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State Board Explores Homeschooling in the District

Friday, July 9, 2021
Considers Reports on Teacher Retention & Student Advisory Committee

Washington, DC—The D.C. State Board of Education (SBOE) will hold its monthly public meeting on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at 5:30 p.m. As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak continues to spread globally, the State Board is taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our members, staff, and public. Therefore, this meeting will be held as a video web conference. Materials for the State Board meetings can be found on our meeting website. For the most up-to-date information on the District’s COVID-19 response, please visit coronavirus.dc.gov. Members of the public wishing to provide testimony during the public meeting should email the State Board a copy of their written testimony [email protected] by 5 p.m. on Monday, July 12, 2021.  

Homeschooling is a private, parent or legal guardian-directed education program for children who are subject to compulsory education laws in their state. In the District, children between the ages of 5–17 require compulsory education. The number of students in the District being homeschooled has nearly doubled to 764 students over the course of the last school year. Following a preliminary discussion at the July working session, the State Board will learn more about the intricacies and experiences of homeschooling from a panel of experts: 

  • DeLise Bernard - Founder, Surviving Homeschool,  DC-Based Homeschool Parent
  • Dr. Cheryl Fields-Smith - Associate Professor, Department of Educational Theory and Practice, University of Georgia, Co-Founder, BlackFamilyHomeschool.org
  • Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville - Homeschool Legal Defense Association, MD- Homeschool Parent 
  • Dr. Ama Mazama - Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Programs, Department of African American Studies, Temple University 
  • Keri Rodrigues - Co-Founder and Founding President, National Parents Union, MA-Based Homeschool Parent 
  • Monica Utsey - Co-Founder, Sankofa Homeschool Community & Collective, DC- Based Homeschool Parent 

The State Board has found that the rate at which educators leave their schools each year is a persistent challenge for schools and that there is evidence that higher rates of turnover are associated with lower student achievement. The State Board has conducted research studies and surveys, convened meetings, held hearings, and set up an online portal to better understand the reasons underlying high rates of teacher and principal turnover.

The State Board will consider adoption of an updated Teacher Retention Report commissioned by the State Board and prepared by Mary Levy, which  examines the rates of turnover, presents the levels of teacher and principal turnover and connects them with certain school characteristics.

The Student Advisory Committee (SAC) is a group of DC Public School (DCPS) and public charter high school students that meets monthly to discuss issues pertaining to education within and outside of the school building and advises the State Board based on the experiences of students in the group. The SAC has prepared a report of important issues like mental health, safe passage, and distance learning that they have addressed throughout the past school year. They have also compiled their suggestions and recommendations to help improve the student experience and quality of education in District schools. The State Board will take time to consider and vote on the Student Advisory Report. 

The State Board is seeking new Student Advisory Committee (SAC) Representatives and members for the 2021/22 term. Members of this committee will work alongside the State Board representing the voice of students and will be consulted on policy issues impacting students in the District. The application is open to District sophomores, juniors, and seniors in public or public charter high school. The deadline to apply is Sunday, July 18.

 

Public Meeting Agenda

Please note that the agenda may be altered, modified, or updated without notice.

I. Call to Order

II. Announcement of a Quorum

III. Approval of the Agenda, June 25 Retreat Minutes, & July 7 Working Session Minutes

IV. Comments from the President of the D.C. State Board of Education

V. Comments from the State Superintendent of Education

VI. Public Comments

       i. Will Beckerman 

VII.  Homeschooling in the District 

      i. DeLise Bernard - Founder, Surviving Homeschool, DC-Based Homeschool Parent

      ii. Dr. Cheryl Fields-Smith - Associate Professor, Department of Educational Theory and Practice, University of Georgia, Co-Founder, BlackFamilyHomeschool.org

      iii. Dr. Rochelle Matthews-Somerville - Homeschool Legal Defense Association, MD-Homeschool Parent

     iv. Dr. Ama Mazama - Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Programs, Department of Africa American Studies, Temple University

     v. Keri Rodrigues - Co-Founder and Founding President, National Parents Union, MA-Based Homeschool Parent

     vi. Monica Utsey - Co-Founder, Sankofa Homeschool Community & Collective, DC-Based Homeschool Parent

VIII. Student Advisory Committee Report 

IX. Administrative Items (VOTE)

     i. Teacher Retention Report 

     ii. Student Advisory  Committee Report

X. New Business

XI. Adjournment

 

About the SBOE

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 two 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 SBOE 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.  

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 us Monday through Friday at (202) 741-4692 for questions or support with your charter and neighborhood schools.

For the latest information on the District Government’s response to COVID-19, please visit coronavirus.dc.gov.

Contact: Milayo Olufemi

202-710-4641

[email protected]