(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser released the “Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force Report”, which provides a series of actionable recommendations to increase cross-sector and inter-agency collaboration and address education challenges across the District. The report was created by the Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force, a twenty-plus member group assembled by Mayor Bowser to address the needs of vulnerable student populations and provide greater stability to data, planning and enrollment issues through multi-agency cooperation and accountability. Co-chaired by former Mayor Anthony Williams and former Interim Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) Ahnna Smith, other members include Interim Chancellor Amanda Alexander, State Superintendent Hanseul Kang, Executive Director of the DC Public Charter School Board Scott Pearson, senior staff from DCPS, leaders from the public charter school sector, and members of the community.
“In 2015, I pledged to increase collaboration between and amongst our public school sectors with the goal of delivering high-quality education to every child in every neighborhood across the District of Columbia,” said Mayor Bowser. “This report offers us a set of recommendations to ensure we continue to build on our academic growth over the past 10 years and ways we can make improvements.”
The Task Force’s report culminates more than two years of intensive engagement and analysis. The report offers recommendations and policy considerations organized within four main sections: improving outcomes for at-risk students; creating a framework for coordinating planning decisions; promoting enrollment stability; and additional areas of need. The Task Force utilized a robust community engagement process that included substantial outreach efforts with school communities, community groups, religious organizations, Ward-based education councils, and other members of the public in order to determine the roadmap that would guide the work of the Task Force. In early 2018, the Task Force held several focus groups, citywide community meetings, received analysis from academic researchers and education professionals, and reviewed feedback from an open comment period.
“This marks another promise kept – Mayor Bowser’s leadership and relentless drive have led to increased collaboration across our public school system, which has undergone 20 years of tremendous change,” said Acting Deputy Mayor on Education Paul Kihn. “With the leadership of our Mayors and oversight of our Council we have had 10 years of incredible academic progress, but we know we have much more work to do. That is why we are facing the District’s education challenges head-on, doubling down efforts to close the achievement gap, and forging a path for further collaboration. We thank the members of the Task Force for all of their work and the public for their engagement on this effort.”
Mayor Bowser has already taken action on several of the Task Force’s recommendations: the two main recommendations related to promoting enrollment stability, for example, resulted in two pilot programs during the 2017-18 school year. One pilot created a centralized mid-year transfer process to improve equity in access to school choices and ensure that students find the school that best matches their needs. The other pilot created a cross-sector approach to ensuring that students experiencing safety issues got the information and support necessary to identify and transfer to a new DCPS or charter school. Likewise, recommendations around the sharing of best practices have led Mayor Bowser to launch cross-sector communities of practice for attendance and for trauma-informed training.
“Cross-sector collaboration isn’t easy, and there’s a lot that both sides will never agree on. But when we’re able to find common ground, identify and capture efficiencies, and learn from each other, we can have an enormous impact on the future of our students. This Task Force—and this report—is an important step in that direction,” said Former Mayor Anthony Williams.
Moving forward, Mayor Bowser has prioritized strategic planning and implementation of key recommendations from the Task Force to close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for at-risk students. In pursuing those missions, the Deputy Mayor for Education will lead those collaborative efforts across all sectors of the District government.
To view the full report, please visit: 2018 Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force Report.