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OSSE Highlights Best Practices from School Across DC in ‘Lessons from the DC All-STAR School Tour’ Report

Monday, March 11, 2019

Media Contact: Fred Lewis; [email protected], (202) 412-2167

Today, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) released Lessons from the DC All-STAR School Tour, a report highlighting best practices learned from first-ever 2018 DC All-STAR School Tour, in which leaders from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) visited public schools in DC that are showing outstanding results for students on the DC School Report Card and School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) Framework.

“This tour was an excellent opportunity for OSSE to celebrate success within schools across the city,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “The new DC School Report Card and STAR Framework made it possible for us to identify bright spots within schools showing outstanding results for students and share with the community all that they are doing to achieve that success.”

This report is a starting point for recognizing and learning from schools that have shown high growth on the STAR Framework metrics, particularly for students with disabilities, at-risk students, and English learners, and will serve as a tool to give educators across the District insights into strategies and approaches that show promise.

Superintendent Kang and the OSSE team visited 10 public schools across DC - both DC Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools, including elementary, middle and high schools – that earned anywhere from two to five stars on the STAR framework. OSSE toured the schools, observed classrooms and participated in roundtable discussions with about 80 teachers and school leaders, as well as families and students, to learn about promising practices. Superintendent Kang then presented students and teachers with “DC All-STAR School Tour” congratulatory banners to recognize their success.

“We are very pleased to be recognized as a DC All-STAR School this year and a visit from OSSE was an incredible way for our students, teachers, and staff to be celebrated for the hard work they put in each and every day,” said Turner Elementary School Principal Eric Bethel. “As educators, we are constantly looking for opportunities to learn from one another to improve our practice and this report will serve as a valuable resource in doing so.”  

While the schools OSSE visited use a wide range of approaches and strategies, there were some common themes across the high-growth schools visited on the tour.

  • Schools had a clear, compelling vision that energized their community to work consistently and relentlessly toward goals.
  • The schools were intentional about resource choices. For example, schools with some of the highest growth for students with disabilities used funds to establish a robust co-teaching model with a general education and special education teacher in each classroom. Other schools invested in additional staff roles such as social workers and mental health counselors.
  • The schools fostered a strong culture of team collaboration. Teachers often held many leadership roles in the schools we visited and felt empowered to bring ideas to their school leaders. Staff engaged in courageous conversations to hold each other accountable to keeping high expectations for all students.
  • The schools brought a growth mindset to work every day. Leaders and teachers expressed a deep belief in the capabilities of their students and were constantly looking for ways to improve their craft to help students reach their full potential. The schools also brought a focus on continuous improvement to their work.

Schools on the tour included Turner Elementary School (Ward 8), Perry Street Preparatory Public Charter School (Ward 5), Marie Reed Elementary School (Ward 1), Langdon Elementary School (Ward 5), Amidon-Bowen Elementary School (Ward 6), Center City Public Charter School – Brightwood (Ward 4), Kingsman Academy Public Charter School (Ward 6), DC Bilingual Public Charter School (Ward 6), Friendship Public Charter School – Blow Pierce Middle School (Ward 7), and Wilson High School (Ward 3).

OSSE led the development of the DC School Report Card as part of federal requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The new report card provides students, families and educators comprehensive information about the performance of public schools in the District, including each school’s rating on the new STAR Framework. OSSE worked with school leaders, families, advocates, content experts and members of the community to design a DC School Report Card that meets the new federal requirements and also provides families with transparent, accessible information about public schools in DC.

The new report cards and STAR ratings are housed on and feature more than 150 data points, including data and information about academic programs, extracurricular activities, parent organizations, and more. Families can access in both English and Spanish, and translated guides are available in Amharic, Chinese, French, Korean, and Vietnamese.