October is Growing Healthy Schools Month
Growing Healthy Schools Month celebrates the health of students in public schools throughout the District. During the annual celebration, public schools collaborate with local community-based organizations, District government agencies, farmers, athletes, and chefs to coordinate inspiring activities aimed at engaging students with topics concerning nutrition, the environment, and being active.
To celebrate Growing Healthy Schools Month this year, OSSE is celebrating and promoting a different theme of the Healthy Schools Act each week in October: Farm to School, School Gardens, Environmental Literacy, and Physical Activity. Visit OSSE's website to find activities and resources related to each weekly theme. We encourage you to share how you’re celebrating Growing Healthy Schools Month on social media with the hashtag #HealthySchoolsDC.
School Health and Safety Reopening Guidance Technical Assistance
OSSE's Health and Wellness Division is offering the following technical assistance:
[Updated Schedule] Biweekly technical assistance calls led by OSSE and in partnership with DC Health, DC Public Charter School Board, 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 reopening period. These Monday calls take place from 1-2 p.m. every other week. The next call is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 5. Register for the upcoming calls. The call will include a deep dive on lessons learned from schools that have begun providing in-person learning. The audience for these calls includes LEA leaders, principals and other administrators, and school health points of contact.
[New Resource] Return to School Criteria decision tree guide to provide an overview of standard criteria for students and staff to return to school after symptoms of or exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19).
OSSE Seeks Outstanding Teachers! Apply to Join OSSE’s Teacher Advisory Council
Teacher voice is critical for education in DC. OSSE is seeking DC teacher leaders for the next cohort of OSSE’s Teacher Advisory Council. This group will serve as a sounding board for the superintendent and OSSE leadership on key state-level policies affecting public education in the District of Columbia, providing insight and feedback from their important vantage point in the classroom. Selected teachers will serve a 12-month term, meeting with OSSE leadership on a quarterly basis beginning November 2020.
Help Families Locate Your Virtual OST Program
The Office of Out of School Time Grants and Youth Outcomes (OST Office) in partnership with DC Action for Children and the District of Columbia Public Schools is compiling a list of virtual OST programs for youth in the District of Columbia. Families are actively searching for programs and opportunities to engage youth beyond the classroom. Assist these families in their search by completing this brief form that will be used to create a directory for families. Please complete no later than Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 to be included.
For additional information or questions, please contact Alex Brown at Alex.Brown@dc.gov.
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.
2020-21 School Year Discipline Data Collection Guidance is Now Available (reminder)
The annual update to our discipline data collection guidance is now available on OSSE's website. As you are well aware, COVID-19 has changed the way we collect these data. The updated guidance clarifies business rules for the 2020-21 school year, specifically:
Reporting requirements in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,
How OSSE will reconcile discipline data that conflicts with stage five enrollments and attendance codes,
Identification of students with disabilities for discipline reporting, and
Charter LEAs’ discipline reporting to OSSE.
To support you and your team in this work, we will offer training in the coming months that we will announce in the LEA Look Forward. For policy-related questions, please contact Troy Shine at Troy.Shine@dc.gov. For data-related questions, please submit a ticket in the OSSE Support Tool. For additional questions, please contact Stephanie Davis at Stephanie.Davis3@dc.gov.
School Health Compliance Reminders (reminder)
In an effort to ensure we are collectively supporting the health and well-being of all District students during the 2020-21 school year, OSSE is issuing school health reminders for 1) health and physical education and physical activity, and 2) allergy management and administration of medication. Even when students are in a distance learning posture, schools must continue to ensure these local school health requirements are met throughout the school year.
Health and physical education and physical activity
When schools are closed, students lose access to critical opportunities for physical activity and nutritious food. Nationwide, childhood obesity rates are expected to rise due to the impact of sedentary behavior and unhealthy eating while students are not in school.
It is critical that schools continue to offer health and physical education and physical activity to students during distance and hybrid learning postures, per the Healthy Schools Act of 2010 (DC Official Code § 38–821.01 et seq.). The current requirements for health education, physical education and physical activity are outlined below. OSSE hosted a technical assistance call with LEA leaders on Monday, Aug. 24 to discuss strategies to meeting these requirements in a distance learning posture. For access to the recording and notes from this call, please contact David Esquith at David.Esquith@dc.gov.
Pre-K 3 & Pre-K 4
75 minutes per week
75 minutes per week
90 minutes per week
135 minutes per week
60 minutes per day
50% of physical education time must be devoted to moderate to vigorous physical activity
50% of physical education time must be devoted to moderate to vigorous physical activity
Two 20-minute outdoor sessions per day
20 minutes of recess per day are encouraged
20 minutes of recess per day are encouraged
Instruction in cardio pulmonary resuscitation shall be included in at least one health class necessary for graduation (Grades 9-12).
Allergy management and administration of medication
Additionally, schools must continue to ensure all requirements are met under theAccess to Emergency Epinephrine in Schools Amendment Act of 2015. This Act and subsequent regulations mandate all public and public charter schools to have a minimum of two pediatric and two adult dose epinephrine injectors accessible at all times, and a minimum of two staff members available on campus to serve as Certified Epinephrine Administrators in the event of a life-threatening allergic reaction. For questions and more information about these requirements, please contact OSSE's Allergy Management Team at OSSE.Epi@dc.gov.
Finally, it is the goal for all public and public charter schools to have a minimum of three staff trained in the administration of medication (AOM). For more information about administration of medication, DCPS school leaders may contact Sophie Murphy at Healthservices.DCPS@k12.dc.gov and charter school leaders may contact Jiselle O'Neal at Joneal@dcpcsb.org.
While we recognize that many or most schools are beginning the year in a distance learning posture, we hope that these reminders will help ensure that schools are prepared for any in-person activities, and to support our students’ overall health and well-being. For additional questions, please contact OSSE.SchoolHealth@dc.gov.
Complete Needs Assessment Survey for Special Education COP (reminder)
At the Sept. 16, 2020 Special Education Point of Contact Webinar, OSSE announced the agency’s partnership with The Ability Challenge (ABC) to convene and facilitate a special education Community of Practice (COP). In this COP, participating LEAs will collaboratively identify their most important challenges in delivering continuous education (distance learning instruction) for special education and work to identify, adapt, and implement solutions in their schools. Learn more about the initial proposal for the COP design.
ABC has developed this Remote Needs Assessment Survey to ensure that the topics chosen for the COP are highly relevant, timely, and engaging to a wide range of schools. If you are interested in participating in the COP, you can indicate your interest by answering the question regarding your interest with “yes” and providing contact information. Please complete the survey by Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.
If you are from an LEA, ABC will follow up with your LEA upon receipt of the completed survey. If you are a school-serving organization, ABC may contact you to inquire about your interest in being involved in the COP: we have few spaces for school serving organizations to participate.
For questions, please contact Victoria Glick at Victoria.Glick@dc.gov. Thank you in advance for completing the survey.
Important Immunization Reminder and Requirements for In-Person Learning (reminder)
As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, District physicians have recorded an extremely low rate of pediatric immunization administrations this year. According to DC Health, the rate of pediatric immunization administrations has dropped by 70 percent in the District as families have avoided or not had access to well-child care during the emergency period. Due to this, many children in the District are not fully immunized, creating a high risk for an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable infectious disease such as measles among our students. DC Health has advised that such an outbreak of another infectious disease could be as much, or even more, of a public health risk for school communities than COVID-19 itself, and would add another complex obstacle for school operations this year.
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. DC Health is prepared to support schools and families by providing more information on the importance of immunizations and details on where to access immunizations in the District. A list of health providers and locations offering pediatric immunizations is available on the DC Health website. Health providers are prepared to continue accepting appointments for administering immunizations throughout the duration of the health emergency and are taking protective measures to ensure safety of patients.
Due to the dangerously low pediatric immunization compliance and in an effort to protect the health and safety of all students, DC Health and OSSE have advised that all schools are to adopt the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance beginning in 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. We request your assistance with communicating immunization requirements to all families now to give them as much time as possible to make appointments with their health care providers before the start of school.
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 OSSE.SchoolHealth@dc.gov. For questions about immunization information, data, and locations where families can receive immunizations, schools can contact DC Health at SHS.Program@dc.gov or visit the DC Health Immunization Program webpage.
October 2020 LEA Special Education Points of Contact Webinar
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, 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:
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
New PD Series! Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners
This interactive series aims to familiarize participants with select components of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) English Learner Program Model so they can design and deliver content and English language development instruction in a manner that is accessible to English learners (ELs). The series is appropriate for K-12 general education teachers, in addition to EL and special education teachers, instructional coaches, and instructional leaders. Participants will engage in activities that simultaneously replicate virtual learning activities for the classroom and deepen their knowledge of SIOP. The series is ideal for those who are new to SIOP as well as those with a basic working knowledge of the SIOP Model.
Sessions are held virtually, once a month on Wednesdays from 12-1:45 p.m.Register for the next session happening Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, 12-1:45 p.m. For questions, please contact Anika Harris at Anika.Harris@dc.gov.
Faculty and Staff Head of School Certification Training
OSSE’s Office of the Chief Information Officer will host two trainings for LEA heads of school on how to certify the faculty and staff data in the Faculty and Staff Application. Heads of Schools must certify the data by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30.
The training will cover how to navigate within the application and certify the data. The same content will be covered in both trainings. Two virtual trainings will be held on:
Virtual Field Trips with the National Air & Space Museum (reminder)
What do field trips look like when students cannot physically visit museums? OSSE, together with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, will host a special virtual session for teachers who wish to learn more about virtual field trip opportunities with the National Air and Space Museum. Virtual field trips at the museum span a range of air and space topics, with each topic including four different tools for learning. During this session teachers will experience and participate in elements of two different virtual field trips. Teachers will also have time to discuss strategies on leveraging the various virtual field trip tools and how they can be used to spark student interest, elaborate on classroom learning, and encourage student connections. This special session for educators will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020,3:30-4:30 p.m. [Register] For questions, contact Tanaga Rodgers at Tanaga.Rodgers@dc.gov.
WIDA eSummit for ALL Teachers of English Learners (reminder)
With one in 12 students in DC learning English as a new language, it is critical that all teachers embrace English learners as their students and gain skills in teaching both language and content knowledge. As a WIDA Consortium state, DC uses the ACCESS annual English proficiency assessment and the WIDA English language development standards. With this membership comes access to the national WIDA eSummit, a free virtual learning opportunity open to all DC educators. The event will be held Oct. 12-30, 2020. Each week of the eSummit has a theme with three sessions (45- or 60-minute webinars) relating to the weekly theme. Recordings and downloadable resources will be available after the event. View the full schedule. For questions, please contact Dr. Jennifer Norton at Jennifer.Norton@dc.gov.
Human Trafficking Awareness and Mandated Reporter Training (reminder)
OSSE’s Division of Systems and Supports, K-12, in collaboration with the DC Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), will host a combined virtual Human Trafficking Awareness and Mandated Reporter Training. Mandated reporters are professionals obligated by the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and DC law to report known or suspected incidents of child abuse and neglect. In DC, mandated reporters who should be trained include school officials, teachers, athletic coaches, counselors, social service workers and other direct care professionals. This training is for new mandated reporters, previously identified mandated reporters, as well as DC educators and school staff who interact with District students.
Training will be held on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020 from 1-5 p.m. [Register] The following information will be provided:
Risk factors that make students susceptible to exploitation
Recognizing signs of human trafficking
How to respond and report to human trafficking cases
Promising practices and resources for LEAs
How to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect
How to talk to child and youth victims
When to report
How to report
Educational neglect reporting process
For more information or questions, please contact OSSE Special Programs Unit at OSSE.SPU@dc.gov.
Fiscal Year 2021 DC Community Schools Incentive Initiative Grant (reminder)
OSSE is pleased to announce the release of the OSSE Community Schools Incentive Initiative Grant.
Grant funds will be used to establish up to eight community schools in the District of Columbia, as defined by the Community Schools Incentive Act of 2012. The overall goal of the grant is to provide resources that will enable eligible consortia to create and enhance community-based partnerships, and develop a framework for continued funding as well as ongoing evaluation of program success.
This is a multi-year grant program to begin in fiscal year 2021. Subject to funding availability, successful applicants shall be eligible for three years of grant funding.