(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Antwan Wilson announced Excellence through Equity (EtE) funding, a $2.6 million investment that will support efforts to close the achievement gap.
“As we celebrate the tremendous progress DC Public Schools has made over the past decade, we continue to make targeted investments that will help us close gaps in opportunity and achievement that still impact our students,” said Mayor Bowser. “With this funding, we are doubling down on our efforts to build a system that is focused on both excellence and equity – a system that meets the needs of all families and sets every student, in every school up for success.”
All 115 schools received funding based on the number and concentration of students who scored Level 1 or 2 on the 2017 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment. Last school year, DCPS saw record gains in the number of students scoring a 4 or 5 on PARCC, including increases of 6.4 percentage points in English language arts and 3.5 percentage points in math. This growth was seen across grade levels and student subgroups. EtE funding will support the work schools are doing to ensure more students are performing on or above grade level.
“To close the achievement gap, DC Public Schools must provide more resources and supports to the students who need it most,” said Chancellor Wilson. “Excellence through Equity allows us to focus on equity, while supporting schools in innovation around key priorities like social emotional learning and attendance. The students with the most need received the most resources.”
Schools can use the funding to build innovation around:
- Attendance: Just missing one or two days a month can set students back academically. Building on Mayor Bowser’s citywide effort to increase student attendance, Every Day Counts!, schools can innovate around ways to increase attendance rates for all students.
- Literacy and math instruction: In order to double the percent of students who are college and career ready and triple the percent of at-risk students and students of color who are college and career ready, schools can add additional instructional support, such as tutoring or after-school programs.
- Social emotional learning: To ensure that 100 percent of students feel loved, challenged, and prepared, schools can focus on school culture initiatives and opportunities that help develop students’ interests and character outside of academics.
By focusing on literacy, math, attendance, and social-emotional learning, schools can build programs and supports that fit their unique communities. Examples of how schools are spending the funds include:
- Brightwood Education Campus (Ward 4) will implement social emotional professional development and trainings for staff through afterschool trainings and Saturday sessions.
- Stuart-Hobson Middle School (Ward 6) will create a Math Counts club, a competitive and fun math club, and Literacy Book and Writing Clubs, where students can continue to develop their reading and writing skills.
- Wilson High School (Ward 3) will build out social-emotional learning supports to prepare students for entry into college and career, with a specific focus on at-risk students.
- King Elementary School (Ward 8) will build literacy offerings with afterschool tutoring to increase student attendance during and after the school day.
Since 2015, the Bowser Administration has made unprecedented investments in public schools and put in place a range of programs and initiatives – including the Empowering Males of Color and Reign initiatives – to raise student achievement and promote equity. Last school year, the Mayor opened Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, the first and only all-male public high school in Washington, DC. EtE funding will build on these efforts by supporting DCPS’ new five-year strategic plan, a Capital Commitment 2017-2022. Under the new plan, DCPS will strive to become a district of both excellence and equity—a place where every family feels welcomed and every child is given the opportunities and support they need to thrive. The plan sets forth bold goals for DCPS, including doubling college and career readiness rates, increasing high school graduation rates to 85 percent of students, and accelerating early literacy rates by ensuring 100 percent of K-2 students are reading on or above grade level.
Accelerating school reform continues to be a top priority for Mayor Bowser. In her Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, the Mayor invested $1.74 billion in public education, an increase of $121 million over last year’s budget and the largest investment in public education in the city’s history. In addition, the new teachers’ contract, which was unanimously passed by the DC Council this week, will provide an additional $110.5 million to DCPS and an additional $92.6 million to public charter schools from FY2017 to FY2021.
Go to dcps.dc.gov to see the list of EtE funding amounts by school.