With the 2014-2015 school year just underway, we thought it be a good time to check in with Faith Hubbard, President of the of the Ward 5 Council on Education (W5COE). We would like to thank her for her time and detailed responses to our questions. The W5COE will have its next meeting on Tuesday, September 17th at the Lamond-Riggs Library (5401 South Dakota Ave NE) from 6:30pm until 8pm. Right now is a great time to get involved!
1) For readers who are unfamiliar with W5COE, could you describe what the organization does?
The Ward Five Council on Education, a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1989, is dedicated to improving the quality of education in Ward 5 Schools in the Northeast quadrant of Washington, DC. The Council provides a forum for parents, citizens, students, educators, elected officials and other stakeholders to share their views and resolve issues surrounding our schools. We work closely with the District of Columbia Public Schools, the Office of the State Superintendent of Schools, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, as well as other relevant education organizations, to ensure that the quality of public schools – both traditional and charter – in Ward 5 is exactly what our Ward 5 students, parents, and community at large deserve. The W5COE also serves as an outreach platform for our Ward 5 Councilmember and Ward 5 State School Board Representative to keep the public current on education issues.
2) Do you have any updates/status on the future Brookland Middle school?
Yes, the plans for Brookland Middle School are moving forward and it appears that DGS is engaging the community, as they should. There will not be another school improvement team meeting or community meeting until September 24th. DGS is working on razing (tearing down) the existing school, which is a promising sign. About a month ago, the exterior design of the school was shared with the community and school improvement team. The design is beautiful, and we do believe that it will be a great asset to the entire community. Over the next few months, the interior design will continue to take shape and we will share that information with the community as it is shared with us.
3) What are the major issues in education for Ward 5 at this time?
The overall quality of education and educational options in Ward 5 is an issue that persists. Although this issues persists, there are encouraging signs that we are making huge strides forward and there is evidence of that with the improvement in District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS) score, new leadership at the helm of several schools, and facilities improvements.
Other issues include:
- Under enrollment of several Ward 5 schools
- Facility modernizations for numerous Ward 5 schools
- Access to resources – quality libraries and other curriculum needs
- School Feeder Patterns and Boundary changes – more information will be forthcoming about these conversations, which will be not only Ward specific but also citywide. We will make sure to share opportunities to be a part of this conversation.
4) How can parents get involved with W5COE and help make our local schools stronger in general?
Parents and community members can get involved with the W5COE by attending our meetings or engaging with us through various social media outlets – our website, our Facebook page, or our Twitter page. Also, beyond just coming to our W5COE meetings or events, parents and community members can also be engaged in making our local schools stronger by being a part of the larger citywide conversation about education. This can be done by attending events that we make sure to post on our email listserv or on our Facebook page but also by being engaged the narrative of education through testifying at public hearings around various education topics, questioning our elected officials about education, and being supportive of our local schools in any way that they can (i.e. Beautification Day, volunteering and etc.). We try to make sure that we keep the Ward 5 community abreast of all of these opportunities and conversations.
5) Anything you want to add?
We have so many awesome things planned for this year and we look forward to sharing those opportunities very soon. We are always open to ideas and suggestions and urge the community to reach out at any time. Thanks so much for this opportunity.