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

Coalition Updates

Updates from the Coalition: Where Have We Been? 
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been actively representing the Coalition by attending and participating in conferences, symposiums, and convenings, including:

Inaugural Coalition of Community Charter Schools Symposium (New York City) 
Sonia moderated a panel discussion on civil rights and charter movements,  exploring questions like: Is there a really a disconnect between civil rights and charter advocates? What issues are ones that truly are problems of the charter sector that we need to address? How do we move beyond the current situation productively?

National Association of Charter School Authorizers Annual Conference (Phoenix) 
Sonia was part of a panel discussion on authorizing and diversity with member school CWCS co-founder and CEO Kriste Dragon. Sonia explored key policy challenges to supporting diverse charter schools in New York State and Kriste walked participants through a real-life example of success.

National Coalition on School Diversity Conference: “A Struggle We Must Win: Advancing School Integration Through Activism, Youth Voice, and Policy Reform” (New York City) 
The Coalition was a proud sponsor of NCSD’s fourth annual conference. Sonia helped kick off the day as a panelist on the plenary discussion exploring current policy opportunities and challenges for school integration. Member schools Brooklyn Prospect hosted a school tour, and Blackstone Valley Prep and Community Roots facilitated workshops sharing their schools’ lessons and best practices around implementing culturally responsive teaching and innovative approaches to community building. Check out our “StoryCorps” where Sonia shares what school diversity means to her personally and Elsa tackles the question of how we are going to integrate America’s schools.

Stay Woke: The Inaugural National Convening of Black Male Educators (Philadelphia)
The Coalition was a proud sponsor of BME’s first convening. Over 700 participants met to advance policy, hear from experts and amplify the voices of Black male educators from the classroom to the community. To learn more about Philadelphia’s BME, a professional membership and activist organization dedicated to advancing the recruitment, development and retention of Black male educators, check out their page here.

Connecting with members and partners in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New Orleans & New York City
It is always uplifting to be able to visit schools and see our members in action. In a recent trip to New Orleans Sonia visited member school International High School of New Orleans where she got to visit classrooms and catch up with CEO Sean Wilson. Sonia also visited Hellenic Classical Charter School and Central Queens Academy in New York City.  DCSC is currently reviewing applications from both schools to join our Coalition. Thank you to everyone who shared your feedback on all current applicants!

We’ve also had the opportunity to meet with advocates in D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia to discuss a wide range of topics including the challenges (and practical solutions) of serving special education students in charter schools, incubating and expanding diverse charter schools in Philadelphia, and supporting youth in advancing integration efforts in NYC.

RSVP & SAVE THE DATE: 2018 DCSC Convening
Our Annual Convening is right around the corner.  Join fellow member schools, meet potential member schools, and engage with partner organizations in Denver on January 18th and 19th. This year’s focus will be Diversity and Cultural Competence: Fostering a More Equitable and Inclusive School Community. Look out for an email early next week with additional details and next steps. In the meantime,  let us know if you are considering attending here. Each member school will be eligible for travel reimbursement of up to $650.  We look forward to seeing you!

Welcome Brieanna!
Brieanna Iyomahan recently joined the DCSC team as our Special Projects Intern. Brieanna is currently a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park double majoring in Early Childhood Education/Special Education and Psychology. Previously, she worked at disability rights advocacy group RespectAbility as a communications fellow. She also has extensive experience in general and special education classrooms with a focus on working with children on the Autism Spectrum. She has also worked as a research assistant on several federally funded research projects.

Get to Know Your Peers: “Diverse by Design: These Charter Schools Show What Integration Looks Like and Why It Matters for Kids”
Learn more about the 10 Coalition member schools embracing diversity and leading the way to ensure all students have a bright future. From Blackstone Valley Prep and Bricolage to Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences and Valor Collegiate Academies, our schools show that our classrooms can reflect the increasingly diverse populations of our communities.

From the Field: NewSchool Venture Fund’s “Creating An Intentionally Diverse School: Lessons Learned”
With schools becoming more segregated than they were in the 1960’s, a handful of educators are stepping up to find solution. “Intentionally diverse” schools are designed to create classrooms that reflect the rich mosaic of American life. NewSchools Venture Fund’s paper “Creating An Intentionally Diverse School” explores the lessons educators, who are dedicated to creating these types of classrooms, have learned. Explored in greater detail are takeaways on creating a culture of belonging, recruiting targeted populations, and reducing barriers to enrollment.  Amongst the seven schools highlighted are members: Valor Collegiate Academies, Thrive Public Schools, Bricolage Academy and Citizens of the World Charter Schools.

ICYMI: Inspiring Documentary “STEP”
The new documentary STEP tells the story of an all-girls public charter high-school step dancing team in the heart of Baltimore as they chase their dreams–to win a step dancing championship and to be accepted into college. Schools can now share the inspiring film with students to spark conversations around self-confidence, teamwork and overcoming challenges. Request a DVD and a discussion guide today in exchange for submitting a photo of a screening at school and filling out a brief survey.

Don’t Miss Out: Choices in Education Video Contest
What does school choice mean to you? ExcelinEd wants to know — and is launching a video contest so students and their families can tell the world how educational choices have made a difference in their lives. The goal is to enlighten the public about the value of educational options through individual stories told by those who know schools best — students and parents. From Oct. 25 through Dec. 1, students can submit videos online; winners will receive prizes of as much as $15,000.


Upcoming Conferences & Events

The Arena Summit
December 8th to December 9th in Phoenix, AZ
Register here

The Arena Summit gives thousands of people across America an entry point to launch careers in civic leadership. Through each Summit, they will build an engaged community of 5,000 promising activists, politicians, and entrepreneurs by the end of 2018. These Summits include programming to motivate new entrants into the civic and political arena and training and guidance to help these new entrants take the critical few steps on their journey. Their programming includes three key planks. First, they motivate attendees with speeches and interviews with values-aligned politicians and civic leaders. Second, they include breakout trainings along two tracks: (i) those who wish to become civic activists or entrepreneurs; and (ii) those who want to run for office. These trainings are not meant to be comprehensive but are meant to help their attendees take the first few steps in their civic and political journeys. Finally, they break into regional cohorts for individual and group action planning. These regional cohorts continue to meet on an ongoing basis after the event.


News Roundup

“7 critical questions to ask your child’s teacher” by Natasha S. Alford
The Grio — November 9, 2017

“Does inclusion slow down general education classrooms?” by Christina Samuels
EdWeek — November 3, 2017

“Private schools in DC represent roadblock to integration” by Kate McGee
WAMU — November 1, 2017

“At select charter schools, white families tip the balance toward diversity” by Kate McGee
STL Public Radio — November 1, 2017

“Schools are segregated because white people want them that way” by Sean Illing
Vox — October 26, 2017

“The Only National Black School Choice Advocacy Group Is Folding” by Arianna Prothero
EdWeek — October 25, 2017

“Data Shows Stark Divide in Educational Equity in Seattle” by Jess Weaver
Digital Communities — October 24, 2017

“Separate But Unequal: NYU Metro Center Report Examines Segregation in NYC Schools” 
NYU News Release — October 24, 2017

“We Libertarians Were Really Wrong About School Vouchers” by Megan McArdle
Bloomberg — October 23, 2017

“Diversity lags in teaching ranks in Buffalo area schools” by Jay Rey and Barbara O’Brien
Buffalo News — October 17, 2017

“We Shouldn’t Always Feel Comfortable: Why ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Matters” by Christina Torres
Edweek — October 15, 2017

“Why having more black male teachers matters” by Kristen A. Graham
The Inquirer — October 12, 2017

“20 years later, Beverly Daniel Tatum asks again: ‘Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?’” by Tom Weber
NPR News — October 10, 2017

“How districts are getting away with keeping black students out” by APM Reports
The Hechinger Report — October 10, 2017

“Why NC charter schools are richer and whiter” by Lynn Bonner, Jane Stancill, David Raynor
News Observer — October 10, 2017

“Using the Black Lives Matter movement to train white teachers” by Emrys Eller
The Hechinger Report — October 6, 2017

“NOLA Schools Went From F to C Post-Katrina. Here’s What the Hard Work of Going From C to A Looks Like” by Beth Hawkins
The74 — September 29, 2017

“10 Years, 100% College Acceptance: Inside a Most Remarkable Decade at the Denver School of Science & Technology” by Carolyn Phenicie
The74 — September 17, 2017


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