In Blog

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

Dear Coalition members, friends, and partners,

We want to congratulate our 44 member schools for wrapping up yet another amazing school year! This year was full of inspiration and big moments, but also the daily hard work of preparing kids to reach their full potential and to love and respect themselves and those different from them.  We also got to celebrate some big milestones with you. This past year the Coalition’s team has grown to a spunky team of six, we hosted two Annual Convenings (which keep getting better and better!), and we’ve officially launched our School Launch Program.

Join us in welcoming our inaugural cohort of School Launch Program Fellows! Dana, Kristin, and Danny start with us at Kickoff, held during the upcoming Mid-Atlantic Regional Convening, and will remain with us for the following 12 months. See below for their bios. They will open new diverse-by-design schools in Brooklyn, Denver, and Buffalo respectively. We look forward to seeing our Fellows, eight Mid-Atlantic schools, as well as partners in D.C. in a few short weeks.

Lastly, we want to give a special shout-out to Blackstone Valley Prep and its first-ever graduating class! Scholar, graduate, and valedictorian Samantha Ortiz-Muriel came to the U.S. from Mexico at 11 and is now headed to Tufts University where she plans to study pre-med (watch an interview with her and David Jose, Dean of College and Career). All but one graduate has plans to continue their studies in their Fall either under the RI Promise free tuition program at Community College of RI or at a four-year institution. That one who isn’t going on to college? He has enlisted in the United States Air Force. Read more about BVP’s milestone here and here.


Sonia C. Park

Coalition Updates

Updates from the Coalition: Where Have We Been?
NAPCS Annual Charter Conference
More than 50 participants joined Ashley and Sonia as well as Brandon Brown from the Mind Trust and Christine DeLeon from Moonshot Edventures to explore the tough questions on creating the leadership pipeline including How do you identify, train, and grow them? and Should the emphasis be on creating new schools or creating a bench for existing schools?

Wednesday morning, conference participants joined Sonia, Karen Drezner from Leveraging Leaders and Bobbi MacDonald City Neighbors Network Schools in an interactive session on founders and school leadership. Session leads shared riveting and real-life examples that got at the heart of the session’s main question: Is There a Shelf Life to Leadership?

Beyond Desegregation: Promising Practices for Creating Diverse & Equitable Schools
At the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s (HGSE) Conference, organized by professor and DCSC board member Lee Teitel, participants joined Ashley, Sonia, and Mike DeMatteo from Blackstone Valley Prep to learn about DEI leadership strategies and engage in honest conversations about challenges. The group discussed why we need a broader definition of leadership and why culturally competent leaders matter to operate and sustain successful diverse schools.

School Visits: New York 
Ashley visited Brooklyn Prospect and Elmwood Village as part of School Launch Program Fellowship’s school site application process. We are happy to welcome the leaders of both schools, Jumaane Saunders and Danielle Bruno, as host school site leaders for the Fellowship!

Joining the NCSECS Equity Coalition
DCSC recently joined a dynamic coalition of special education and charter school advocates that support equal access and high quality, effective and appropriate supports for students with learning differences in charter schools and who are committed to working together to develop practical solutions to challenges that hinder access and quality. The Equity Coalition includes representatives from a diverse range of organizations with an interest in students with diverse learning needs, special education programs, charter schools and education reform. More about the work here.

Welcome Mike and Brittany to the Coalition Family
We’re excited to introduce two new folks to the DCSC family. Mike Chalupa serves as the Director of City Neighbors Foundation, which oversees all three City Neighbors schools (City Neighbors High School, 9-12, City Neighbors Hamilton K-8, and City Neighbors Charter School, K-8). Mike has served as Academic Director of the City Neighbors Foundation for the last eight years, co-founded City Neighbors Hamilton and City Neighbors High School, and led City Neighbors Charter School as Principal for eight years. He will be joining our Board of Directors.

Brittany Daniels is our new Membership Strategist Fellow. She is a rising senior and Bill Gates Millennium Scholar from Chicago, IL currently attending Tennessee State University. Brittany joins us as part of the Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship Program, a leadership and talent development initiative aimed at building a robust pipeline of high-achieving African Americans engaged in education reform in America.

Learn more about both Mike and Brittany on our DCSC Team page.

Congratulations! DSST Receives 2018 Broad Prize 
For the second year in a row, a DCSC member school is the recipient of the Broad! To the long list of accolades DSST Public Schools has amassed over its 14-year history, add one more: The Denver network of diverse-by-design schools is the 2018 recipient of the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. Conferred by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the award was announced Monday at the National Charter Schools Conference in Austin, Texas. It comes with $250,000 for DSST to spend on college-readiness efforts. More from the 74 Million.

Lee Montessori becomes Only Fully-Recognized Public Montessori School in DC
The Association Montessori Internationale for the United States notified Lee Montessori Public Charter School that it officially meets the pedagogical standards of excellence that Maria Montessori envisioned. Not only is Lee Montessori one of the few public schools to earn Recognition-level accreditation nationally, it is also the only Public elementary school in Washington, DC to achieve this distinction for ages 3-12. “To earn this in the context of the high demands of a public school demonstrates the entire school community’s commitment to providing a free, quality education for the diverse population of children served.” says AMI-USA interim Executive Director Alyssa Schwartz. Co-Founder and Head of School Chris Pencikowski said that, “whether a school focuses on fidelity to the original model, language immersion, or culturally inclusive principles, we’re proud to be part of a strong Montessori community and look forward to working together to improve outcomes for the families we serve.”

Roots ConnectED 3-Day Anti-Bias and Social Justice Institute
In May, Roots ConnectED held their third 3-day Anti-Bias and Social Justice Institute in Brooklyn, New York.  Five teams of educators and school leaders came together to share in an exploration of the principles and strategies of the social justice work done at both the elementary and middle school level at Community Roots Charter School.  The Institute focuses both on building an anti-bias lens to curricula and how to develop staff to be leaders in this work.

This year 16 participants from DCSC member schools engaged in interactive learning through capacity building, classroom observations, sharing of resources, reflection, and planning time, as well as panel discussions with members from the Community Roots school community. Participating DCSC schools included the International School of Louisiana, Valley Charter School, and Elmwood Village Charter School.  The next Institute will be held from November 28-30, 2018, registration opening soon!

ICYMI: Diverse-by-Design Charter Schools Spotlights
Last month, we shared the Century Foundation’s report representing the first systematic effort to identify diverse-by-design charter schools.  TCF also created four in-depth profiles of DCSC member schools. Check each of them out below.

From the Field: NCSRC Dashboard for U.S.DoE CSP Grantees
The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) recently released a series of data dashboards prepared for the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP). These dashboards provide comprehensive data about CSP grantees that received awards through the State Education Agency (SEA) program from Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016. The dashboards allow users to explore the details of each state’s CSP program and better understand the scope and scale of local efforts to support charter schools with CSP funds.

SEA grantees use these funds to award subgrants to individual charter schools to help new schools meet costs associated with opening a new charter school or to support the replication and expansion of successful charter schools.

These dashboards provide information on each state’s award, the subgrants awarded to individual schools, details on school enrollment and location, and other information on the state-operated CSP and the state charter context.

You can view the dashboards here.

Upcoming Conferences & Events

ECS’ 2018 National Forum on Education Policy
June 27th to June 29th in Washington, D.C.
Register here

The three-day event provides education leaders from across the country with opportunities to learn from policy experts and connect with one another. This year, we’re meeting in Washington, D.C., and the agenda is chock full of plenaries and breakout sessions designed to foster conversation and ideas for transforming education policy and advancing student success. To be held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC.

UnidosUS Annual Conference
July 7th to July 10th in Washington, D.C.
More info here

This conference is the largest gathering of its kind in the Hispanic community, serving as the meeting ground for thousands of community leaders, activists, and volunteers; elected and appointed officials; members of the corporate, philanthropic, and academic communities; senior citizens; college students; and youth.

The Arena: Philadelphia Summit 
September 7th to September 8th in Philadelphia, PA
Register here

The Arena Summit is a gathering of rising leaders from across the country. As WIRED wrote, “Think of The Arena Summit as equal parts spring training, group therapy, summer camp, and speed dating for progressives.” The Philadelphia Summit will be our fifth since December 2016, and we expect over 750 civic and political leaders in attendance. At prior Summits, we featured thought leaders such as Jason Kander, DeRay Mckesson, Pete Buttigieg, Jennifer Granholm, Martin O’Malley, and Brian Deese. The community emerging from these Summits has already gone on to launch over a hundred new organizations and candidacies since the November election, including the 27 candidates we have supported and plan to support through our Fellowship program in 2018.

News Roundup

“School desegregation plan revealed for Manhattan’s Upper West Side” By Ben Chapman
New York Daily News  — June 20, 2018

“Nearly 750 charter schools are whiter than the nearby district schools” by Emmanuel Felton
The Hechinger Report — June 17, 2018

“The Measurable Student Outcomes of Summit Learning in Action” by Lauren Faggella
Summit Learning Blog — June 14, 2018

“Integration Is the New Poverty — at Least When It Comes to Crafting Excuses for America’s Underperforming Schools” by Derrell Bradford
The 74 Million — June 11, 2018

“Coalition Encourages Diversity Among Charter Schools to Enhance Academics and Enrich Lives”
Safar Partners — May 30, 2019

“The Forgotten Girls Who Led the School-Desegregation Movement” by Melinda D. Anderson
The Atlantic — May 30, 2018

“The Radical Supreme Court Decision That America Forgot” by Will Stancil
The Atlantic — May 29, 2018

“Lack of diversity in charter schools is a fool’s critique” by Kate Hardiman
Washington Examiner — May 28, 2018

“An Unusual Idea for Fixing School Segregation” by Rachel M. Cohen
The Atlantic — May 23, 2018

“Intentionally Diverse Charter Schools: At Citizens of the World, Community Engagement and Students’ Own Backgrounds Are the Foundation for Academic Success” by Halley Potter
The 74 Million — May 23, 2018

“Make integration easy by making more schools great” by Dvora Inwood and Lindsay Sturman
NY Daily News — May 21, 2018

“Intentionally Diverse Charter Schools: Rhode Island’s Blackstone Valley Prep Spans Race and Class, With a Strong College Focus” by Amy Zimmer
The 74 Million — May 18, 2018

“64 Years After Brown v. Board, Progressive Leaders Must Act on Segregation” by Abel McDaniels
American Progress — May 17, 2018

“‘It Has to Start Somewhere’: Grass-Roots Drive to Integrate New York Schools” by Winnie Hue
NY Times — May 17, 2018

“The County That Closed Its Public Schools Rather Than Desegregate After Brown v. Board of Education” by Arica L. Coleman
Time — May 16, 2018

“Intentionally Diverse Charter Schools: In New Orleans’s Morris Jeff Community School, Elevating Inclusion and Teacher Voice” by Kimberly Quick
The 74 Million — May 16, 2018

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