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It's January '22 in Review!
In January, the State Board swore in a new student representative, Liv Birnstad, a junior at Capital City Public Charter School, elected Ward 6 Representative Jessica Sutter as President and Ward 7 Representative Eboni-Rose Thompson as Vice President for the 2022 term, and adopted two resolutions: CR22-1 Recognizing the Service of Alex O'Sullivan, Student Representative, and SR22-1 STAR Framework Recommendations. Many of the committees are revisiting their respective work plans to ensure 2022 is a productive year for the State Board.
Summary of Meetings
Working Session (1/5/22)
At the January working session, the State Board swore in Liv Birnstad, a new student representative, a junior at Capital City Public Charter School, discussed the reopening of schools, and received updates from OSSE on the D.C. School Report Card website. Members also discussed the accountability resolution and its amendments, heard from members announcing their candidacy for State Board President or Vice President, provided updates on the State Board’s internal committees (i.e., Student Advisory, Administrative, Accountability and Assessment, Board Governance, Education Standards, Outreach and Advocacy, Teacher Practice) and shared praise of former Student Representative Alex O’Sullivan.
Public Meeting (1/19/22)
At the January public meeting, State Board began the meeting by holding its annual leadership election and elected Ward 6 Representative Jessica Sutter as President and Ward 7 Representative Eboni-Rose Thompson as Vice President for the 2022 term. Following the election, the State Board heard from ten public witnesses, with testimony addressing the STAR Framework, the COVID-19 response in schools, and expanding the opportunity for Black youth to get involved with chess. Afterward, the State Board moved to the administrative portion of the public meeting. The items for consideration were:
- SR22-1 STAR Framework Recommendations
- SR22-1 Wattenberg-Reid Amendments (No. 1-5)
- SR22-1 O’Leary Amendment (No. 6)
All resolutions and amendments were adopted. You can find all of the State Board’s signed resolutions on our website here. After about 3.5 hours, the public meeting was adjourned! You can watch the public meeting (with timestamps in the description of the video) on our YouTube channel here.
In January, the following committees convened: Administrative, Student Advisory, Board Governance, Outreach and Advocacy, and Education Standards.
Overview: The Administrative Committee met on January 12 to hear updates from the State Board’s sister offices, the Office of the Student Advocate and the Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education, and on the status of a potential State Board meeting space, public meeting protocols, language access, new member orientations, and the agency’s budget. Read the full committee report here (scroll down to Item 7, Committee Reports, and click on Administrative).
Student Advisory (1/10/22 and 1/24/22):
Overview: The Student Advisory Committee met on January 10 and January 24 to provide feedback on upcoming State Board resolutions and thoughts on safe passage, mental health, and COVID-19 safety protocols with staff from Councilmember Robert White’s office, and to continue working on their city-wide survey.
At the January 10 meeting, chairs of the Accountability and Assessment Committee, Ruth Wattenberg and Jacque Patterson, presented on SR22-1 STAR Framework Recommendations to discuss what SAC members thought about the resolution. Members of the SAC review all State Board resolutions prior to the monthly public meeting and issue a joint statement on the resolution (approval, disapproval, and/or additional suggestions for revisions). Next, they heard from Caitlin Cocilova, legislative counsel under Councilmember Robert White, to discuss topics like safe passage, mental health, and COVID-19 safety protocols.
At the January 24 meeting, SAC members discussed their upcoming city-wide survey, which is designed to help include more student perspectives on important topics such as mental health, safe passage, and COVID-19 safety in schools. They dedicated the majority of the meeting to workshopping each question in the survey to ensure that it is as robust as possible.
Board Governance (1/14/22):
Overview: The Board Governance Committee met on January 14 to discuss the feedback and highlights from the 2021 Fall Engagement Sessions (11/15/21 and 12/4/21) and to review the Committee’s work plan and next steps.
At the meeting, members reviewed responses from the Fall Engagement feedback survey and the notes captured across both sessions. Members reflected on how to provide more opportunities to gain feedback, such as through polls during ward-level education council meetings and PAVE meetings. Chair Eboni-Rose Thompson noted that the next steps would aim to achieve diverse responses in an equitable way (i.e., factoring in families whose first language is not English, ward-level representation, etc.). Ward 3 Representative Ruth Wattenberg suggested the need for additional research that would compare how mayoral control in other districts differs. Members agreed to revisit the Committee’s previous research from 2021 and reflect on how to move the Committee’s work plan forward in 2022. Read the full set of minutes here. Watch the full committee meeting here.
Outreach and Advocacy (1/21/22)
Overview: The Outreach and Advocacy Committee met on January 21 to review testimony from the January public meeting, discuss feedback from the Fall Engagement Sessions, review data related to phone calls processed daily by the agency, and continue organizing the work for the Parent Advisory Council.
Public comment included testimony related to proposed recommendations for revising the STAR framework, the COVID-19 response in schools, and expanding the opportunity for Black youth to get involved with chess. Members discussed processes the leadership team could engage in to support lifting member questions to other D.C. government agency leaders. Policy analyst, Darren Fleischer, and policy fellow, Franco Estores, provided feedback from the State Board’s Fall Engagement Sessions and data related to phone calls processed daily by the agency. Committee members suggested an exit survey for future engagement sessions and a virtual engagement option. Members also discussed how to balance expert witnesses, individual State Board member opinions, and exploring ways to make sessions more interactive. Read the full committee report here (scroll down to Item 7, Committee Reports, and click on Outreach and Advocacy). Watch the full committee meeting here.
Education Standards (1/24/22):
Overview: The Education Standards Committee met on January 24 to discuss what work streams or topics the committee should move to or focus on, review how other states approach regular education standards review, and how to proceed with its literacy work.
Members agreed that social studies standards and literacy/reading would be priority areas. Afterward, Giselle Miranda, one of the State Board’s policy fellows, presented and led a discussion on “The Codification of Review/Revision Processes Related to Academic Standards.” She presented her research related to the processes in Colorado, Tennessee, Nebraska, Virginia, North Carolina, California, Texas, Oklahoma, and Maine. Highlights of her presentation included a discussion on the various processes and ways the process may or may not be officially codified in statute, as well as the range of “options” (e.g., Colorado revises standards in thirds every 2 years, Nebraska reviews one set of standards every 7 years, and Maine plans a four (4) year phase). Ward 2 Representative Allister Chang led a discussion on literacy by sharing an updated version of the District-wide vision and recommendations related to early literacy. The next literacy conveying is February 16. Chair and Ward 6 Representative Jessica Sutter shared that she hopes to have a more detailed update on the Social Studies Standards work (i.e., detailed timeline) by the February working session. Read the full set of minutes here. Watch the full committee meeting here.
Up Next: February Meetings
Here is our current set of scheduled meetings for February:
Wednesday, 2/2/22 at 5 pm - Working Session
Monday, 2/7/22 at 6 pm - Student Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, 2/4/22 at 10 am - Retreat (Closed to Public under the D.C. Open Meetings Act § 2–575(12))
Wednesday, 2/16/22 at 5:30 pm - Public Meeting
Friday, 2/18/22 at 10 am - Outreach and Advocacy Committee Meeting
Monday, 2/28/22 at 6pm - Student Advisory Committee Meeting
Be sure to check out our meeting calendar for the most up-to-date information about our meetings and each meeting's Zoom or YouTube livestream link.
Constituent Feedback Form
It is our goal to advocate for resources and solutions related to issues that are important to students, educators, and families. The State Board will collect data on a regular basis to help inform our advocacy.
We invite you to describe your experience in as much detail as you are willing to share. Your responses will not be shared publicly without your permission, and you also have the option of responding anonymously. Your responses will help the State Board craft practical and tactical recommendations to council members and education decision makers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where can I find the State Board's meeting materials?
Agendas, meeting documents, testimony, reports and resolutions to be considered for all working sessions and public meetings after April 1, 2015 can be on our information sharing website, Simbli. We publish our official documents, like adopted resolutions and reports, letters, and statements, on our website here.
We ask that you provide us with your name, email address, and subject of your testimony. You must sign up no later than 48 hours in advance of the meeting. Written testimony may be submitted at any time to [email protected] Learn more about our meetings here.
Who is my representative and how do I get in contact with them?
Your representative is based on the ward you live in. If you are unsure which ward you live in, you can use this tool from the Office of Planning to find out! We list each representative and their contact information on our website. Click on your representative's bio to find their email, phone number, and Twitter handle.
How do I join the Student Advisory Committee (SAC)?
If you are a rising sophomore, junior, or senior and are interested in joining the Student Advisory Committee, contact us at [email protected] Applications are accepted on a rolling basis! You can learn more about the SAC's work here.
About the D.C. State Board of Education
The D.C. State Board of Education is an independent agency within the Government of the District of Columbia that advises the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), the District’s state education agency. The State Board is made up of nine elected representatives, each representing their respective wards, with one member representing DC at large, and four appointed student representatives. The State Board approves statewide education policies and sets academic standards, while OSSE oversees education within the District and manages federal education funding. More information about the State Board can be found at sboe.dc.gov.
The Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education serves as an external, impartial resource for current and prospective public-school students and their parents or guardians in the resolution of complaints and concerns regarding public education in a way that furthers the students’ best interest. The Ombudsman’s Office uses conflict resolution strategies, including coaching, facilitation, and mediation, to assist families and schools experiencing disagreement or conflict. More information about the Office of the Ombudsman can be found at educationombudsman.dc.gov.
The Office of the Student Advocate supports students, parents, and families in their advocacy through parent education, one-on-one coaching, resource supports, and trainings in order to amplify the voices of families and communities in processes and decision-making; to provide avenues for access to resources and understanding systems; and to support power families and communities already possess. Contact the Office of the Student Advocate Monday through Friday at (202) 741-4692 for questions or support with charter and neighborhood schools. More information about the Office of the Student Advocate can be found at studentadvocate.dc.gov.
For the latest information on the District Government’s response to COVID-19, please visit coronavirus.dc.gov.