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

Dear Coalition members, friends, and partners,

As 2018 comes to a close, DCSC is already looking ahead in celebrating the work that our member schools and partners have been committed to for this past year. As you all enter into the holiday break, we hope that you get some well-deserved rest, and also that you’ll start getting ready for our upcoming Convening next month. Member schools that register by this Friday, the 21st will be entered into a raffle to win a free trip to New Orleans!

At the Convening, we’re excited to have John White, the Louisiana Superintendent of Education, give our keynote address and serve as a panelist during a discussion talking about the current educational landscape and climate in the state. Additionally, I’ve already been able to get a preview of the amazing sessions that some of our presenters will be leading and I can guarantee that these year’s sessions will be just and meaningful and inspiring as ever. One example of this is a session that will be delivered from one of our partner organizations, Beloved Community. This special session is for schools who have already completed their free, online Equity Audit. The audit helps schools assess diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of your school, network, or district: governance, finance, operations (including talent), pedagogy, program, adult culture, and youth culture. Space is limited for participation in the Equity Audit session. If you’re interested in participating, reach out to me by January 14th for more information and be sure you complete the equity audit to secure your spot!

I hope to see you all in New Orleans in the new year, and you can learn more about the programming during the convening by downloading the agenda under the Upcoming Conferences and Events section below.


Sonia C. Park

Coalition Updates

Updates from the Coalition:

Where We’ve Been

DCSC at Bricolage Academy
Ashley Heard, our Managing Program Director, along with Board Member, Brian Beabout, joined Bricolage Academy this past month in celebrating the opening of their new school at a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Reach more about Bricolage under our school spotlight below!

UnifiED Fellows visit Community Roots for Anti-Bias Training
During the last week of November, Dana and Danny, UnifiED Fellows in Buffalo and Brooklyn respectively, attended Excellent School Visits to district schools in New York and Community Roots’ Anti-bias and Social Justice Institute. Fellows raved about their experience explaining that Sahba and Alil tailored the experience for them. The Fellows worried about being out of school for three days but found it to be a great use of time and recommend the program for any aspiring leader looking to launch a new, integrated school. One big takeaway for Fellows was the importance of strong core values of running all decisions through the core values.

Sonia was in Boulder, CO for Philos, an annual convening of influential stakeholders in the education reform movement, including thought leaders, philanthropists, and local, state, and national elected and appointed officials fighting for our nation’s schoolchildren. Philos was a great opportunity for DCSC to share and exchange ideas around educational improvement.

ExcelinED Summit
Sonia and Seon (DCSC Program Coordinator) attended the ExcelinED Summit in Washington, D.C. to hear from schools, organizations, and policy leaders across the country. The summit offered information on research, advocacy efforts, as well as the current challenges and solutions many within educational reform are facing.
Look below for resources from the summit!

From Member Schools

School Spotlight: Bricolage Academy
Bricolage Academy of New Orleans is a member school that is K-6 school and seeks to provide all students – regardless of socioeconomic status – with a high-quality education. Bricolage centers problem-solving at the center of its curriculum, including rapid iteration and a ‘design thinking’ process, as well as classes focused on design, engineering and creativity.

Bricolage just opened up a new campus, and Bricolage will also be featured during our convening next month as one of our school visits. You can read learn about Bricolage here, and see more of what they do during the Friday morning school visit at the convening!

From the Field: Walton Family Foundation and Echelon Insights Report: Millennial Parents and Education
The Walton Family Foundation and Echelon Insights has released a report revealing their findings in trying to better understand what millennial parents think about today’s public schools, what expectations they have for how schools educate their children and what should be done if schools do not equip students with the skills needed for success. The new report details how millennial parents across the country feel their schools are performing and what they think schools should be doing to provide students with critical academic and life skills. Researchers sought parents’ opinions on ways to measure school and student performance, and learned their views on how schools should be held accountable.
Click here to read the report.

From the Field: Urban Institute Education Policy Program
The Urban Institute has created a new data feature on school and housing segregation. The data feature shows how neighborhood segregation is an important driver of school segregation, providing information on every metropolitan area in the U.S. This data feature was intended as a resource to advocates and policymakers concerned about racial equity in their communities, with the goal of identifying a broader set of policies that can create more inclusive and equitable education systems and ultimately improve outcomes for students of color.
Click here to use the data feature.

From the Field: The New Orleans Prosperity Index – Tricentennial Collection
Co-authored by board member Brian Beabout

New Orleans is home to one of the first public school systems in the South. But, the
values of democratic preparation and the common school experience that were foundational to public schools have never been fully manifested in the New Orleans public school system. The story of public education in New Orleans was rarely about educating the public at large; instead, it was about educating certain segments of the population. For much of its history, the New Orleans school system has been characterized by racial and socioeconomic inequity. Moreover, public education in New Orleans has sometimes been a barrier to social equality rather than a bridge. Thus, there is value in seeing New Orleans public schools as they emerged, developed, and changed over nearly two centuries and to remind ourselves that public education in our city existed, and mattered, long before 2005.
Read The Data Center study – New Orleans Public Schools: An Unrealized Democratic Ideal.

From the Field: BranchED Rethinks the Minority Teacher Pipeline
Educator Cassandra Herring recently launched the Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity, or BranchED, a new nonprofit designed to support minority-serving institutions with teacher preparation programs. While working with universities across the country, Herring and BranchED are also tackling the bias within the larger conversation around teacher diversity in which it is questioned if teacher quality can be maintained.
Read the article on this non-profit’s work.

From the Field: The Emerging CMO Fund is accepting applications for the 2019 Cohort.
The Charter School Growth Fund (CSGF) is looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs from across the country to join the 31 talented leaders of color who have received support through the Emerging CMO Fund to date. Through the Emerging CMO Fund, CSGF will support the growth of the next cohort of high-performing, early-stage charter school networks led by entrepreneurs of color. This program is available to entrepreneurs of color who currently lead a single-site or an early-stage charter school network and want to grow one to two more great schools.
Read more about the CMO Fund here.

CMO Fund Application Process
Application Deadline: February 1, 2019
Award Notification: June 2019
Online Application: Applicants should create an account and submit an online application at

Applicants will complete several essay questions and submit academic data demonstrating the performance of their current charter school. Top applicants will be named semi-finalists and undergo a thorough due diligence process. We will learn more about semi-finalist’s leaders, academic and organizational models, and potential to scale in spring 2019 and announce finalists in June 2019.

If you have any questions about the process, please contact

Upcoming Conferences & Events

January 31st to February 1st in New Orleans, LA
Register here
Book your hotel room(s) at a special rate here
Download the Programming Agenda here

The theme for our 5th Annual Convening is ‘Our Diversity is Our Strength,’ in which we recognize the power of bold change, and still acknowledge that we must go further and do more if we are to realize truly inclusive and equitable schools for all children. The convening will include sessions on individual member’s best practices, discussions to push thinking on diversity, equity, and inclusion, school visits, and other opportunities to meet and network with peers. We hope to see all of our member schools at this year’s convening in New Orleans in order to celebrate, reflect, and continue to learn.

News Roundup

City Garden Montessori School: Building an Anti-Racist Community” by Kimberly Quick
The Century Foundation — December 17, 2018

Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School: Cultural Sensitivity and a Social Justice Mission” by Caroline Bermudez
The Century Foundation — December 17, 2018

Landscape of Diversity in D.C. Public Schools, Press Release” by Chelsea Coffin
D.C. Policy Center — December 17, 2018

Three recommendations for improving education research” by Alan Ginsburg, Marshall S. Smith, and Phyllis W. Jordan
Education Week — December 17, 2018

Can California afford Gavin Newsom’s vision for school kids?” by Ricardo Cano
CALmatters — December 16, 2018

Nearly 100 percent of KIPP’s students in New York City are black or Hispanic. Now it wants to open an integrated school.” by Alex Zimmerman
Chalkbeat — December 12, 2018

Texas Students Will Now Learn That Slavery Was ‘Central’ to the Civil War” by Jacey Fortin
The New York Times — November 21, 2018

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