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State Board Hears from Panel on Literacy

Friday, April 16, 2021
Recognizes Washington Teachers’ Union President Elizabeth Davis

Washington, DC—The D.C. State Board of Education (State Board) will hold its monthly public meeting on Wednesday, April 21, 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 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, April 19, 2021.  

The State Board will recognize the life and legacy of Elizabeth Davis, the late President of the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU), who passed away on Sunday, April 4, 2021. Ms. Davis has been at the forefront of public education advocacy and reform, transforming the Washington Teachers' Union into a solution-driven organization dedicated to social justice, improving teaching and learning conditions, aggressively amplifying the voice of teachers in the dialogue around issues of teaching and learning, and advancing and promoting quality education for all children. Ms. Davis was a pioneer in education and had a profound passion and dedication to her work. The State Board will miss Ms. Davis’ passion and dedication to teachers and students, and will consider a ceremonial resolution honoring Ms. Davis. 

National University has awarded the 2021 National University Teacher Award (NUTA) to Alejandro Diasgranados, a fourth- and fifth- grade English language arts and social studies teacher at Aiton Elementary School in Ward 7. Mr. Diasgranados empowers his students to lead and learn in the classroom. National University described Mr. Diasgranados as representing “everything the award stands for—a passion for teaching and a commitment to do everything they can to help children grow academically, socially, and emotionally.” The State Board will consider a ceremonial resolution in honor of his continued commitment and the inspiration that Mr. Alejandro Diasgranados provides every day to his students, staff, and community of Aiton Elementary School and the District of Columbia.

April is designated as National School Library Month by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and was first organized in April of 1985. The purpose of National School Library Month is to recognize, celebrate, and uplift the great profession of school librarians, as they are core to student learning, to families, and to teachers collaborating for student achievement. The State Board will consider a ceremonial resolution to celebrate the school librarians and library workers in the District, and call for the full and equitable funding of librarians to ensure every school in the District has access to a full-time librarian.

The State Board will honor Ricardo Duren, assistant coach for the Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School Boys Basketball Team, who passed away on March 16, 2021. Mr. Duren was a native Washingtonian and Dunbar High School alumnus, who had a passion for sports and serving his community. The State Board will consider a ceremonial resolution to recognize Mr. Duren's tireless commitment to the students and families he served.

Literacy is critical to not only students’ academic success, but also to an engaged, robust, and well-informed society. However, many students continue to require additional assistance to develop this fundamental skill, and due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, many of our youngest learners have been overlooked for screenings and needed interventions. Policymakers must do more to strengthen literacy development and instruction from birth through grade 12, such as reexamining licensure standards and pre-service literacy coursework, and promoting science- and evidence-based literacy strategies that focus on aspects of foundational literacy, such as phonics and phonological awareness. To that end, the State Board will hear from a panel of experts on how policymakers can best support schools and local education agencies (LEAs) improve literacy efforts:  

  • Terri Collins, Alabama State Representative, Chair of Education Policy Committee
  • Karin J. Keith, Associate Professor Department of Curriculum and Instruction Chair, Clemmer College at East Tennessee State University
  • Kristen Wynn, Mississippi State Literacy Director (K–12), Office of Elementary Education and Reading 
  • Kira Orange Jones, Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, District 2 Representative


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 & Minutes

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

V. Comments from the State Superintendent of Education

VI. Ceremonial Resolutions

     i. CR21-7 Honoring WTU President Elizabeth Davis

     ii. CR21-8 Recognizing Alejandro Diasgranados as National University’s 2021 Teacher of the Year

     iii. CR21-9 Honoring National School Library Month

     iv. CR21-10 Honoring Dunbar HS Coach Ricardo Duren

VII. Public Comments

      i. Scott Goldstein

     ii. Patricia Stamper

     iii. Isabella Sanchez

     iv. Jezelle Estrado

      v. Ronald Thompson, Jr.

     vi. Grace Hu

     vii. Lorenzo Simms

     viii. Kenvin Lacayo

VIII. Literacy Panel

     i. Terri Collins, Alabama State Representative, Chair of Education Policy Committee

     ii. Karin J. Keith, Associate Professor Department of Curriculum and Instruction Chair, Clemmer College at East Tennessee State University

     iii. Kristen Wynn, Mississippi State Literacy Director (K–12), Office of Elementary Education and Reading

IX. Administrative Items

    i. SBOE Work Plan

X. New Business

XI. Adjournment


About the SBOE

The DC 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

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


Contact: Milayo Olufemi


[email protected]