Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Youth Voice: Make the Wilson Building Work for You(th)

This week, we're sharing the perspective of Henry Eisler, a youth participant in Mikva Challenge DC who is spending his summer writing a blog to elevate the voices of DC youth and inspire them to play an active role in the District's political system. We thank Henry and Mikva Challenge DC for their contribution to this blog!

There is a building on Pennsylvania Avenue that influences the life of every young person living in Washington, DC every day. In this building, elected officials govern, pass legislation, and make monumental decisions that determine the way the entire city functions. This building, despite what you may have been thinking, is not the White House; this is the John A. Wilson building, home to the City Council of the District of Columbia. This City Council is a group of accomplished men and women who craft and pass the laws and regulations that determine the manner in which the city operates and its residents may act. 

Introduction to the Work of the Council

As the DC City Council quickly works to finalize a budget for the new term (Fall 2016), their focus is beginning to shift towards an improved education platform that will have positive effects on young people across the city. The Council’s Committee on Education, chaired by Councilman David Grosso, has been increasingly pushing the addition of education reforms to the 2017 budget deal. These reforms primarily aim to expand school reading and library projects, support nutritional health and on-campus medical aid programs, and lower rates of truancy in schools throughout the District.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Reflections of a Museum Educator

Rachel Trinkley has worked as a museum educator for over a decade in the Midwest and DC. She is currently Director of Education for Explore! Children’s Museum of Washington, DC, a start-up children’s museum in the district with plans to open in the Fort Totten neighborhood in the coming years.

I recently spent some time with colleagues preparing for an upcoming educators’ conference at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where I was struck by a painting titled Braceros, by Domingo Ulloa.

Later I stood by myself in front of the work for I don’t know how long - writing down what I saw, thought, and wondered. This experience - in the midst of my day-to-day work of trying to help establish a children’s museum in the district - was a much-needed reminder about the power of art.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

DCPS Teacher Reflects on the Importance of Summer Learning for Kids and School Community

July 14 is National Summer Learning Day, an annual national advocacy day led by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to highlight the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy every summer. 

This week, in recognition of the day, we invited a DC Public Schools teacher to share about how learning in the summer months produces significant reading growth for kids at Garrison Elementary School.

With its longer days and more time to spend outside and in the community, summertime provides students and their families with a valuable time to play and learn outside of the classroom while experiencing new things together. At Garrison Elementary, a Title I school in the Logan Circle/Shaw neighborhood of Northwest DC, our goal is to provide all our students and families with both traditional and non-traditional opportunities for learning over the summer months.

We start planning for the summer with families before the school year ends. At our APTT (Academic Parent Teacher Team) meetings in May, families discuss opportunities to continue providing enrichment to their kids over the summer months, and set goals for their children’s learning. These may include goals such as “go to the library once a week” and “go to a museum every two weeks”, and the opportunities do not end there. During the last week of school, we hold a school-wide Reading Growth Celebration to recognize our students’ reading achievement and to equip families with tools to keep their children reading over the summer. Students leave the celebration with bags of free books, blended learning website log-ins, and colorful bookmarks with comprehension questions. At the early childhood level, our PTO has organized “playdates” throughout the summer for both new and enrolled families to connect and build a strong school community.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

A Fourth of July recap!

Thought we'd just do a round-up of the Fourth of July highlights from DCAYA member organizations.