UELIPs Visit Sousa Middle School

Last week Tuesday, a group of UELIPs and I left central office and went to Sousa Middle School to participate in a panel with eighth graders transitioning into high school. The purpose of the panel, planned by UELIPs from the Office of Chief of Schools, was to help introduce the eighth graders strategies to empower themselves by giving them an opportunity to speak with college students.

As an intern at the central office, it was the first time that I interacted with students from a school within DCPS; for me, the experience made these students more than names on a paper—it put faces to the work that UELIPs and other workers do at central office. Where central office often focuses on larger issues for students in the District, the panel focused solely on the students and their immediate questions. But like many interactions with teenagers, it took us UELIP panelists some time gain the trust of the students; however, once we were able to jump over the huddle honest conversations began to occur naturally between us and the students. Notably, most students expressed their concerns with not only starting their high school careers, but also with what life holds beyond high school and college, and the skills required to succeed in whatever endeavor they choose.

Along with showing me the importance of empowering students to believe in their abilities, being a part of this panel also showed me the importance of having a proactive and connected central office. The work that we do in DCPS effects lives, and ultimately, it is how well we do it that will determine what kind of lives we help foster.


UELIPs Go to the Senate

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This Tuesday a group of my fellow UELIPs and I headed out of the central office and over to the US Capitol to hear the Senate debate on the Every Child Achieves Act. The Every Child Achieves Act is a long overdue attempt to overhaul No Child Left Behind of 2002.

A summary of the bill can be found here.

Congress does not release a schedule of events until the day of, which does not allow much time to plan ahead. Luckily, at DCPS supervisors encourage you to take part in all the incredible events the city has to offer and so we were able to take the afternoon to check it out!

We headed over to the capitol and were discouraged to realize we needed a pass from our senator in order to get into the viewing gallery. It turned out we just needed to find our senator’s offices (right across the street from the capitol!) and they gave us the passes right away! With our passes in hand we headed back to the capitol, went through security, waited in line, went through security, waited in another line, through another security point and then finally we were in the gallery.

As you can imagine security is very tight at the capitol here’s the list of items that you can bring into the capitol itself, but not into the viewing galleries:

  • Cans and bottles
  • Battery-operated electronic devices (Medical devices are permitted)
  • Cameras
  • Creams, lotions, or perfumes
  • Strollers
  • Video recorders or any type of recording device
  • Packages, briefcases, backpacks or suitcases

They provided you with bins to store these items while you visit.  I had to place my extra pair of shoes in the bin (maybe there is concern that visitors might throw shoes down at the Senators below?), phone, and previously emptied water bottle in a bin.

When you actually make it into the gallery you are directed to open seats where you may not talk, lean on any banisters, take notes, or sleep (a hard one for the younger tourists missing their nap time).

If you are seriously interested in watching what is happening on the floor, CSPAN is probably the best option. When in the gallery you can’t take notes and you aren’t able to pick your own seat so you might end up sitting in a spot where you can’t see the person speaking.

I would recommend visiting the House or the Senate while they’re in session at least once, it’s definitely a bucket list worthy experience!

More info on visiting the Senate here.

UELIP of the Week Danielle!

Congratulations Danielle Price! Danielle is UELIP of the Week because she is one of our most enthusiastic interns. She constantly posts on our Facebook trying to bring people together, she is quick to volunteer for anything you might need and she will do it with a smile!

More about Danielle:

  1. Home Town: Largo, Florida
  2. School and major: Florida State University; Masters of Science in Education Policy and Evaluation
  3. How did you hear about UELIP? I was studying DC Public Schools in my Urban Education class and ran across the UELIP page on the DCPS website.
  4. What made you decide you wanted to become a UELIP? I love the DC area and have learned a lot about education in DC through my coursework, so I was seeking an opportunity to learn first-hand from education leaders in DCPS. 
  5. What office are you working in? Office of Data and Strategy
  6. Who is your supervisor? Morgan Hall 
  7. Explain your project? My project is assessment communication. I am working with the assessments team within ODS. My project is to help improve communications between central office, teachers and families about assessments DCPS students are taking.
  8. What is the most exciting thing you have done so far?  Participating in the ODS vs. OTL field day!
  9. What are you most looking forward to? Attending a professional development conference with my team where I will be able to network with DCPS educators and administrators
  10. What is something you have learn from your experience so far? Ask for what you want! Your supervisors and other colleagues want you to make the most of this experience and are here to help in any way possible.  (Great Advise Danielle!)
  11. What is your favorite thing about living in DC? The beautiful and historical sites/monuments
  12. Where is your favorite place in DC? Baked & Wired, I love cupcakes! 
  13. What is your favorite food? Sushi 
  14. If your department was given unlimited funds what would you use it for? To create an online database where families are able to view their child’s assessment results and progress from the time they enter DCPS through graduation. This database would also offer the families resources to understand their child’s scores and resources so they may help at home. 

I’d like to thank Danielle for her dedication and initiative throughout the summer and as always, keep up the good work!

-Ashley Clark

The 4th of July Parade!

11698602_10206572319774229_464642501343619259_nThis past Saturday Xinni, Cheyenne, and I volunteered to walk in the 4th of July Parade down Constitution Ave. It poured rain over many places in DC the morning of the 4th, but that didn’t stop us from braving the metro. I expected to hold a small flag in line with a bunch of other volunteers, but that was not the case. Because of the weather, many volunteers had cancelled last minute, so we ended up helping hold an 80-foot American Flag. Not only did the sun come out, but people were cheering us on like we were royalty or something. I will never forget the feeling that I had while marching my way in front of all of those people. I think walking in the parade is an activity everyone needs to do at some point. What better way to show your appreciation to your country? I hope that this volunteer activity gets us all excited for what’s around the corner.


Emily Tanner

UELIP, Innovation and Development

UELIP of the Week

Congrats to T.A, Nguyen! T.A. is one of the friendliest UELIPs I have met and she was nominated by someone who thought the same! When ever you pass T.A. at her desk you can tell she is dedicated to her work and she has never been less than friendly and cheerful!

Her nomination read: “During my short time here at DCPS T.A. has played a major roll in making sure my transition into the internship is smooth. Whether I am in need of company when boredom strikes in my cubical, a lunch pal, or just a smile that redirects my day with purpose, T.A. is there to assist. She is an awesome UELIP role model that upholds the stature of a professional intern in the urban education sector.”

  1. Home Town: Falls Church, VA
  2. School and major: College of William and Mary, Neuroscience
  3. How did you hear about UELIP? I heard about UELIP through a Program Coordinator at my school
  4. What made you decide you wanted to become a UELIP? I wanted to explore education and understand problems related to urban education
  5. What office are you working in? Office of the Chief Operating Officer
  6. Who is your supervisor? Sally Parker
  7. Explain your project? To promote environmental literacy in DCPS, I am creating an interactive map for teachers to find nearby green destinations (local parks, streams, etc). Teachers can use these outdoor spaces to teach fun lesson plans and engage their students in a real-world context. My hope is that outdoor learning becomes a significant part of the school day, as research indicates outdoor learning enhances academic performance and boosts student motivation!
  8. What is the most exciting thing you have done so far? The project I’m working on is largely my own creation (Sally gives me a lot of freedom- thank you, Sally!) and I’m excited to see how it unfolds. Over the last couple weeks, I learned how to manipulate and map data using ArcGIS software.  Although there are days when progress is stagnant, I am learning to navigate the maze of project management. By the end of the summer, I plan to publish my first-ever web app. ☺
  9. What are you most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to having great conversations with other UELIPs, picking the brains of professionals through our Chief Chats, and enjoying all the great things in DC- including restaurants, book stores, and community gardens. I’ve been to the Navy Yard a few times, and it’s gorgeous.
  10. What is something you have learn from your experience so far? Something I’ve had to learn is to dive headfirst, even when I’m not sure where to start. A big hurdle I had to overcome was deciding what project to pursue and the best way to get through that hoop was to actually get started. More doing, less thinking.
  11. What are your favorite things? Reading positive psych blogs, spending time with family and friends, writing in my journal, and dance when no one’s watching!

Keep up the great work T.A.!