REES-U Student Reflection

Cassandra ThillToday, I attended a seminar about Race and Equity in Education. I am going to be completely honest, talking about racism and issues about race that are prevalent in everyday society is extremely difficult. However, this conversation needs to occur in order for progress to be made in terms discrimination, oppression, and prejudice to decrease among minority groups. This seminar really opened my eyes to how people of color deal with issues that truly affect them such as the shooting that just occurred in Charleston, South Carolina. When I listen to the news, I hear about what happened but I do not necessarily hear how that culture is affected. Hearing stories from these individuals truly was eye opening and left me speechless. I honestly have never contemplated white privilege before but it is a real thing. The biggest take away from this seminar was that although I am White, I can be an ally in solving this issue of racism and discrimination! This is a large issue but there is hope that it will diminish slowly. I am up for the challenge and I am here to support my friends, colleagues, family, and future students.

-Cassandra Thill

UELIP, Office of Specialized Instruction




Monday, all of the UELIPs attended an event called REES-U, which stands for Race and Equity Education Seminar .This event was designed to help break down the racial barriers that we set up for ourselves. It provided a comfortable and safe environment to discuss the issue of racism in order to better understand ourselves and our colleagues. One on one small group discussions were used throughout to help us learn not only how to speak, but to listen. We read many articles in preparation for this event, but the one which focused on micro aggressions really hit home. Sometimes its the simple things that don’t seem like a big deal like little jokes or stereotypes that hurt people the most. My favorite activity involved the comfort, risk, and danger zonesress3. During this activity, we were given different hypothetical situations and we had to determine which zone we would be in if confronted by these issues. Comfort being that you didn’t really care to respond and danger being completely frustrated and on edge. I found that I straddled risk and danger very frequently, but that sometimes I was in the comfort zone simply to avoid confrontation. Race is somewhat of a taboo in our politically correct society and this workshop helped to remedy this. I know that my fellow UELIPs and I greatly benefited from this experience and I hope that many others get this same opportunity in the future.

-Emily Tanner

UELIP, Innovation and Development

Ice-cream Social!

icecream1 You came, you ate, you laughed and we are so glad! Thank you to everyone who came to our very first UELIP Ice-cream Social. It was amazing watching everyone get to know each other. It was also extremely hilarious watching different groups attempt the games I set up. Heads up, Charades, and M.A.S.H were definitely the most popular. We have other activities in our midst, but I hope you all enjoyed yourselves because I know I did.


Emily Tanner

UELIP Innovation and Development

icecream3icecream4 icecream2

Welcome OGC Interns!

I would like to take a moment to welcome the Summer 2015 UELIP Cohort to the office,  we have such a large presences in the office and the whole building is buzzing about the addition of the 80 (YES 80!) best and brightest.  This summer we are excited to welcome a group of Interns working in Office of the General Counsel at DCPS.  After an exciting start I’d like to recognize this group, so thanks for joining us Jamie, David, Ariane, Sierra, Ashley, and Mamie!

Jamie Wamble: Jamie is from Tempe, Arizona and has a degree in Sociology from Arizona State University. She is now a student at George Washington University Law School and we are happy to her.

  • What is the most exciting/interesting thing you have worked on so far? Trademark infringement issue with Anacostia High School.
  • Can you think of one interesting thing you have learned from your internship so far? Foreign students (minor children) visiting the U.S. on a J-2 visa can attend DC Public Schools.
  • What are you most looking forward to? Continuing to research and learn about a wide variety of issues. And field trips!

David Grau: David originally from North Caldwell, NJ is joining us from American University Washington College of Law.  He previously attended University of Notre Dame where he studies Art History and Education Policy.

  • What is the most exciting/interesting thing you have worked on so far? Researching and drafting a memo about “twice exceptional” students, i.e., students who have both disabilities and high cognitive skills, and the type of special education services that DCPS is obligated to provide for them.
  • What is something you have learned from your internship so far? I’ve realized that my teaching background with Teach For America will be extremely helpful for my work this summer as a legal intern.
  • Favorite restaurant in D.C.? Toki Underground! (He suggest you order the red miso ramen and a Toki Monster)

Ariane Schaffer: Ariane is a UELIP from American University studying Interdisciplinary Political Science.  Being in DC for school has allowed her to see snow for the first time since she is originally from New Orleans, LA.

  • What is the most exciting/interesting thing you have worked on so far? So far I have been working on streamlining the food appropriations process and updating the OGC website.
  • What excites you the most about being a UELIP this summer? I am excited to be a UELIP this summer to learn from and work closely with education influencers in the nation’s capital.
  • Favorite Subject: Anthropology

Sierra Murph: Sierra is a law student at George Washington Law School, and previously studied History with a minor in African American Studies in her home state at at South Carolina State University,

  • What is the most exciting/interesting thing you have worked on so far? Drafting a cease and desist letter regarding copyright and trademark infringement.
  • What are you most looking forward to? Expanding my legal knowledge in various fields of law, such as copyright and trademark law.
  • Favorite thing about living in D.C.? Riding the metro and buses! I love being around so many other people all at once.

Ashley Macaysa: Ashley from San Diego/ Hilo Hawaii (on the Big Island) studied Political Science with a minor is Asian Studies at UC Santa Barbara now joins the OGC team as an American University Washington College of Law student.

  • What is the most exciting/interesting thing you have worked on so far? Responding to a Civil rights complaint brought by the Department of Education against DCPS.
  • What is something you have learned from your internship? I have learned a lot about client advocacy and special education law.
  • Can you think of an Interesting fact about yourself? I drink a green smoothie every morning after my 5-mile run. (WOW)

And finally, Mamie Aoughsten: Mamie is another law student joining us from American University Washington College of Law. She previously studied International Relations and Global Studies/Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.

  • What are you most looking forward to in this internship? Attending Special Education Due Process hearings and working with all the attorneys in the office. I started just this past week and am still getting settled!
  • Favorite thing about living in D.C.? Meeting new people every day, especially excited to meet all the other UELIP interns!
  • Favorite drink at Starbucks: S’mores Frappuccino! I’m a true coffee snob!

Thanks to all the Interns and Staff at OGC, and good luck this summer! — Ashley Clark

Summer 2015 UELIP Directory!

Welcome incoming Cohort!

We are incredibly delighted to have each and every one of you here for this summer 2015 term. DC public schools UELIP program is incredibly unique. We have a diverse group of interns from different interests, backgrounds, and locations. This week we created our very first intern directory! This tool allows for staff and fellow interns to easily learn about one another! I hope you enjoy your summer here and take back with you many important skills.


Emily Tanner

UELIP, Program Development and Innovation

Below I have attached a link to the directory

UELIP Directory Final