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Rethinking the District's Graduation Requirements

DC State Board of Education Announces Members for Historic High School Graduation Requirements Task Force

Majority of Participants Reside or Work East of the Anacostia River
On June 5, 2017, the DC State Board of Education (SBOE) proudly announced the formation of a new High School Graduation Requirements Task Force under the leadership of Ward 1 representative Laura Wilson Phelan and Ward 8 representative Markus Batchelor. With a clear focus on ensuring that all students across the District succeed in college and career, this task force will review, analyze and, as necessary, make thoughtful, implementable recommendations to adjust DC’s high school graduation requirements for all DCPS and public charter students. Ushering in a new wave of transparency, all applications for the task force will be open to public review.

Task Force Holds First Meeting Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The High School Graduation Requirements Task Force held its first meeting on Wednesday, July 26th, at 6 p.m. at 441 4th St. NW. This meeting was broadcast LIVE through our new Facebook discussion group dedicated exclusively to the work of the task force. Join the group today to get the latest updates and connect to our live meetings. 

  • Read the minutes here 
  • Watch the replay here

26 Members Selected out of 110 Applications from All Eight Wards in the District

Thank you to everyone who applied for our task force! Through our open and transparent process, we received a remarkable 110 applications from parents, community leaders, and education stakeholders across the District. This task force represents DC’s students, with over 50% of selected members residing or working in Wards 7 and 8. The application period closed at 12:00 noon on Friday, June 23, 2017. Each application was subsequently anonymized to ensure objectivity in selection. The SBOE Educational Excellence & Equity Committee reviewed each application and selected members to serve on the task force.

Task Force Members

Name Affiliation
Laura Wilson Phelan (co-chair) • Ward 1 Representative, SBOE
• Chair, SBOE Educational Excellence & Equity Committee
Markus Batchelor (co-chair) • Ward 8 Representative, SBOE
• Chair, SBOE Public Engagement & Outreach Committee
Dr. Erin Bibo • Deputy Chief, College & Career Programs, DC Public Schools (DCPS)
Tom Brown • Executive Director, Training Grounds Inc.
• DCPS / Public Charter School Parent
• Ward 7 Resident
Julie Camerata • Executive Director, DC Special Education Cooperative
• Public Charter Middle School Parent
• Ward 1 Resident
Latisha Chisholm • Special Education Teacher, Anacostia High School
• Ward 8 Resident
Naomi Rubin DeVeaux • Deputy Director, DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB)
Celine Fejeran • Deputy Director, Raise DC
• Public Charter School Parent
• Ward 5 Resident
Jerome Foster II • Member of 2017-2018 Student Advisory Committee, SBOE
• Student, Washington Leadership Academy
• Ward 7 Resident
Cara Fuller • Principal, DCPS Ballou Stay High School
• 5 years experience as Principal
• Ward 8 Resident
Larry Greenhill, Sr. • Vice President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 26
• 20 years experience with District apprenticeship programs
• Ward 8 Resident
Cosby Hunt • Senior Officer of Teaching & Learning, Center for Inspired Teaching
• Current Teacher of Real World History for DCPS and PCSB students
• Public Charter School Parent
• Ward 5 Resident
Senovia Hurtado • Bilingual School Counselor, School Without Walls
• DCPS High School Parent
• Ward 5 Resident
Dwan Jordon • Senior Advisor for High School Research, Friendship PCS
• Former Principal, Sousa MS (DCPS); Friendship Collegiate PCHS (Ward 7)
• Ward 4 Resident
Dr. Sandra Jowers-Barber • Director, Division of Humanities, University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDCCC)
• Former History Professor
• Ward 4 Resident
Kimberly Martin • Principal, DCPS Wilson High School
• 15 years experience as High School Principal
• DCPS Parent
• Ward 3 Resident
Sanjay K. Mitchell • Director of College & Alumni Programs, Thurgood Marshall Academy PCHS
• Former Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions
• Ward 7 Resident
Carol Randolph • Chief Operating Officer, DC Students Construction Trades Foundation (Ward 7)
• 16 years working to expand trade skills in District schools
• Ward 4 Resident
Shenita Ray • Director of Online Operations, Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies
• 10 years experience in higher education
• Ward 5 Resident
Karla Reid-Witt • Family Dynamics Specialist, Jump Start
• DCPS High School Parent
• Ward 7 Resident
Cathy Reilly • Executive Director, Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators (S.H.A.P.P.E.)
• Ward 4 Education Alliance, C4DC
• Ward 4 Resident
Jimell Sanders • Director of Engagement, DC Language Immersion Project
• DCPS Parent
• Ward 7 Resident
Jahari Shelton • Student, Sidwell Friends School
• Aspen Institute's National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development
• Ward 7 Resident
Dr. Jane Spence • Deputy Chief, Secondary Schools (MS/HS), DC Public Schools (DCPS)
David Tansey • Math Teacher, DCPS McKinley Tech High School (Ward 5)
• Math for America, Washington Teacher's Union (WTU)
• Ward 5 Resident
Justin Tooley • Special Assistant for Legislation & Policy, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)

Task Force Selection Criteria

To ensure a balance of perspectives, the State Board chose task force members who represented a broad constituency and will contribute meaningfully to the policy-level recommendations related to high school graduation requirements. Task force members include parents, community leaders, education agency leaders, students, teachers, school leaders and nonprofit personnel who work in relevant fields. The selection committee will strive to ensure membership is proportionately representative to the backgrounds of the students in Washington DC. Each task force member is a DC residents. Applications were due by 12:00 PM on June 23, 2017. To view a list of task force applicants, click here.

Members were selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Committment
    1. Committed to attend 80% of task force meetings in-person or on the phone
    2. Able and willing to do readings and thoughtful reflection to support task progress and outcomes
  2. Representative
    1. Demonstrates that he/she represents a broad constituency that currently is or will be most impacted by changes to the high school graduation requirements
    2. Identifies ways that he/she will provide information to and solicit feedback from the constituency he/she represents and demonstrates a commitment to put in the time to do so
  3. Experience
    1. Able to contribute meaningfully to discussions related to education policy of DC either due to first-hand experience as a high school, workforce development or college educator, counselor, parent or student; or as a representative of an entity that serves these groups 

Background: Current District High School Graduation Requirements

Current graduation requirements in the District were established 10 years ago, and they require students to earn 24 course credits and complete 100 hours of community service. These requirements are one-size-fits-all, without pathways that allow students to gain easy entrance into college or earn diplomas with distinction. Additional details and guidelines should be added to these requirements to ensure that all students will graduate with the knowledge required for college and the workforce.

To receive a diploma in DC, students who enroll in 9th grade for the first time in School Year 2007-2008 and thereafter must earn 24.0 credits (or Carnegie Units) as follows:Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 10.56.20 PM

  • For all students entering the ninth (9th) grade beginning school year 2009-2010, one (1) of the three (3) lab science units shall be a course in Biology.
  • At least two (2) of the twenty four (24) Carnegie Units for graduation must include a College Level or Career Preparatory  (CLCP) course approved by the student’s local education agency (LEA) and successfully completed by the student. The course may fulfill subject matter or elective unit requirements as deemed appropriate by the LEA. CLCP courses approved by the LEA may include courses at other institutions.
  • All students must enroll in Algebra no later than ninth (9th) grade commencing with the 2007-2008 school year.
  • Students qualifying for the evening program high school diploma are not required to take the 1.5 credits in Health and Physical Education.
  • All students must complete 100 hours of community service to receive a high school diploma.

Make Your Voice Heard on High School Graduation Requirements! 

We invite your ongoing participation and input in the following ways:

Task Force Meetings Will Begin in July and Run Through Spring 2018 

A tentative timeline is below:

Date Description
June 6, 2017 Release of task force application
June 23, 2017 Application closes at 12 noon
June 30, 2017 Task force members selected and announced
By July 26, 2017 First meeting held
July 2017 - January 2018 Meetings held every other week
November 2017 - February 2018 SBOE holds public hearings/discussion
By February 28, 2018 Task force votes on report
March 2018 SBOE Discussion and Vote
By April 2018 SBOE sends recommendations to OSSE
Early June 2018 SBOE receives final regulations/requirements from OSSE
June 2018 Public comment on final requirements
September 2018 Final SBOE vote, start implementation for SY 2019-2020