In Blog

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

Dear Coalition members, friends, and partners,

We hope these first few days (or weeks for some of our Coalition schools) have gone smoothly.  The start of the school year is always an exciting time of transitions and opportunity! It also represents a reminder of the huge responsibility we bear as education leaders to ensure our students can grow and thrive. Not a day goes by where we are not reminded of the power of diversity and inclusion to shape a more just and equitable world.

Which is why we are excited to do our part in strengthening our community and effecting change more broadly through our goals this year to Promote, Expand, and Support the work of our members. We are committed to creating more learning opportunities to cultivate connections across schools and organizations, forging deeper connections and facilitating shared learning.

One important way we do this is via our convenings. Throughout the year, we convene our member schools, policy and practice thought leaders, and other charter leaders to foster cross-sharing and the exchange of ideas and best practices. We feature current and thought-provoking topics to challenge attendees’ assumptions, create opportunities to deepen existing connections and establish new ones and inspire sharing and learning of pertinent strategies.

Our next convening is in Kansas City on October 19th. Will you join us? Register today! To our Member schools, please reach out to Elsa before registering!

Finally, check out our website and our “Food for Thought” section below for inspiration, tools, and resources!


Sonia C. Park

Coalition Updates

Updates from the Coalition: DCSC Fellowship Program

Quarter one of the Fellowship concludes at end of September and Fellows are busy! Here is what Fellows are up to over the next two months:


  • Buffalo Commons Site Visit
  • MindTrust partnership visit
  • DSST Site Visit


  • Brooklyn Prospect Site Visit
  • Excellent School Visit One
  • Citizens of the World Site Visit
  • Workshop One and Regional Convening

All events are aligned to our Theory of Action and Scope and Sequence

Theory of Action

Scope and Sequence

Finally, we kick off recruitment for Cohort Two Fellows in October. Email Ashley with names of Fellows and/or potential host site leaders you’d like to recommend.

Updates from the Coalition: Where Have We Been?
Sonia attended the NY-DFER selection season kick-off event and heard speaking remarks from State Senator Brian Benjamin, as well as Assemblyman and DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake. She spoke with DFER-NY State Director Nicole Brisbane and John Petry, DFER and Success Academies Board member.

Sonia also participated in the all-day retreat for the NYC Department of Education “Diversity Advisory Group” to prioritize the set of recommendations that will be delivered to the Mayor and Chancellor. The goals of the DAG is focusing on actionable short and long-term integration goals for the NYC DOE.  There continues to be healthy debate among the DAG on equity and access for all of NYC’s 1.1 million students.

Sonia joined DCSC board member Rob Reed in honoring and celebrating the inaugural Honorees of the #BringTheFunk Awards. This event in DC honored Black charter school and congressional leaders that have done tremendous work in providing excellent school choice.  Honorees included school leaders Donald Hense, Margaret Fortune, Tim King, Charlene Reid and Shantelle Wright.  The event was hosted by Roland Martin, Education Reform Now, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, 100 Black Men of American of Washington DC and Prince George’s County, the Walton Family Foundation and The 74.

Congratulations City Garden! First Missouri Charter School Granted 10-Year Charter Renewal, Honored By City

City Garden is the FIRST charter school in Missouri to receive a 10-year charter renewal from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In its ten years, City Garden has created one of the most integrated school communities in the city, as well as one of the highest achieving. The charter school provides an educational model that is now studied by educators regionally and nationally for its success in blending a Montessori curriculum with anti-bias, antiracism principles and practices, creating an innovative approach toward educational equity.

City Garden, and sponsor Saint Louis University, marked the beginning of its renewed 10-year charter on September 6 with a community celebration.  At the celebration, Saint Louis University President Dr. Fred Pestello praised the progress made by City Garden, “Our first ten years together has shown that our commitment to urban community education is not just worth it, but is essential. Essential to the livelihood and the vibrancy of our city and the children of St. Louis.”

Food for Thought: Black Lives Matter for Middle Schoolers
Novelist Jewell Parker Rhodes and her husband Brad have been talking about race and discrimination since way before they became parents. Jewell’s black, and her husband is white. And as the mom of two biracial children, Jewell’s worked hard to make her kids aware of the reality of racism, while also instilling them with hope for change. But Jewell knows that not all families talk openly about these things, especially if they’re not forced into it by facing discrimination themselves. Jewell’s latest novel, Ghost Boys, is about a police shooting of an unarmed twelve-year-old black boy. In this podcast, Jewell talks about why she wrote this story for middle schoolers and why she’s counting on them to advance racial justice.

From the Field: Closing Achievement Gaps in Diverse and Low-Poverty Schools(written contribution by DCSC Board of Directors member Veronica Brooks-Uy)
To close achievement gaps nationally, education leaders must seek dramatically different and more complete approaches in low- and moderate-poverty schools. In 2017, Oak Foundation commissioned Public Impact to develop this report as a resource for district leaders nationwide facing such achievement gaps, based on a review of more than 150 studies conducted over the past 10 years. The report reviews the causes of achievement gaps and highlights research-based approaches to closing them. Importantly, we examined approaches that had evidence of boosting outcomes for disadvantaged students without reducing the availability of advanced instruction.

Upcoming Conferences & Events

January 31st to February 1st in New Orleans, LA
RSVP and more details to come!

TNTP: Opportunity Myth Launch
September 25th in Washington, D.C.
Register here

To get to the bottom of The Opportunity Myth, we followed nearly 4,000 students in five diverse school systems to learn more about their experiences, collecting nearly 30,000 student surveys in real time during their lessons. What we found was unnerving: classroom after classroom filled with A and B students whose big goals for their lives are slipping further away each day, unbeknownst to them and their families-not because they can’t master challenging material, but because they’re rarely given a real chance to try.

Black Male Educators Convening
October 12th to October 14th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Register here

Teacher diversity works. Increasing the number of Black male educators in our nation’s teacher corps will improve education for all our students, especially for African-American boys.Today Black men represent only two percent of teachers nationwide. This is a national problem that demands a national response.

NACSA Leadership Conference
October 22nd to October 25th in Orlando, Florida
Register here

Expect More this year as authorizers come together in Orlando to learn more, to network more, and to ask more of our schools, our educators, our politicians, our leadership, and even ourselves. Attendees will leave empowered to be inspirational education leaders in their state, filled with knowledge and backed by new and strengthened relationships with other professionals throughout the country.

Sonia Park and DC Public Charter School Board Deputy Director Naomi DeVeaux will be leading a panel on Diverse-by-Design schools.

National Summit on Education Reform
December 5th to December 7th in Washington, DC
Register here

The National Summit on Education Reform convenes the nation’s leaders in education policy to share what works, what doesn’t and what’s next in education reform. Join our chairman, Governor Jeb Bush, as we host more than 1,000 legislators, state superintendents, policymakers, and advocates. The packed two-day event will feature notable keynote speakers and in-depth strategy sessions on evolving laws, new trends, successful policies and the latest innovations that are transforming education for the 21st century. 

News Roundup

“Mayor Bill de Blasio Wants to Diversify New York City Schools, Chancellor Richard Carranza Wants to Desegregate. Is That a Problem?” by David Cantor
The 74million — September 10, 2018

“Here’s my challenge to white parents this school year” by Kearie Daniel
Today’s Parent — August 31, 2018

“Middle Schools Face Concentrated Poverty and Gaps in Opportunity, Report Finds” by Eliza Shapiro
New York Times — August 29, 2018

“Does Teacher Diversity Matter in Student Learning?” by Claire Cain Miller
New York Times — September 10, 2018

“Parents, Privilege & Public Schools” by Molly McClure
Medium — December 10, 2017

“Mispronouncing Students’ Names: A Slight That Can Cut Deep” by Corey Mitchell
Education Week — May 10, 2016


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