It’s Not Failure. It’s a Challenge.

By Junior Associate: Kelly Halom 

It is very easy to see the statistics and be disheartened. Sitting in any education policy class, you probably hear them within the first lecture. Our students are failing. Not only are they failing by school standards, but they are failing against international standards as well. What some find even more upsetting is that our students in low-income families are disproportionately failing, which consequently disproportionately affects students that are African-American and Hispanic, ever widening an achievement gap that has come to define many of the societal problems that our country faces. It is very easy to see the statistics as failure.

And as long as we are taking the easy way out, it’s easy to look for someone to blame. Continue reading “It’s Not Failure. It’s a Challenge.”



“Our educators are working urgently to change outcomes for students, and our students are responding to the more challenging work that we’re putting in front of them.  We are on the right track and now we just need to accelerate our progress.”

-An excerpt of Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s remarks on the 2014 DC CAS score results released earlier today

Meet Grace Lee

Junior Associate Grace Lee
Junior Associate Grace Lee

Hometown: Buena Park, California
School: Claremont McKenna College            
UELIP Committee Project: Grace organizes school visits and volunteering opportunities.
DCPS Office: Office of the Chief of Schools, Academic Scheduling and Support Team
Project: Grace is working under the supervision of Kia Jones, the director of the Academic Scheduling and Support Team. Grace is analyzing data to evaluate the effectiveness of Summer Bridge and the summer credit recovery program for DCPS by examining factors such as attendance and credit capture of students who completed the program. Continue reading “Meet Grace Lee”

Meet Noora Mahmassani

Junior Associate Noora Mahmassani
Junior Associate Noora Mahmassani

Hometown: Frederick, Maryland
School: Georgetown University
Major: Linguistics
UELIP Committee Project: Noora helps find news articles for the UELIP Newsletter
DCPS Office: Office of Teaching and Learning, Elementary Literacy Team, Academic Language
Project: Noora’s main project is assisting Cara Hoppe in creating a Vocabulary Plan for Kindergarten through 8th Grade. The Vocabulary Plan is essentially a map of how teachers can incorporate 10-15 chosen academic terms per grade level into their existing teaching of the DCPS curriculum. Continue reading “Meet Noora Mahmassani”

Meet Danielle Linowes

Junior Associate Danielle Linowes
Junior Associate Danielle Linowes

Hometown: Rockville, Maryland
School: Miami University in Ohio
Major: Early Childhood Education
UELIP Committee Project: Danielle helps with a few projects. She assist with the newsletter and has done a few things with the UELIP blog. She is also planning a day for UELIPs to get professional head shots.
DCPS Office: Office of Specialized Instruction, Early Stages
Project: Early Stages is a center for evaluating children ages 3-5 with disabilities and deciding on the appropriate services to provide. Danielle’s projects revolve around engaging families in the process. Continue reading “Meet Danielle Linowes”

Meet Vivian Liang

Junior Associate and obese-chihuahua owner Vivian Liang
Junior Associate and obese-chihuahua owner Vivian Liang

Hometown: Ningbo, China
School: Vanderbilt University
Majors: Economics and Sociology
Minors: French and Studio Art
DCPS Office: Office of Human Capital, Data Analytics Team
Project: Vivian is working with Michael Gaskins on the annual labor report as well as the monthly memos on principal turnover and vacancy fill rate. She specifically works on data analysis, visualization, and layout design.
Future Career Goals: Vivian has not figured out what she really wants to do with her life. She has considered being an educational policy researcher, a gallery manager, a world language teacher, a homeless artist, or a data artist. Continue reading “Meet Vivian Liang”