Local: Education

New DCPS "scorecards" compare college enrollment, teacher retention

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Local,Education,Lisa Gartner

D.C. Public Schools released "scorecards" of their campuses on Tuesday, detailing for the first time college enrollment statistics, Advanced Placement data, and the percentage of top teachers that each campus retains.

Other information, such as schools' test scores, attendance rates and community satisfaction survey results, have been included to create a more complete picture of city campuses than DCPS has released before.

Chancellor Kaya Henderson said DCPS will eventually move to a ratings system of its schools, as the D.C. Public Charter School Board sorted its campuses into three tiers last month, assigning each charter school a score on a 100-point scale.

But Henderson said DCPS needed more time, and wanted to "make sure our community members and schools are comfortable with understanding and digesting this information before we bring down an A-rating or an F-rating."

On the Web
  • D.C. Public Schools "scorecards"
  • On the district's website, parents can compare up to four schools at a time on a number of measures, including how many top-rated teachers they retain, suspensions and expulsions, parent satisfaction and year-to-year student improvement.

    The scorecards tell a story that most parents and teachers already know: Several campuses are succeeding, but many more have a long way to go, and those lines tend to divide by race and poverty.

    For example, just 3 percent of Ward 8's Ballou Senior High School students passed an AP exam, and less than one-third of seniors enrolled in college last fall. At Wilson Senior High School in Ward 3, 45 percent of students passed an AP exam, and 65 percent of seniors went on to college.

    Lindsay DeHartchuck, a second-grade teacher at Wheatley Education Campus in Ward 5, said she liked the idea of providing a clearer picture to parents, but was concerned that parents' eyes would still be drawn first to test scores. Wheatley's scorecard shows that its scores and year-to-year progress have lagged behind average.

    "I'm not sure any of this is reflective of the progress we've had in the last few years for children, especially socially and emotionally," DeHartchuck said. But she wasn't sure how DCPS could reflect Wheatley's efforts to get therapists and medical services to students.

    M.C. Terrell/McGogney Elementary's scorecard plainly conveys that the Ward 8 campus, where 23 percent of students show proficiency in math or reading, is well below citywide average on nearly every performance measure.

    But Principal Atasha James says she isn't concerned the new results will scare away parents.

    "No matter where you turn, there's a school that needs help," James said. "Hopefully, it will create a sense of urgency in parents."

    lgartner@washingtonexaminer.com

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