Intern Turns Employee

By UELIP Associate: Janel Young

Unlike most of the Summer 2013 UELIP cohort, I am not a college student or even a recent graduate. I won’t say exactly how long ago I was in the shoes of all these crazy college kids around me, but I have been working in the education world for a while now. During graduate school in Pennsylvania, I worked in the non-profit/education research realm and, for the last several years, have worked as a high school counselor in Maryland.  As a District resident though, I was really curious to know more about the “real” DCPS.  I had been interested in working for DCPS for years but found it difficult to find out much about DCPS beyond the ever-present media coverage.  I wanted to understand the inside details of how DCPS operates and see the data beyond teaching and test scores. UELIP seemed like an ideal way to get a behind-the-scenes look at DCPS, as well as dig in and work on the front lines of education reform. Continue reading “Intern Turns Employee”


Achievements among Challenges in DCPS High Schools

By UELIP Associate: Lisa Merrick

As a UELIP in the Office of College and Career Readiness, my primary responsibility has been updating a comprehensive guide to the DCPS High Schools given to rising ninth graders and their families each year. Through this project, I have learned a great deal about the nine DCPS high schools and all the programming they offer to students. Editing the guide has at times been discouraging as I was exposed to the dramatically low graduation, first time ninth grade completion and college enrollment rates. However, I have also seen the positive milestones DCPS and high schools in the District have achieved. To give you just a few examples:

  • Four DC Public School High Schools were recently included in The Washington Post’s America’s Most Challenging High Schools rankings. For DCPS, School Without Walls was ranked 6th in the region, followed by Banneker High School at 20th, Columbia Heights Education Campus at 33rd and Wilson High School at 34th.
  • Wilson High School in Ward 3 was named a 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Schools were chosen for their efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education.
  • Ballou High School’s Marching Band, The Majestic Knights, represented the District of Columbia before Obama in the Inaugural Parade on January 21, 2013.

Through this internship, I have seen the challenges and obstacles that DCPS has to confront on a daily basis. At the same time, I have also seen some incredible improvements happening at the school and district level. Every day I work in an environment surrounded by people tirelessly working to support teachers and education leaders, research effective teaching practices and most importantly, strive to improve the quality of education that over 46,000 students receive.

Reforms are Working

By UELIP Associate: Michael Blume

DCPS received very good news last week.

At a standing room only meeting, Chancellor Henderson released DC CAS scores from the 2012-2013 academic school year. The DC CAS are a series of standardized tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards, and measure a student’s mastery of reading, mathematics, science, and writing composition. This year’s scores revealed that DCPS improved its proficiency in all subjects more rapidly than in any year since 2009. In just the second year of Chancellor Henderson’s ambitious five-year strategic plan, student outcomes across the district are improving as dramatically as planned. Although much work lies ahead, the data is compelling evidence that DCPS’s reforms are working. Continue reading “Reforms are Working”