Thursday, March 24, 2016

Testimony Highlights from Performance Hearings

With DC Council Budget Hearings just over a week away, we thought we'd recap and share some highlights from testimony that member organizations have provided during Performance Oversight Hearings at the Wilson Building.

Here's an excerpt from Bethany Henderson's testimony, the Executive Director of DC SCORES, provided at the performance oversight hearing for DC Public Schools:
Research shows that increased academic achievement won’t be reached simply through more instructional time. With income gaps widening, free enrichment opportunities like the ones we offer are increasingly essential to helping DC’s at-risk children achieve successful school outcomes.  Unfortunately, the need in DC is great.  Thousands of low-income children currently have no access to expanded learning programs. Indeed, over the past year our own waiting list has swelled to 16 schools.  This represents a serious opportunity gap that threatens negative long-term consequences for these children and our city. 
DC SCORES and DCPS share the same goal: that low-income DCPS students succeed in school and in life.  Community partners like DC SCORES can and do play a powerful role in realizing that goal.  Not only do we provide programming, but we bring significant private funds to the table.  For every dollar of local government funding we receive (very little of which comes from DCPS), we raise and deploy more than two dollars of private money.  This year alone we are bringing well over $1 million in private resources to bear on student outcomes.  Continued and expanded collaboration, coordination, and data-sharing between DCPS and expanded learning providers will only enhance student outcomes. 

Here is part of Frank Cervarich's testimony which he provided for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities' performance oversight hearing, as Deputy Director for Young Playwrights' Theater:
In the past twenty years, YPT has engaged over 12,000 students in our artistic process by integrating free playwriting programming into local schools, and reached over 85,000 audience members with free, professional productions of our students' plays. We integrate our programming directly into local public schools, leading every student to write their own play and bringing professional actors into
the classroom to perform their work.  
We work to not only improve student literacy, but to inspire our region’s underrepresented young people to realize the power and value of their voices and stories. Our impact is deep and enduring. Students tell us their experience with YPT inspired them to attend college, often as first-generation applicants, and pursue careers paths from the arts to education to neuroscience.We began in 1995 serving 20 students in one classroom. Today we serve over 1,500 students in all eight wards of Washington, DC, four times more students than in 2010.  We work to meet the Mayoral priorities, and we have been doing so for over twenty years.
And in case you haven't seen last week's blog post yet, here's an excerpt of testimony which Ademir Delcid, a student in Latin American Youth Center’s Guide to Post Secondary (GPS) Program from the performance oversight hearing for the Department Of Employment Services and the Workforce Investment Council:
During my 2 years of being in LAYC, I got to meet a wonderful team of advisors. I was given the opportunity to work with Adriana, Scholastique, Ella, Diana, Alexis and Loren. Meeting them and talking with them made me realize that they knew what they wanted for us students, which was to succeed and be prepared for the next chapter in our lives. Being a senior, I do not have the opportunity to continue working with them, however all that they have done in the short amount of time were worth the little time. Overall what each and every individual in this program has helped not only me but other students achieve is the progression, impact and determination to succeed in and out of school. I have witnessed firsthand how my life has been impacted and I thank each and every member of LAYC GPS for their never ending spirit to see me and others be prepared for college and life. I see each and every individual that have worked with me as more than advisors, they are my family and LAYC is my home.
It's testimony from DCAYA organizations, community members, and youth themselves that really make a difference as our representatives make the annual policy and funding decisions whose impact lasts for much more than a single fiscal year.

So what can you do? Here's a simple list, of which we ask you do at least one:

That's it for now! And as always, let us know if you have any questions.

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