Lillian Perdomo: Candidate for the Ward 1 State Board of Education

October 9, 2014
Lillian Perdomo, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education

Lillian Perdomo, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education

Continuing the series featuring candidates for Ward 1 State Board of Education is Lillian Perdomo. You can learn more about the candidate at her campaign Web site here or on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter at @yesforlillian

Here are the questions each candidate received along with Lillian’s answers:

Q: Which Ward 1 neighborhood do you live in?

A: I live in Mount Pleasant with my husband, David Chulick, my 16-year-old daughter, Amanda (a DCPS Ward One, Senior High School student), our dog, Oliver, and our cat, Juliet.

Q: How long have you lived in D.C.?

A: I have lived in DC for a total of 28 years; in Ward One for 16 years.

Q: Why did you decide to become a candidate for the Ward 1 Member of the State Board of Education?

A: Aside from my unshakeable belief that our students have a fundamental right to attend quality schools, my decision to run for the DC State Board of Education is driven by a strong conviction that it is morally wrong that so many of our students are not reaching their full potential. I know that Ward One students have immense potential regardless of their background. In addition, I am uniquely qualified to take on this task because of my first-hand long-term knowledge of the school system—both its strengths and weaknesses— as a parent, an educator, and as an advocate on behalf of children and their parents. I also find encouragement in knowing that the majority of us constituents are fed up with the status quo, and that we are at a turning point, for which we all must come together to do what it takes for Better Schools and Student Success.

I experienced firsthand the challenges that our communities face to be assured access to a quality education. My various perspectives include over 25 years of community organizing and advocating for DC children and families, including 9 years as an educational not-for-profit executive, five years as an educator in Ward One public schools, a parent, a PTA co-chair, and now, also, a grandparent of a Pre-K student. This past summer I coordinated the afterschool, Summer Arts Program at Bruce Monroe E. S.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish on the State Board of Education?

A: For over 25 years, through my experience in the schools, I have actively listened to a multiplicity of stakeholders, and have seen programs and strategies come and go. Unfortunately none of these initiatives has been effective in tackling our largest issue, which is the achievement gap for low income minority populations that make up 85% of our student body.

For example, the demographics of Ward One are 47% African American students and 47% Hispanic /Latino students, and according to the DC CAS there has been a drop in reading achievement of 2% for African American students and 6% for English as a Second Language students. To reach their full potential our students must be provided with the fundamental right to attend quality schools. These quality schools must possess the ability to guide our students to become successful lifelong learners through challenging, hands-on instruction that relates to the students’ life experiences. My platform is simple.   I plan to press for better schools and stronger communities with my CAN DO strategy:

Community Schools — Provide coordinated services to least-advantaged students and families.

Accountable Schools — Ensure OSSE oversight of federal and local mandates and civil rights requirements for educating high-poverty, special education and English language learner students.

Neighborhood Schools — Assure quality schools closest to where children live.

Dynamic Schools — Create ideal learning environments with more STEAM science, technology, engineering, the arts and math integration.

Opportunity Centers — Secure college and career development assistance for youth.

Q: How does your professional and/or life experience make you a good candidate for the State Board of Education, and how will it help you be a successful Member of the Board?

A: Like virtually every parent and grandparent, I want to ensure equitable access and excellent education for my family.  However, I have also lived in the world of the least advantaged, both as a student and a parent.  I know what it takes to reach and adequately serve low-income communities that often are isolated and face many challenges because I myself have faced those harsh realities in my own life. As a child in El Salvador, I faced personal, familial, and political turmoil.  In the United States, in search of freedoms not awarded in my home country, I survived loneliness, near homelessness, language and cultural barriers, sexual harassment, unpaid child labor, and having to work instead of attending school — while every day dealing with fear for my family’s safety in El Salvador. All of these dreadful experiences give me the understanding of the pain and struggles that many of our DCPS families face every day.

But I also know what it is to triumph. Despite great obstacles, I eventually graduated from high school, overcame domestic violence, and raised my child despite being a single mother in extreme poverty, all the while facing serious health issues. With the support of many good people in DC, I met these challenges and have thrived.

I also understand the importance of education. Even though I was unable to go to college right after graduating from high school in 1986, ten years later, in 1996, I graduated from college with a B.A. in Public Affairs from Trinity University in DC. Education undeniably opened the doors to becoming a life-long learner and to opportunities that my parents never had. Upon graduating, I worked as a Parent Coordinator for the Superintendent of DCPS, provided technical support, and implemented trainings for administrators, staff, and parent leaders, and spearheaded advocacy efforts to support parent involvement in education. In my position as staff member to Committee Chair Schwarz on the Committee on Local, Regional and Federal Affairs, I was responsible for: preparing the Chairperson for Committee hearings and meetings, both at the Council and in Congress; monitoring and drafting legislation; overseeing and recommending budgets for agencies; and analyzing and preparing reports at the Council of the District of Columbia. I made a special effort to ensure that I covered every hearing on education and that the Chairperson would hold a hearing on the issues. I chose to do this work because I wanted to ensure that others had access to the same opportunities I did.

Since then, I have continued to work tirelessly for the community. As a contractor in the U.S. Justice Department, I developed policy recommendations on Violence Against Women Issues. For nearly 10 years, I was a founding board member and first Executive Director of Multicultural Community Services, where I implemented language, youth development, civic engagement and parent involvement programs, for hundreds of parents and youth.  In Ward One, I led community integration, by offering interpretation services, interpreter training and coalition building. In all of these aspects of my work, involvement with DC Public Schools and breaking through the isolation of English Language Learners from the English speaking communities were at the forefront of my efforts. The schools were where I could reach both students and parents to work together to improve education as well as the quality of the lives they lived.

I became fascinated by the democratic process and have been involved in national, state and local elections since.  I have developed many valuable relationships with the public in Ward One, and with elected and appointed officials throughout DC.  Through these relationships, I will work to improve DC Public Schools, foster collaboration with those schools not under the purview of the State Board of Education, and bridge gaps so as to ensure that together we work to provide a quality education for all of our children.

Q: Is this your first bid for elected office? If not, please describe other elected positions you’ve held, briefly note your accomplishments, and describe how the community benefited by your advocacy.

A: I have been elected to the board of the DC Latino Caucus.  From there I was elected to represent the DC Latino Caucus before the DC Democratic State Committee.  Then, I won election to the Democratic State Committee as an Ex-Officio Member.  Through all these positions, I sought to help DC residents least able to help themselves. It is easier for majority groups to get their points across or to represent their issues, but I feel that I have been able to gain the respect of the members of this committees and I am able to get involved with issues that allowed communities that don’t always participate in the democratic process to have a voice and a vote.

Also, I ran unsuccessfully in 2008 for the State Board of Education position and learned many things along the way. For example, I discovered that running for office is a very demanding and time consuming endeavor, and one that I needed to invest lots of time in to be successful. I am currently not doing any consulting work, but concentrating on running a winning campaign. In early 2014, I decided that my family life and my work as a consultant would permit me to follow my passion of running to be able to promote quality education for our Ward One children in the District of Columbia.

In 2012, I was elected to represent DC at the 2014 National Democratic Convention in Charlotte NC. . In that position, I helped assure full Latino participation in the election of President Obama.

Q: Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

A: I excel at listening, and I am open minded.  These skills will be particularly valuable on the DC Board of Education — where collaboration rather than the exercise of power is essential.


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