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                                                         Dec. 4-10, 2020

Important Announcements
  • OSSE Releases 2019-20 Four- and Five-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates (ACGR)
  • New Student Privacy and Data Suppression Policy
  • FARM Application Update
  • Learn from What is Working Nationally for On-Site, Hybrid, and Remote Learning
  • Early Literacy Intervention Leaders: Fully Funded Doctoral Program with American University  (reminder)
  • Important Immunization Reminder and Requirements for In-Person Learning  (reminder)
  • Special Education Transportation Reminders in Preparation for Return to Service  (reminder)
Professional Development, Leadership Opportunities & Events
  • December Virtual PD Sessions for DC Educators
  • 2020-21 Community Schools Community of Practice
  • What Works Best? Design Classroom Experiences that Maximize Student Learning: Visible Learning Series
  • Self-Paced PD on Remote Learning Strategies
Grants & Funding
  • Due Dec. 7: SOAR FFY20 Academic Quality / Facilities/ Early Childhood / CARES Equivalent Application
Important Dates & Deadlines to Remember
OSSE Releases 2019-20 Four- and Five-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates (ACGR)
On Thursday, Dec. 3, OSSE released the 2019-20 school year graduation rate data on the DC School Report Card. DC’s four-year graduation rate increased almost 3 points; 70.9 percent of students in District of Columbia high schools graduated in four years compared to 68.2 percent the prior school year. DC saw graduation rate percentage-point increases across multiple student groups:
  • Hispanic/Latino students +3.84
  • African-American students +2.54
  • English learners +4.50
  • Students with disabilities +2.54
  • Students who are at risk +2.24  
The four-year graduation rate for DC Public Schools (DCPS) is 68.68 percent, an increase of 3.6 percentage points.​ The four-year graduation rate for public charter schools (PCS) is 76.58 percent, a slight increase of 0.22 percentage points.​

All of these data and more are available to study on the DC School Report Card, which has been updated. Although limited due to the pandemic, the 2020 DC School Report Card continues to offer a wealth of data such as graduation rates, college enrollment rates and teacher and health staff data, and all historical performance data from 2018 and 2019.

You can access the 2020 DC School Report Card at For more information on the District’s four-year ACGR, please visit OSSE’s website. For more information about the 2020 DC EDFest and to register for the virtual event, see here. For questions, please contact Donna Johnson, director of accountability, at

New Student Privacy and Data Suppression Policy
OSSE recently launched a new Student Privacy and Data Suppression Policy that applies to all the agency’s data releases. For those of you who are unfamiliar, data suppression is the process of removing information in order to protect the identities, privacy, and personal information of individual students, teachers, or administrators. The new policy allows OSSE to balance its commitments to data transparency and privacy. While OSSE previously suppressed data with an n-size less than 10 and utilized other methods depending on the data set, the new policy improves, standardizes, and ensures the consistency of suppression techniques. To learn more, please see the full policy, At A Glance, and exceptions documents available on OSSE's website. For questions, please contact Gwen Rubinstein at

FARM Application Update
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 FARMs application) to determine if those students qualify for free or reduce-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 this FARMs 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. This data may be used for other programs, such as Pandemic EBT and Internet for All. Students can still participate in open, free meal sites even if they are not eligible for free meals during the FARM application, but without this data, it could impact eligibility in other programs.
Each year, LEAs’ prior year poverty enrollment is calculated to determine current year allocations for ESEA Title I and Title II. Allocations for the 2021-22 school year will be based on the meal statuses of enrolled students this school year. Poverty rate determines Title I eligibility and poverty counts determine the share of Title I and Title II allocations.
LEAs that usually collect FARMS income verification forms but have not this year may show a lower number of students with free and reduced-price meal statuses and that will lower their allocations next year. The US Department of Education and the US Department of Agriculture have both said that they are working on providing guidance to state education agencies to determine poverty rates next year, in light of the NSLP flexibilities. Meantime, DAR liaisons will contact FRP LEAs to encourage them to collect verification forms and given an extension until Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 to certify the meal status data in the enrollment audit app and help LEAs prevent an adverse effect on their poverty enrollment now. For more information or questions, please contact Lindsey Palmer at

Learn from What is Working Nationally for On-Site, Hybrid, and Remote Learning
Three ways to take advantage of national support provided to DC public charter schools at no cost to you: (1) Visit the COVID-19 Return to On-Site Learning Resources, which are being updated weekly. (2) Sign up for one-on-one consultancies in the areas of: special education, English learners, student engagement in a virtual setting, operations, facilities, and more. (3) Join your DC colleagues in group consultancies. The next consultancies include: Student Recruitment - Strategy and Team Collaboration Virtually; Student Recruitment - Building new communities virtually; Applying the Flipped Learning Model to Remote and Hybrid Instruction; and Facilities Interactive Round. For more information or questions, please contact Wendy Larvick at

Early Literacy Intervention Leaders: Fully Funded Doctoral Program with American University  (reminder)
The Early Literacy Intervention Leaders program (ELI Leads) is a partnership with American University’s Institute for Innovation in Education’s EdD Program in Educational Leadership & Policy. Through funding from the US Department of Education, four individuals will receive a fully funded doctorate in education policy and leadership with a focus on early reading (pre-K through grade 3) and special education. ELI Leads scholars will gain the practical skills and leadership competencies to improve early reading outcomes for DC students.

Beyond three years of online coursework, the program includes three residencies, an internship in DC Public Schools, and a problem of practice dissertation focused on a real-world challenge in early literacy and special education. This program is designed to prepare leaders in early literacy to serve in DC, and ELI Leads Scholars commit to working in the DC education sector (DCPS, public charters, OSSE, etc.) for six years after the completion of the program.

Beyond the four fully funded awards, there may be other partial scholarships available. The application deadline for a fall 2021 start is Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. A virtual open house will be held on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, from 7-8 p.m. Register for the open house. For more information, please visit the ELI Leads webpage. For questions, please contact Anselm Beach, EdD Graduate Program Coordinator, at

Important Immunization Reminder and Requirements for In-Person Learning  (reminder)
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of protecting children against contagious diseases. Now, more than ever, families should make appointments and receive their necessary immunizations and flu shots. A list of health providers and locations offering pediatric immunizations is available on the DC Health website.

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 Attendance for the 2020-21 school year. This includes notifying and potentially removing non-compliant students from in-person instruction after a 20-school day period due to the public health risks of in-person congregation without up-to-date immunizations. Parents/guardians should be notified immediately by the school if their student is not up-to-date on their immunizations, regardless of whether the student is participating in distance or in-person instruction. Students who have been in the distance learning posture this school year must be up-to-date on their immunizations before returning for in-person instruction.

OSSE's website has resources, training and information available for schools and families to support meeting immunization requirements. For questions about the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance, please contact For questions about immunization information, data, and locations where families can receive immunizations, schools can contact DC Health at or visit the DC Health Immunization Program webpage.

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

December Virtual PD Sessions for DC Educators
OSSE's Division of Teaching and Learning (TAL) has several professional learning opportunities in December 2020 that are now open for registration, including sessions on: “Foundations of Online Instructional Coaching,” “RtI for Middle and High Schools,” “Restorative Practices: Preparing for Winter Break,” “Restorative Justice Fundamentals in a Changing World,” “Supporting English Learners,” and “Distance Learning: Teaching for Engagement & Impact in Any Setting.” View the December 2020 TAL PD Bulletin for a list of all upcoming PD sessions. In addition, most OSSE TAL PD trainings are listed within the OSSE Training Registration application. For questions, please contact the relevant member of the TAL PD Team.

2020-21 Community Schools Community of Practice
For the 2020-21 school year, OSSE will host a Community of Practices (CoP) series on community schools. The CoP sessions will be offered on a bi-monthly basis through April 2021 and are open to all District of Columbia schools interested in receiving training and technical assistance on creating and sustaining a community school model.

The next virtual community schools CoP meeting will be on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, 1-3 p.m. and will focus on supporting students and families through the topic, Using an Equity Approach to Family & Community Engagement. Register

For more information or questions, please contact Melissa Harper-Butler at or (202) 478-2409.

What Works Best? Design Classroom Experiences that Maximize Student Learning: Visible Learning Series
Looking for best practices that are proven to accelerate student learning? Although many instructional strategies improve learning, let’s prioritize the research-based practices that will have the greatest impact. OSSE, in partnership with Corwin, invites you to dive into the meta-analysis of more than 93,000 studies on more than 300 million students across the globe. Professor John Hattie has identified more than 250 factors that have an impact on student achievement. To learn more about Visible Learning and what it means, please view this three-minute video.

Making Literacy Visible Series: This series is for literacy teachers serving grades K-12, general and special education, instructional coaches, reading specialists, interventionists and instructional leaders. By applying the Visible Learning research to learning, participants can use what they have learned and are continuing to learn to build students’ capacity (and our own) for the three phases of learning. Participants will receive an e-copy of the book and will earn 24 professional learning units that are contingent upon active participation in eight, three-hour sessions, on Wednesdays*, starting Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 and running through Wednesday, March 10, 2021 (*first session moved to a Friday due to Inauguration Day). Register for the first session on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. For questions, please contact Ashleigh Tillman at

Visible Learning for Mathematics: This series is for mathematics teachers serving grades K-12, general and special education, instructional coaches, interventionists and instructional leaders. Each workshop focuses on the educator influences and practices that yield the highest impact on student growth in mathematics. Participants will receive an e-copy of the book and will earn 16 professional learning units that are contingent upon active participation in eight, two-hour synchronous sessions on Wednesdays in February and March 2021. Register for all eight sessions. For questions, please contact Tanaga Rodgers at

Self-Paced PD on Remote Learning Strategies
As we come up on a year of remote learning, keeping lessons engaging becomes harder and harder, as is finding the time (and energy) to join more Zoom calls. We are offering teachers the opportunity to enroll in self-paced PD courses on remote learning strategies at no charge to the school or individual. These courses include a mix of videos, readings, and discussion board activities centered around specific topics. Sign up now (spots are limited). The available courses are: 
  • Inside a Synchronous ELAR Lesson: A lesson breakdown, with tips about how to do turn and talks, stop and jots, the gradual release model and annotations virtually 
  • Creating Instructional Videos for Asynchronous Instruction: Sample lessons, research-based practices for planning and designing instructional videos, and tutorials on how to film and edit them 
  • Engaging Students in Distance Learning: Tutorials on how to design collaborative activities for students using tools such as PowerPoint, Google Docs, and Padlet
Find more information about each course by clicking on the course titles here. Once you complete the registration form, you will receive log-in information for your selected course(s) and will have six months to complete the PD. For more information or questions, please contact Wendy Larvick at

Due Dec. 7: SOAR FFY20 Academic Quality / Facilities/ Early Childhood / CARES Equivalent Application
The federal fiscal year 2020 (FFY20) Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Combined Formula Application for Academic Quality/Facilities, Early Childhood, and CARES Equivalent is available for eligible charter LEAs to complete in the Enterprise Grants Management System (EGMS). Applications are due by 3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. If an LEA has been allocated SOAR funding and does not submit an application in EGMS by 3 p.m. on Dec. 7, those funds will be reallocated to other eligible LEAs that applied. OSSE will review applications on a rolling basis as soon as they are received and anticipates completing all reviews by the end of the calendar year.

This FFY20 application provides additional funding and is separate from the FFY19 SOAR Academic Quality and Early Childhood awards you may have applied for this summer. You can confirm whether your LEA is eligible for this new funding by logging into EGMS, selecting “2021” from the drop-down and selecting “SOAR Formula Combined.” You can also confirm eligibility by reviewing FFY20 allocations available on OSSE’s website. There have been no changes to eligibility or allocations since they were initially shared on Aug. 10.

This grant opportunity reflects amendments to the District of Columbia’s SOAR grant and is designed to address the current needs of LEAs. Subgrants available to LEAs include funding to provide CARES Equivalent allocations for LEAs that did not receive CARES Act funding (due to not being eligible for Title I funding) and additional flexible formula funding for facilities, including virtual school infrastructure.

A recording of the Nov. 3 SOAR Formula Combined Pre-Application Conference and presentation sides are on OSSE’s website, along with a document outlining allowable uses for grant funds. Please use these resources to support the completion of your application. For questions or if you need support, please contact Jessie Harteis at


December 2020
January 2021
OSSE Leadership Team and OSSE Contact Resources

OSSE Key Points of Contact for LEAs
OSSE Organizational Chart

OSSE will continue to update and redistribute these resources quarterly. If you have a question not addressed in these resources, please contact OSSE Communications at

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