(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Chancellor Antwan Wilson hosted a Back to School Block Party to celebrate the start of a new school year and unveil a new strategic plan for DC Public Schools (DCPS). Under the Capital Commitment 2017-2022 strategic plan, DCPS will focus on both excellence and equity as well as ensuring every family feels welcome and every child is given the opportunities and support they need to thrive. Mayor Bowser was joined by Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles and special guest Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr.
“The new strategic plan for DC Public Schools directly reflects the hopes and dreams of District residents. Most importantly, it acknowledges that we must prioritize excellence and equity in our schools in order to close the achievement gap and give all students a fair shot at success,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our city should be proud of how far DCPS has come–over the past decade we have become the fastest improving urban school district in the country, and with this plan, we will continue to build on our progress.”
The 2017-2022 Capital Commitment plan, which will shape the next five years at DCPS, was created following a six-month citywide engagement campaign. The plan is centered around five new strategic priorities:
- Promote Equity: DCPS will define, understand, and promote equity so that we eliminate opportunity gaps and systematically interrupt institutional bias.
- Empower our People: DCPS will recruit, develop, and retain a talented, caring, and diverse team.
- Ensure Excellent Schools: DCPS will increase the number of excellent schools throughout the city.
- Educate the Whole Child: DCPS will provide rigorous, joyful, and inclusive academic and social emotional learning experiences to ensure all students are college and career ready.
- Engage Families: DCPS will ensure communication and deepen partnerships with families and the community.
“We are striving to become a district of both excellence and equity,” said Chancellor Wilson. “Our vision, as highlighted in the new strategic plan, is for every school to become a place where all students can meet their full potential.”
The new five-year strategic plan builds on progress made under the previous plan and sets ambitious goals for DCPS:
- Double College and Career Readiness: Double the percent of students who are college and career ready and triple the percent of at-risk and students of color who are college and career ready.
- Accelerate Early Literacy: 100 percent of K-2 students are reading on or above grade level.
- Increase High School Graduation Rate: 85 percent of students graduate within four year and 90 percent graduate within four or five years.
- Improve Student Experience: 100 percent of students feel loved, challenged, and prepared.
- Increase Excellent Schools: 100 percent of school are highly rated or are improving.
- Increase Enrollment: 90 percent of students re-enroll and DCPS serves 54,000 students.
The Back to School Block Party took place at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, DC’s only all-boys public high school. The school, which opened last school year and focuses on empowering young men of color, recently welcomed its second class of students. In addition, the District recently completed the second phase of construction on the building, which included a full modernization of the second and third floors to accommodate more students, the completion of a brand new auditorium and gymnasium, and the addition of administrative offices.
Earlier this week, the American Institutes for Research released a new report documenting DCPS’ progress over the past five years. The report found that DCPS is the fastest improving urban school district in the country and has made substantial gains–including increased proficiency rates in English language arts and math for all student groups, steadily increasing enrollment and student satisfaction rates, and substantial increases in graduation rates across all racial and ethnic groups.
In August, Mayor Bowser announced that DCPS saw record gains in proficiency rates on the PARCC assessment, including a 6.4 percentage point increase in the number of students scoring a four or five on the English language arts assessment and 3.5 percentage point increase in the number of students scoring a four or five on the math assessment.
After ten years of education reform in Washington, DC, education 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 will provide an additional $110.5 million to DCPS and an additional $92.6 million to public charter schools from FY2017 to FY2021.