charter schools. The panel also listed some of the major operational differences between DCPS and charter schools.
A Children’s Law Center attorney and a private special education school founder shared their experiences with the committee about the status of special education in the District.
The committee also heard from representatives of other education providers for children and youth. Representatives from the DC Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation and the See Forever Foundation discussed the significance of wraparound services and other before and after school programs to support students attending DCPS. The panelists stated that the programs are pivotal in improving student behavior in schools and classrooms.
Representatives of local colleges, universities, and job training programs discussed how DCPS high school graduates compare to high school graduates from across the nation. The committee heard from American University, University of the District of Columbia, Potomac Job Corps Center, and the College Success Foundation-District of Columbia. Next, four charter high school students spoke about their experiences as students. The students discussed the importance of quality teachers, and the role they play in encouraging and engaging students. Suggestions for improving DCPS included teaching with more hands-on activities and offering a broader range of elective courses. Students also cited the need to create alternative training programs in high schools for students who may not want to pursue college immediately after graduation.
The committee also heard from parents who discussed the need to increase community engagement and open more streams of communication to ensure the reform effort is sustainable and successful. Some parents expressed concern about school funding and whether funding is equitable. Lastly, the committee heard from other community organizations such as DC Voice, Federal City Council, and the DC Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The representatives discussed an interest in improving and developing DCPS because students eventually become the pool for the workforce and members of the DC community.