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State Board Votes on Ensuring Safe Transportation for Students with Disabilities

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Washington, DC—The DC State Board of Education (State Board) will hold its monthly public meeting on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, at 5:30 pm The public meeting will be held in person in the Old Council Chambers in the Marion S. Barry, Jr. Building (441 4th Street NW) and streamed live via District Knowledge Network (DKN). Materials for the State Board meetings can be found on our website.

The State Board heard testimony and recommendations from students and parents about issues disabled students were experiencing with bussing service.

Serena Hayes was appointed the third District of Columbia Ombudsman for Public Education in January 2019. Hayes leveraged her experience in law and mediation to advocate for the rights of all children in the District of Columbia’s public schools during her tenure as the Ombudsman. Under her leadership, the Office of the Ombudsman has coached thousands of individuals and groups on conflict resolution strategies and empowered families to find and use their voice. Additionally, Hayes oversaw the launch of the DC Special Education Hub, which is committed to demystifying special education in the District of Columbia by equipping families with the tools, information, and support they need to make informed decisions to guide their child's learning. The State Board honors Serena Hayes for her outstanding service and leadership to the District of Columbia.

The State Board has authority over the appointment of the Ombudsman for Public Education under the Ombudsman for Public Education Establishment Act of 2007 and must appoint a new Ombudsman to fill the remainder of an unexpired term within 75 days of the occurrence of the vacancy. Toni Criner has served District students as Assistant Ombudsman for Public Education since November 2021. The State Board will vote to appoint Criner to the position of Interim Ombudsman for Public Education until January 24, 2024, while beginning the hiring process for a permanent Ombudsman of Public Education.

The Student Advisory Committee (SAC) is a critical component of the State Board’s work as it provides a voice for all students in the District and promotes communication between the State Board, students, and decision-makers. Student Representative, Liv Birnstad, was first appointed as a State Board student representative in 2022, graduated this year from Capital City Public Charter School. Birnstad exhibited exceptional student leadership to the SAC, helping facilitate improvements to the State Board’s processes to more formally include student perspectives to advance student voice, as well as cultivating a genuinely inclusive space for students around the city to be heard in solving the District's most pressing education issues. The State Board recognizes Liv Birnstad’s contributions and exemplary service to DC on behalf of fellow students and wishes her the best of luck in her studies at Harvard University and future endeavors.

The State Board honors the life and work of Connie Spinner, founding CEO and Executive Director of Community College Preparatory Academy (CC Prep) in Ward 8. Spinner founded CC Prep in 2013 with the mission of providing an innovative and rigorous education environment for under-credited adults who have aged out of the traditional K–12 public education system--supporting their unique learning needs while preparing them for 21st-century employment, higher education, and lifelong learning. The State Board honors Spinner’s lifelong dedication to providing quality education for all students and recognizes the positive impacts she had, especially on the adult education community.

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

  1. Call to Order  
  2. Announcement of a Quorum  
  3. Approval of the Agenda and Minutes  
  4. Comments from the President of the DC State Board of Education
  5. Comments from the State Superintendent of Education 
  6. Public Comment
    1. Live Testimony
      1.  Grace Hu
    2. Written Testimony
  7. Administrative (VOTE)
    1. Live Testimony  
      1. SR23-5 On Ensuring Safe and Reliable School Transportation for Students with Disabilities
      2. SR23-8 Appointing Toni Criner Interim Ombudsman for Public Education
      3. CR23-8 Recognizing the Contributions and Work of Serena Hayes as Ombudsman for Public Education
      4. CR23-9 Recognizing 2022-2023 Student Representative Liv Birnstad
      5. CR23-10 Honoring the Late Connie Spinner
  8. VII. New Business
  9. Adjournment  

 About the DC State Board of Education

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 the District 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 SBOE can be found at

The Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education serves as an external, impartial resource for current and prospective 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 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.