Our Sincere Condolences
The members and leaders of the WTU send their sincere condolences to the family, friends and schoolmates of Coolidge High School senior Kaelia Minor who was killed on October 17. Our hearts go out to all of those impacted by this senseless tragedy.
WTU Regional Field Meetings are Back!
Need help knowing and
Have issues and concerns
about LEAP and/or IMPACT?
Union Leaders, would you like
to know how you can receive
all of your dues back at
the end of the year?
Interested in becoming more
active with your union?
DON'T MISS THIS!
Tuesday, October 25
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Meet up with our field team
at any of the below locations:
General Vice President, Jacqueline Pogue Lyons @Whittier EC
Devin Nixon @Deal Middle School
Charles Moore @Simon
Rejil Solis @Luke Moore Academy
ALL MEMBERS INVITED!
The DC City Council's Committee on Education will hold a Public Hearing on
At-Risk Funding for Public Schools on Thursday, October 27 at 10am.
The hearing will be held in room 412 of the Wilson Building (14th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW). Those who wish to testify may sign-up HERE or call the Committee on Education at (202) 724-8061 by 5 pm on Tuesday, October 25.
State Board of Ed to
discuss education equity, residency verification
The DC State Board of Education (SBOE) will hold its
monthly public meeting on October 26, 2016
at 5:30 p.m. in Room 412 of the Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
The Offices of the Ombudsman and Student Advocate will release annual reports summarizing their work with District families. The Ombudsman will provide recommendations to ensure education equity for students with disabilities, provide a positive school climate to care for our at-risk students, and support our homeless, disconnected, and food-insecure students.
The State Board will also continue its work on revising regulations related to residency verification. At the meeting, OSSE will provide context on the current practices for residency verification, and information on the new regulations and practices OSSE has proposed.
Individuals and representatives of organizations who wish to comment at a public meeting are asked to call (202) 741-0888 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals should provide their names, addresses, telephone numbers, and organizational affiliation, if any, by the close of business the Monday prior to the meeting.
to keep abreast of the latest national and regional education news
Our website features important and informative WTU and DCPS forms/ documents.
Check them out!
ooking for a Career Opportunity?
to View the DCPS Vacancy List for 2016-17
Your union and its leaders are
working hard on your behalf. Stay abreast of the latest WTU events, activities an news at the new and improved WTU Facebook page.
@WTUTeacher is growing!
Collaboration is in the best interest
our schools and our students
Elizabeth A. Davis
Dear WTU members,
Earlier this week, the "State of DC Public Schools" event was held at Roosevelt High School. The occasion gave DCPS an opportunity to highlight some of our school system's outstanding programs, teachers and students. I found the event encouraging and uplifting--and was pleased to see so many WTU members in attendance.
The "State of DC Public Schools" event was hosted by Interim School Chancellor John Davis. Interim
Chancellor Davis and I met recently to discuss how we might collaborate on behalf of our schools, our students, and our teachers and other school staff. We agreed to meet regularly to continue that dialogue.
I'm excited about the possibility of forging a close working relationship with the interim chancellor.
There is much to be done if we're going to address such pressing issues as closing the achievement gap, reducing teacher turnover, and ensuring that teachers, especially new teachers, have access to experienced mentors and quality professional development.
During my first monthly meeting with Interim Chancellor Davis, I informed him that we must make negotiating a new contract for the District's 4,800 hard-working teachers a priority. Only two issues remain to be settled and I'm sure that, if both sides commit to negotiating in good faith, we can reach a settlement that is good for students and fair to teachers.
The WTU is also eager to work with the interim chancellor and other DCPS staff on resolving the problems associated with the school system's new LEAP initiative--and the impact it's having on the important work that you do everyday in your classroom. Teachers from across the city continue to contact the union to share their frustration with LEAP. We hear you! At both our September and October Representative Assembly meetings, which are open to all members, we invited DCPS representatives to listen to our members concerns and to tell us what's being done to address the problems with LEAP.
In this e-newsletter, you'll be provided information about IMPACT Essential Practices that we hope you'll find helpful, as well a petition requiring a full-time nurse in every DC school. Your union has joined with the DC Nurses Association on this petition drive because we believe its time for us to put the health of our children first. I urge you to sign the PETITION.
Finally, on November 8, we'll have an opportunity to go to the polls and elect candidates who will stand up for public education and working people. There's clear choice in the presidential election where our national union--the American Federation of Teachers--has endorsed Hillary Clinton. I hope you will join us in supporting her.
Next week, the WTU will send out its recommendations for candidates running for D.C. City Council and the State Board of Education. These individuals also deserve your support and vote.
If you'd really like to be proactive this election season, I suggest that you join me and other WTU members at an AFL-CIO phone bank on Mon., Nov. 7, 5-7pm. Our participation in this important phone bank is being organized by the WTU's Committee on Political Education (COPE). More information is below. You can register to participate HERE.
lizabeth A. Davis
"Walk-In" highlights improvements
at Ketcham Elementary
Event at southeast DC school is part
of a nationwide movement
Led by the WTU, staff, students and parents at Ketcham Elementary School in southeast Washington, DC, held a "Walk-In" on Oct. 6 to spotlight
the tremendous improvements the school has made in test scores and school climate
The "Walk-In" at Ketcham was part of a nationwide event organized by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS). "
These 'Walk-Ins' help connect local struggles for educational justice and funding equity with a national movement for the public schools all our students deserve," Washington Teachers' Union President Elizabeth Davis said.
"Yes, we've raised test scores" here at Ketcham Elementary School, said Principal Maisha Riddlesprigger. "But what I'm most proud of is our student satisfaction rate and that our families are having a positive school experience here at Ketcham."
AFT Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker was on hand to salute Ketcham. "We are reclaiming our schools and we look forward to working with all of you to make sure that all of our students have the schools they deserve," Ricker said.
"What's needed is equity. Every child needs good teachers, nurses, social workers" and other essential school staff."
Sarah Baraba, the school's WTU building representative, was thrilled that Ketcham was chosen for the Walk-In. "We have a lot to celebrate in the realm of academic achievement, but we still have a long way to go," she said.
Riddlesprigger said she was "excited that the WTU is here to celebrate all of the hard work that our teachers are doing."
"None of our success that we've had would be possible without the collaboration we have here at Ketcham Elementary School," she added.
Information on IMPACT
Essential Practices is Available Online
Seeking more information and guidance around the new IMPACT Essential Practices rubric? The DCPS IMPACT team has created a series of EP modules for teachers to gain a deeper understanding of each of the essential practice domains. To access the site, follow the link in the paragraph below to get to the aligndcps platform. Login information can also be accessed below.
Explore the Essential Practices - Online Modules Now Available for Teachers
New teacher-facing modules (derived from the align evaluator training modules) are now available! Teachers can explore the new rubric, see videos of DCPS classrooms in action, and consider how each Essential Practice promotes best practice. To access the modules, direct your teachers to the align platform at aligndcps.com.
Login information for each school can be found here. With questions please contact the IMPACT team at 202.719.6553 or impact.DCPS@dc.gov with any questions.
The hyperlink takes you to a GOOGLE Doc and you need to enter your DCPS GOOGLE email address to proceed.
WTU hosts Student Debt Clinic for members
Pres. Davis's City Council testifies on student loan servicing
On October 19, the
WTU hosted a Student Debt Clinic that was attended by close to 50 DCPS teachers. The clinic provided information on how to enroll in Income-Driven Repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
The next day, Oct. 20, the DC City Council held a hearing to examine the
oversight of student loan servicers in the District. WTU President Davis sent testimony to the hearing where she told the following story about the union's clinic:
"Before the clinic ended, one teacher test drove the instructions shared during the clinic by going to one of the websites shared by the facilitator and putting in her debt data. She could not wait to report to the facilitator and other participants that after putting in the prescribed data, she went from paying $477 a month to $71 a month while sitting in the course room. Stories from participants who were placed in default by NelNet with no notice, and more were shared, and these stories were incredibly powerful for confirming the need for this legislation being proposed by the city council."
In her written remarks, President Davis told the City Council that the WTU "has established a
Student Debt Taskforce to design and facilitate Student Debt clinics, train members to become Student Debt Clinic facilitators and serve as a bargaining committee for student debt support in the District."
Read Pres. Davis's full remarks
"School Choice" is debated during
taping of "The Roland Martin Show"
WTU President Davis is among the panelists
"School choice" is often a hotly debated topic. That was certainly true on Oct. 5 when "The Roland Martin Show" came to DC to tape a program entitled "Is School Choice the Black Choice."
The show will air next on Fri., Oct. 22 at 7 and 8 am.
The taping took place on the campus of Howard University and featured a panel that included WTU President Elizabeth Davis, NAACP Washington Bureau Director Hilary Shelton, former WTU president George Parker, Steve Perry, the principal of a charter school in Connecticut, and Rudy Crew, the former superintendent of schools in New York City and Dade County, Florida.
The focus of the debate was traditional public schools versus charter schools. Those on the pro-charter school side attempted to paint these schools as a silver-bullet for what ails public education. That was rebutted, however, by panelists who pointed out that, despite the rhetoric, many charter schools are not doing a particularly good job of educating kids.
"One-third of our children are being left behind and that's true with traditional schools and charter schools," Crew said. "A choice between a nonperforming charter school and a nonperforming traditional school is no choice."
The NAACP's Shelton said that his organization's chief problem with charter schools is the lack of oversight and the large number of uncertified teachers employed by these schools.
"Charter schools are siphoning off public dollars but do not want the oversight and accountability that should come with those dollars," said WTU President Davis, who noted that charter school's often cherry-pick their students.
Speaking from the audience, Fed Ingram, an American Federation of Teachers vice president, said we should reinvest in neighborhood schools rather than condemn them.
"Reinvest in those schools, reinvest in those teachers and reinvest in those kids."
Speakers on both sides of the debate agreed that the real issue is ensuring that all kids go to a quality school with highly qualified teachers.
"We should have quality walkable schools in every community," Davis asserted. These schools, she said, should have wraparound services that address the health, social and emotional needs of kids and families" as well as a strong academic program.
NAACP resolution calls for
moratorium on charter schools
A resolution passed this week by the NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, calls for a moratorium on charter schools. The resolution points out, among other things, that
"charter schools have contributed to the increased segregation rather than diverse integration of our public school system" and "weak oversight of charter schools puts students and communities at risk of harm, public funds at risk of being wasted, and further erodes local control of public education."
The resolution criticizes the privatization of public schools and says that "charter schools with privately appointed boards do not represent the public yet make decisions about how public funds are spent." The resolution also singles out "differential enrollment practices that violate protections of student rights for public schooling."
"This whole notion that charter schools are uniformly excellent, and therefore that people don't even get to raise the question, is simply not the case," says NAACP President Cornell William Brooks.
"If the point of some is for parents and citizens to be grateful and silent, that's not a particularly democratic response," he said. "People can be grateful for good schools but also critical in terms of what can be done better."
Read more HERE
Nurses, teachers demand
full-time nurses in DC Schools
The District of Columbia Nurses Association (DCNA) announced its support this week for legislation requiring a full-time nurse in every school.
Current DC law only requires a school nurse in every school for 20 hours per week and DCNA is worried that funding cuts by DC government could lead to even fewer nurses.
"It is time for the District to put the health of the children first," said Washington Teachers Union President Elizabeth Davis. "They deserve it."
"The nurse is the first line of defense for the health of school children," said Robin Burns, CSS/DCNA Chairperson, noting that school nurses monitor asthma, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Citing recent student deaths in the Philadelphia school system, Burns, a RN, warned that
"we cannot have this happen in the District" and urged those concerned to sign this PETITION.
Join WTU COPE for #GOTV night and #Decision2016 Phone Banking on Nov. 7
Help labor-endorsed candidates for elected office this fall by signing up to phone bank with the AFL-CIO on Monday, November 7th from 5-7 PM at 815 16th St NW.
We're trying to get a big turnout of WTU members that day so please make plans to join us. Do your part to make history before election day! The more the merrier, so bring your friends!
to register for the phone bank
All WTU volunteers receive a free tee-shirt!
October is National Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer risks, the value of screening and early detection, and treatment options available to women and men who are diagnosed with one of the many forms of breast cancer.
Awareness Month and National
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time when survivors and advocates come together to raise awareness about the ways this type of abuse affects individuals, families, communities and society as a whole.
Here are some resources for Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Outstanding Mathematics and
Science Teachers Honored
Two DCPS teachers are among the award recipients
President Obama recently named 213 mathematics and science teachers as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Two of the recipients are Kristina Kellogg, who teaches at math at Watkins Elementary School, and Michael Mangiaracina, a science teacher at Brent Elementary School.
Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process at the state level.
Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion, and are invited to Washington, DC, for an awards ceremony, as well educational and celebratory events, and visits with members of the Administration.