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


Dear Coalition members, friends, and partners,

In the work of DCSC, the team is lucky enough to see the transformational outcomes led by our member schools across the country. Having a nationwide membership allows us as an organization to have a pulse on the vast issues and efforts within the school choice movement taking place all over the country. One place that has been on top of mind for us is California.

There have been many challenges for teachers and administrators in many states this past year, including West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Colorado, just to name a few that have been most recently reported in the news. California shares some of these challenges and also includes nine of our members.  In this issue we’d like to focus our attention on California and the work that CA charter schools do in serving and supporting students, regardless of the rhetoric and in the face of adversity.

Our California members continue to imagine the possibility of a diverse, equitable and inclusive society along lines of race and socioeconomic status. We have witnessed our members in California develop positive and affirmative school cultures and expand their reach within the state by opening their doors to more students. As members in California continue to adapt to an ever-changing educational landscape in the state, we support them for being able to continue to spark joy amongst their students, staff, parents and the communities they serve.


Sonia C. Park

Coalition Updates

Updates from the Coalition:
Member Needs Analysis Survey
Currently 69% of all of our member schools have completed our Member Needs Analysis Survey conducted by our consultants from EduDream. Your thoughts and feedback will be instrumental in how we continue to plan to give supports to our schools. If you have been emailed the survey and still have not completed it, it is not too late to do so – it only takes 15-20 minutes!
Congratulations to our raffle winner, Bill Kurtz of Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) Network, who won a $50 gift card for completing his survey by March 15th!

Thank you to the following schools for giving us your thoughts and feedback!


CoP Team
Our other research team, centered around the Communities of Practice that we plan to launch this coming September, have already started the work of learning more about our member schools. Two consultants on the team, Maya Bugg and La Mikia Castillo, attended a school visit in California this month, and the third consultant, Al Motley, has been looking through the publicly available data on our member schools’ websites. Our CoP team will next be holding some interviews and focus-groups with a small number of selected members, and will besending out a survey in April so that schools can share their input on how they want our Communities of Practice to look like. Stay tuned for more on this!


Where we’ve been
California – UnifiED Excellent Schools Visits
Ashley, Dave and Seon spent a week out in California visiting some of our member schools out on the west coast. The purpose of these Excellent Schools Visits were for our current four UnifiED Fellows to look at some of the practices and models that our member schools are using. Three visiting fellows also joined us as an opportunity to learn more about the UnifiED School Launch Program as apart of their own learning more about diverse-by-design schools. We would like to thank Larchmont Charter School, Odyssey Charter School, Valley Charter School and City Charter School for hosting us for these school visits as well as for coming out to the regional reception!




Washington, D.C. – Bridging the Divide Conference and School Visits
Last month, Seon attended the Bridging the Divide: School Integration Designs Conference in Washington, D.C. at the Learning Policy Institute. While in town, Seon also made time to visit Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School (with Executive Director, Erika Bryant, pictured left) and with DCSC Board Director Lee Teitel, visited Capital City Charter School (Karen Dresden, Head of School, pictured right). DCSC is excited to return to D.C. for its 2020 convening!



From Member Schools
California Charter Schools Conference: City Charter School and DCSC Present 
Valerie Braimah, Executive Director of City Charter Schools based in Los Angeles, along with our Deputy Director, Dave Bryson, presented a session at The 26th Annual California Charter Schools Conference in Sacramento. Approximately 30 participants engaged in circles to more deeply connect the information they learned on the correlation between housing segregation and school segregation to their individual context. The presentation utilized City Charter’s circle protocol both to more deeply engage participants and to model an inclusive practice of schools working to sustain diverse student bodies in real-time. Participants’ experiences and perspectives ranged from school staff, principals, CMO network leaders, partner organizations, charter authorizers and researchers.
Click here to view the presentation.


DCSC Schools of the Year Highlights
Diverse by Design at Larchmont Charter School
Larchmont Charter School is based in Los Angeles, CA – one of the most diverse cities in the world. Larchmont believes that children need the opportunity to learn with and from a student population that mirrors their broader community. In this video, Larchmont shows how it recruits a diverse student population; teaches tolerance, positive interaction, and appreciation of various communities; and promotes the values of social justice and diversity.
Click here to watch the video.

Valor Collegiate Academies: Using SEL as the Foundation of a School Community
Valor Collegiate Academy has already become a model not only in Nashville, TN, but for all over the country. Valor emphasizes socio-emotional learning through an SEL curriculum, weekly support circle, and daily advisory. In presenting its model, Valor shows how students can learn that it’s okay to be vulnerable and take academic risks.
Click here to watch the video.


From the Field
Report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA on the impacts of neighborhood gentrification on public schools and integration efforts
The University of California – Los Angeles report focuses on New York City as a model of the ways in which cities can solve some of the problems created by very substantial gentrification. This report shows from a school perspective both challenges and opportunities of gentrification for public schools and charters, both of which are, on average, showing a small increase in their share of white students, but lagging far behind population changes.
Read the report from UCLA here.

Preparing Teachers for Diverse Schools: Lessons from Minority Serving Institutions
This report from Bellwether Education Partners looks at how schools can revise policies, practices, and curricula to address the impact of race, gender, and class, and thereby better prepare educators to serve an increasingly diverse student population.
Read the report here.

Predominantly White School Districts Receive $23 Billion More In Funding Than Mostly Black And Brown Districts, Report Finds
EdBuild, whose mission is to bring common sense and fairness to the way states fund public schools, recently released a report showing the inequities of funding between predominantly white public schools and predominantly non-white public schools. The report sheds light on how the gerrymandering of school district boundaries continue to divide communities, how housing segregation ensures that district geographies are further divided, and how funding per pupil is imbalanced amongst racial demographics.
You can read the report as well as view data by state here.

The Federal Role and School Integration: Brown’s Promise and Present Challenges
The Departments of Justice and Education under the Obama administration issued voluntary guidance in 2011 to provide school districts with resources and guidance on how to foster school diversity in support of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which represented a major legal effort to dismantle legal segregation in public schools. That guidance was rescinded in July, 2018 under the  current administration. Despite the rescission of the guidance, some districts are still committed to advancing efforts to promote school diversity. The Learning Policy Institute commissioned by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 2018 create report that addresses the federal role in protecting student civil rights as they relate to school discipline practices.
Download the report from the Learning Policy Institute here.

Report: Advancing Intentional Equity in Charter Schools
The number of students enrolled in public charter schools has steadily grown since the inception of the charter model in the 1990s, and now accounts for 6 percent of the total number of students enrolled in public schools across the country. Over this period of growth, however, the charter school model has been the subject of heated controversy, including whether they equitably serve all students regardless of race, class, sex, disability, or first language. The Century Foundation has issued a report by Julie F. Mead and Preston Green that investigates some trends across charter schools and suggests recommendations to address equity and opportunity.
Read the report here.

Nominate a leader for the Deeper Learning Equity Fellowship
A collaboration of Internationals Network and Big Picture Learning, the Deeper Learning Equity Fellowship is a combination of face-to-face and online dialogue, school visits, conversations with prominent senior education leaders, and independent or partnered Fellow capstone projects, the program will provide Fellows with the perspectives and tools necessary for effective and expanded Deeper Learning leadership.
Learn more about the fellowship here.


Upcoming Conferences & Events

Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference 
April 4th to April 5th in New Haven, CT
Learn more about the conference and register here
Seon, our Program Coordinator, will also be attending this event!
The Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference exists to create a forum for leaders in education reform. The ELC is an annual two-day conference focused on convening the nation’s leaders in education reform. Through panels, networking, conversations, and workshops, our speakers, attendees, presenters, and keynotes create a community that helps build urgency in working toward student success and system-wide progress. 

Preparing Teachers to Educate Whole Students 
April 17th 6:00-7:00pm EST (live webinar)
Dial: +1 929 205 6099 (US Toll) Meeting ID: 480 522 2772
What do students need to learn in a fast-changing world? How might learning environments best support adults who guide their learning? Dr. Connie K. Chung will discuss these two topics in an upcoming YHL Community Conversation.

Creating Schools that Build Culturally Inclusive Spaces with Dr. Verenice Gutierrez New Paradigm – Shifting from Solving for Pain Points to Solving for Shared Values 
April 25th 12:00-1:00pm EST (live webinar)
Dial: +1 929 205 6099 (US Toll) Meeting ID: 480 522 2772
Dr. Verenice Gutierrez consults with PK-12 school districts to address institutional barriers to eliminate the predictability of race, language or culture as an indicator of academic achievement. On April 25th, at 12PM EST, Dr. Verenice Gutierrez will be leading a Community Conversation about Creating Schools that Build Culturally Inclusive Spaces. This Community Conversation is ideal for school and district leaders interested in the features of learning environments that enable children to grow and develop, with a special emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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.

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.

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.


News Roundup

What’s going on in California?

A cap on charters would only cap family choices” by Michael Phillips
EdSource — March 20, 2019

Charter school supporters unveil battle strategy against push to restrict growth in California” by Diana Lambert
EdSource — March 14, 2019

California’s Teachers Are Finally Going After the Original Sin That Wrecked the State’s Public Schools” by Edwin Rios
Mother Jones — March 12, 2019

After the Strike; Starting the Healing Process and Doing Better by Black Students” by Charles Cole III
Great School Voices — March 12, 2019

A charter school report card: They cause problems. But for many families they’re the solution” by Steve Lopez
Los Angeles Times — March 9, 2019

California governor’s new task force on charter schools convenes” by John Fensterwald
EdSource — March 8, 2019

What’s going on everywhere else?

What You Need To Know About The D.C. School Lottery” by Martin Austermuhle
WAMU — March 28, 2019
(Member school, Elsie Whitlow Stokes and DCSC Board Member, Halley Potter, are mentioned in the article!)

I’m an Asian American graduate of Brooklyn Tech. Please don’t use me as a wedge in your education lawsuit.” by Jason Wu
Chalkbeat — March 20, 2019

It’s Time For BPS To Overhaul Exam-Schools Admissions” by Iván Espinoza-Madrigal
WBUR — March 13, 2019

I Didn’t Have a Teacher Who Looked Like Me Till College — Why I’m Working to Change That for the Next Generation” by Casey Chon
The 74 — March 11, 2019

Safety, belonging, and humanity: Black teachers need strong school climates, too” by Davis Dixon
The Brookings Institution — February 28, 2019

Charter schools swap ‘no excuses’ for a gentler approach to discipline” by Alex P. Kellogg
The Christian Science Monitor — February 27, 2019

More Than Half of Aspiring Elementary Teachers Fail America’s Most Used Licensure Exam, New NCTQ Report Finds” by Mark Keierleber
The 74 — February 27, 2019

New York City can move forward with specialized high school changes aimed at integration, judge rules” by Author
Chalkbeat — February 25, 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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