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2023 OSSE Annual Report: Achieve Equitable Outcomes for All Students

OSSE plays a pivotal role in guaranteeing equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities for all students. OSSE’s multifaceted approach encompasses prioritizing school improvement initiatives, channeling grant funds strategically, directing them toward identified needs and measurable outcomes and ensuring optimal utilization for the benefit of students. This approach also expands learning avenues for students with the most significant needs, establishes transparent expectations for LEAs and holds them accountable for providing effective services to students with disabilities.

Providing Learning Opportunities for Students with the Highest Needs
In 2023, OSSE continued to scale up its high-impact tutoring (HIT) initiative, enabling more students to access frequent, one-on-one or small group tutoring with the same tutor. OSSE funded HIT programs in 73 of the District’s highest-need schools and 19 community-based sites, reaching 5,137 public school students. The program is on track to reach more than 10,000 public school students over three years.

In 2023, OSSE systemically implemented tutoring as a positive and proactive measure to accelerate learning in math and literacy – and early results show these investments are having an impact. In the 2022-23 school year, OSSE’s strategic partner, CityTutor DC, found that 6 percent more students who received the adequate dosage of HIT achieved their math growth goals compared to a control group of students who received a lower dosage of HIT supports. Four percent more achieved their literacy goals compared to the control group. Among students who are designated as at-risk, the impact grows with 7 percent more who received adequate HIT dosage achieving their math and literacy growth goals compared to students who received a lower dosage of HIT supports.

Accelerating Academic Outcomes for Students with Disabilities
In 2023, OSSE released the District of Columbia’s first-ever Special Education Performance Report (SEPR), a comprehensive evaluation of special education programs in the District designed to help educators, families and policymakers better serve and improve academic achievement for students with disabilities. Available on the OSSE website and distributed to DC LEAs for release to DC families, the SEPR provides an annual score for each LEA’s special education program based on federal reporting data and key student progress measures. The report also gives LEAs and families meaningful information about LEA progress toward improving outcomes for students with disabilities and helps OSSE determine the proper supports LEAs need to build educator and system capacity to serve students with disabilities.

Providing Out-of-School Time Learning Opportunities
In 2023, OSSE announced $6.3 million in awards to LEAs and CBOs through the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant competition. The seven awardees, located across DC, will serve 6,817 students and 2,326 of their adult family members with high-quality out-of-school time programming throughout the five-year award period.

21CCLC grant programs provide opportunities for academic enrichment including tutorial services to help students meet state and local student performance standards in core academic subjects such as reading, mathematics and science (particularly students in high-poverty areas and those who attend low-performing schools). Grantees will offer students a broad array of additional services, programs and activities, such as youth development activities; drug and violence prevention; counseling; art; music; recreational activities; technology education; and character education designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students. 

Equipping Educators with Skills to Support Students with Disabilities
All students and especially students with disabilities are more likely to succeed when they are taught by staff trained to support differentiated learning in the general education environment. OSSE is addressing this need by leveraging its special educator credential and providing robust supports to general educators to enable them to successfully educate students with disabilities in culturally competent and inclusive ways. Last year, OSSE launched the Special Education Micro-Credential and the Special Education Endorsement Recovery Initiative (SEERI) leveraging more than $1 million in ESSER funds. These two new pathways enable DC educators to build foundational knowledge for serving students with disabilities and, for eligible educators, earn an add-on to their existing teacher credential. Educators can also receive up to $1,500 in incentive pay for completing the program.

As of early December 2023, 591 educators, representing 61 LEAs have enrolled in the SPED micro-credential pathway, and 324 educators, representing 21 LEAs have enrolled in the SEERI pathway. OSSE is on track to exceed its goal of having 450 educators complete these programs by the end of FY24.