(Washington, DC) – Today, at Stuart-Hobson Middle School in Ward 6, Mayor Bowser highlighted the District’s new investments in middle schools and celebrated the academic achievements of DC Public Schools middle schools. Going into the new school year, the Mayor’s increased investments will support additional extracurricular offerings, athletics, and algebra and other STEM courses in all DCPS middle schools. The Mayor was joined by Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles and DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson
“We are transforming the middle school experience in Washington, DC because every student deserves to have high-quality academic and extracurricular experiences,” said Mayor Bowser. “By making our schools places where students not only learn and grow academically, but also socially and emotionally, we are going to set more students up for success in school and in life. Our goal is for all students to think of school not just as a place they have to go, but a place they love to go.”
In school year 2017-2018, every middle school student in DCPS will have the option to participate in at least one extracurricular program. New offerings include: coding clubs, lacrosse, wrestling, rugby, archery, and hockey, as well as wheelchair track and field and unified basketball for students with disabilities. Building on recommendations from the Algebra Task Force, this school year, all DCPS middle schools are offering algebra, and through the addition of engineering and computer science electives, more students will have access to robust STEM courses before reaching high school. These electives are supported by the addition of 750 new computers. At Stuart-Hobson, students have access a variety of courses, including a One Project Lead the Way course in robotics and engineering, and a wide range of extracurricular activities, including an archery program. In addition, to encourage on-time attendance, students will also have the opportunity to take geometry and art classes before school.
Last week, the Mayor announced that the 2017 PARCC results show that DCPS made record gains last school year. In school year 2016-2017, the percentage of DCPS students who scored at a level four or five, indicating that they are on track for the next grade level or on track to graduate high school prepared for success in college and/or a career, increased by 6.4 percentage points in English language arts (ELA) and 3.5 percentage points in math. Highlights included:
- Students in grade 6 improved 7 percentage points in ELA and 3 percentage points in math
- Students in grade 7 improved 9 percentage points in ELA and 4 percentage points in math
- Students in grade 8 improved 4 percentage points in ELA and 3 percentage points in math
Stuart Hobson Middle School saw increases in both ELA and math on the PARCC, with the number of students who scored at a level four or five increasing by 14.6 percentage points in ELA and 6 percentage points in math. Additionally, DCPS middle schools across the District made gains on the PARCC assessment:
- Deal Middle School (Ward 3) increased 6 percentage points in ELA and 5 percentage points in math
- McKinley Middle School (Ward 5) increased 10 percentage points in ELA and 1 percentage point in math
- Columbia Heights Education Campus (Ward 1) increased 6 percentage points in ELA and 9 percentage points in math
- Whittier Education Campus (Ward 4) increased 13 percentage points in ELA and 14 percentage points in math
- Hart Middle School (Ward 8) increased 4 percentage points in ELA and 1 percentage point in math
- Kelly Miller Middle School (Ward 7) increased 4 percentage points in ELA
- Johnson Middle School (Ward 8) increased 1 percentage point in ELA
- Sousa Middle School (Ward 7) increased 3 percentage points in ELA
“DCPS is thankful for Mayor Bowser’s investments which will ensure that our middle school students are engaged in at least one extracurricular activity,” said Chancellor Wilson. “More families in Washington, DC are choosing DCPS middle schools because we highly value offering students a mix of rigorous and joyful learning opportunities that will prepare them for their future in college, career, and life.”
In addition to these system-wide reforms, DCPS opened an Eighth Grade Academy at Washington Metropolitan High School. The program launched this school year and supports students who have struggled in middle school by helping them gain the academic and socio-emotional skills needed to thrive in high school.
During her visit, Mayor Bowser continued to highlight Every Day Counts!, a citywide initiative to increase attendance at the District’s public schools. More than 18,000 students – almost one in four – in the District of Columbia are chronically absent, meaning they miss 10 percent or more of all school days. By sixth grade, missing 10 percent of the school year is strongly linked to dropping out of high school. Together, Mayor Bowser and the Every Day Counts! Task Force, spearheaded by the Deputy Mayor for Education, will increase coordination across public agencies and stakeholders, invest in data-driven strategies to increase attendance rates, and reward students and schools that improve attendance throughout the school year. Residents can learn more at attendance.dc.gov.
After ten years of education reform in Washington, DC, accelerating school reform continues to be a top priority for Mayor Bowser. In her Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, Mayor Bowser invested $1.74 billion in public education, an increase of $121 million over last year’s budget and the largest investment in public education in the city’s history. In addition, the proposed teachers’ contract will provide an additional $110.5 million to DCPS and an additional $92.6 million to public charter schools from FY2017 to FY2021.