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Bowser Administration Announces Members of the DC Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Bowser Administration announced the members of the DC Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force. This initiative, announced in August, marks the first city-wide, multi-sector effort to bring together District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools for deliberate and purposeful collaboration. The Task Force will be made up of 26 members from across the city and will be co-chaired by Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles and Mayor Anthony Williams.

“I am proud of the tremendous progress our public schools have made over the last few years and I am excited about the work ahead,” said Mayor Bowser. “For public education to get to the next level in the District, collaboration is critical. I thank the members of the Task Force for taking up this important work, which will allow us to learn from what’s best in each sector in order to give all students and families what they need and deserve – a world class public education system.”

“I am overwhelmed by the level of interest and support we received from parents, community members, and education leaders for this effort,” said Deputy Mayor Niles. “I am confident that the Task Force members truly understand the urgency of the task at hand and, with the help of former Mayor Williams, we can tap into the experience and expertise the members bring to help us think through these hard issues as a city.”  

Members of the Task Force include DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Public Charter School Board Executive Director Scott Pearson, Ward 7 representative to the State Board of Education Karen Williams, former Ward 4 councilmember and city education leader Dr. Charlene Drew Jarvis, public charter school leaders, and public school advocates and parents from every ward of the city.  For a full list of members, please visit www.dme.dc.gov/collaboration.

“The District’s educational improvements over the last decade, which by some measures make us the fastest performing urban school district in the nation, have been the result of both sectors doing their part to improve educational outcomes for students,” said former Mayor Anthony Williams. “To continue on our current positive trajectory, and to address the very real and significant gaps that still exist for many of our students, we need to find ways for our sectors to complement each other better. I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with a tremendous line-up of partners to help make this task force a success.”

The Task Force is charged with developing a report for the Mayor with clear and fair recommendations on how the city can improve the coherence of public education in DC for parents and increase the collaboration across and among public schools to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and student outcomes.  The Task Force will start meeting in the New Year.  Critical to the success of Task Force is a comprehensive community engagement process.  City residents will have multiple opportunities to be involved and provide input throughout the duration of the initiative.  Opportunities to provide input will include focus groups, online forums and surveys, and small group meetings with parents and stakeholders; for more information on the process, please visit dme.dc.gov/collaboration.

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education will also benefit from the pro-bono support of EducationCounsel LLC and the volunteer efforts of James Sandman, President of the Legal Services Corporation and former DCPS General Counsel, to support the work of the Task Force.  EducationCounsel LLC maintains a national practice in the area of education and uses deep experience in policy, strategy, law, and advocacy to develop and drive policy initiatives—on the local, state, and national levels—to close the achievement gaps and improve education outcomes for all.