(Washington, DC) – Today, Interim DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Amanda Alexander announced new funding and programming for students aligned with the strategic priorities outlined in A Capital Commitment 2017-2022. New investments include: grants to launch full-service community schools in Wards 7 and 8; a new Health Sciences Academy; and a literacy program to support elementary school students. Additionally, DCPS awarded funding to select schools through Reign: Empowering Young Women As Leaders (Reign) and Empowering Males Of Color (EMOC) grants, which support young women and men of color. The announcement of the grants coincides with the International Day of the Girl, which aims to highlight challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
“As we make the investments necessary to give every student in DCPS a world-class education and the resources and support they need to reach their full potential, Reign is helping us ensure that our young women of color are not left behind,” said Mayor Bowser. “On International Day of the Girl, we celebrate all the girls and young women in our schools and commit to ensuring that at every level – every step along the way – we are sending the message that they can achieve at the highest levels.”
Mayor Bowser and Interim Chancellor Alexander commemorated International Day of the Girl by hosting a roundtable with young women at the Columbia Heights Education Campus (Ward 1). Reign: Empowering Young Women As Leaders is one way DCPS is working to fulfill the goals of International Day of the Girl. Today also marked the launch of the We the Girls Leadership Series, which is led by a Council of 16 middle school girls and aimed at empowering the voices of DCPS’ young women.
“These grants are putting more resources exactly where they need to be – directly in our schools,” said Interim DCPS Chancellor Amanda Alexander. “I look forward to continuing to provide our schools with the support they need so that every student feels loved, challenged, and prepared to positively influence society and thrive in life.”
Empowering Young Women and Men of Color
Mayor Bowser launched the EMOC and Reign initiatives to close the opportunity gap by providing strategic programming and supports so young people of color can thrive. This school year, DCPS invested more than $400,000 in Reign and EMOC at the following schools:
- Bancroft Elementary School (Ward 1): Reign grant to start an ethnic studies course after school, and math and literacy enrichment.
- Cardozo Education Campus (Ward 1): Reign grant for monthly workshops with young women, the Michelle Obama mentoring program, and a showcase of all of the organizations that provide support to young women throughout the District.
- Columbia Heights Education Campus (Ward 1): EMOC grant for a mentoring program and to host events focused on the physical, mental, financial, spiritual, creative, and social emotional development of students.
- Eastern High School (Ward 6): EMOC grant for a mentoring program, SAT preparation, and college tours.
- Excel Academy (Ward 8): Reign grant to support the all-girls band, a fine arts program, and other social emotional supports for students.
- Johnson Middle School (Ward 8): Reign grant to host monthly workshops on social emotional learning, self-care, and other topics impacting young women.
- Kramer Middle School (Ward 8): Reign grant for a mentoring program focused on entrepreneurship and to promote social emotional development through workshops and seminars on self-esteem and self-care.
- LaSalle-Backus Education Campus (Ward 4): EMOC grant for a mentoring program and an arts integration character development program.
- Stanton Elementary School (Ward 8): EMOC grant for programming focused on developing hope, self-discipline, integrity, and love in their young kings through mentoring, academic enrichment, and experiential learning.
- Truesdell Education Campus (Ward 4): Reign and EMOC grants for the Elite Scholars program for young women and men, and an empowerment retreat to foster teamwork, character development, and leadership.
Educating the Whole Child
The district has made important investments in community schools to bring entire neighborhoods together and set more students and families up for success. DCPS received a $2.5 million grant over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Education to expand on investments at Kelly Miller Middle School (Ward 7), Kramer Middle School (Ward 8), and Moten Elementary School (Ward 8). The new funding will allow the schools to shift from individual student and family supports to supporting the entire school community. Each school will have a Community School Manager who will serve on the school leadership team to ensure every member of the school community has access to academic supports, health and social services, and youth and community engagement.
“At Kramer Middle School, we are committed to supporting our students not just in our school building, but throughout our entire community,” said Kramer Middle School Principal Roman Smith. “We are able to double down on our commitments to promote equity, engage our families, and educate the whole child through the Reign and community schools initiatives, and I look forward to empowering our students, families, and the broader community through these new opportunities.”
Each school will be able to offer more enrichment programs for students and provide additional supports, including uniform banks and partnerships with families to proactively address barriers to attendance. DCPS schools are critical neighborhood partners, and this funding will allow schools to serve as a hub of resources to ensure their entire community is thriving.
Striving toward the goal of ensuring 100 percent of K-2 students are reading at or above grade level, DCPS is also collaborating with the DC Public Education Fund to launch the DC Reading Clinic, which will provide literacy supports to elementary school students who need it most. Through an $800,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation, the DC Reading Clinic will pilot intensive interventions free of charge to students who need additional help meeting literacy benchmarks.
Ensuring Excellent Schools
DCPS also received a grant from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to launch its 11th National Academy Foundation Career Academy and 2nd Health Sciences Academy at Eastern High School (Ward 6). The new Health Sciences Academy will prepare even more DCPS students to pursue careers in one of the fastest-growing careers in the country, and more students of color to access health-related fields of study where they are historically underrepresented. DCPS offers Career Academies across the city in hospitality and tourism, engineering, information technology, and public safety to ensure every student graduates prepared for college, career, and life.