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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

7 Things You Should Know About...Blogging

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative's (ELI's) "7 Things You Should Know About..." series provides concise information on emerging learning practices and technologies. Each brief focuses on a single practice or technology and describes what it is, how it works, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning. Use ELI's "7 Things You Should Know About..." briefs for a no-jargon, quick overview, either for yourself or for colleagues who are pressed for time.

Video Blogging

A videoblog, or vlog, is a Web log (blog) that primarily utilizes video rather than text or audio. Videoblogging offers a richer experience than text blogging by combining movies, sound, still images, and text. New technologies make images and video easy to produce, so anyone with a digital camera or camera-equipped cell phone and Internet access can create a vlog. Based on the popularity of blogs and podcasts, and growing access to video tools, videoblogging is likely to increase in popularity among faculty and students. The ability to easily create video segments and quickly post them online makes videoblogs a potential tool for recording lectures, special events, and so forth. Videoblogs can also be used for personal __expression and reflection. As a result, they are being incorporated into e-portfolios and presentations. The use of videoblogs for digital storytelling may be one way to encourage strong student participation in e-portfolio projects. More>>


Wikis are Web pages that can be viewed and modified by anyone with a Web browser and Internet access. Described as a composition system, a discussion medium, and a repository, wikis support asynchronous communication and group collaboration online. Their inherent simplicity gives students direct access to their content, which is crucial in group editing or other collaborative activities. Their versioning capability allows them to illustrate the evolution of thought processes as students interact with a site and its contents. Wikis are also being used as e-portfolios, highlighting their utility as a tool for collection and reflection. They may be the easiest, most effective Web-based collaboration tool in any instructional portfolio. More>>


"Podcasting" refers to any software and hardware combination that permits automatic downloading of audio files to an MP3 player for listening at the user's convenience. Part of the appeal of podcasting is the ease with which audio content can be created, distributed, and downloaded from the Web. Barriers to adoption and costs are minimal, and the tools to implement podcasts are simple and affordable. Podcasting allows education to become more portable than ever before, giving educators another way to meet today's students where they live and learn—on the Internet and on audio players. More>>


Interaction and engagement are often limited by class size and human dynamics (a few students may dominate the conversation while most avoid interaction). Interaction and engagement, both important learning principles, can be facilitated with clickers. Clickers can also facilitate discipline-specific discussions, small work-group cooperation, and student-student interactions. Clickers-plus well—designed questions-provide an easy-to-implement mechanism for enhancing interaction. Clicker technology enables more effective, more efficient, and more engaging education. More>>

Social Bookmarking

"7 Things You Should Know About... Social Bookmarking" addresses a community-or social-approach to identifying and organizing information on the Web. Social bookmarking involves saving bookmarks one would normally make in a Web browser to a public Web site and "tagging" them with keywords. The community-driven, keyword-based classifications, known as "folksonomies," may change how we store and find information online. More>>

Thanks to Danilo Baylen Ed.D (TL, Florida Writing Project) for disseminating this information though the National Writing Project Tech Liaisons listserve


Students Find Errors in Schedules

By V. Dion HaynesWashington
Post Staff WriterWednesday,
August 31, 2005; B01

A number of returning D.C. secondary school students have found mistakes in their class schedules, a situation that school officials attributed yesterday to the conversion to a new computer system.

Some students, for example, were assigned courses they already had taken or were not placed in courses they need to graduate. But officials said the problems are not as serious as last year, when hundreds of students at Eastern Senior High School in Northeast Washington were turned away on opening day because their schedules had not been completed. Eastern's principal and two other officials were fired immediately over that incident.
About 5 percent of the student schedules at the secondary level were affected by this year's glitches, said the school system's chief accountability officer, Meria J. Carstarphen.

Maria Tukeva, principal of Bell Multicultural Senior High School in Northwest Washington and assistant superintendent for senior high schools, said all the scheduling problems should be cleared up by today.
"Scheduling is real complicated at the high school level. It's the most complex jigsaw puzzle you'll encounter," Tukeva said, adding that the majority of scheduling problems involved student transfers.

Last year's class schedules at Eastern were not completed on time because administrators had trouble entering data into a computer. This year, administrators at Eastern and other high schools used a new computer system but again encountered data-entry problems.

"If you're someone who learned how to do schedules on the old system, it's a learning curve," Tukeva said. "Your speed in doing it might be affected."

At Woodson Senior High in Northeast, "some students had schedules that didn't include all the courses they wanted to take," Principal Aona Jefferson said yesterday. "Students that failed a class had to make sure they had the right class."

Nathan Saunders, vice president of the Washington Teachers' Union, said union leaders have been helping officials at a few schools try to work out the kinks.

School officials are "aggressively tackling the problem," Saunders said. "That's a difference from the past."
In correcting the problems, Carstarphen said, "We made people go back and check it not once, but twice and three times."

The new computer system, called D.C. STARS, is designed to handle a variety of data, including records on attendance and grades, which previously were compiled by hand. The system ultimately will be used to calculate graduation and dropout rates based on following a ninth-grade class over four years and determining how many of the students stayed and how many left, a method that experts say is best. Currently, the school system determines the rates based on the number of students who stay and leave during a one-year period.

Mark Roy, a community member of the school restructuring team at Eastern, said students and administrators at the school were frustrated by this year's scheduling problems.

"STARS was billed as a Lexus," Roy said. "You look at it -- this ain't nothing but a Hyundai."
Despite the glitches, school officials said they prefer the new system.

"It's easy to manipulate and it's Web-based," Jefferson said, adding that the problems can be attributed more to people's failure to enter information correctly rather than to a defect in the computer program.
"I really like STARS," Jefferson said. "We just need more practice on it."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

DC SAT Scores Lowest In Nation

By Tarron Lively
Published August 31, 2005

The Class of 2005 in the District had the lowest overall average SAT score in the country, while its counterparts in Maryland and Virginia remained steady in the verbal and math sections, test scores released yesterday by the College Board show.

D.C. high schools had the lowest overall average score -- 968, according to the College Board, which owns and administers the SAT. Maryland stayed steady at last year's total of 1026, while Virginia's cumulative score was 1030, up six points from last year. The national average was 1028, up two points from last year. The highest possible score is 1600.

Among the states nationally, Iowa had the highest cumulative score with 1204, followed by Illinois with 1200 and North Dakota with 1195. Georgia and South Carolina each had the lowest score of 993. The District's score of 968 was up from 965 last year. The average verbal score was 490 out of a possible 800 points, up a point from 489 last year. The average math score was 478, up from 476 the previous year.

The national average verbal score was 508, and the average math score was 520. D.C. school officials would not comment yesterday, saying they were analyzing the scores. Most local jurisdictions had not received their data from the College Board yesterday or received it too late for officials to properly review it and comment. Students in Virginia achieved the largest math increase in the country.

The average math score was 514, a five point increase from last year. The average verbal score was 516, up from 515 the previous year. "Virginia is producing students who are confident of their academic abilities and are better prepared for college," said state Superintendent Jo Lynne DeMary. "Students who 10 years ago might not have taken the SAT I or [Advanced Placement] courses are now reaching higher."

Students in Maryland held solid across the board, with its math and verbal averages unchanged from last year, at 511 in the verbal section and 515 in the math section, test scores showed. The averages for graduating black students are up since last year, officials said. The average verbal score increased four points to 434, while the math score increased three points to 426. Nearly 17 percent more black students took the SAT than last year, and black students accounted for 24 percent of students who took the test.

"We are seeing the results of our intense effort to close achievement gaps, particularly between our African-American and white students," said state Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick. About 1.48 million students took the SAT. The Class of 2005 earned the highest-ever marks on the math section. Though the 2-point gain from last year was modest, the latest scores are part of a 25-year trend of gradual improvement. Nevertheless, significant gaps between racial groups remain.

"These results provide further evidence that we as a nation must do more to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for college and the workplace," said U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. "While I'm encouraged that the SAT results show an improvement in math scores, the data shows that we still have achievement gaps to close and reading skills to improve."

The College Board also released its first glimpse of data on the new version of the SAT, which features a writing section with an essay, and which members of the Class of 2006 began taking last spring. Those students appeared to find the new section the hardest, with average scores of 516, compared with 519 in critical reading (the new name for verbal) and 537 in math.

Officials said those scores would likely decline when the final scores for the class are released next year. Students who take the test as juniors are generally more highly motivated and do better than average.

*George Archibald contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.
Copyright © 2005 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

School Security Pact Said In Error

A panel of judges, citing lapses in the way the District awarded its school security contract, is ordering city officials to rebid the contract or to re-evaluate the offers submitted by the two finalists.

The D.C. Contract Appeals Board has ruled that city officials failed to follow contracting rules and disregarded information in awarding the two-year, $30.1 million contract to D.C.-based Hawk One Security Inc. That contract took effect July 1.

Among other problems, the board said that there were questions about whether Hawk One had enough management experience.

Hawk One won the contract held by Watkins Security Agency of D.C. Inc. In turn, Watkins filed a protest with the appeals board, challenging the award and citing widespread bidding improprieties. "If the contracting officer determines that Watkins should have received the award, the contract with Hawk One should be terminated and award made to Watkins," the judges wrote.

The board's ruling was handed down late Monday as students headed back to school. The decision throws into doubt which private security company will ultimately protect tens of thousands of students this school year. D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement spokeswoman Janis Bolt said yesterday the ruling would have "no immediate impact" on the current contract with Hawk One.

Miss Bolt said Hawk One will continue to provide security while contracting officials review the ruling and re-evaluate the best and final offers for the security contract. Attorneys representing Watkins were pleased with the ruling. "The board said in its ruling that the District just did not follow the rules," said Dirk Haire, an attorney for Watkins. Previously, Watkins officials have said the District steered the contract away from Watkins. The company said it was being used as a scapegoat for lapses in the city's contracting process.

Watkins held the security contract from 2003 until July. The company filed an earlier protest that criticized how the District handled the bidding process. It deposed several city officials in connection with the case. In one deposition, a Metropolitan Police Department official who oversaw the contract selection panel said she asked her superiors not to assign her the task because she lacked experience. The ruling is the latest in a string of setbacks in the District's handling of school security. The D.C. Office of the Inspector General recently found that the Metropolitan Police Department was licensing some security guards who had lied about their criminal backgrounds. Police officials have since said they are cracking down on that problem and have dismissed several security guards.

The Contract Appeals Board is currently made up of Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan D. Zischkau, Administrative Judge Warren J. Nash and Administrative Judge Matthew S. Watson, a former D.C. auditor. The board consists of a chairman and up to four members who are licensed to practice law in the District. The members must be D.C. residents who are experienced in procurement and contract law, and they are appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the D.C. Council.

The Washington Times
www.washingtontimes.com <http://www.washingtontimes.com>

How DC Teachers Can Help the Victims of Hurricane Katrina

This week millions of Americans fled Hurricane Katrina. Across the South families abandoned their homes and businesses, not knowing what would be there when they returned.

Many stayed behind and suffered devastating loss and injuries -- nearly a hundred have died that we know of, and hundreds of thousands need our help.

America is at its best when we realize that we are one community -- that we're all in this together. That means that each one of us has the responsibility to do what we can to help the relief effort.
The Red Cross is a great place to start:

They are already moving people and resources into the region to help. Donations will provide clean water, food, and shelter for disaster victims. The Red Cross web site also has important information for victims and their relatives across the country.

Many local Red Cross chapters are organizing volunteers to travel to affected areas -- doctors and nurses to provide medical care, workers to build shelters, first responders to assist in rescue operations.
You can find your local chapter here to learn what you can do:

We are still learning the full story of the devastation, but there is no time to wait. Please do something now.
Thank you.

This message is from Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, www.democrats.org. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Helping DC Teens to Go to College

Helping Teens Succeed in Washington, D.C.

What is Helping Teens Succeed? What do we do?

College Transitions

Helping Teens Succeed (HTS) is a nonprofit organization solely dedicated to increasing the number of low-income students enrolling in post-secondary education. We do this by offering our College Transitions course free of charge to public and charter high schools to incorporate into their senior year curriculum. This year-long class walks students through the many complicated tasks needed to select and get into any type of higher educational institution. The class is in the school, as part of the students’ regular class schedule. The class also boosts academic skills and provides information needed to be successful in freshman year.

How the class works

When a principal decides to adopt the College Transitions class for his or her school, HTS provides books and supplies for every student and agrees to train and support the teacher and the class for a full year. The books include the Fulfilling the Dream: Going to College textbook, workbook and teacher’s manual which were specially developed by HTS for this class of low-income students who will likely be the first in their families to go to college. The school agrees to commit a teacher (usually an English teacher) for one period of the day—part of the teacher’s regular class load—and to schedule 25-30 students into the class.

HTS and the College Transitions teachers work cooperatively with other college access personnel in each school, such as counselors and DC-CAP advisers.

In the class, which is one of the students’ regularly scheduled classes, students work on the following:
· Intensive SAT prep
· Career exploration and planning
· College selection and application
· Time management and college-level study skills
· College-level reading, research and writing
· Financial aid, FAFSA and scholarship applications

One H.D. Woodson High School student said, “The book and the workbook, (Fulfilling the Dream: Going to College) truly broke down for me in depth what I needed to do complete my applications and get ready for college. That really helped me focus and be organized to get the applications sent.”

Spingarn High School principal Reginald Burke expressed his view, “This class really gives our students the support they need to make the transition to college. Lots of programs come in and offer help, but it’s often cosmetic. That’s not the case with the support Helping Teens Succeed has given our students and the teachers who are teaching the class.”

“I’m really excited about this class. I love teaching it.”
~H.D. Woodson teacher P.G’Dora Chase

Contact us:

Like more information? Feel free to contact:

Brenda N. Harvey, Director,
Helping Teens Succeed of Washington, D.C.
Phone 202-246-7357

Teachers Beware of Harmful Email


Please Be Extremely Careful especially if using internet mail such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and so on. This information arrived this morning from Microsoft and Norton. Please send it to everybody you know who accesses the Internet. You may receive an apparently harmless email with a Power Point presentation "Life is beautiful. pps".

immediately. If you open this file, a message will appear on your screen saying: "It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful", subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC and the person who sent it
to you gain access to your name, e-mail and password.

This is a new virus which started to circulate onSaturday afternoon. WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING
POSSIBLE TO STOP THIS VIRUS. AOL has already confirmed the severity, and
the antivirus software's are not capable of destroying it. The virus has
been created by a hacker who calls himself "life owner". PLEASE MAKE A COPY OF THIS EMAIL TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS and PASS IT ON

Kweisi Mfume Announces His Rn for the Senate

Mfume Stressing Antiwar Stand
Senate Hopeful Seeks Contrast With Rival for Democratic Nomination
By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer

Maryland Democrat Kweisi Mfume is making a play for the antiwar vote in his bid for the U.S. Senate with a fundraising solicitation this week that calls for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and with a major speech on the issue planned for next month.

In an e-mail solicitation, Mfume, a former congressman and NAACP leader, called the fighting in Iraq "a war without justification and apparently without end" and compared it to the Vietnam War. "It's time to get out," Mfume wrote, urging a timeframe for withdrawal.

Kweisi Mfume wants to highlight differences between his and Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin's positions on the Iraq war. (By Bill O'leary -- The Washington Post)

"Maryland Democrat Kweisi Mfume is making a play for the antiwar vote in his bid for the U.S. Senate with a fundraising solicitation this week that calls for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and with a major speech on the issue planned for next month.','John Wagner') ;In an terview, he said that by highlighting his views on Iraq, he is trying to draw the first in a series of contrasts with Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, another candidate for the Democratic nomination. The Baltimore area lawmaker has raised far more money than Mfume and racked up more endorsements in the race to succeed Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D), who is not seeking reelection.
Cardin voted against the 2002 resolution authorizing the war but has since voted for its continued funding and has stopped short of calling for a pullout. He contends that advertising a timeline for withdrawal would put troops in danger.

"I can understand what Kweisi's doing, but I don't think there's much of a distinction here," Cardin said. "I voted against the war. . . . I have spoken out consistently that the president has mismanaged this war. We shouldn't have been there, and I've said that since day one."

Mfume argued that their differences are significant, however. Ben Cardin is a friend of mine, but on this central issue of the war in Iraq, we disagree," he said. "I think it's time to be talking about an exit strategy."
Joe Trippi, a political consultant advising Mfume, argued that there is also a contrast in emphasis.
Iraq is the featured issue on Mfume's campaign Web site. Cardin's Web site presents his views on eight issues, including homeland security. But it makes no mention of the Iraq war.

Mfume's push on Iraq comes at a time of growing criticism of the Bush administration from members of both major parties. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) recently called on President Bush to bring the troops home by the end of next year. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) is among those who have compared the situation to Vietnam.
Thomas F. Schaller, a political scientist at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, said Mfume appears to be trying to capitalize on the public mood to attract white liberal voters in particular. Mfume starts with a political base of black voters in Baltimore, the area he represented in Congress, a base he needs to broaden to win.
Mfume's emphasis on the war is also reminiscent of the 2004 presidential candidacy of Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor who rode antiwar sentiment among primary voters to become the Democratic front-runner for a long stretch. Trippi was Dean's campaign manager for much of that period.

Mfume said that his opposition to the war is deep-rooted and that his views probably will be the centerpiece of a Sept. 12 speech reintroducing himself as a Senate candidate one year before the primary.
Cardin predicted that the war would be a much larger issue in the general election. Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, who has formed an exploratory committee for the Senate race, is widely expected to be the Republican nominee.
A spokesman declined to comment on Steele's views on Iraq. "The lieutenant governor is focused on his official duties and making a decision about whether or not this race makes sense for him and his family," Dan Ronayne said.

Besides Mfume and Cardin, community activist A. Robert Kaufman of Baltimore is a candidate for the Democratic nomination. Several other Democrats are considering entering the race as early as next week.

DCPS Schools That Failed to Meet AYP

The federal 'No Child Left Behind Act' (NCLB) requires the D.C. Public School System (DCPS) identify schools that have failed to meet the school system's criteria for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive years.

DCPS is required to provide studentsattending them with the opportunity to enroll in other schools that have met these academic goals, or, alternatively, provide affected students with tutorial services.

For information on why a particular school failed to meet NCLB criteria, contact its principal or visit the DCPS website at www.k12.dc.us. Here is an alphabetical list of all schools that have failed to meet under NCLB standards.

*Backus MS, 6-85171 S. Dakota Ave., NE 20017
*Brightwood ES, PK-61300 Nicholson St., NW 20011
*Bruce-Monroe ES, PK-63012 Georgia Ave., NW 20001
*Francis JHS, 7-92425 N St., NW 20037
*Gage-Eckington ES, PK-62025 3rd St., NW 20001
*Gibbs ES, PK-6500 19th St., NE 20002
*Hine JHS, 7-9335 8th St., SE 20003
*Jefferson JHS, 7-9801 7th St., SW 20024
*Ludlow-Taylor ES, PK-6659 G St., NE 20002
*MC Terrell, PK-63301 Wheeler Rd., SE 20032
*Plummer ES, PK-54601 Texas Ave., SE 20019
*Reed LC, HS-62200 Champlain St., NW 20009
*Savoy ES, PK-62400 Shannon Pl., SE 20020
*Stuart Hobson MS, 5-8410 E St., NE 20002
Aiton ES, PK-6533 48th Pl., NE 20019
Amidon ES, PK-6401 Eye St., SW 20024
Anacostia SHS, 9-121601 16th St., SE 20020
Ballou SHS, 9-123401 4th St., SE 20032
Bancroft ES, PK-51755 Newton St., NW 20010
Bell SHS, 9-123145 Hiatt Pl., NW 20010
Benning ES, PK-6100 41st St., NE 20019
Bowen ES, PK-6101 M St., SW 20024
Browne JHS, 7-9850 26th St., NE 20002
Cardozo SHS, 9-121200 Clifton St., NW 20009
Cook, JF ES, PK-630 P St., NW 20001
Cooke, HD ES, PK-6300 Bryant St., NW 20001
Coolidge SHS, 9-126315 5th St., NW 20011
Dunbar SHS, 9-121301 New Jersey Ave., NW 20001
Eastern SHS, 9-121700 East Capitol St., NE 20003
Eliot JHS, 7-91830 Constitution Ave., NE 20002
Emery ES, HS-61720 1st St., NE 20002
Ferebee-Hope ES, PK-63999 8th St., SE 20032
Fletcher-Johnson EC, PK-84650 Benning Rd., SE 20019
Fletcher-Johnson EC, PK-84650 Benning Rd., SE 20019
Garfield ES, HS-62435 Alabama Ave., SE 20020
Garnet-Patterson MS, 5-82001 10th St., NW 20001
Green ES, HS-61500 Mississippi Ave., SE 20032
Harris, PR EC, PK-84600 Livingston Rd., SE 20032
Hart MS, 6-8601 Mississippi Ave., SE 20032
Houston ES, PK-61100 50th Pl., NE 20019
Johnson JHS, 7-91400 Bruce Pl., SE 20020
Kenilworth ES, PK-61300 44th St., NE 20019
Kramer MS, 6-81700 Q St., SE 20020
Lincoln MS, 6-81800 Perry St., NE 20018
M.M. Washington SHS, 9-1227 O St., NW 20001
MacFarland MS, 6-84400 Iowa Ave., NW 20011
McGogney ES, PK-63400 Wheeler Rd., SE 20032
Meyer ES, PK-52501 11th St., NW 20010
Miner ES, PK-6601 15th St., NE 20002
Moten ES, 4-61565 Morris Rd., SE 20020
Noyes ES, HS-62725 10th St., NE 20018
Powell ES, PK-51350 Upshur St., NW 20011
PR Harris EC, PK-84600 Livingston Rd., SE 20032
Raymond ES, PK-5915 Spring Rd., NW 20010
Ron Brown MS, 6-84800 Meade, NE 20019
Roosevelt SHS, 9-124301 13th St., NW 20011
Shadd ES, PK-55601 East Capitol St., SE 20019
Shaw JHS, 7-9925 Rhode Island Ave., NW 20001
Slowe ES, HS-6 1404 Jackson St., NE 20017
Sousa MS, 6-83650 Ely Pl., SE 20019
Spingarn SHS, 9-122500 Benning Rd., NE 20002
Stanton ES, HS-62701 Naylor Rd., SE 20020
Terrell, R.H. JHS, 7-9100 Pierce St., NW 20001
Thomas, PK-6650 Anacostia Ave., NE 20019
Truesdell ES, PK-6800 Ingraham St., NW 20011
Tubman ES, PK-63101 13th St., NW 20010
Tyler ES, PK-61001 G St., SE 20003
Van Ness ES, PK-61150 5th St., SE 20003Walker Jones ES, PK-6100 L St., NW 20001
Webb ES, PK-61375 Mt. Olivet Rd., NE 20020
Wilkinson ES, PK-32330 Pomeroy Rd., SE 20020
Wilson SHS, 9-123950 Chesapeake St., NW 20016
Winston EC, PK-83100 Erie St., SE 20020
Winston EC, PK-83100 Erie St., SE 20020
Woodson SHS, 9-125500 Eads St., NE 20019

*The schools identified with anasterisk symbol made their AYP targets in school-year 2004-2005. However, they must meet thesetargets two years in a row before they can be removed from the list.
PK-# is Pre-Kindergarten to grade, ES is Elementary School, MS is Middle School, JHS is Junior High School HS is High School, SHS is Senior High School

"Field Tripping" Opportunities for DC Teachers

Washington, DC is rich with resources for teachers to expand the boundaries of their classrooms. The Smithsonian Museums offer DC teachers unlimited opportunities to create classrooms without walls. The following websites will allow teachers to see what activities ans resources are available to teachers who want to enhance standards-based lessons for their students. Allow your students to explore learning "outside of the box" (your classroom!)


African American Culture Program (American History Museum)
African American Heritage at the Smithsonian
African American History and Culture, Anacostia Museum and Center for
African Art Museum
African Art Museum Conservation Department
African Art Museum Library
Air and Space Magazine (Air and Space Museum)
Air and Space Museum
Air and Space Museum Archives
Air and Space Museum Library
Albert Einstein Planetarium (Air and Space Museum)
American Art Magazine (American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery)
American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery
American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery Library
American Art, Archives of
American Gardens, Archives of
American History Museum
American History Museum Archives Center
American History Museum Library
American Indian Museum
Amphibians & Reptiles (Natural History Museum)
Anacostia Museum
Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture Library
AnthroNotes (Natural History Museum)
Anthropological Archives and Human Studies Film Archives
Anthropology Department (Natural History Museum)
Anthropology Library
Architectural History and Historic Preservation Division
Archives Center, American History Museum
Archives of American Art
Archives of American Gardens
Archives, Air and Space Museum
Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Arctic Studies Center (Natural History Museum)
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art
Arts and Industries Building (changing exhibitions)
Asian art. See Freer and Sackler Galleries
Asian Pacific American Program
Associates, Smithsonian
Astrophysical Observatory (SAO)

DC Teachers Can Become New Leaders for DC Schools

DC Teachers are Invited to Become New Leaders for New Schools

New Leaders for New Schools -- a national nonprofit that fosters high academic achievement for every child by attracting, preparing and supporting the next generation of outstanding school leaders for our nation's urban public schools -- will release its 2006-2007 online application in September at www.nlns.org.

Today, more than 200 New Leaders will be in schools serving over 100,000 students in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis, New York City and California's Bay Area. You can join them by applying for our Principal Residency program. We are looking for candidates who have a record of success in leading adults, proven knowledge of teaching and learning, a relentless drive to lead an excellent urban school and, most importantly, an unyielding belief in the potential of all children to achieve academically at high levels.

To learn more and meet a current New Leader, join us for an information session this fall. Information session dates and locations will be posted online at www.nlns.org. This year's priority deadline to apply is November 15, 2005. If you have any questions, call or e-mail Hilary Darilek at 202.785.8894 or hdarilek@nlns.org.

Breakaway Union Leaders Outline Strategy

Unions that broke away from the AFL-CIO hope to rebuild the tattered labor movement by targeting workers in growing industries such as healthcare, waste management and security. "We want to identify jobs that can't be shipped overseas," Teamsters President James Hoffa said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday.

The targeted industries, which also include food service and businesses that cater to retirees, account for 30 million to 45 million workers, said Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union. He said workers in these industries, which employ a large number of immigrants and minorities who do not have college degrees, aren't paid fairly for their work, Stern said."We are living through the most profound transformative economic revolution in world history as we go from a manufacturing to a service and information economy and from a local and national economy to an international economy," Stern said.

The AFL-CIO was not adapting to the new economy with its global reach, fast-growing industries in service, health care and security, the labor leaders said."The AFL-CIO is the United Nations and we're NATO," Stern said, reflecting the belief of the breakaway union leaders that the labor federation was not adapting quickly enough to the changes. It's critical for labor to organize whole sectors of the economy to avoid industries competing to see which one can pay the lowest wages, Stern said."We're talking about organizing wholesale, not retail," Stern said. "It requires a different thinking."The breakaway unions say they will have millions of dollars in annual fees they aren't paying to the AFL- CIO to use in organizing their own core industries. "The AFL-CIO was not working," Hoffa said. "We had less people in the labor movement. The numbers were going down, not up. We're more nimble and we don't have the big bloated bureaucracy."Stern said the Northwest Airlines strike was an example of what has gone wrong in the labor movement, with multiple unions not having sufficient clout to reach an agreement.

The labor leaders said the movement needs to do a better job of educating workers and consumers about the importance of boosting wages and keeping jobs in America. He also said a key to the new labor strategy is to do more organizing overseas.The labor movement is changing to a global effort because companies now have a global presence, Stern said.The Teamsters and SEIU broke away from the AFL-CIO in late July, saying the labor federation was spending too much time on politics and not enough on recruiting new members.

The United Food and Commercial Workers broke away soon after that, meaning three of the largest unions in the AFL-CIO representing more than 4 million workers were leaving the federation of more than 50 labor unions that had numbered 13 million workers.Several others, including the Laborers, Unite Here and the United Farm Workers have joined the breakaway unions in the Change to Win Coalition, but those three are still in the AFL-CIO. The Carpenters' Union, which left the AFL-CIO in 2001, has also joined the new labor coalition.Hoffa said the new labor group plans to hold a one-day convention in St. Louis on Sept. 27. The new group will focus more on organizing and less on party politics, which Hoffa and Stern say was too much at the center of the AFL-CIO operation. The new groups say they will support politicians who back labor, rather than backing one party's politicians."We are spending our money talking to workers and not Democratic politicians and hoping they'll save us," Stern said. "Workers can't wait for a magical transformation of our country." But Stern and Hoffa acknowledged they face a difficult task rebuilding labor's strength.

When the AFL-CIO formed 50 years ago, union membership was at its zenith, with one of every three private- sector workers belonging to a labor group. Now, less than 8 percent of private-sector workers are unionized. "Corporate America is incredibly strong, people are out to bury us right now," Stern said. "We're trying to climb out of a hole that took an awful long time to dig, but we're going to climb out."

On the Net: Change to Win Coalition: http://www.changetowin.orgTeamsters: http://www.teamster.org Service Employees International Union:http://www.seiu.orgAFL-CIO: http://www.aflcio.org



Just a reminder to some and a notice to new teachers, you can get discounts at the following locations for supplies you might need to buy on your own for school. Be sure to bring your DCPS Teacher ID with you to qualify.

Office Depot: 5% off supplies & 10% off printing/copying services (Ask to join the Star Teacher Program)...and a FREE ream of paper when you bring in an empty Hewlett-Packard ink cartridge (at Connecticut Ave/Van Ness location, at least) - one ream per visit.

Kinko's: 20% off copying (after you make the copies, show your teacher ID at the desk)

Borders Books & Music: 20% off classroom materials

Hope this helps ease the expenditures you make for extra classroom materials.

Carey Hartin

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sprucing Up the Schools

Spruced-Up Schools Brighten Outlook Ketcham Elementary Offers Showcase for $6 Million D.C. Maintenance Effort
By Lori Montgomery Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, August 25, 2005; B05

Principal Joyce Grimes bubbled with grateful enthusiasm as she marched through the halls of Ketcham Elementary School in Southeast Washington yesterday, pointing out new lights, gleaming floors, and walls freshly painted in ivory and yellow.

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and a horde of news photographers trailed behind her, witnesses to the $157,500 makeover.

"It all looks like this: beautiful," Grimes gushed. "Makes you want to come here and learn."
When school opens Monday morning in Washington, students at more than 100 public schools will be greeted by similarly spruced-up classrooms, thanks in large part to an extra $6 million that the mayor and D.C. Council budgeted for long-neglected maintenance projects. Across the city, walls have been plastered, lights have been replaced, restrooms have been deep cleaned and leaks have been fixed -- in some cases for the first time in years.

"We have over 700 projects implemented over the summer, touching over 100 school facilities," Cornell S. Brown Jr., director of facilities management for D.C. schools, said during a news conference at Ketcham. Not every project will be finished by Monday, he said, but everything is on track to be completed by Oct. 1.
And, yes, he said to applause, "every school will open on time next week."

In a system long plagued by aging facilities and bureaucratic bungles on opening day, this summer's performance has been encouraging, said some parents and organizations that monitor the schools.
The superintendent, Clifford B. Janey, and his team seem to be producing "more action, getting things done with greater alacrity," said Nancy Huvendick, D.C. programs director at the 21st Century School Fund. And the mayor's decision to provide extra money for the schools from the city's budget surplus this year was "crucial," said Huvendick, who has a child at Woodrow Wilson Senior High.

Darlene Allen, president of the D.C. PTA, said it would have been "exhilarating" if all the work had been completed by Monday morning. "But it is on schedule, and that's a positive thing," Allen said. "There have been extraordinary efforts to make sure some problems that have plagued us in the past have been taken care of."
Brown said the extra $6 million more than doubled his annual maintenance budget and dwarfed the approximately $800,000 the school system had to get classrooms ready last summer.

Still, many of the city's 147 public schools need major renovations. Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4), who has introduced a bill aimed at raising $1 billion to modernize school facilities, called the $6 million "a drop in the bucket."

"I think even the mayor will admit that the schools have been so neglected that we're really talking about peanuts in terms of making them look like we want to educate children," said Fenty, a candidate for mayor who has held news conferences recently to call attention to conditions at some public schools.
Yesterday, Williams scoffed at Fenty's comments.

"Council members pointing out things that need to be improved? That's helpful," he said sarcastically. "It's easy to get stories about what's left to be done. This is a story about what good has happened. And I think it's worthy to note."

Williams added: "I can go around and show you some hole in the roof somewhere or some bathroom that still needs to be done. You know: Details at 11."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

Renovating Old DC Schools

D.C. school renovated as it nears 100 years old
By Derrill HollyASSOCIATED PRESSPublished August 25, 2005

Some 96 years after its first students walked through the doors, a renovated John H. Ketcham Elementary School will reopen Monday to welcome 418 D.C. students for a new school year.

The D.C. Public Schools offered principal Joyce Goche-Grimes more than $160,000 for upgrades and improvements, but she chose to use the money for what she considers more than cosmetic improvements. "The building has always been clean, but it has never been as bright and well-lighted as it is today," Miss Goche-Grimes said yesterday before taking Mayor Anthony A. Williams and two members of the D.C. Council on a tour of the building and an addition built in 1971.

"This is a good, safe, bright, happy environment where children can learn," said Miss Goche-Grimes. Many of her 52 staff members have said upgrading the building's 19th-century design to 21st-century standards is expected to make a real difference. "These types of improvements have been made to many schools in the District," said Cornell Brown, a D.C. schools official.

Last year, the school system had only $850,000 for minor summer improvement projects. Work this year also included plastering, plumbing and floor repairs in more than 100 buildings. In March, the D.C. Council allocated $6 million under Mr. Williams' "Ready Schools" initiative to help cover maintenance costs not included under the school system's capital improvement budget.

"Ketcham has used its money for all the things we need to be doing on the short term while we're working on the long term," Mr. Williams said. "It's dollars well worth the spending," said D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson. The Ward 3 Democrat said the one-time allocation could be followed by a major school facilities bill later this year.

The Washington Times
www.washingtontimes.com <http://www.washingtontimes.com>

Funding and Fixing Our schools

Schools Make Headway on Renovations Repair Work Favored Over Construction
By Lindsay RyanWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, August 25, 2005; DZ03

A year ago, pigeon dung was piled six inches deep on parts of the floors in the vacant Nichols Avenue Elementary School, which closed down in the early 1980s. Beneath a sagging, broken roof, vines covered a dilapidated facade adorned only with shattered or boarded-up windows and doors. A grand portico with columns, a skylight on the second level and wrought iron staircases betrayed the former beauty of the turn-of-the-century building.

As the first public school for black students in Hillsdale, the 104-year-old facility had been a neighborhood focal point during its heyday, according to Jane Levey, a historian with Cultural Tourism D.C. But a year ago, it "almost looked like a haunted house," said Jennifer Hill-Flowers, 40, who has lived in Southeast Washington her entire life.

The structure at 2427 Martin Luther King Ave. SE was not alone among school buildings that had fallen into disrepair. Many D.C. public schools were constructed in the World War II era or the 1970s and are in dire need of work, said school board member Jeff Smith (District 1). Some of those built three decades ago are actually in worse condition than those from the 1940s because of shoddy construction, said Smith. During the 1990s, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was in charge of D.C. public school facilities, lack of regular maintenance worsened the problem, Smith added.

Several school construction or renovation projects are either underway or in the pipeline for completion in fall 2006 or later. However, the broad focus of the D.C. Public Schools capital budget, which dropped to $147 million this year from $174.9 million last year, will shift from full-scale modernization to repair or replacement of aging electrical systems, leaky roofs, air conditioning and heating, and other building basics in the next couple of years, according to Cornell S. Brown, executive director of facilities management for the school system. "You can't build new schools in two buildings when 140 buildings are in need of renovation," Brown said.

Next month, the former Nichols Avenue Elementary building is reopening -- gutted, renovated, and outfitted with state-of-the-art classrooms -- as the new home of Thurgood Marshall Academy, a charter high school launched in 2001. Hill-Flowers, whose two daughters attend the school, watched the metamorphosis of the vacant building with pleasure as she drove by every morning on the way to work. And as she enters her senior year, Britnee Flowers, 16, is excited to move to a school she can call her own after several years in a church annex where the cafeteria flooded inches deep during hard rains, soaking her books.

"It was just a really grim-looking building," Hill-Flowers said. "It looks brighter over there already."
Thurgood Marshall is one of a handful of charter schools and traditional public schools reopening in new or revamped facilities during this school year.

None of the newly renovated traditional public school buildings will be completely ready this fall. An addition at Brightwood Elementary in Northwest will open even as the old part remains under renovation. A new building for Bell Multicultural Senior High and Lincoln Middle in Northwest and an enlarged, renovated facility for Thomson Elementary in Northwest are expected to open in the second half of the year, school system officials said.

Last March, the D.C. Board of Education approved Superintendent Clifford B. Janey's plan to scale back major renovations in favor of more modest repairs. Janey developed the new proposal in response to city officials' decision to cut funding by tens of millions of dollars over the next few years.

"Too much has been spent on too few projects for too long," and delays have led to high maintenance costs on old facilities even as their replacements are being built, said Jordan Spooner, deputy director of the 21st Century School Fund, an organization dedicated to improving urban public school facilities. Spooner expressed optimism about the current plan for public schools.

But others were not entirely pleased with the change. "We are disappointed that we can't go through with these wonderful plans that had a lot of community buy-in," said Amy Friend, a parent of two public school students, who worked for years on a proposal to modernize Alice Deal Junior High School. Friend said that she understood the choices D.C. Public Schools made, given the budget constraints, but that without more money from the city council, students and teachers who are "desperately in need of new facilities" are forced to make difficult choices about which parts of the modernization they can manage to salvage.

Under Janey's plan, full-scale renovation work will be confined to seven senior high schools: Anacostia, Cardozo, Coolidge, Roosevelt, School Without Walls, Wilson and H.D. Woodson.

"Our high schools are pretty spread throughout the [city], and they are what a lot of people relate to the school system through," Smith said. "Everyone knows their neighborhood high school," and the whole community sees any improvements that are made there, he said.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

DCPS Full Funding Campaign Continues

Council, Schools Explore Funding
By D'Vera Cohn Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, August 25, 2005; DZ03

Seeking to improve their often-contentious relationship, D.C. Council members and school officials are working together on efforts to find new funding sources, improve facilities and streamline the budgeting process. The council added more money to the school system's capital budget this spring, and members promise more is to come.

Approving a proposal that originated with Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D), the council allocated $12.2 million in debt service to finance more than $100 million for school construction. The money, which is likely to be available next spring, will go for school construction projects that the school system deems high priority, including those related to special education and vocational education.

That is only a down payment on what the school system needs if it is to upgrade its aging buildings. D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi told the council last month that $2.8 billion is needed to modernize 130 schools but that the D.C. capital improvement plan assumes funding of $640 million through 2011.
Some of the city's 147 schools have not had a basic paint job in more than a decade, and others need more fundamental improvements. The council's Committee on Finance and Revenue approved a bill last month that would infuse $1 billion into the school system's capital construction budget beginning in fiscal 2007 by selling bonds backed by proceeds from the D.C. Lottery, even though some oppose using lottery revenues for that purpose.

The legislation was sponsored by D.C. Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4). But the council members who chair the finance and education committees, Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3), respectively, say that lottery money already is set aside for other uses and that another source of funding must be found.

"My view is that the lottery funding is a good source of funding, but I'm certainly open to another one," said Fenty, who is running for mayor in 2006. "My ultimate goal is to fix the schools."

Patterson said she hopes to meld some features of Fenty's bill into a broader piece of legislation that she will introduce in the fall, which would include an as-yet-unnamed dedicated source of money and ensure that it be spent effectively. One option, according to an Education, Libraries and Recreation Committee staff analysis, would be to give the schools a larger share of the overall city capital budget.

"The idea is to have a dedicated funding source for at least 10 years so the school system knows what its capital funding from the city will be and can plan accordingly," Patterson said. In addition, "that would help strengthen the lobbying we do on Capitol Hill" for more federal money for school repairs, Patterson said.

Gandhi told the council that "the District cannot continue to address the needs for improved school facilities on its tax base alone" and "this funding is a federal responsibility." One of his arguments is that other big cities rely on substantial funding from their states, an option not available to the District.

Patterson said she has dropped her earlier proposal to create a trust fund to finance school construction because of opposition from the D.C. Board of Education, which wants to expand the school system's ability to manage construction rather than create a new entity to do it. Patterson said the school system has made several recent hires that show "they've made some headway" in that direction.

Patterson also has floated the idea of requiring the school system to present a three-year operating budget, so as to reduce the energy expended and friction produced by their having to propose and approve a budget each year. Some council members oppose the idea, and Patterson said it is still a "work in progress."
"We would welcome legislation designed to strengthen our work. We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues at the D.C. Council," said school Superintendent Clifford B. Janey, adding that he supports the proposals aimed at providing more construction money and establishing a three-year budget.
Janey said he'd like to see the council go further.

"There needs to be some discussion about this school district becoming a truly independent school district," he said. "It would be nice to have some bonding authority. That would require us having earned the respect of public officials [that the system is fiscally responsible]

"We're not there yet, but we're heading in that direction."

Staff writer V. Dion Haynes contributed to this report.
© 2005 The Washington Post Company

Lawsuit Against NCLB

Connecticut Files Long-Awaited Lawsuit Challenging No Child Left Behind Act
By Jeff Archer

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has made good on his nearly 5-month-old threat to sue the U.S. Department of Education over the No Child Left Behind Act, making his state the first to take its objections about the law to the federal courts.

Filed Aug. 22 in U.S. District Court in Hartford, the state’s complaint in Connecticut v. Spellings argues that federal funding to the state for the No Child Left Behind law falls far short of what is needed to meet the law’s testing and accountability requirements. The suit contends the failure to fully fund the law violates a provision in the nearly 4-year-old education statute itself that says states will not be required “to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this act.”

“Our message today is: Give up the unfunded mandates, or give us the money,” Mr. Blumenthal said at a press conference in his office after filing the lawsuit.

Although surrounded by key Connecticut education leaders and policymakers who expressed their support at the announcement, Mr. Blumenthal said no other state had joined the legal action. Since first threatening to sue over the law in April, he has said one of the reasons he has waited to do so was to give other states a chance to take part.

The 28-page complaint recounts how Connecticut’s attempts to get waivers of some of the student-assessment provisions in the No Child Left Behind law have been repeatedly denied in recent months by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.

In particular, Connecticut education officials sought unsuccessfully to get out of the law’s requirement that they expand their testing system—which assesses students in mathematics and reading in grades 4, 6, and 8—to cover the entire span of grades 3-8. An estimate by the state department of education pegs the cost of putting in place those and other additional assessments called for in the law at $41.6 million by 2008, compared with $33.6 million that the state is slated to receive from the federal government by then for test implementation.
“The additional tests, as imposed by the requirements of NCLB, are of questionable merit,” state Commissioner of Education Betty J. Sternberg said at the Aug. 22 press conference. “There is no research base that tells us that additional testing of this type will yield better results.”

Connecticut also has unsuccessfully sought flexibility in the law’s requirements on the testing of special education students and students who are learning English.

The state’s legal case rests largely on the so-called unfunded-mandates provision in the No Child Left Behind law, which says that “nothing in this chapter shall be construed to authorize” the federal government to “mandate a state or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this chapter.” The complaint also cites the spending clause in Article I of the U.S. Constitution, which has been construed by the courts as requiring Congress to make unambiguous any conditions attached to states’ acceptance of federal money.

Susan Aspey, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Education Department, called the lawsuit “unfortunate” in a written statement. Arguing that Secretary Spellings has worked to meet states' concerns about the law, she added nonetheless that testing in each grade, from 3-8, is needed to catch problems in a timely manner.
“Today's action doesn't bring the state any closer to closing its achievement gap, which is among the largest in the nation,” Ms. Aspey said.

In June, the department asked a judge in U.S. District Court in Detroit to dismiss a similar lawsuit filed by the National Education Association, arguing that the No Child Left Behind Act is not an unfunded mandate because states are under no obligation to take the federal money allocated for it. The department’s motion is pending. ("U.S. Asks Court to Dismiss Lawsuit Over NCLB," July 13, 2005.)

Turning that argument around at his press conference, Attorney General Blumenthal said that by threatening to withhold money from the state if it doesn’t comply with the law’s requirements, the federal government is putting hundreds of millions of dollars for Connecticut’s schools at risk. That fear, he added, is partly why other states haven’t joined the suit, although he left open the possibility that some other states may yet do so.
“That’s money that goes to schools that serve our neediest children,” he said. “It goes to school lunch programs, after-school programs, reading-achievement programs, all of the kinds of programs that are necessary for meeting the objectives and goals of No Child Left Behind.”

The federal Education Department has 60 days to file a legal response, which could be a motion to dismiss the case.Meanwhile, the case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Mark R. Kravitz.“We’re hoping he will expedite our case, and it won’t be years, but a matter of months,” Mr. Blumenthal said.

A New DC Teacher Reflects On the New Teacher Orientation

Maria Angala on the New Teacher Orientation

“Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I was one of the facilitators during the New Teachers' Orientation in our school district. And since I wasn't able to go to a New Teachers' Induction as big as this (I came in at Jefferson Junior High middle of the school year, remember?), I considered myself a participant too. There were more or less 700 incoming new teachers this school year to the District of Columbia Public Schools, and I saw close to 10 Pinoy new teachers. And guess what, my principal recommended me to be one of the presentors that Thursday to talk on the Survival Kit for almost 30 newbie teachers in my group. How did it go?

The presentation lasted more than 1 hour; I was nervous and freaking out of what other activities to give the participants to keep them inside my room. It was emotional for me because I imparted my own personal experiences as a new teacher. Not very long ago I was in the dark like them. During their first few weeks in school, they are going to feel how it is to be expected to perform like a veteran teacher when it is just their first year of teaching. Ah! I saw fresh faces, full of idealism, eager to go to their classrooms. I didn't want to burst their bubble but I wanted them also to expect the reality that would greet them in their respective schools. I based all my powerpoint presentations from Harry Wong's The First Days of School. I shared with them my personal experiences that I know would help them be educator leaders (not just workers). I wished them the best. I was given a facilitator during my presentation, Ms. Beverly, who gave me full support, assistance and motivation. She asked for my powerpoint presentation to be emailed to her because she said her students need to be "Einsteins" and need the push.

I got exceeds expectations and good comments for that presentation. I was priviledged to work with the hard working people from the DC Public Schools most especially from Logan Office of Workforce and Professional Development. I met teacher leaders who are very inspiring knowing their accomplishments as teachers (National Board Certified, National Teacher Awardees...). I've come to know a Filipina, Maria Cristina Kabiling (cover designer of Shining Stars), who just came in from the Philippines and works for DCPS for eight months now. But she remains humble, smart and who maintains a good interpersonal relationship, very admirable.

I came to know Celine Fejeran better than just seeing her name in the newspapers as the DC Public School's New Teacher of the Year. She is an Asian, from Guam; and she is very inspiring with how organized she does complicated tasks, and how aggressive but polite she deals with people. I was in tears when she gave her speech onstage during the last day of the orientation. I felt every word she said, I saw myself in her shoes, I went through all the situations she mentioned and experienced every emotions she felt.

“Our first day to report back to our respective schools for the School Year 2005-2006 is on Tuesday, August 23. I am very optimistic that this year is going to be a brighter year for me and for the whole Jefferson Junior HS community through the leadership of our new principal Mr. Mensa Maa.

This is going to be my third year of teaching here in the same school district, my last year as a newbie teacher. And I have accomplished a lot, and shared to many veteran and neophyte teachers my best and worst days, the pains and triumphs, all my experiences with my students as a DC Public school teacher. I gave lecture presentations to DC Area Writing Project Teacher Consultants and to teachers taking graduate courses, who gave me the push to go on because of their eagerness to learn integrating writing and technology inside their classrooms. They told me that I am the expert in the field where I am in, and more knowledgeable than they were in the topic that I was going to present. Thanks for their motivation. I feel I am getting better each time I face different groups of veteran teachers during my lecture-presentations.

To all the new teachers who are reading this, you must persist. Any new endeavor may be tough in the beginning. But tough times never last, but tough people do.”

Maria Angala is a third year DC teacher at Jefferson JHS, master blogger and a teacher consultant with the D. C. Area Writing Project. Her weblog, TEACHER SOL, is also a link on this site.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Washington Times

Charter schools will get $15 million

By Derrill Holly
ASSOCIATED PRESS Published August 24, 2005
The Washington Timeswww.washingtontimes.com <http://www.washingtontimes.com>

The Bush administration is providing D.C. public charter schools with more than $15 million over the next three years to help new charter schools lease, buy or renovate buildings.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams and other officials accepted a symbolic check yesterday from the Department of Education at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School.

"In terms of providing a structured environment and more discipline and character building for children, certainly the charter schools are doing that," said Mr. Williams.

Nearly two dozen public charter schools on 31 campuses will operate in the District this year. Under a 1996 law, traditional public schools and public charter schools receive equal funding based on enrollment.

"Over 15,000 students in D.C. are attending charter schools, and that's about 21 percent of the students in the District," said Nina Rees, a Department of Education official.

Since 2001, the Bush administration has provided $124 million for charter schools. The program allows the schools to seek loan guarantees for real estate purchases or to insure leasing fees. The money can also be leveraged through private-lending institutions. About 48,000 students attending 120 charter schools in the District and eight states have benefited from the grants.

The Stokes school now has 250 elementary school students, offers French and Spanish language immersion programs. The students come from 20 different countries and 90 percent are considered low income, making them eligible for the free and reduced-fee lunch program.

Two-thirds of the students who have completed sixth grade at the school have moved on to private or parochial schools including St. Albans, Washington Jesuit Academy and the Maret School.

Copyright © 2005 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

DC School Funding Debate

Report Fans Flames in D.C. School Funding Debate Critics Challenge Claim That Charters Get Less Per Pupil

By V. Dion Haynes and Lori Montgomery,Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, August 24, 2005; B07

A newly released report by a Washington-based think tank added fuel yesterday to a running debate on whether the District's charter schools receive a fair share of public education dollars.

The study by the Washington-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an organization that supports school reform, says that charter schools in the District and states throughout the country receive less per-pupil funding than regular public schools in the same jurisdictions. It said the funding gap in the District was $3,552 per student, higher than the average disparity of $1,801.

But in releasing the report yesterday, the institute's researchers acknowledged that it was based on data from 2002-03 and that the funding of D.C. charter schools -- particularly their facilities allowance -- has increased significantly since then. In fact, the charter school movement here in some respects is a model for the nation, officials at the think tank said.

"D.C. has one of the most equitable funding mechanisms across the land," said Mike Petrilli, vice president for national programs and policy at the Fordham Institute. "Local and federal officials should be congratulated for that."

Nevertheless, the report sparked renewed debate on whether the distribution of public dollars between D.C. charter and regular schools is fair, with some saying that the regular schools are getting shortchanged.

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said he has not seen the study, but he disputed the notion that charter schools in the District receive significantly less per-pupil funding than traditional public schools.

By coincidence, Williams and a U.S. Department of Education official appeared yesterday morning at the Elsie Whitlow Stokes public charter school in Northwest Washington to announce that the city will receive an annual federal grant of $5 million for the next three years to help fund salaries and programs at new charter schools. The District has received similar awards over the past decade.

Williams praised the performance of D.C. charter schools, which enroll more than 15,000 students, or about 21 percent of total public school enrollment.

The mayor also said he disagreed with some city leaders, including Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D), who have argued that the growth of charter schools could cause further deterioration of the traditional public school system.

"I think the best prescription for the system is to get competitive. . . . I think just artificially saying that we're going to shut off access and options for parents limits choices because it doesn't motivate the existing system to get its act together and continue to improve," Williams said.

Williams said he will try to persuade Cropp, who is expected to announce her campaign for mayor next month, to change her view of charter schools. "I hope . . . if I decide not to run, as a private citizen, I could convince her to feel differently," he said.

Council member Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3), who chairs the education committee, has scheduled a hearing Oct. 6 to look into various aspects of the D.C. charter school law, including funding.
Charter schools are publicly funded but independently run and are exempt from many local and state education regulations.

The institute's 141-page report covers the District and the 16 states with the largest charter school enrollments. It concludes that in all but one of those jurisdictions, charter schools received less per-pupil funding than regular public schools, despite requirements for equal funding. Researchers attributed the disparity largely to the charter schools' inability to gain access to funding for capital expenses.

Brenda L. Belton, executive director of the D.C. Board of Education's charter school office, said the D.C. Council approved a $2,800-per-student allotment that charter schools can use to construct, purchase or lease a facility. The institute's researchers acknowledged that their data were from an earlier school year.
"No other state provides that," Belton said of the allotment. "The only problem is that you're in a hot real estate market, and the money doesn't buy you much."

Gina Arlotto, co-founder and president of Save Our Schools, a group that has filed a lawsuit against the city alleging that traditional public schools are losing money to charter schools, said the facilities allowance is too generous.

Arlotto noted that city officials calculated the charters' allowance based on the regular school system's capital budget. She said the calculations were flawed because the capital spending for that period included several construction projects that were wildly over budget.

"Charter schools see themselves as the poor stepchild of the D.C. education scene. It's simply not true," she said.
© 2005 The Washington Post Company

New DCPS Principals

Schools chief names 44 new D.C. principals
(August 23, 2005, online news update)

Students at about one third of the District's public schools will find a new principal in their building when classes resume Aug. 29.

Superintendent Clifford B. Janey yesterday announced appointment of 44 principals, citing the need for "strong, focused and effective campus leaders" to help implement new, more stringent academic standards this fall.
Some of the principals - including those at Eastern and Spingarn senior high schools, Kelly Miller Middle School and Johnson Junior High -- were re-appointed to positions they held last year on an interim basis.
Jacqueline Williams, who was named acting principal at Eastern Senior High School during the middle of the last school year, will remain in place on an interim basis as the search for a permanent principal at the troubled Capitol Hill school continues, officials said. Williams has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Howard University and a master's degree in computer education from Trinity College.
Listed below are the other new principals.
· Adams Elementary: Pedro A. Cartagena, who has served as assistant principal at Bell Multicultural Senior High, was named principal of the Northwest Washington school. He has a bachelor's degree in history from the University of San Diego, a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Puerto Rico and a doctorate in educational administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
· Ballou Senior High: Karen D. Smith, who was an assistant principal at McKinley Technology Senior High School, was named principal at the Southeast Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree from Hampton University and master's degrees from Trinity College and George Washington University.
· Banneker Senior High: Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Anita M. Berger was promoted to lead the Northwest Washington school's staff. Berger has a bachelor's degree in physical education/secondary education and a master's degree in administration/exercise physiology, both from Howard University.
· Beers Elementary: Sherry Eichorn, who has served as a principal and teacher in El Paso, Texas, was named principal of the Southeast Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree in history and English from Alabertus Magnus College in New Haven, Conn., and a master's degree in mid-management supervision from the University of Texas.
· Benning Elementary: Darwin Bobbitt, who was a summer school principal in Ohio and an assistant principal in Alexandria, was named principal of the Northeast Washington school. He has a bachelor'' degree from Central State University and a master's degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
· Brent Elementary: Arienne M. Clark, who served as resident principal at the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools, was named principal at the Southeast Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree in educational studies and public policy from Brown University and a master's degree in early childhood and elementary education from New York University.
· Browne Junior High: Acting Principal Keith T. Stephenson was named principal of the Northeast Washington school. He has a bachelor's degree from Lehigh University and a master's degree from Bowie State University.
· Bunker Hill Elementary: Amanda Alexander, who formerly taught at Walker-Jones Elementary and served as an assistant elementary school principal in New York City, was named principal at the Northeast Washington school. She has bachelor's and master's degrees from Howard University, a master's degree from Baruch College and is a doctoral candidate at American University.
· Capitol Hill Cluster Schools: Assistant Principal Brandon C. Eatman was promoted to principal of the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Howard University and a master's degree in educational leadership from George Mason University.
· Deal Junior High: Melissa M. Kim, who has served as an assistant principal in Arlington County and as a resident principal at Capitol Hill Cluster Schools, was named principal of the Northwest Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree from Colby College and a master's degree from Trinity College.
· Fillmore Arts Center: Katherine B. Latterner, who formerly taught at Fillmore and most recently director of education at the Musical Theater Center in Rockville, was named principal of the Northwest Washington arts center. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Bucknell University and a master's degree in educational leadership from George Mason University.
· Francis Junior High: Stephanie Crutchfield, who has served as a principal and teacher in Indiana and Virginia, was named principal at the Northwest Washington school. She has bachelor's and master's degrees from Virginia State University.
· Gage-Eckington Elementary: Richard E. Rogers Jr., who served as principal at Barbara Jordan Public Charter School, was named principal at the Northwest Washington school. He has a bachelor's degree from Lincoln University and a master's degree from Trinity College.
· H.D. Cooke Elementary: Rosalyn L. Rice, who served as a resident principal at Lafayette and Oyster elementary schools, was named principal of the Northwest Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a master's degree from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore.
· Hine Junior High: Duane L. Ross, who has served as principal at Simon and Hendley elementary schools, was named principal at the Southeast Washington school. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of the District of Columbia, a master's degree from Trinity College and a doctorate from George Washington University.
· Jefferson Junior High: MenSa Ankh Maa, who served as a resident principal at Hardy Middle School and was an eighth grade administrator at Jefferson, was named principal of the Southwest Washington school. Maa has a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a master's degree from Cornell University.
· Johnson Junior High: Acting Principal Sylvia S. Dark was named principal at the Southeast Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree from Livingston College in Salisbery, N.C., and a master's degree from George Washington University.
· Kelly Miller Middle: Robert W. Gill Sr., who took the helm last year at the Northeast Washington school, was re-appointed principal. He has a bachelor's degree from Howard University and a master's degree in school administration from the University of the District of Columbia.
· Mann Elementary: Elizabeth C. Whisnant, who has served as a principal in Charlotte, was named principal at the Northwest Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a master's degree from Lesley College.
· Marie Reed Learning Center: Dayo Akinsheye, who has served as the Northwest Washington school's assistant principal, was promoted to principal. She has a bachelor's degree from Boston University, a master's degree in African studies from Howard University and a master's degree in education leadership from George Mason University.
· Marshall Educational Center: Valorie B. Powell, who has served as an assistant principal in Montgomery County, was named principal of the Northeast Washington school. She has bachelor's and master's degrees from Bowie State University.
· M.M. Washington Career Senior High: L. Nelson Burton, who has served as an assistant principal at Banneker Senior High and Kramer Middle schools, was appointed principal at the District's only public vocational school. Burton has a bachelor's degree from the University of the District of Columbia and a master's degree from Trinity College.
· M.M. Washington SPED: Wilma L. Gaines, most recently an assistant principal at Wilson Senior High, was named principal of the Northwest Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree in special education from D.C. Teacher's College, a master's degree from Howard University and is a doctoral candidate at Howard.
· Moten Center: David Mason, most recently a restructuring implementation specialist for the Baltimore public schools, was named principal at the Southeast Washington school. He has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent for D.C. Public Schools. School officials did not provide information about his degrees.
· Murch Elementary: Carolyne E. Albert-Garvey, who served as a resident principal at Nalle Elementary, was named principal at the Northwest Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree from L'Universite de Moncton in Canada and master's degrees from George Washington University and Trinity College.
· Oak Hill Academy: Consuela W. Ellis, who served as acting principal at M.M. Washington Career Senior High, was named principal of the District's school for juvenile offenders in Laurel, Md. She has a bachelor's degree in English from D.C. Teacher's College and a master's degree in administration supervision from the University of the District of Columbia.
· Plummer Elementary: Christopher F. Gray, who served as assistant principal at Jefferson Junior High, was named principal of the Southeast Washington school. He has a bachelor's degree from Elizabeth City State University and master's degrees from Howard University and George Mason University.
· P.R. Harris Educational Center: Jeffrey F. Grant, who has served in numerous capacities in D.C. public and private schools and in Prince George's County schools, was named principal of the Southeast Washington school. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the District of Columbia, a master's degree in education technology leadership from George Washington University and is a doctoral candidate at George Washington University.
· Roosevelt Senior High: Benjamin Hosch, who has served as a principal and teacher in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, was named principal of the Northwest Washington school. He has a bachelor's degree in elementary education/mathematics and a master's degree in guidance and counseling supervision and administration from Winston-Salem State University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Bowie State University.
· Roosevelt STAY: Linda Gray, who has served as an assistant principal of Roosevelt Senior High, was named principal of the Northwest Washington school's STAY program. She has a bachelor's degree from D.C. Teacher's College and a master's degree from the University of the District of Columbia.
· Rudolph Elementary: Carol F. Barbour, who has served as a principal in Prince George's County and Alexandria public schools, was named principal at the Northwest Washington school. She has bachelor's and master's degrees from Norfolk State University.
· Seaton Elementary: H. Douglas Rice II, who has served as a principal in Cleveland, was named principal of the Northwest Washington school. He has a bachelor's degree from Central State University and a master's degree from Cleveland State University.
· Simon Elementary: Adelaide D. Flamer, most recently an assistant elementary school principal in Baltimore, was named principal of the Southeast Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree from Hampton University and master's and doctoral degrees from Morgan State University.
· Smothers Elementary: Angela N. Morton, who served as an assistant principal at Tubman Elementary, was named principal of the Northeast Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree in family studies from the University of Maryland and master's degrees from George Washington University and Trinity College.
· Spingarn Educational Center: Interim Principal Lillian Y. Ingram was named principal of the Northeast Washington center. She has a bachelor's degree from Talladega College in Alabama and a master's degree from Howard University.
· Spingarn Senior High: Reginald Burke, who took the helm last year at the Northeast Washington school, was re-appointed principal. Burke, who was principal at now-closed Phelps Career Senior High, has bachelor's and master's degrees from Howard University.
· Taft Center: Gregory S. Matthews, who served as an interim elementary school principal in Baltimore, was named principal at the Northeast Washington school. He has a bachelor's degree from Coppin State College and a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University.
· Thomas Elementary: Ruth N. Barnes, most recently an assistant principal at Green Elementary, was named principal at the Northeast Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree in sociology from Virginia Union University and a master's degree in educational administration from George Mason University.
· Tubman Elementary: Assistant Principal Sharon L. Bovell was promoted to serve as principal of the Northwest Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Cheyney State University and a master's degree in educational administration from the University of the District of Columbia.
· Walker-Jones Elementary: Janette Johns-Gibson, who has served as an assistant principal at three D.C. high schools, was named principal of the Northwest Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of the West Indies, and a master's degree in education and a doctorate in organizational communication from Howard University.
· Webb Elementary: Donna M.N. Edwards, most recently principal at St. Augustine Catholic School, was named principal of the Northeast Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree in sociology from the State University of New York, a master's degree in education administration and supervision from Trinity College and a law degree from Howard University.
· West Elementary: Sharron D. Stroman, who has served as a resident principal at Kimball Elementary, was named principal at the Northwest Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Howard University, a master's degree in educational administration from Trinity College and a master's degree in education, literacy and language education from Purdue University.
· Wilkinson Elementary: Margaret Stephens-Aliendre, who has served as an assistant principal and principal, was named principal at the Southeast Washington school. She has a bachelor's degree in radio and television from Brooklyn College, a master's degree in special education from Long Island University and a doctorate in administration and supervision from Berne University in Wolfeboro Falls, N.H.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator www.thecommondenominator.com

Native Intelligence

Native Intelligence
Why do charters get special rules?(Published August 22, 2005)By DIANA WINTHROP
I carefully read the news reports, and I must admit I giggled. I confess I feel guilty for laughing at failure and my possession of an "I told you so" attitude. It is a major character flaw.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that I am not a strong advocate of the public charter school movement. I find the focus and drain on quality public education terribly sad and very frustrating.
I shouldn't revel in the failure of such a grand experiment, but recent reports revealed some bad news: academic achievement for the public charter schools is no better than traditional public schools.
Good grief! Excuse me for having such a nasty attitude, but where are the supporters of public charter schools, rallying behind their institutions? The public charter movement promised D.C. residents the moon. It lied. It has given us just a little progress (as have traditional public schools), though the public hue and cry over the lack of public charter school progress barely exists.
Surprisingly, parents have been quiet. Is it an indication that they see progress in other ways and testing is not a real indication of improvement? School board members have not been available for comment and Superintendent Clifford Janey apparently doesn't believe he needs to respond to the press or to criticism from citizens. Education advocates have been strangely silent, as well, regarding the results of the academic benchmarks required by federal law.
In the next few weeks, approximately 16,000 D.C. public school students will begin classes at more than 40 public charter schools. Roughly 60,000 students (and, likely, even fewer) will begin classes at traditional public schools.
Recent reports on public charter schools show only eight of 31 charter school campuses have made "adequate yearly progress" required by the No Child Left Behind law. Ten schools failed and the rest were not obligated to report because they did not have a sufficient number of students who took the standardized tests.
Something is terribly wrong. It is indicative of a growing case of inequality and unfairness. Shouldn't we be demanding more of both public charters and traditional schools? This is a classic example of unfairness: we allow traditional public schools only three years to meet federal academic benchmarks, while charter schools have five years. Traditional public schools also are penalized by being required to allow students to transfer to better schools. Principals and teachers in regular public schools have three years until they can be fired; in charter schools, they have five years.
Am I the only person who sees something is not right?
Charter schools are designed to offer parents an alternative to failing traditional public schools. Charter school advocates tout the creativity and flexibility of charter schools. Why can't we offer the same in traditional public schools?
The current bad news has renewed interest in making sure that charter schools are under more scrutiny. Why is it that public charters are only revoked for financial mismanagement and not academic failures? Why is it that we continue to spend almost $2 million for a public charter school board and staff? Why do we have two chartering boards, though the D.C. Board of Education recently temporarily stopped issuing new charters?
D.C. Public Charter School Board spokeswoman Nona Richardson defended the charter school test results by indicating that the chartering board looks at the schools on an individual basis, and that they look to see progress over time -- not as a snapshot. If a traditional public school even once tried to defend its poor test results using the same approach, there would be calls for firings.
I can't restrain my growing feeling that special treatment for charter schools is part of the Bush administration's effort to destroy public education - or, rather, a far grander scheme by the Republican Party, which has shown its growing disdain for public education.
The academic benchmarks should be the same for all schools -- traditional public schools and public charter schools -- but changing the federal requirements won't likely happen anytime soon.
Welcome to the new world of inequality -- and fairness be damned.
Diana Winthrop is a native Washingtonian. Contact her at diana@thecommondenominator.com. Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator

Uniting for Peace and Justice

A.N.S.W.E.R. and United for Peace and Justice, the two major antiwar coalitions that have initiated and organized for a massive anti-war March on Washington for September 24th have agreed to organize a joint rally followed by a joint march. Both coalitions will organize under their own banners, slogans, and with their own literature for the September 24 demonstration.

The joint rally will begin at 11:30 am at the Ellipse in the front of the White House. We urge everyone around the country to unite and come out for the largest possible anti-war demonstration on September 24.Over the past several months, the overwhelming majority of antiwar activists and their organizations made unmistakably clear that they wanted a united demonstration in Washington D.C. on September 24, not two rival and inherently competitive ones. The Emergency Ad Hoc Committee for a United Demonstration in Washington D.C. on September 24, 2005 was formed for the purpose of providing a vehicle for transmitting this sentiment to both of the sponsoring coalitions.

The Ad Hoc Committee asked individuals and groups committed to making September 24 as massive as possible to sign a statement urging unity. The response was resounding. The 350 signers of the Unity Statement can take pride in the important contribution they made to bringing the full power of the peace movement together to challenge the warmakers. Independent of our efforts, local antiwar coalitions, national organizations and people from all walks of life who want to see an end to the slaughter in Iraq, an end to U.S. occupations of other countries, and a halt to aggressive U.S. wars for oil and empire also spoke out.

The leaders of the two principal coalitions heard the outcry for unity and responded positively to it. A cloud has been lifted for building the largest possible turnout on September 24. We urge all signers of the Unity Statement to multiply efforts to make this happen. Whether in Washington D.C., San Francisco or Los Angeles, let us together take to the streets to send a message heard around the world -- including by Bush and his big business supporters in both major political parties -- that we, the people, have had it with U.S. war policies and demand a fundamental change.

The growing sentiment against the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq is evidenced by the huge response to the protest launched by Cindy Sheehan in Texas. On Wednesday, August 18, thousands showed their solidarity by attending more than 1500 vigils against the war in cities large and small across the country. The united action now projected for Saturday, September 24th will be a tremendous opportunity for the antiwar sentiment to be mobilized in the most powerful way. End the Occupations! Bring the Troops Home Now!!

Alan Benjamin, Alan Dale,ChristineGauvreau, Jerry Gordon and Jeff Mackler on behalf of the Organizing Committee, Emergency Ad Hoc Committee for a United Demonstration in Washington D.C. on September 24, 2005