Are Libraries Still Being Used?


By Natasha Coleman

I wonder with our technological savvy world-increasing daily if libraries are still being used? I decided to take a trip to the library to see for myself. It turns out there were more adults in the libraries than children. When I was growing up, kids loved going to the libraries to get new books, read there, or complete homework. Today, what I found was adults working in quiet rooms or on the computers, adults of all ages.  I thought to myself, “Where are all the children?

Although children can access books on their tablets and computers, I still think there is value in reading a hardback or paperback book. The library offers many books of different genres and levels. I also think if your child is not truly interested in reading, finding books about something they like will motivate them. The library offers many different themed books and they have librarians to help you find the perfect book.

The library also offers a great quiet place to focus on homework or receive tutoring. It provides a different atmosphere where your child might be able to focus. The library offers great programs for young children. They have story time and many events that help get children ready for kindergarten. Ultimately the library is a great place to promote reading and develop a love for books.


Thanks for the HBeyCU Love!

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By Naomi Shelton 

The think pieces are in and folks are falling over themselves about King Bey’s #BeyChella performance. Late Saturday night (stupid early Sunday morning for those of us on the East Coast), Beyoncé took to the stage at Coachella Music Festival and gave us what I will refer to as her blackest performance to date, an HBCU homecoming halftime show on steroids - a midwest Classic game with two Southern football teams serving as the bookends to the real entertainment. Beyoncé gave us peak blackness that we’ve only seen come to life a handful of times both on the small and large screen with A Different World and School Daze (for the throwback) and Drumline (if you’re new school).

But all good things come with backlash… before I get into that, let’s continue to revel in Bey’s GOOD vibes.

During a yearlong raincheck, King Bey took her double the pleasure, double the fun artistic Mama juices to dream up the most glorious headline experience that Coachella has ever seen. Beyonce Giselle ‘My Daddy Attended Fisk University’ Knowles-Carter knew that if she were going step on stage in front of a majority privileged white gaze, she was gonna be black and pretty as ever. Giving us homecoming Queen meets J Sette’s finest, Bey and the more than 100 performers and musicians gave us a show that will not soon be forgotten. Y’all can go and read about it, so I won’t go into detail, just know my mother is still mad at me for not waking her up to allow her to bask in the gloriousness of the moment in real time.

However, this love fest of one of the most popular facets of HBCU culture wasn’t the end all be all for Mrs. Carter. The BeyGOOD initiative announced the HBCU Homecoming Scholarship, a gift of $100,000 to four UNCF member institutions (a lucky and academically prepared student from Tuskegee University, Bethune-Cookman University, Xavier University of Louisiana and Wilberforce University will receive a $25,000 scholarship) was announced less than 48 hours later. This second iteration of gifts follows the 2017 Formation Scholarship in honor of the one year anniversary of the drop of her Lemonade album.

Your cousins can’t let us be great without a little contrarian love.

AfAm Ivory tower folks have complained about the performance (eyeroll), essentially saying it trivializes the totality of the HBCU experience. To that I say: Can We Live? Can we enjoy a moment where someone who isn’t required to love on our 101 tells her own mama: these white people will make it and Google will help them? Others have complained that the financial gift Beyoncé will bestow upon four students is a drop in the bucket. To that I say: DID Y’ALL ASK DR. DRE WHY HE DIDN’T GIVE HIS COINS TO UNCF OR AN HBCU?

As a graduate of Tougaloo College, a small but mighty private, football team-less, four-year institution in the heart of Mississippi, I know what it means to lean into another school’s light (shout out to Jackson State University, the Sonic Boom of the South, The Prancing J Settes and of course the football program that made it all possible – the JSU Tigers), allowing the cultural experience of their fall weekend routine spill over into my studious, academic focused enclave. Both of these institutions (and four others) offer Mississippi much more than art and entertainment, and are economic drivers for the Magnolia State, that goes without saying. But to treat an hour and forty-minute performance as the sole amplifier of the perception of entertainment being all HBCU’s have to offer is laughable. By virtue of my student loans and day job, I am forever a member of the larger academia focused HBCU community and culture, which includes athletics and entertainment. Like “my people, my people,” HBCUs are not monolithic.

What I’ve learned in my time with my nearly 75-year-old organization (and as my girl Dr. Crystal de Gregory recently said) is we must bask in the sunlight when it shines on us. This time last year, my colleagues and I were still fielding questions about a certain meeting and photo op in a house that is often referred to by its color. If this year, Beyoncé wants to shift the narrative, show our schools some love, share some financial resources and school white folks on all tied up in the gloriousness of our halftime shows, guess what? I am not mad, and you shouldn’t be either.

And of course, if you found yourself inspired by Mrs. Knowles-Carter and want to show a little scholarship love on your own, feel free to visit and put your money to work to make more HBCU halftime shows possible.

Hidden Gems: Tier One Schools with Few or No Students on Waitlist


The following schools have no or less than 100 students on their total waitlists:

(Note: The total waitlist number includes multiple grades.)

The waitlist data is available to view online. 

Families should apply through My School DC  and select one (or all) of the above schools on their application. And if your child is already on the waitlist for one of the above schools, there is no need to reapply since you cannot move up a waitlist through reapplying.

Demand for Quality Public Charter Schools Continues to Rise

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The number of children on Washington DC charter school waitlists grew last year, as it has every year since the launch of the My School DC common lottery in 2014. Indeed, growth in charter school waitlists is accelerating as more and more families seek to enroll their children in public charter schools each year. Detailed waitlist data by school and grade may be found here.

Number of Individual Students on Charter School Waitlists 

There are 11,317 individual students on the common lottery waitlists to attend one or more PK-12 public charter schools in the 2018-19[1]. That means nearly one out of every eight public school students in DC wishes to enroll in a charter school that has no room.

The number of individual students on the common lottery waitlists grew at the fastest rate in three years:

Lottery: April 2018

Individual Students on Waitlists: 11,317

Change from Previous Year: 1,614

Percentage Change from Previous Year: +17%

Lottery: April 2017

Individual Students on Waitlists: 9,703

Change from PreviousYear: +1,063

Percentage Change from Previous Year: +12%

Lottery: April 2016

Individual Students on Waitlist: 8,640

Change from Previous Year: +114

Percentage Change from Previous Year: +1%

Lottery: April 2015

Individual Students on Waitlist: 8,526

Change from PreviousYear:+1,321

Percentage Change from Previous Year: +18%

Lottery: April 2014

Individual Students on Waitlist:7,205

Change from PreviousYear: N/A 

[1]Data as of April 2, 2018. Includes only PK-12 public charter schools who participated in the My School DC Common Lottery.

Total Names on Charter School Waitlists

An individual student may be on more than one waitlists. For example, if a child is admitted to her fourth-choice school, she is placed on the waitlists for the three schools she ranked more highly. According to DC PCSB staff analysis the total number of names on waitlists across all PK-12 charter schools totaled 28,298[2] students are on a waitlist at any PK-12 school, up 21% from the previous year. As shown in the table below, the growth in the length of charter school waitlists is accelerating each year.

Lottery: April 2018

Total Length of Waitlists: 28,298

Change from Previous Year: +4,850

Percentage Change from Previous Year: +21%

Lottery: April 2017

Total Length of Waitlists: 23,448

Change from Previous Year: +2,568

Percentage Change from Previous Year: +12%

Lottery: April 2016

Total Length of Waitlists: 20,880

Change from Previous Year: +2,002

Percentage Change from Previous Year: +11%

Lottery: April 2015

Total Length of Waitlists: 18,878

Change from Previous Year: +422

Percentage Change from Previous Year: +2%

Lottery: April 2014

Total Length of Waitlists: 18,456

Change from Previous Year: N/A 

The Demand

  • The greatest demand continues to be in grades pre-kindergarten (ages 3 and 4) and kindergarten, with waitlists across public charter schools totaling 13,611, an increase of 1,468 over last year. Since many students are on multiple waiting lists, the total represents an unknown number of duplicates.
  • Roughly 66% of applicants on waitlists are waiting for a spot at a Tier 1 public charter school.
  • This year, 65% of public charter schools[3] have longer waitlists than they did at this time last year.

[2] Data as of April 2, 2018 for public charter schools serving grades PK3 - 12. Does not include 34 ungraded students on St. Coletta’s waitlist. Includes waitlists for schools who did not participate in My School DC.
[3] Excludes alternative schools and schools that did not participate in the 207 lottery.


  • Waitlist results can be filtered by grade and campus.
  • SY18-19 waitlists are current as of April 2, 2018. For the most current information on waitlist lengths, please contact schools directly.
  • My School DC will be posting the number of open seats available on or about May 1, 2018.

Data as of April 2, 2018 for public charter schools serving grades PK3 - 12. Does not include 34 ungraded students on St. Coletta’s waitlist. Includes waitlists for schools who did not participate in My School DC. Excludes alternative schools and schools that did not participate in the 2017 lottery.


While public charter schools have been adding about 2,000 new seats per year, it is clear that demand for these schools, on the whole, outstrips supply. Behind the numbers are countless families who are frustrated that they were not accepted in their school of choice. Some of these families will choose to leave the District, which is an outcome nobody wants.

Many of the most in-demand schools wish to grow but cannot due to lack of facilities. Meanwhile, the city sits on a dozen vacant school buildings, refusing to release them for political reasons.

There are several Tier One schools with few or no students on their waitlists, and DC PCSB has created a list of these schools to help families find a good school for their child.

The size of waitlists is one way to help assess where demand is greatest, and is a valuable tool in planning for future school growth. This information will be useful in the upcoming cross-sector planning sessions called for by the Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force.

This article was first published at