Do you have a rising PK3-12th grader for the upcoming school year? Attend the #Ward5EdFair on Saturday, January 28th, from 11AM-3PM to meet with over 30 representatives from local schools in the neighborhood – including DCPS and public charter schools. Learn about the My School DC 2017-18 application process and the range of school options Ward 5 has to offer DC residents. The event is hosted by DC Prep at its Edgewood Elementary Campus, located at 707 Edgewood Street, NE. All families are welcome!
With the 2013-2014 school year just completed, we thought it would 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 holds its monthly meetings every 3rd Tuesday of the month (from September through June) at the Lamond-Riggs Library (5401 South Dakota Ave NE) from 6:30pm until 8pm. Hope you enjoy this interview.
1) What are some of the highlights from W5COE activities this past school year?
This past school year the Ward Five Council on Education (W5COE) worked very closely with our DCPS and charter school partners in Ward 5. We are very proud of the huge strides that we made in nurturing those relationships.
We did so many things last year but to summarize a few of our biggest events from this past year:
1. Our Ward 5 School Fair, which took place in November 2013. We had close to 200 families join us for the fair and we were happy to have over 35 schools represented as well as a host of other agencies and organizations that are resources for parents, students, and families. All of the schools represented at the fair were located in Ward 5.
2. Our program Navigating the DC Education Landscape was another huge success. This program was the last program that we did for the school year and was very well attended – all the seats were filled and there was standing room only. With this program we brought together all of the major education players, organizations and agencies to discuss the role that they play in the education landscape and how they support the needs of students, parents, and families. We hope to continue this area of programming in an effort to help bring some sense of clarity to the confusing education landscape that we have in DC.
2) What upcoming activities do you have planned?
In the 2014-15 school year we have a few activities planned.
First, we will start a monthly series of “Meet our Ward 5 School Leaders.” This series is intended to introduce our DCPS and charter school leaders to our community and spark a community conversation around their vision and leadership for our Ward 5 schools.
Secondly, in November we will host the Ward 5 School Fair again. Last year’s fair was a huge success and we hope to continue to build upon that success and add more partners for this year’s fair.
In addition to the above-mentioned programming, we will also continue our advocacy efforts around the improvement of schools in Ward 5 and citywide. Such efforts have allowed us to work in coalition with a host of citywide and ward specific organizations that are focused on education advocacy in the city. We have also been involved in the student assignment and school boundary review process. We have also been working with the State Board of Education around high school graduation requirements and other education related issues.
Furthermore, we want to continue our efforts in educating our community about the DC education landscape and education issues specific to Ward 5. We are working on programming in this area that we hope to preview in the fall. Parents, students, and all education stakeholders are their own best advocate – we want to support them in being able to do so to the best of their ability.
3) What are some resources available to Ward 5 parents who want to keep their kids academically engaged this summer?
The Public Library’s Summer Reading Program is awesome! You can sign up at any branch or you can do so online.
The Office of the State Superintendent for Education’s office has an awesome website – LearnDC.org – which has many great resources for summer learning and education resources in general.
DCPS also has some options listed on their website as well at http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Beyond+the+Classroom/Summer+School/PK3+through+8th+Grade#2
4) What advice would you give Ward 5 parents trying to navigate DC’s education options?
Navigating the DC education landscape and options can be a really challenging process – hence why we had our program in June on this exact topic. Organizations like ours are able to assist parents in the process, as well as other organizations or entities such as the Ombudsman’s Office, the office of the Parent Advocate, and DC School Reform can also assist parents in navigating the system. OSSE’s LearnDC.org website is a great resource as well as GreatSchools.org. Parents should keep in mind that finding the right school for your child is more than just proficiency of the school – proficiency is only one aspect of many. We, the W5COE, will continue to offer programming to help parents to navigate and better understand the DC education landscape. We will make sure to let you all know when we do our next program on that topic.
5) What are some of the current big issues/trends in the Ward 5 educational landscape?
Currently, the biggest issue going on right now in education citywide is the student assignment and school boundaries review process being conducted by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education. Everyone should be aware of that process and be as involved as they can. This process was last conducted in the late 60s and will have a huge impact of the future of the education landscape.
The second issue that all education stakeholders should be aware of is the mayoral race. Our public schools are under mayoral control and the outcome of this mayoral race will have a lasting impact on the state of our schools. All stakeholders should be paying attention to the race and selecting the candidate that they believe will move not only our city forward in the right direction but also our schools.
6) Any updates on the Brookland Middle School, currently under construction?
At this point I do not have any additional updates but on Wednesday, July 16th, DGS and DCPS will host a community meeting to discuss Brookland Middle and any updates. The meeting will be held at Luke C. Moore Academy from 7-8pm. Thankfully the project is moving along as planned and we do believe that it will be an awesome addition to the community.
The Ward 5 Council on Education (W5COE) is a non profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of education in Ward 5. One of their upcoming events is a Ward 5 School Fair on Saturday, November 16th from 10am until noon. From the W5COE event page:
In Ward 5 we are fortunate to have a variety of great educational options but our community is not as knowledgeable about those options as they should be. The goal of the Ward 5 School Fair is to highlight all of the amazing things that we know all of our Ward 5 schools are doing for our community. This event will give parents and community members the opportunity to see and interact with each of our Ward 5 schools in a more up close and more personal way.
Come find out about all the great things happening at Ward 5 schools, *both
DCPS and Charter*! This event allows parents to explore the education
options available for their children and community members to find ways to
connect with and support schools in their communities!
*Chat with representatives from the following Ward 5 schools:*
Burroughs Education Campus
DC Prep PCS – Edgewood Elementary
Browne Education Campus
DC Prep PCS – Edgewood Middle
KIPP DC – Connect Academy PCS
Langdon Education Campus
KIPP DC – Spring Academy PCS
Wheatley Education Campus
KIPP – Webb Campus
Potomac Lighthouse PCS
Tree of Life PCS
McKinley Technology High
Two Rivers – Young School
Dunbar Senior High
Washington Yu Ying PCS
Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering High
William Doar, Jr. PCS for the Performing Arts
Mamie D. Lee School
Mundo Verde Bilingual PCS
Youth Services Center
*Find out about education priorities and community resources from:*
The fair will be at Dunbar Senior High School (101 N St NW). RSVP for the fair here. If you would like to learn more about this great organization check out our recent interview with Faith Hubbard, President of the of W5COE.
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.
Anyone interested in schools and public space in Brookland has most probably heard about the new Brookland Middle School (BMS) and the issues surrounding its placement near Turkey Thicket recreation center. We caught up with Faith Hubbard, the President of the Ward Five Council on Education (W5COE) and asked her some questions about the organization and the new school.
For the readers unfamiliar withe W5COE, what does your organization do?
The W5COE, a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1989, is dedicated to improving the quality of education in Ward 5 schools. The W5COE 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 DCPS, OSSE, the DME, 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 deserves. The W5COE also serves as an outreach platform for our Ward 5 Councilmember and Ward 5 State Board of Education Representative to keep the public current on education issues and we work very closely with those representatives as well.
What is the vision (academic and otherwise) for the new BMS?
Middle schoolers are being educated in Ward 5 at our education campuses, but they are being under educated. In an assessment that was done by the W5COE a few years ago it was noted that our Ward 5 middle grade students were not receiving the basics that could help them to move on not only to the best high schools in the city but also just to high school period. Our middle grade students were not receiving lab sciences, foreign languages, pre-Algebra or Algebra (as math options), and the list goes on. Although some academic issues might have been remedied to a degree, our middle grade students are still not getting the level of education that they deserve.
The vision for Brookland Middle and McKinley Middle was to fill in that gap. The specific vision for Brookland Middle is not only to be a state of the art middle school where our Ward 5 students can get the level of education that they deserve and to prepare them for high school, but to be an arts and world languages school. This academic focus will be in addition to the rigorous curriculum that the students will receive – the conversation has been around having the arts and world languages component to be more of an integrated approach so that students would be able to make connections across subjects.
Although the hope is to open the doors of Brookland Middle in 2014, we all know that getting the school to the point where it is a model middle school, like Alice Deal or Hardy will take time but it is possible, and our students deserve the possibility! Our role is to support and nurture that possibility and hold DCPS accountable in making that happen.
Speaking specifically in terms of the BMS and its physical proximity to Turkey Thicket, you mentioned that the concept pictured below is your preferred option. Why is that?
This is my preferred option because I feel that it gives the community everything that we are looking for and it give us the ability to grow when the time comes. The location of both properties so close to each other will also be of value to not only the two entities but also the the community as well. The middle school would be able to use certain amenities at Turkey Thicket and vice versa. This rendering will also alleviate some of the traffic issues that many raised with locating the school on 10th St. and it will also provide a safe pick up and drop off area for students.
Personally, I feel that having the school in that location will benefit the new middle school in many ways. I places the school closer to metro, which is good for students who will need to take the bus or the train. Also, academically this rendering would be able to ensure that Brookland Middle will be state of the art with all of the amenities that a middle school needs. Not to mention, having a state of the art middle school in that location would really beautiful that block and work nicely with the plans that DPR has for modernizing Turkey Thicket.
Although this rendering is my personal preference, I feel that it is important to still work through this process with the Brookland School Improvement Team and the community to ensure that the right selection, or rendering, is made for what is best for the community. I must also note that there are other rendering options as well. It is good that this conversation has been sparked and that we can have this conversation openly and deliberate on that option that will be best for Brookland and our Ward 5 community at large.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
If people are interested in learning more about this matter (BMS and Turkey Thicket), we will discuss it at our monthly meeting – which this month we are doing in conjunction with the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association – on Tuesday, March 19th from 6:30-8pm at the Lamond-Riggs Library at 5401 South Dakota Ave. NE. We hope that you will join us. We will have a representative from DGS there to discuss where we are in the process and take questions. We are also working with our councilmember on another community meeting so please stay tuned for that information.
How can interested readers keep up with the W5COE?