July marked the beginning of Education Forward DC’s third year and we’re excited to partner with new organizations and leaders in service of our five-year goal of doubling the number of underserved students in DC who are college and career ready. Our most recent grants have supported the creation of high-quality, equitable public schools, expanding resources to support students who receive special education services, and addressing the holistic needs of students and adults in schools.
Supporting the creation of high-quality, equitable public schools
Founded in 1998, Friendship Public Charter School has a longstanding, demonstrated commitment to serving students who have traditionally been underserved in other schools. For more than 20 years, Friendship Public Charter School has operated schools with a mission to provide rigorous and varied academic models in service of college readiness and completion. We are supporting their efforts to broaden their impact in DC to serve an additional 800 students in Pre-K3 through eighth grade.
The Education Forward DC Schools and Human Capital grant making team recently completed the New Start Grant process as part of our broader effort to expand our network of grantees and ensure that our funding process is transparent and equitable. Grant recipients will receive funding and advisory support from us during the year leading up to the opening of their new school, and the early years of the school’s launch. This year, our three New Start Grant recipients included:
- Social Justice School is a proposed EL Education middle school with a focus on social justice and places equity at the center of its school design approach. Led by Executive Director Myron Long, the school plans to open in fall 2020 with 150 fifth and sixth graders, adding 75 students each year to serve 300 students at capacity by its third year.
- I Dream Academy combines elements of Montessori education, project-based learning, and EL Education. Led by founder Janine Gomez, the school plans to open in fall 2020 in Ward 7 or 8 with 120 students in Pre-K3 through second grade, adding a grade each year through fifth grade to serve 240 students at scale in its sixth year.
- Girls Global Academy is an all-girls high school that focuses on empowering women and preparing them to succeed in the real world, at a local and global scale. Led by Executive Director Karen Venable-Croft and Principal Shayne Swift, the school plans to locate in Ward 2 and will open its doors to 90 freshmen girls in its first year and will serve 450 girls in ninth through twelfth grade at capacity in its fourth year.
The DC Public Education Fund has been supporting DC Public Schools since 2008 by raising start-up capital for the district’s most innovative programs. Through a grant to the DC Public Education Fund, we are supporting the District of Columbia Public Schools’ (DCPS) efforts to redesign and launch two schools with a student-centered path forward that will best serve the schools’ students and families.
Expanding resources to support students who receive special education services
SchoolTalk is a DC-based nonprofit whose mission is to create spaces that promote self-determination and a voice for youth with disabilities and their peers. SchoolTalk supports the DC education community in collaboratively addressing complex challenges and creating practical solutions for assisting youth of all abilities achieve success. We are supporting SchoolTalk’s long-term plans of having a broader impact for DC students.
Relay Graduate School of Education is committed to ensuring that every student, regardless of background or geography, has access to an excellent education by preparing teachers and principals to lead the charge for a brighter future. We are partnering with Relay to support their planning for a whole-school special education support model and to lead a Community of Practice on innovation in special education in DC.
Addressing the holistic needs of students and adults in schools
The MedStar Georgetown Center for Wellbeing in School Environments (WISE) supports DC schools with comprehensive approaches for mental wellness. We are supporting the WISE Center as they implement an enhanced model that addresses the wellbeing of students and teachers, improves mental health, and mitigates the impacts of trauma.
Transcend is a national nonprofit that conducts research and development on innovative school models that result in transformative learning communities for students. Their work is meant to expand the supply of innovative, replicable school models, and grow communities’ demand and readiness for innovation. We are supporting Transcend as they partner with Van Ness Elementary School to create and lead a Community of Practice intended to generate citywide interest and readiness for social-emotional learning (SEL) work across a broader set of schools.
To learn more about the work of Education Forward DC and our grantees, stay connected with us by: