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Monthly Digest with Coalition Updates, Must-Read News, and Upcoming Events

Dear Coalition members, friends, and partners,

DCSC is a nascent organization, founded by you, our members, with the mission to promote, expand and support your work. In reflecting on this, I’m struck with gratitude and appreciation for all of our members, both returning and new, who have joined us in our work of racial equity through school integration. Just this year, we’ve welcomed 5 new schools to the coalition, held a national convening with over 120 participants in New Orleans, and will have our first cohort of four UnifiED Fellows completing their fellowships and leading intentionally integrated schools this fall!

We all know the work of racial equity is increasingly important in today’s world. DCSC remains committed to supporting the work of our members  and providing resources including regional and national convenings, growing Communities of Practice, and launching our 2nd UnifED Fellow cohort. As we continue to strive to become the premier school-led integration organization in America, we ask that our members make a pledge so that the work of the coalition can continue to grow.

As a member of the coalition, your commitment to racial equity has realized the mission of the Diverse Charter Schools Coalition and in turn, DCSC will continue to promote, expand, and support your work.

Help us do this by leaning in and pledging your contribution to DCSC.


Sonia C. Park

Coalition Updates

Updates from the Coalition:
DEI Data Collection Survey
Thank you so much to those of you who have completed the DEI Data Collection Survey sent from our consultant team Maya Bugg and La Mikia Castillo. Our goal is to gather insights about the dynamic work that you all are doing to foster diverse, equitable and inclusive schools for your students, families and staff. Our goal with this survey is to develop a better understanding of the tools, techniques and activities that our coalition members are employing to meet the needs of a diverse community so that we can identify effective practices, and ultimately form Communities of Practice where members can learn and grow together. The survey will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete, and we have extended the deadline to submit your response to Friday May 3rd.  Please reach out to Dave Bryson with any questions about this survey!

Promise 54
The entire DCSC staff got together in Kansas City, MO to attend a training by Promise54. Promise54 helps organizations working within the field of education to infuse DEI (diversity, equity & inclusion) practices into their planning, operations, and evaluations. For two days the team attended sessions on inclusive leadership and disrupting biases, listened to keynotes from students from Diversity Talks, and participated in an Action Plan Consultation with other organizations. We’re excited to continue to challenge ourselves on how to consistently prioritize DEI in our work so that we can best support our members in sustaining integrated and inclusive communities.

DSCS Testifies with Inspired Teaching and Lee Montessori 
Testimony by Inspired Teaching (Deborah Williams, Head of School) and Lee Montessori (Alex Brown, Head of School – East End Campus) presented to the DC City Council Hearing on Thursday, April 4 in support of adopting the option for weighted lotteries. DCSC Board member Halley Potter of The Century Foundation and Sonia also submitted written testimony to encourage the DC City Council to consider weighted lotteries.

NEW Events Page!
The DCSC website has a new events page! Now you’ll be able to view upcoming events that DCSC finds relevant and informative for our members. We also encourage members to post their own events on the page! If you need help setting up your account to post events for your schools (as well as job opportunities), reach out to Seon at
Take a look at our Events page here!


Where we’ve been
Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference (New Haven, CT)
Seon attended the Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference this past month. Also in attendance was Vanessa Rodriguez of Citizens of the World Charter Schools who spoke on the Thursday panel.

IREX Impact Fellowships Summit (Washington, D.C) 
Ashley attended the IREX Impact Fellowships Summit. In addition to meeting folks from across the country leading fellowship programs for nonprofits and governmental entities, she participated as a host at Learning Lab sharing out the work of the UnifiED School Launch Program.

Lee Montessori Founder’s Gala (Washington, D.C)
Ashley also attended Lee Montessori Founder’s Gala. In addition to a fabulous photo booth, Ashley was able to meet with staff and families of this fantastic school community. Thanks for having DCSC join the celebration, Chris and team!

Sonia’s day in D.C.
Sonia spent a day in Washington, D.C. discussing educational policy with other educational leaders and advocating for diverse-by-design practices.

Sonia first attended:
Hill Briefing: How Congress, States, and School Districts Can Take Action on School Diversity. 

The Century Foundation & The National Coalition on School Diversity
In conjunction with TCF’s Report, A Bold Agenda For School Integration, the briefing focused on what actions districts, states and the federal government can take to support and incentivize integration.  Keynote speaker was Randi Weingarten of the AFT, who urged greater federal funding support for Magnet School Programs by flipping funding allocation (presented in the table) as the best means towards school choice.

Then Sonia was at a panel discussion on:
Have we Closed Socioeconomic Achievement Gaps?

Sponsored by the Hoover Institution and the Harvard Kennedy School. The analysis concludes that after years of federal funding support, the gap in achievement between the haves and the have-nots has not moved (though there has been slow but growing progress with the black/white and latinx/white divide).  The panel discussion included the reports author Eric Hanushek and Emma Vadehra of Next100, powered by The Century Foundation (and former colleague of Sonia’s from U. S. Education Department). 

Finally, Sonia attended:
Breaking Through: Shattering the Glass Ceiling for Female Chiefs hosted by Chiefs for Change and the Fordham Institute
The glass ceiling in education leadership: New research from Chiefs for Change shows that in the districts where we work, women comprise the large majority of jobs from teaching through the superintendent’s cabinet — but that a glass ceiling has preserved a superintendency that’s by far majority male. The discussions focused on exploring the challenges faced by women leaders — and women leaders of color in particular.

Sonia also was able to catch up with former DCSC’er Elsa Dure as CFC’s Director of Strategic Partnership and Development!


From Member Schools
Brooklyn Prospect: Living DCSC’s Core Values
DCSC always likes to share out how our schools talk about the importance of diversity and equity. Brooklyn Prospect, a founding member of the coalition, has some of its students talk about why diversity and inclusion are important in their school.
Watch the video here!

Summit Public Schools Expands its Learning Program
With the success that Summit Public Schools has had with its approach to personalized learning, last year it started offering personalized learning software through a new non-profit, T.L.P. Education. The software is currently used at schools across the country, and T.L.P. has named a new director of the organization. DCSC wishes Summit Public Schools and T.L.P. continued success in its growth!
Read more on Summit’s Learning Program and its new Director here.

DSST Senior Signing Day!  May 1, 2019

For the 12th year in a row, 100% of DSST Public Schools’ seniors have been admitted into 4 year colleges and universities. This May, 397 students will graduate from 4 DSST high schools and will attend colleges both far and near, from Yale to the University of Denver. To celebrate DSST seniors and their myriad accomplishments tomorrow, every senior will announce where they will be attending college next year to over 7,000 people, including staff, students and families.  The event will feature speakers including Mayor Michael Hancock and Gaby Pacheco, immigrant activist and key creator of the DREAM Act.  If you can’t make it, watch via livestream on May 1st starting at 10:30am CT! Read more about DSST Senior Signing Day here.

Fun Facts about our #DSSTSEN19RS:

  • In 2019, DSST has 4 graduating classes. They are at DSST: Cole, DSST: College View, DSST: Green Valley Ranch and DSST: Stapleton
  • DSST’s Class of 2019 Average SAT Score is 1092, compared to DPS average of 975, Colorado average of 1014, and a national average of 1068
  • DSST’s Class of 2019 has received 1,270 college admittance letters so far this year
  • 63% of DSST’s Class of 2019 will be the first in their family to attend a 4 year college
  • DSST’s Class of 2019 was admitted to 4-year colleges in 41 states + DC… and counting!


From the Field
Highlight Your Charter Grads
Each year the National Alliance highlights charter school graduate success stories through their #CharterGrads campaign—and we’d love to see DBD grads featured! The National Alliance is accepting stories from the Class of 2019 to share on The Charter Blog and their social media channels. Each submission should be between 400-750 words and include two pictures of the graduate.
Email all submissions by May 10 or questions to

Digital Media Academy is offering 1,000 Scholarships for Students
Digital Media Academy is dedicated to offering world-class STEM education globally through its Tech Camps and Certified Schools Programs. Digital Media Academy believes that all driven and motivated students should have access to high-quality STEM education experiences and is partnering with the Nudelman Family Trust in granting one thousand full scholarships to students for programs at university locations across the US and Canada. As a part of the Digital Media Academy’s mission to increase the number of women in STEM, half of the scholarships will be reserved for girls. These scholarships will be awarded based on both merit and need and will cover the cost of tuition, meals and facility fees. Housing will not be included.
See all available scholarships here.

Computer Science Professional Learning Scholarships for Teachers offers professional development programs for existing teachers with no prior experience teaching computer science who want to begin teaching CS. The 2019 Professional Learning Program for middle and high school teachers is an engaging five-day, in-person summer workshop, and continues with four additional one-day follow-up workshops throughout the year.
Learn more about the Professional Learning Program here
No-cost, one-day professional development workshops for elementary teachers are also available regionally year-round.
Learn more about these workshops here.

Submit comments to the Department of Education on increasing support for diverse-by-design charter schools by May 6th
The federal Department of Education invites comments regarding the proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for the opening of new charter schools. The priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria submitted would be used for high-quality charter schools that particularly serve educationally disadvantaged students, such as students who are individuals from low-income families, and students who traditionally have been underserved by charter schools, such as Native American students and students in rural communities.
Read more on how to submit your comments here.

Six Things We Learned about Charter Schools and Unionization 
Ashley Jochim and Lesley Lavery at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) set out to understand trends in charter school unionization, document teachers’ motivations for unionizing, and assess whether collective bargaining agreements in charter schools differ from those in traditional school districts. Their report scrambles the narrative of  “us vs. them” between teachers’ unions and charter schools by studying unionization that is gaining traction in some localities and states like Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Read the report here.


Upcoming Conferences & Events

RIDES 2nd Annual Spring Conference – Beyond Desegregation
April 30th to May 2nd in Cambridge, MA
Learn more about the conference and register here
Seon, our Program Coordinator, will also be presenting at this event on diversity amongst school teaching staff discussing traditional and alternative ways that schools have recruited, retained, and supported diverse teachers.
The Reimagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools Project (RIDES) Institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education hosts its 2nd Annual Spring Conference around supporting diversity, equity, and integration in schools.  Sessions will focus on current practices and efforts for re-imagining diverse and equitable schools. The goal is for attendees to leave with a refreshed vision for the work based on expert insights, research and current practice, as well as strategies to build capacity for integration efforts at their schools and organizations.

Creating Safe and Inclusive Schools: The Federal Role in Addressing Discriminatory School Discipline 
May 1st in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about the conference and register here
Sonia will also be attending this conference!
During this briefing, speakers will discuss: the results of state and local efforts to create positive, non-exclusionary school discipline policies; current and previous federal actions related to student discipline policies and practices and their impact on historically underserved students; research-based policies and practices for creating safe and inclusive learning environments; and the role of the federal government in protecting student civil rights and supporting state and local efforts to eliminate policies and practices that have a discriminatory impact. The Learning Policy Institute will also release a new report, Protecting Students’ Civil Rights: The Federal Role in School Discipline.

White People Confronting Racism
May 3rd to May 5th in Philadelphia, PA
Learn more about the conference and register here
Hosted by Training for Change, this workshop is for white people who want to challenge the racism around them — and in their own heads and hearts — and who are searching for a way to strengthen their work for racial justice. It’s for white folks who already do anti-racism work but want to develop their skills and deepen their approach. And it’s for white folks who want a better understanding of how white privilege and racism operate in society and inside of them.

5th Annual Washington State Charter Schools Association Conference
May 3rd to May 4th in SeaTac, WA
Learn more about the conference and register here
Dave, our Deputy Director, and Seon, our Program Coordinator, will also be attending this event!
As the largest Washington state charter public school convening of the year, this conference brings together national, regional and local experts and is a great opportunity for charter school leaders, teachers, board members, parents, advocates, and students to connect, learn and be inspired.

COSEBOC Gathering of Leaders: Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color
May 8th to May 10th in Detroit, MI

Learn more about the conference and register here
Seon, Program Coordinator, will be attending this conference!
This year’s theme for COSEBOC’s Annual Gathering is: “Boys and Young Men of Color: Ready to Learn, Honored to Serve, Destined to Lead”. The power of this theme will set the tone for a stirring, productive and engaging convening. The impact of collective and individual learning during the convening will continue the positive momentum in service of boys and young men of color across this nation. This year’s gathering will include speakers and workshops, a walk of integrity, and a COSEBOC Young Men’s Passage.

NewSchools Venture Fund 2019 Summit 
May 8th and May 9th in Oakland, California 
Learn more about the conference and register here
Sonia, Dave and Ashley will be attending the Summit! 
NewSchools Summit is an annual gathering for education leaders who bring important and diverse perspectives in PreK-12 education innovation.  More than 1,300 educators, entrepreneurs, community leaders, funders, and policy makers will come together to share ideas on how to reimagine learning so we can prepare all students, in every neighborhood, to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans.

2019 Charter Collaborative Collective Action Convening
May 10th and 11th in Oakland, CA

Learn more about the Charter Collaborative’s convening and register here
Sonia, Executive Director, and Danny Brink-Washington, a current UnifiED Fellow, will also be attending this event!
Charter Collaborative invites charter leaders of color to their convening which will provide direct support on issues charter school leaders of color face in the organization’s core areas of focus — academic and behavioral supports, finance and operations, teacher development, innovation and fundraising. In 2018, Charter Collaborative hosted the first Leaders of Color Convening focused on developing a national advocacy agenda to advocate for and grow charter school leaders of color. Subsequent convenings will focus on various elements of the agenda.
Reach out to convening organizers if interested in attending.

National Charter Schools Conference
June 30th to July 3rd in Las Vegas, NV

Learn more about the conference and register here
Sonia, Dave, Ashley, and Seon will all be attending as well as our first cohort of UnifiED Fellows presenting their capstones!
The National Charter Schools Conference is for current and aspiring charter school leaders to come together to learn from experts in the field as well as peers. The conference delivers learning and networking opportunities for participants and activities include keynote speakers, more than 100 breakout sessions, and networking events. The conference is hosted by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, of which our board Member, Robert Reed, is apart. Last year’s conference had over 4,000 participants and this year should have something for everyone.


News Roundup

It’s time to talk about being white in America” by Jonathan M. Metzl
The Washington Post — April 29, 2019

San Francisco Had an Ambitious Plan to Tackle School Segregation. It Made It Worse.” by Dana Goldstein
The New York Times — April 25, 2019

El-Mekki: Stop Being Shocked by the College Admissions Scandal — America Has Never Been a Meritocracy — and Start Fighting for Real Equity” by Sherif El-Mekki
The 74 — April 24, 2019

The Other Segregation” by Whitney Pirtle
The Atlantic — April 23, 2019

Facing Segregated Schools, Parents Took Integration Into Their Own Hands. It’s Working.” by Eliza Shapiro
The New York Times — April 16, 2019

Charter-mageddon: Lawmakers advance a raft of union-backed charter school curbs” by Ricardo Cano
CALmatters — April 10, 2019

The teacher diversity gap is literally inherited” by Seth Gershenson and Alberto Jacinto
The Brookings Institution — April 2, 2019



Have an upcoming event or know about an interesting conference? Forward information and we’ll include it in our next month’s update!
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