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Public Charter Best Practices Archive

Grants administered by the Office of Public Charter School Financing and Support (OPCSFS) have supported the dissemination of a variety of best practices used by high-quality charter schools in the District. Below you will find an archive of those best practices, including descriptions and resources provided by the grant recipients.

To learn more about the best practices below, please contact the public charter school directly or email Brianna Griffin at [email protected].

Public Charter LEA Name Grant Name Best Practice Name Project Description Resources
AppleTree Early Learning Center PCS FY17 Title VB Dissemination Vertical Alignment (Pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten)

AppleTree’s project goal was to establish continuous and well-aligned early learning experiences from pre-K3 through Kindergarten and continue growth in academic achievement in Kindergarten and beyond. The objective of this work was to develop and implement vertical alignment practices at two public charter schools at which AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School provides pre-K3 and pre-K4.

AppleTree coordinated the creation of a transition document which included academic, attendance and social-emotional data on each matriculating pre-K4 student. This document was used as the anchor for transition meetings held between partner school leaders (AppleTree principal and partner school Kindergarten Assistant Principal) to discuss the creation of balanced Kindergarten cohorts that would be set up for success. The document was also used to facilitate meetings between AppleTree and partner school social workers to ensure a seamless transition of students receiving additional support.

AppleTree also extended an opportunity for Kindergarten teachers at partner schools to attend summer professional learning alongside their pre-K4 peers. The teams developed joint goals and professional learning sessions were selected based on these goals and priorities.
EveryChildReady website
Capital City PCS FY17 Title VB Dissemination Student-Engaged Assessments Capital City PCS designed a resource website for educators to access student-engaged assessment resources. The site includes examples and resources for creating student-centered learning targets, using data with students, and employing various methods to check for students' understanding and mastery of the learning topics. The site also includes instructional videos with overviews from educator workshops, lesson templates and curriculum outlines, and exemplars. Student-Engagement Assessment website
Center City PCS FY17 Title VB Dissemination ESL After the Bell

Center City PCS worked with DCPS to expand their ESL After the Bell program to HD Cooke Elementary School. ESL After the Bell is a language development program that was designed by Center City to promote the academic achievement of English Learners through a curriculum that develops proficiency in the language domains of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Through this partnership, we were able to expand the program to more EL students throughout DC while also sharing professional development opportunities for teachers. HD Cooke teachers attended a 6-day Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) hosted at Center City. Center City also sent several ESL teachers from both HD Cooke and Center City to Project-Based Learning training hosted by the Buck Institute.

Center City and HD Cooke hosted several joint program showcases in which the students presented their work to members of the community. Center City teachers, HD Cooke teachers, and students from both sites were showcased at the 'Afterschool for All' event at the Senate building on Capitol Hill hosted by the Afterschool Alliance. The Afterschool for All showcase is an annual advocacy event where leaders and supporters of afterschool make their case on Capitol Hill for continued and expanded support for afterschool programming. On several occasions throughout the year, we hosted visitors at both sites to learn more about the program and its impact on students. This collaboration has been featured in several national publications, including Education Dive, The 74 Million, a report by WestEd and in a newsletter by ACSD.

ESL After the Bell Presentation at OSSE's Multilingual Learner Conference

ACSD Newsletter

Education Dive Article

The 74 Million Article

West Ed Article

Washington Yu Ying PCS FY17 Title VB Dissemination Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School disseminated the research-based best practices of Dr. Ross Greene, creator of Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS), an alternative approach to behavior and discipline for behaviorally challenged students to DC International School. The underlying premise of CPS is that behaviorally challenged students lack the necessary skills to meet school expectations. Collaboration with all involved stakeholders - classroom teachers, intervention teachers, parents, administrators and students is necessary to discover the underlying reasons for disruptive behavior by identifying the lagging skill, then solving the problem. Yu Ying used CPS to implement a system-wide behavior support plan for Yu Ying and DCI through professional development and training to help ease the transition from elementary to middle school.  
Capital City FY12 Title VB Dissemination Implementing Common Core Math Standards and Constructivist Math Practices

This Math Dissemination Project aimed to increase the level of math instruction and student achievement, both at the lead school and externally at partner schools. The project focused on equipping teachers for strong implementation of Common Core Math Standards and constructivist math practices.

The project began with the development of a series of K-8 benchmark assessments aligned to the Common Core. The lead school housed these benchmark assessments and other resources within a website (, which offers easy access and sharing capabilities.

A group of teacher leaders – the Math Cadre – and our instructional coaches spearheaded the work for this grant. We also have also utilized the expertise of a math consultant, who has worked individually with instructional coaches and with the cadre, and as a group through monthly professional development meetings. In order to share their work and best practices with other teachers at all partner schools, the cadre planned and hosted a series of 10 labsites. These labsites focused on strengthening constructivist practices, gaining a better understanding of the inverted workshop model, and improving teachers’ implementation of standard teacher practices. In order to further share the work with other teachers, our consultant and instructional coaches also led a math camp during summer 2013. Lastly, as part of a greater initiative to involve families in instruction, the Math Cadre also coordinated a Family Math Night to teach parents strategies to support their child’s math skills development.

Our project will finish with the refinement and sharing of a fully tested set of benchmark assessments aligned to the Common Core, along with many useful tools. These resources will help teachers in better assessing and preparing students for testing and, more importantly, for success in math.

Analyzing Student Work to Inform Instruction

Math Benchmark Assessment Procedures

Math Folder Checklist – Kindergarten

Math Practice Rubric 2014

Washington Yu Ying FY12 Title VB Dissemination Chinese Language Instruction and Materials Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School partnered with DCPS schools Brent Elementary, John Eaton Elementary and Thomson Elementary to: 1) Determine Chinese program student achievement targets and how to best support stakeholders’ Chinese programs; 2) Implement two professional development seminars for the DCPS Chinese teachers to help them raise student achievement in Chinese; and 3) Provide the DCPS partner schools with Chinese resources that helped students, parents and teachers. DCPS teachers attended two trainings by Yu Ying that were tailored to the Chinese Classroom: “Classroom Management” and “Strategies for Implementing Curriculum in the Chinese Classroom.” Yu Ying provided the partner school teachers with subgrants to purchase curriculum materials and gave them professionalized resources created by Yu Ying (Chinese language flash cards and leveled readers). Teachers reported an increase in student achievement as a result of the grant activities.

Dissemination Presentation

Bamboo Flashcard

Mountain Flashcard

Rain Flashcard

Briya FY13 Title VB Dissemination CLASS Video Library Briya created a video library and webinar to disseminate best practices related to data-driven instruction using the classroom quality metric, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), with a focus on dual-language learning (DLL) students. Briya then shared this video library resource center and best practices webinar with partner schools serving high percentages of students who are DLL and economically disadvantaged. The 27 cluster topic videos comprised of more than 65 discrete clips organized by CLASS dimension provide teachers with practical examples of classroom practice. The partnership increased collaboration toward common goals on how to use the CLASS for young dual language learners and impacted the instruction of more than 300 pre-k students.

DLL Research bibliography

Focus DLL Strategies

Center City FY13 Title VB Dissemination Open Source K-8 Math and ELA Curriculum This project is intended to drive the Common Core initiative in Washington, DC by developing and sharing an Open Source K-8 Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum that engages, challenges and meets the needs of diverse learners. The project will develop a coherent curriculum, improve the quality and rigor of teacher planning and instruction, and increase student engagement and critical thinking skills to produce higher levels of college readiness. Unit 6.1 Overview The Lightning Thief
Center City FY15 Best Practices Grant Center City Teacher Support Suite The Brightwood campus shared high-impact instructional and classroom culture strategies by leading a community of practice, providing more intensive support to a partner school, including training them to implement the Center City Teacher Support Suite, and strengthening the implementation of these high-leverage practices across Center City campuses.

NNN rubric - teachers

School-Wide Systems Rubric

Ingenuity Prep FY15 Best Practices Grant Math Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) and Literacy Guided Reading (GR) With the highest percentage of “at-risk” families of any charter elementary school in the city, Ingenuity Prep (IP) students have proven - with strong reading and math gains - that they can “beat the odds.” The school’s adoption of instructional best practices in Math Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) and Literacy Guided Reading (GR) have served as key drivers in producing these strong achievement gains. Ingenuity Prep used grant funds to partner with Seaton Elementary School (DCPS) and Achievement Prep Elementary School (PCS) to 1) share its learnings around Math CGI and Literacy GR and 2) collaboratively engage designated CGI and GR external experts to further build partner schools’ leadership capacity and IP teachers’ capacity to drive even greater student achievement gains. Additionally, Ingenuity Prep will seek broader dissemination of CGI and GR best practice through the hosting of a fall 2015 “learning walk” targeted at all interested OSSE focus/priority schools.

Effectively Executing the Investigations Curriculum – Discourse

Effectively Executing the Investigations Curriculum – Monitoring

Effectively Executing the Investigations Curriculum – The Launch

Investigations Math Routines

KIPP FY15 Best Practices Grant Online Professional Development Platform

Through the Best Practices grant, KIPP DC created an online professional development platform, using the website Canvas, for teachers. The first course, “Teaching Writing with Technology,” was a professional development series designed to develop the skills, strategies, and mindset of teacher participants to transform their students into college- and career-ready writers. The course also gave participants the opportunity to use the same technology they would later roll out to students in their own classrooms. The course allowed us to share best practices among schools in the KIPP DC network as well as our partner LEAs.

Participating teachers completed a series of 10 units, each led by a writing specialist (an excellent veteran KIPP DC writing teacher). Each unit ended with a classroom application activity, where participants had the opportunity to apply what they had learned in that unit into their own classroom. Because the series was delivered online, participants were able to complete the units at a time and place that made the most sense for them.

In addition to the flexibility that online courses offer participants, they also give participants the opportunity to access resources from past units whenever they need them. The course balanced the flexibility of online learning with real human interaction and feedback. Writing Specialists posted videos of them explaining the topics in their units, as well as videos of the Specialists teaching in their classrooms. The online platform also featured discussion boards, and Writing Specialists held in-person office hours to support course participants. Teachers received a digital “badge” each time they successfully completed a unit.

The course units were as follows:

  1. Authentic Writing Tasks
  2. Criteria for Success
  3. Using Pre-Assessment to Drive Planning
  4. Direct Instruction Strategies
  5. Feedback and Revision
  6. Student Conferences
  7. Written Feedback Strategies
  8. Small Group Feedback
  9. Building Toward Bigger Tasks
  10. Assessing and Reflecting as a Teacher

If you are interested in learning more or accessing the online course, please email [email protected].

Two Rivers FY15 Best Practices Grant Learn with Two Rivers – Math Instructional Best Practices

Two Rivers was thrilled to be part of the Best Practices grant. The program objectives were to increase the number of teachers in public and public charter schools in the District who have effective mathematical practices, increase teacher access to a repository of best practices in math, and increase the number of assistant teachers who are proficient in effective instructional and culture-setting practices in math.

Two Rivers created and delivered content through seminars, institutes, and through the Learn with Two Rivers website. The website is available at:

Though the grant has ended, Two Rivers is continuing our work in leading best practices in math instruction, through a series of workshops in the 2017-18 school year that are open for enrollment.

Two Rivers has used the best practices courses and products as a springboard to further work in deeper learning, including scaling assessments developed to reach a larger educational audience. Two Rivers is currently working with a consortium of funders and educators to extend the work of best practices in instruction and assessment:

Finally, Two Rivers continues to inform, inspire, share, and learn from others across the city, nation, and world. Please see the recent blogs by the Two Rivers instructional leader, Jeff Heyck-Williams, as well as features about Two Rivers instructional practices:

Global education organization, HundrED, is sharing best practice ideas and projects across borders to help improve the future of education globally, and Two Rivers has been chosen as one of its 100 most inspiring projects.

Two Rivers Assessment for Learning

Recent features:

How We Got Teachers to Love Math—And Improved Our Math Scores

Picking the Perfect Problem: The Heart of Project-Based Learning

Providing the Right Guidance and Guardrails to Support Student Voice and Choice

How Students Critiquing One Another’s Work Raises The Quality Bar

The Innovation Experiment: How Do We Know These New Learning Models Work?

What Personalized Learning Looks Like Across the Country: The 2017 Fifty States Project

Washington Yu Ying FY15 Best Practices Grant Teaching Literacy through Inquiry Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, an International Baccalaureate World School, partnered with Browne Education Campus, an International Baccalaureate Candidate School, to create highly effective teachers at both schools who can teach literacy through inquiry best practices. The main activities under the grant were: professional development (PD), observation and coaching, after-school book clubs and parent literacy education sessions. Highlights of the activities included professional development for teachers at both schools at the Columbia University Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project, the book giveaways at the after-school book clubs held at both schools and the parent sessions where books and other reading resources were handed out to parents for home use.  
Eagle FY15 Title VB Dissemination Multi-Tiered Behavioral Frameworks and Positive Behavioral Supports Eagle Academy Public Charter School’s Charter School Dissemination grant was designed to both implement a high-quality, multi-tiered behavioral framework at Eagle’s campuses as well as model/monitor high-quality implementation of this framework for a fellow school (Bridges Academy Public Charter School). Professional development workshops, mentoring, cross-site observations, and professional development resources were utilized to familiarize teachers with multi-tiered behavioral frameworks, de-escalation techniques, positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), the Responsive Classroom approach, and the Second Step social-emotional curriculum.

Dissemination Grant Narrative Report

Multi-Tiered Behavioral Frameworks and Positive Behavioral Supports

PRIDE Implementation Checklist

PRIDE Manual