Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination Now Available to District Educational Communities
Eligible DC public, public charter and independent school staff have begun to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1B Tier 2 of the District of Columbia’s Vaccination Plan.
Staff who are currently working in person, or have plans to return to work in person in February, at a school offering in-person activities for students are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. All staff who work inside the school building, including those who do not work directly with students, contracted staff, part-time staff and partner organization staff (e.g., before/after-care providers) providing programming for students are eligible for vaccination. Staff who live outside the District but work in person, or plan to be in person beginning during the month of February, are also eligible.
Eligible DC Public Schools staff received vaccinations through Children’s National Hospital. For questions, please contact DCPS.StaffHealth@k12.dc.gov.
Eligible DC Public Charter School staff are receiving the vaccine through One Medical. For questions, please contact Audrey Williams at the Public Charter School Board at Vaccine@dcpcsb.org.
Eligible staff at independent schools are receiving the vaccine through One Medical. For questions, please contact Whitney Meagher at Whitney.Meagher@dc.gov.
School Health and Safety Guidance Technical Assistance OSSE's Health and Wellness Division is offering the following technical assistance:
Biweekly technical assistance calls led by OSSE and in partnership with DC Health, PCSB, DCPS, and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education. The online calls provide support regarding the implementation of health and safety guidance during the COVID-19 recovery period. These Monday calls take place from 1-2 p.m. every other week. The next call is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22.Register for this and all upcoming calls.
Updated resources, including resources on PPE requirements, exclusion and dismissal criteria and protocols, and return to school criteria, are now available on the COVID-19 guidance and resources webpage.
Question submission form for schools and LEAs to submit questions to OSSE regarding health and safety reopening guidance. Submit a question via this Google Form.
School Health and Safety Guidance Announcements OSSE's Health and Wellness Division is pleased to announce the following update around asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for school communities:
The Asymptomatic Convenience Testing Pilot has been extended at least through the end of February and is expected to provide valuable insights to inform school operational planning across the city while increasing access to testing overall. Additional extension of the pilot will be determined based on interest, efficacy, and funding.
As a reminder, the criteria for participation are as follows:
Individual schools that wish to participate must provide in-person activities for students, on-site, at least four days a week;
Only students attending in person at the school and for whom a parent/guardian-signed consent form is on file receive testing.
Educators and staff - Only those who work in person at an eligible school may choose to participate in the mail-home testing program. These individuals must submit a secure staff registration form to receive test kits.
All virtual students and staff are not eligible to participate.
DC School Health Services Program Online Reporting and Contact System
The DC School Health Services Program (SHSP) is pleased to announce the implementation of a new online reporting and contact system. This online portal is part of DC Health’s commitment to providing high-quality school health services, promoting a culture of safety, and supporting collaboration among staff, students, education partners, and the greater DC community. Additional information is available here and on the School Health Services Program website. For questions, please contact the School Health Services Program Team at SHS.Program@dc.gov.
Supporting District Families: Families First DC Success Centers
Beginning in October 2020, Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), in collaboration with existing community-based organizations, launched Family Success Centers in wards 7 and 8. The Family Success Centers can be contacted by LEAs or other agencies who have identified a family in need of additional resources. The Family Success Centers are able to provide connections to resources such as housing, employment training, healthcare, education and more.
LEAs and other agencies have two options for connecting a family to a Family Success Center.
Directly contact a specific Family Success Center using the contact information listed on the one-pagers located on CFSA’s website. Or
LEAs have a deadline of 10 days after returning to full-time, in-person instruction and by Monday, March 1, 2021 at the latest to complete full identification or submit documentation for an appeal, otherwise those students’ UPSFF English learner (EL) supplement will be returned to OSSE. As March 1, 2021 grows closer and many students continue with full-time remote learning or transition to hybrid or full-time, in-person learning environments, we are providing additional detail on the procedures for reconciling PEL and PNEL statuses.
This communication clarifies that (a) students in pre-K 3 and 4 must be screened by Monday, March 1, 2021 because there are both remote and in-person screener assessments available for these grades; and (b) clarifies that grades K-12 students with PEL status should be included in any scheduled ACCESS testing.
For questions about EL screening, programs, and policies, please contact Dr. Jennifer Norton at Jennifer.Norton@dc.gov. For questions about ACCESS test administration, please contact Michael Craig at Michael.Craig@dc.gov.
LEA Financial Reporting Application Released (reminder)
In May 2021, the DC School Report Card website will be updated to include per-pupil financial expenditure data for each school and LEA for the 2019-20 school year. All LEAs are required to submit financial expenditure data on the LEA Financial Reporting application. LEAs will have until Friday, March 22 to submit financial expenditure data through the application.
The following LEA staff have access to the application: Head of School, LEA Data Manager, Chief Financial Officer, and LEA Finance/Grants Manager. Additional resources and instructions regarding this financial expenditure data submission requirement, including guidelines and step-by-step instructions can be found on the Grants & Funding section on the OSSE website.
OSSE will host a webinar on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. [Register] This webinar is intended for the staff that will complete this financial data submission. For questions, please contact Ryan Aurori at Ryan.Aurori@dc.gov.
Nominate an Outstanding Teacher! 2022 DC Teacher of the Year (reminder)
OSSE is searching for the 2022 DC Teacher of the Year. We are seeking nominations for outstanding teachers who:
Inspire and accelerate growth for all students
Build strong partnerships with families and communities
Champion the teaching profession
Administrators, colleagues, LEA and school staff, parents, students, and community members can all submit nominations. Self-nominations are also acceptable. Please complete the 2022 DC TOY Nomination Formby Friday, April 30, 2021.
To be eligible for this award, a candidate must be a current teacher in a DC public school or public charter school, have five years’ teaching experience, and must plan to continue as a teacher in DC for the 2021-22 school year. The 2022 DC Teacher of the Year will receive a $7,500 award, professional development and leadership opportunities, and will represent DC in the 2022 National Teacher of the Year competition.
Reminder to Collect FARM Applications from Families (reminder)
Annually, children and families who attend schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and do not attend Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools should submit a meal benefit application (commonly known as FARM application) to determine if those students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. Many schools are not offering meals this school year due to closures related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency and the District has been operating open, free meal sites across the city; as such, families may not be completing the FARM application form.
At this time, OSSE is strongly encouraging non-CEP schools to push families and households that are not on the direct certification list to collect and process FARM applications as soon as possible. Students can still participate in open, free meal sites even if they are not eligible for free meals during the FARM application, but being identified as FARM-eligible is critical for eligibility to other programs, including Pandemic EBT.
Guidance on Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) has been released by USDA and the District is in the process of getting its plan approved for school year 2020-21. As a reminder, through the P-EBT program, eligible school children receive temporary emergency nutrition benefits loaded on EBT cards that are used to purchase food. Children who would have received free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Act if their schools were not closed or operating with reduced hours or attendance for at least 5 consecutive days are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits.
Once the District’s P-EBT plan is approved, OSSE and the Department of Human Services (DHS) will update LEAs and families on benefits, card distribution and how to mitigate challenges.
Stay on Track with Routine Childhood Immunization Requirements for In-Person Learning (reminder)
With students returning to school for in-person learning, school health teams should be checking immunization compliance status before students return to the building. All students must be up-to-date with their childhood immunizations in order to attend any in-person activities. Enforcement of routine childhood immunization requirements is critical in order to prevent an epidemic in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
To protect the health and safety of all students, DC Health and OSSE have advised that all schools adopt the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendancefor the 2020-21 school year. This is due to the public health risks of in-person congregation without up-to-date routine childhood immunizations. As part of the return to in-person schooling process, parents/guardians should be notified immediately by the school if their student is not up-to-date on their routine childhood immunizations. Students who have been in the distance learning posture this school year must be up-to-date on their childhood immunizations before returning for in-person instruction.
Special Education Transportation Reminders in Preparation for Return to Service(reminder)
OSSE's Division of Student Transportation (OSSE DOT) is providing transportation services for the 2020-21 school year, for schools offering “hybrid” (combination of distance and in-person) or “in-person” learning. While we recognize and appreciate the updates we have received for school calendars to reflect a model that includes in-person services, we wanted to remind you of our timeline for submitting your school calendars, to include the day you will begin in-person learning and the associated Transportation Request Forms (TRFs) for your eligible students who will use transportation services.
According to our Special Education Transportation Policy, OSSE DOT has 10 business days to process transportation requests. However, given the higher volume of requests at the start of the school year along with the need for data verification, staff notifications, and various other preparation activities, DOT requests that all calendar updates and TRFs be submitted no less than 20 business days (four weeks) prior to your first day of in-person learning for the applicable student group to ensure transportation services are provided. Once services begin, requests will be processed on a rolling basis according to our policy.
OSSE DOT has made several changes based on federal and local health guidance to ensure the protection, safety and well-being of our students, staff, and the school communities we serve. As a part of our reopening plan, we will provide families with information regarding the internal measures OSSE DOT will be taking to create a safe transportation environment with student-specific routing information prior to the first day of service. LEAs and schools can access this information on OSSE's website and are welcome to share it with families as well. Additionally, all school buses are now named, “District of Columbia Student Transportation,” to be more inclusive of all educational programs supported by transportation services.
It is our goal to make the transition to school-based learning as safe and seamless as possible for the families and schools we serve. For additional questions or concerns, please contact our TOTE Support Line at (202) 576-5520 or DOT.Data@dc.gov.
Upcoming Virtual Professional Learning for DC Educators
OSSE's Division of Teaching and Learning (TAL) has a robust offering of professional learning opportunities that are now open for registration, including live virtual sessions, multi-session series, and asynchronous modules. Sessions happening next week include:
2021-22 School Year Residency Verification Training
The residency of each student enrolled in a District public school must be verified by the current LEA of enrollment and LEAs do not receive Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF) funds for unverified residents. This training will cover residency verification requirements and related topics for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. Participants will be informed of their responsibility to complete residency verification as well as guidance on how to enroll District residents and non-residents. Additionally, participants will receive information on updated residency policies as well as the 2021-22 residency verification forms. Partners will also provide guidance on the home language survey and enrolling students who are experiencing homelessness.
This training is mandatory, and each LEA must have at least one designee in attendance:
LEA Special Education Points of Contact Webinar (reminder)
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, from 10-11 a.m., OSSE will host its next monthly webinar training for all LEA Special Education Points of Contact (LEA SE POCs). During this training, OSSE will provide important information relevant to your role as the LEA SE POC, according to the following agenda:
Please note: All LEA SE POCs are expected to participate in each month’s webinar, and share any relevant content, updates, or announcements with LEA staff following the broadcast. Register for the webinar series.
FFY19 SOAR Academic Quality/Early Childhood (as an amendment to SOAR Formula Combined);
FFY18 SOAR Academic Quality/Early Childhood;
FFY18 and FFY17 SOAR Facilities;
FFY18 SOAR Teacher Pipeline;
FFY17, FFY18, and FFY19 SOAR Third Party (cohorts 1, 2 and 3);
Title V-B Dissemination Cohort 2; and
Title V-B Replication and Expansion Continuation Cohorts 2 and 3.
If you had outstanding balances on any of these awards after completing fiscal year 2020 (FY20) closeout, you will see the continuation grant(s) in your FY21 EGMS dashboard to complete. Applications are due byTuesday, March 16, 2021. Applications must be submitted and approved by OSSE before submitting reimbursement requests for the FY21 grant period.
Additional details on actions to access remaining funds and key timelines are provided in emails sent to grant managers on Friday, Feb. 5. For questions, please contact OSSE.Grants@dc.gov.
District of Columbia Healthy Schools Grant
OSSE’s Division of Health and Wellness is soliciting applications for the District of Columbia Healthy Schools Grant. The purpose of this grant is to increase OSSE’s capacity to support District schools with implementing high-quality 1) health education and physical education; and 2) place-based education programs.
OSSE will accept applications from entities in the District of Columbia having a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Eligible entities may apply for an award up to $120,000. The deadline for application submission is Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at 3 p.m. OSSE anticipates announcing award decisions on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.
For more information including the Notice of Funding Request and the Request for Funding (which will be available on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021), please visit the Healthy Schools Grant webpage.
Public Charter School Reopening Grant (reminder)
OSSE will be releasing a $10 million grant program for the District’s public charter schools to support and prioritize the return of students to classrooms and is seeking to gauge interest from charter LEAs.
This is a formula grant, with awards to each charter LEA proposing to reopen in the 2020-21 school year for in-person classroom instruction and meeting certain requirements. OSSE will base award amounts to each charter LEA on the number of schools that reopen, the type of program offered at each reopened school, and the number of students attending in person.
OSSE is issuing this Notice of Intent to Apply to gauge interest in this grant and to calculate estimated awards for each LEA that responds to this notice. Additional information about the grant is provided in the notice document. Submitting this form is not a grant application requirement but we strongly encourage interested LEAs to complete and submit so that OSSE can provide a more accurate estimate on the likely award distribution. Please return this form to OSSE.Charterreopen@dc.gov by 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. For questions about the grant, please email OSSE.Charterreopen@dc.gov.
LEA Grant Managers Update and Fact Sheet: New Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (reminder)
OSSE is pleased to release an LEA Grant Managers Update and Fact Sheet on the new Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) Fund. This is an additional grant program to support K-12 local education agencies (LEAs) in responding to emergency needs arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A second Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund (ESSER II) was established under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA) and the United States Department of Education (USED) has awarded the District of Columbia $172,013,174 in ESSER II funds. LEAs are strongly encouraged by both USED and OSSE to use ESSER II funding to safely reopen schools as soon as possible and to mitigate and recover student learning lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and associated school closures.
This spring, OSSE will release a new and separate grant application in EGMS for ESSER II funding. Additional application information, including training and technical assistance opportunities, will be shared in the coming weeks. For questions or need support, please contact OSSE.CARES@dc.gov.
Help Your Students Get Up to $10,000 in DCTAG Funds (reminder)
Did you know that OSSE's DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG) provides up to $10,000 in tuition assistance to eligible DC residents attending out-of-state public institutions of higher education? Eligible students attending private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and select private local institutions are eligible for up to $2,500. The DCTAG application is now open! Apply today at dconeapp.dc.gov. Don’t miss this funding opportunity that is available to only residents of the District of Columbia! Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
2021 National Math Festival: Game Shows, Live Performances, and More (reminder)
The 2021 National Math Festival has moved online! School groups, educators, students and families are invited to celebrate the fun, beauty, and power of math through games, puzzles, math, magic, uplifting and intriguing talks, beautiful and engaging films and film panels, live performances, and much more. Here are some upcoming highlights:
2021 MBSYEP Application Now Open (reminder)
Managed by the Department of Employment Services, the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP) is a locally-funded initiative that provides District youth ages 14 to 24 with an enriching summer employment experience through subsidized placements in the public and private sectors.
In its 42nd year, the MBSYEP will serve 10,000 youth through a virtual workforce development experience, or a hybrid model. Youth will work virtually, while youth ages 22 to 24 may participate in a hybrid work model where they may work remotely and on-site. The program will begin on Monday, June 28, 2021 and will end on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.
What to expect: Participants and their families can expect an engaging and interactive summer. Youth will walk away with their first virtual “telework experience” while earning certifications in workforce development. Youth will be paid based on successful completion of modules, which will be verified by MBSYEP staff.
Apply: To apply for the MBSYEP, please visit summerjobs.dc.gov. Limited slots are available so please apply early. Applications will close on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021.
CyberStart America Online Learning Resource (reminder) CyberStart America is offering a free, immersive online learning resource that makes it fun for students to learn career skills in one of the world’s fastest growing industries. Additionally, students who excel have the chance to compete for more than $2 million in life changing college scholarship opportunities. Through CyberStart America, high school students gain free access to over 200 real world cybersecurity challenges covering basic skills to more complex cybersecurity concepts like Python coding and forensics.
Teachers, counselors, and other educators need no prior experience in cybersecurity or technology - just encourage students to sign up and give it a try. Everything students need they learn in the game. During a year when remote learning and technology is on everyone’s mind, why not use it as an opportunity to ignite learning and excitement for your students. To learn more and sign up, please visit the CyberState America website or contact Sarah@flipturned.com.