School is in Session for the 2018 Signature Program

November 22, 2017

In November, LGW’s Signature Program Class of 2018 assembled for Education Day.

The morning began with a study of the region's educational landscape at various private and charter schools all around Greater Washington including:

  • Academy of Hope
  • Anacostia High School
  • Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School
  • Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School
  • Francis Scott Key Elementary
  • Neval Thomas Elementary
  • Oxon Hill High School
  • Washington Jesuit Academy

After touring the schools, the Signature Class convened at nonprofit Educare to learn more about the initiatives throughout the region targeted to address the challenges and opportunities along the education pipeline. Under the leadership of Pyper Davis (’17) Educare is a cutting-edge school that provides early childhood education for children in poverty in Washington DC.  The Educare model is based on research from early childhood development, education, social work and other allied fields. Educare also connects with community-based programs that help children and families access additional resources, such as health and mental health services.

The morning resumed with a perspective of Principal Davia Walker of Neval Thomas Elementary. Principal Walker has been an educator and an advocate for children for over 10 years. Her mission is to create a safe and empowering learning environment for all children, in addition to running a school that is forward thinking in terms of budget efficiency and data-driven outcomes. Every moment during the school day is a teaching moment, and Principal Walker reminds her team of that often.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that as leaders it's going to be "all good" all day. You have to be a born leader and made to teach. You have to love children and love education.”-Davia Walker

The afternoon featured a panel on the role of nonprofits serving in the education arena. Panelists included Jeff Franco (’10), Executive Director of City Year, DC, Ed Grenier (’05), President and CE of Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, and Courtney Reeve (’13), Executive Director of Aspire! Afterschool Learning the panel was moderated by Nate Cole (’16), Executive Director of Urban Alliance. Nonprofit leaders explained how their organizations help to fill in the gaps when it comes to education in the region, by offering a wide range of support and services for youth and young adults.

“In order for young people to be successful, education and mentorship need to intersect. We need to tap into the networks that we have within Greater Washington.”-Jeff Franco (’10)

This systemic change toward a more successful learning environment, also requires an investment and commitment from leaders in our community, in order to keep nonprofit programs strong in the region.  

 “It’s important to show up with resources. Capturing and accessing data is challenging. More schools must be willing to share data.” -Courtney Reeve (’13)

By capturing data and outcomes, organizations can accurately track impact and highlight findings to emphasizes the need for additional educational programming for students in the community.

The day concluded with an overview of the landscape of charter and traditional schools, led by Maura Marino, CEO of Ed Forward DC.  Education Forward DC works to advance quality and equity for underserved students in public schools. Maura Marino is the CEO of ED Forward DC.

Overall, DC schools have seen rapid improvements over the last 8 years outpacing national growth on NAEP. The District also continues to rise among other large urban districts and enrollment in school is projected to grow to 126,000 students in the next 10 years.

Improvements have been driven by key shifts in the conditions for high-quality schools

  • Accountability
  • Human Capital
  • Autonomy
  • Resources
  • Access

By the end of the day, participants we significantly impacted by the presentations and findings delivered and began to think more strategically about how we as an LGW membership can work to improve the quality of education and supplemental programming for youth and young adults in the region. 

A special thank you to our participating schools, event host, and Education Day experts and panelists.

View photos from the event here.

Education Day occurred on Thursday, November 16. 

School is in Session for the 2018 Signature Program