Nancy Washington: New UELIP Coordinator

By: Nicholas Kram Mendelsohn

NancyW

Last week I sat down to chat with Nancy Washington, the new program manager of the Urban Education Leadership Internship Program (UELIP), to discuss her career and her hopes for the direction of the UELIP program. Ms. Washington attended the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass) where she studied psychology. While at UMass, Ms. Washington participated in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, which inspired her desire to improve the lives of children. In her words, “I came to school with no idea what I wanted to do, but discovered a real appreciation of psychology and desire to help young people. After college, I continued my education by pursing a Master’s in Special Education and Teaching from Queen’s College in New York.”

Following school, Ms. Washington knew that she wanted to teach, so she took her talents to the New York City public school system and taught special education. She taught high school and middle school students for five years before deciding that she could be a more effective agent of change in an administrative role. Following this decision, she moved to Washington D.C., and began working with Urban Alliance, an organization that “empowers under-resourced youth to aspire, work, and succeed.”

Ms. Washington described this position as an amazing experience, and noted that she felt “joy…watching the students of the Urban Alliance program develop incredible professional skills before even stepping foot in college.” She added, “I actually see some of my former Urban Alliance interns passing our office every day on their way to their internships, and love to see them continuing in their professional development.” Ms. Washington then became the Director of Alumni Services for Urban Alliance, where she worked hard to increase the number of scholarships and grants accessible to Urban Alliance alumni participants.

She recently joined DCPS as the School District Internship Coordinator. “This has been a great experience, and it’s only been a few weeks,” Ms. Washington said. When asked about what she enjoyed about the 2016 UELIP Summer Cohort, Ms. Washington said, “I just love seeing how professional you all are. You all hold yourselves with such poise, and are doing such exciting important work.” In response to how she would like to see the UELIP program develop in the future, Ms. Washington responded, “I hope to see some resources and initiatives created to increase the demographic pool of young people passionate about education to have access to this unique and important internship experience”

Ms. Washington’s dedication to improving the UELIP program was clear throughout the interview, with Ms. Washington frequently taking time to ask questions about how I was personally enjoying the UELIP program and what I would want to see improved. “I want to hear from you all,” she said. “It’s important for me to have as many conversations with UELIPs as possible, because you all have the best understanding of what works and what can be improved in the program.” Ms. Washington’s passion for improving the lives of children was evident throughout, and I was honored to have the chance to chat with her. We are all happy to welcome Ms. Washington to DCPS, and cannot wait to see the direction the UELIP experience takes under her stewardship.

Reflection on the Eastern Hiring Fair

By: Akanksha Shah

One of the best things about being a UELIP is that your work is not confined to the office. There are plenty of opportunities to see the projects you’re working on – whether its summer school, logistics, or teacher recruitment – in action.

Last Wednesday, July 13th, the Teacher Recruitment and Selection (TR&S) and Staffing teams put on the final DCPS Recruitment Fair of the year at Eastern High School. Almost half the district’s schools attended – over 50 schools had tables and talked to candidates. The candidate turnout was also impressive, as over 400 candidates attended the fair.

The hiring fair showed how many different staff roles are needed to run a successful school – schools were not only looking for teachers, but educational aides, custodial staff, librarians, counselors, and more. DCPS’s holistic approach towards student learning was apparent through the diversity of candidates in attendance. Many principals seemed to leave at the end of the day impressed with the strength of candidates they had talked to and ready to conduct further interviews.

Several UELIPs from both the TR&S and the Staffing teams also came to the fair in order to assist, helping with everything from setup, to principal and candidate registration, to passing out materials and answering questions on the fair floor. For the UELIPs providing support, it was an amazing opportunity to learn how a big event is put on, and to offer hands on staffing during such an event.

The packed fair also helped display the breadth of interest in working at DCPS. One UELIP, Natalie Knez, observed, “the wealth of attendees demonstrated the desirability of working in DCPS and the depth of the search our schools complete.”

Chancellor Henderson to Step Down: A UELIP Perspective

By: Shyheim Snead

Last Wednesday, June 29, Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced that she would be stepping down from her role on September 30, 2016. Chancellor Henderson began her tenure as head of DC Public Schools in November 2010, after serving for three years as Deputy Chancellor of DCPS.

In the Chancellor’s six years of service, she has been at the helm of increasing student enrollment, improving student satisfaction, and recruiting and retaining top talent to lead schools and classrooms. In her June 29 bulletin, Mayor Muriel Bowser thanked the Chancellor for her “steadfast resolve to improve education for all of our students.”

As UELIP Associates, we had the unique opportunity to attend the “All-Hands” meeting where the Chancellor made a personal announcement to Central Office staff. This quarterly meeting is an opportunity for Central Office staff to hear major announcements and updates on District progress.

The meeting opened with two exceptional student performances: violin selections from a rising DCPS Sophomore and an impassioned speech on literacy from a graduated Senior. The Chancellor followed by recapping accomplishments from the past year, including study abroad programs and paid internship opportunities for DCPS students.

Immediately following, the Chancellor gave an emotional, passionate speech about the joys of leading this school district and her high hopes for its future. Akanksha Shah, UELIP Associate in the Office of Talent and Culture, remarked “as an intern you don’t really expect to see anything really important beyond the day-to-day work…This was an experience you won’t get anywhere else…witnessing actual change impact actual people.”

The 2016 Summer UELIP Cohort joins the masses in thanking Chancellor Henderson for her distinguished service to DC Public Schools, and we are confident in DCPS’s continued commitment to students. We are excited to continue supporting the DCPS team for the remainder of the summer.

#ThankYouKaya