Online Learning Adventure

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Friendship Public Charter School Online offers students in the Washington, DC area a unique opportunity to benefit from a charter education that is tailored specifically to their needs.  Classes are offered in an integrative fashion and include all basic courses and physical education.

“I love teaching at Friendship Online. I know that I am a part of a team that includes multiple layers of support for each student that is personalized to their unique needs. We also offer a rigorous curriculum to set students up for success.”

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"Those" Students are Students Too!

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A meeting of DC teachers became tense when one of the teachers called students from the Southeast quadrant of town, "those" students.  The lesson learned from the exchange was the importance of productive and effective communication.

“With the climate how it is — the things going on in Virginia, the administration — everyone is kind of tense at the moment. So when you have a white guy talking about a predominantly minority school system and he’s saying ‘those children,’ it was just a bad choice of words.”

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An Open Letter to the Educators of Charlottesville

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By David McGuire

To my fellow educators in Charlottesville, VA, my heart is with you. We do not know why your city was chosen for this tragedy, but let's not harp on the negative.  Let's instead say your city was chosen to be a beacon of hope. The same way that Watts, Ferguson, and Detroit was chosen before you. The events in those cities, tragic as they were, opened our eyes. Now, it is your city’s turn. It is your city that has shone a light on the bigotry and the hatred we are trying to eliminate from our country. 

All weekend, we watched the horror of the events that claimed the life of a woman and two officers. Our hearts ache for their families, who will not have their loved ones anymore. My heart also aches for you, my fellow educators, and how you must now move forward in your schools and classrooms.  

I cannot imagine what it must feel like to experience such a tragedy in my city. I cannot imagine having individuals whose hearts are filled with hate use my city as a rally for their racist agenda. I cannot imagine having individuals chanting racist words marching with tiki torches on a college campus we as educators hope our students will attend one day. I cannot imagine what you are dealing with in your classrooms today in response to the horrific events of this past weekend, but I hope you are dealing with these events in your classrooms. I am sure your students are going to want to discuss what happened. You owe it to them to have the open dialogue. 

To my educators of Charlottesville, it is imperative you address these conversations head on. I say this because it was some school or some educator that failed to educate these white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Now, they have fallen off the path towards peace and hope and are sprinting down a cliff of hatred and violence. I’m not asking you to do something I’m not willing to do; I plan to address this with my students as well.

Our students must understand there is absolutely no place in our country for this type of hatred. Unfortunately, the individual in the White House would not acknowledge these individuals by name, but you must inform your students the cause of this pain and inform them the voices behind this hatred are white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists. Label these individuals and do not allow your students to be confused. This was nothing more than a terror attack on our country. This was not violence by many sides, but violence from one side. Also, let them know the city they call home does not condemn this type of rhetoric or violence. 

We have these conversations with our students to ensure their minds do not become corrupted with this type of hatred. Schools can help eliminate this bigotry and hatred in the minds of many people. This can only happen when we have conversations about it. 

Remember, you can’t be who you don’t see. Our students do not see enough heroes. We need to show them more heroes. Show them the countless individuals who fight and fought for equal rights. Make sure your students do not forget the names of Heather D. Heyer, Lt. H Jay Cullen, and Berke M.M. Bates. Their names should be immortalized like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. These heroes lost their life due to the horrific events of the weekend. 

To my educators in Charlottesville, we all stand with you. We will do our part to educate our scholars that this is not America. I know your job is already hard and it just became a little harder. Luckily being a teacher makes you a superhero and teaching is your superpower. Use that superpower, like you do everyday, to educate your students and spread the message of peace and love. 

Sincerely a fellow educator, 

David 

Five Years Later Finally a Raise

By Gary Hardie

DC Public School educators have not had a new contract since 2012.  Five years later, the Washington Teachers Union has successfully negotiated a new contract which includes a salary increase for more than 4,000 educators.

“Since 2007, the District of Columbia has blazed a trail to better schools – investing more resources in our classrooms, adding exciting new programs for our students at all levels, and pouring billions of dollars into our school buildings. Yet, for too long, our teachers have not been shown the appreciation nor presented the compensation they deserve. But with this agreement, together we will give our teachers their proper due and send a clear signal that we are all in for kids,” said Mayor Bowser.

"I know a great teacher can change the trajectory of a student’s life, and the teachers at DC Public Schools work each and every day to change the lives of all our students,” says Chancellor Wilson. “Our teachers ensure students are challenged academically, experience the joy of learning, and reach new altitudes.”

Under the proposed contract, educators will receive:

* Salary increases, including a 4 percent retroactive increase in Fiscal Year 2017, a 3 percent increase in Fiscal Year 2018, and a 2 percent increase in the fiscal year 2019;

* Additional benefits; and

* Structured collaborative engagement between DCPS and the WTU on various issues, including extended-year schools.

“We make better decisions when teachers are part of the process, and it is important that teachers feel valued every day as they work in service of young people,” says WTU President Elizabeth Davis. “I look forward to continuing to work with Chancellor Wilson on behalf of our teachers.”

DC public schools serve 50,000 students across 115 schools where its teachers are among some of the highest paid. At $53,000, first-year teachers in DC Public Schools are the highest paid in the country. The themes of this new agreement are rooted in creating a positive work environment, opportunities for growth, and compensation that is meant to retain teachers.

The agreement with WTU is tentative pending approval by the collective bargaining unit which is set to take place within 14 days.

 

Tackling Violence in DC

High school students who work with the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) were able to take part in a six-week summer program that was focused on learning to reduce violence in their lives.  Through an array of audio and visual experiences, The Streetz Blunt Truth Tour encouraged all students to do and be their best.

 “Whatever your personal best is, and that’s in terms of decisions that you make, things that you do, people that you hang with, always doing things that will allow you to be and exhibit your best.”

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