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Quality Schools Initiative
Fight For Children is excited to continue investing in DC schools that have strong leadership and a clear vision for the future. Our support gives the schools already in the midst of change and improvement a catalyst to continue their upward trajectory and gives more children the high-quality education they deserve. An independent committee of leaders across DC’s education community selected the winning schools based on a thorough evaluation of their applications, strategic plans, and on-campus visits.
The 2015 winning schools—Center City Public Charter School Congress Heights Campus and Seaton Elementary School—each received $100,000 over two years to implement a targeted school improvement strategy designed to increase academic achievement even further.
Center City Public Charter School Congress Heights Campus
Center City PCS Congress Heights Campus serves more than 227 students in pre-K through 8th grade in Ward 8. The school empowers its students to achieve lifelong success by building moral character, promoting academic excellence, and encouraging public service in the local community. Through a combination of extra-curricular activities, individualized and small group instruction, and various enrichment opportunities, Center City Congress Heights ensures its students leave campus equipped with the skills necessary for a rigorous high school experience.
As part of its application to Fight For Children, Center City Congress Heights developed a strategic plan to incorporate technology into daily instruction, with a goal of improving students’ familiarity with and expertise in new technologies in an effort to close the achievement gap. With its Quality Schools Initiative Award, the school aims to not only improve overall performance on standardized assessments, but also to develop 21st century skills among its students so that they are better prepared for school and in life.
Seaton Elementary School
Located in the historic Shaw neighborhood in Ward 6, Seaton Elementary serves 295 students in pre-K through 5th grade. The school is committed to meeting the intellectual, social, behavioral, and emotional needs of each of its students while providing high quality academic instruction and cultural experiences that enhance student growth and development. When students leave Seaton, they are prepared to excel in middle school and throughout the rest of their academic careers.
School leaders at Seaton Elementary set a goal to close the achievement gap between English language learners (ELL) and native English speakers. To address this goal and eliminate inequity between groups of students, three new initiatives make up Seaton’s strategic plan submitted as part of its Quality Schools Initiative application:
Family Empowerment Center with special programming for ELL parents,
Robust teacher training in research-based ELL strategies, and
Expanded online learning program for students learning English.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION: Truesdell Education Campus
This year, Fight For Children also recognized Truesdell Education Campus, a school that has undergone significant turnaround in recent years, for its rapid improvement, as evidenced by its strong leadership team and high quality of instruction. In recognition of Truesdell's accomplishments, Fight For Children awarded the school a special recognition grant of $25,000, which will fund a portion of Truesdell's strategic plan for continued improvement.
About the Quality Schools Initiative
The Quality Schools Initiative works to ensure that all children – regardless of income or family background – receive a high-quality education so that they will become successful, healthy adults.
Using a two-fold approach that provides school leaders opportunities to learn from one another, while providing targeted resources to improving schools, our program helps schools to advance their academic practices and increase student achievement.
How We Make An Impact:
Collaboration: Conferences featuring local and national education thought-leaders are held twice a year in DC. These sessions are free to school leaders and are designed to ensure that the topics and speakers are truly relevant to the daily work of educators. Most importantly, the sessions provide school leaders the opportunity to learn from their peers who have tackled the same challenges with the same student population.
An assistant principal who attended a recent session said, “I was able to take so many great resources back to share with our teachers! These sessions were well worth our time and will definitely benefit our students.”
91% of workshop attendees at the Spring 2015 conference said they would definitely implement what they learned in their sessions at their schools.
Targeted Resources: Since 2008, Fight For Children has awarded more than $1.7 million to 23 schools to support the implementation of strategic plans for stronger academic achievement. These schools were selected as award winners because of their positive momentum and their commitment to improve the academic performance of the predominately low-income students they serve.
Over the last seven years, Quality Schools Initiative Award alumni have increased in their DC CAS scores by more than 12%, compared to 9% across all public schools in DC.
Last year, 1,734 students were directly impacted by the Quality Schools Initiative Award program.