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DC Public Schools Promotes Equity and Excellence with School Budget Proposals and Investments for Fiscal Year 2020

Thursday, February 21, 2019

(Washington, DC)  Today, DC Public Schools (DCPS) released school-based budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), which includes increased investments in technology, college and career readiness, early childhood education, and wraparound services for students.

The budget process is grounded in feedback from DCPS stakeholders. At this year’s student budget hearing, budget engagement community forums, and public budget hearing, DCPS heard feedback from students, community members, families, and educators about their priorities, including investing in technology and enrichment opportunities for all students.

“I am proud to release budget investments that reflect what I have heard from the DCPS community – increased access to technology, investments in closing the opportunity gap, expanded early childhood education, and robust college and career readiness programming,” said Acting DCPS Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “I am proud to serve in a city that values education, and I look forward to collaborating with our school leaders and city partners to ensure every school has the resources they need to promote both excellence and equity.”

Investing in School Technology Over Three Years

To ensure every student in grades 3-12 has access to technology over the next three years, DCPS is making an initial investment of $4.6 million in technology for FY20. This investment will provide a 3:1 technology device ratio for all students, and provide a 1:1 ratio in grades 3, 6, and 9 in School Year 2019-2020. Technology funding has been a top priority for students, families, and staff across the district, and it is a key lever to ensuring equity and excellence for every student. DCPS will continue to engage with stakeholders as it develops a plan to secure and upkeep the technology our schools and students need in the classroom.

New Programs

DCPS will launch two new programs in School Year 2019-2020 to prepare students for college and their future careers. Bard Early College High School (Bard DC) will open for its first year in Ward 7, and 150 students will have the opportunity to earn college credit and an associate’s degree from Bard College while earning their high school diploma. The reimagined Coolidge High School will also open the Early College Academy at Coolidge, a citywide program developed in partnership with Trinity University. DCPS will also expand prekindergarten by adding nine new classrooms next school year at the following schools: Bunker Hill Elementary School, Ketcham Elementary School, LaSalle-Backus Education Campus, Miner Elementary School, Takoma Education Campus, Truesdell Education Campus, West Education Campus, Wheatley Education Campus, and Whittier Education Campus.

Promoting Equity in New Ways

DCPS is committed to strategically investing resources in ways that are anchored in what sets students up for success. After considering multiple factors, DCPS will discontinue the extended-year model at its 13 extended-year schools, and those schools will return to the traditional calendar. DCPS invested in extended-year schools to provide students with additional learning time, increase student achievement, and promote equity. Data suggests that the current extended-year model has not resulted in significant academic gains and has created attendance challenges for students. DCPS heard concerns from educators about student and staff burnout, and feedback from families about the challenges they face when they have children enrolled in both traditional and extended-year schools.

“As I have engaged with the DCPS community, it has been clear to me that our stakeholders not only want to celebrate our successes, but also understand our challenges,” said Acting DCPS Chancellor Ferebee. “DCPS launched extended-year schools as a way to boost student learning, and we did not see the results that we expected. We are reinvesting these resources in other areas to better support our students and will continue to find bold ways to promote equity and close the opportunity gap.”

This school year, DCPS expanded full-service community schools, and the FY20 budget takes this investment to new levels with a $1.2 million investment in Connected Schools. The Connected Schools initiative will dramatically shift the way schools partner with other DC agencies and communities to integrate academics, social services, and student and family engagement. Connected Schools will:

  • Establish schools as neighborhood hubs of support by providing wraparound services. Select schools will serve entire neighborhood communities through place-based resources and will provide a pipeline continuum of services from PreK-3 through 12th grade. Through inter-agency collaboration, these hubs will be able to provide students and families with a range of services and opportunities based on their expressed needs and priorities, which may include:
    • Job training, internships, and placement services (Department of Employment Services)
    • Family wellness supports, including linkage to health and trauma-informed behavioral health supports (Department of Health, Department of Behavioral Health, and Children and Family Services Agency);
    • Housing, childcare, and financial assistance referrals (Department of Human Services); and
    • Parenting classes (Department of Behavioral Health and Children and Family Services Agency).
  • Implement trauma-informed practices by creating the cultures, systems, and supports at schools that recognize trauma, promote engaged learning, deescalate disruptive student behaviors, and allow for students to stay engaged or re-engage in the classroom.
  • Create a schoolwide system of comprehensive supports. Connected Schools will leverage community assets, embed new resources, and develop clear protocols to deliver supports across three tiers (school-wide, small group, and individual) to improve individual student outcomes.
  • Hire a new full-time employee, a Connected Schools Manager, who will serve as part of each Connected School’s administrative leadership team.

DCPS is engaging school leaders and community stakeholders to determine the location of the Connected Schools.

School-Based Budget Process

DCPS school leaders have received their school-based budgets. For the next step in the budget process, principals will engage with their Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) and their school community to construct their budget based on their school’s budget allocation.

To support greater transparency regarding the school planning and budget development process, school communities received the following information and tools:

  • DCPS created a Family and Community Guide to the DC Public Schools Budget[PDF] to provide additional context on the overall budget development process, how each school’s budget is determined, and what to expect in this process.
  • School communities can access a snapshot of their school’s Comprehensive Support Plans (CSP). CSPs are the strategic plans designed to drive continuous improvement at each school.
  • School security funding is now a visible part of each school’s FY20 budget.
  • This spring, DCPS will publish a snapshot of each school’s finalized budget for School Year 2019-2020. This snapshot will show side-by-side the total funding that the school received and how those funds were ultimately budgeted, so that school communities can gain a clearer understanding of how each school is using their resources.

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