Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Department of Education's Guidance to Schools in Preventing Bullying



October 26, 2010

Dear Colleague:

In recent years, many state departments of education and local school districts have taken steps to reduce bullying in schools. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) fully supports these efforts. Bullying fosters a climate of fear and disrespect that can seriously impair the physical and psychological health of its victims and create conditions that negatively affect learning, thereby undermining the ability of students to achieve their full potential. The movement to adopt anti‐bullying policies reflects schools’ appreciation of their important responsibility to maintain a safe learning environment for all students. I am writing to remind you, however, that some student misconduct that falls under a school’s anti‐bullying policy also may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the federal antidiscrimination laws enforced by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). As discussed in more detail below, by limiting its response to a specific application of its anti‐bullying disciplinary policy, a school may fail to properly consider whether the student misconduct also results in discriminatory harassment.

The statutes that OCR enforces include Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 19641 (Title VI), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 19722 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 19733 (Section 504); and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 19904 (Title II). Section 504 and Title II prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.5 School districts may violate these civil rights statutes and the Department’s implementing regulations when peer harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability is sufficiently serious that it creates a hostile environment and such harassment is encouraged, tolerated, not adequately addressed, or ignored by school employees.6 School personnel who understand their legal obligations to address harassment under these laws are in the best position to prevent it from occurring and to respond appropriately when it does. Although this letter focuses on the elementary and secondary school context, the legal principles also apply to postsecondary institutions covered by the laws and regulations enforced by OCR.

Some school anti‐bullying policies already may list classes or traits on which bases bullying or harassment is specifically prohibited. Indeed, many schools have adopted anti‐bullying policies that go beyond prohibiting bullying on the basis of traits expressly protected by the federal civil

1 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.

2 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.

3 29 U.S.C. § 794.

4 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq.

5 OCR also enforces the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 42 U.S.C. § 6101 et seq., and the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. § 7905. This letter does not specifically address those statutes.

6 The Department’s regulations implementing these statutes are in 34 C.F.R. parts 100, 104, and 106. Under these federal civil rights laws and regulations, students are protected from harassment by school employees, other students, and third parties. This guidance focuses on peer harassment, and articulates the legal standards that apply in administrative enforcement and in court cases where plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief. Our mission is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the Nation.

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rights laws enforced by OCR—race, color, national origin, sex, and disability—to include such bases as sexual orientation and religion. While this letter concerns your legal obligations under

the laws enforced by OCR, other federal, state, and local laws impose additional obligations on schools.7 And, of course, even when bullying or harassment is not a civil rights violation, schools should still seek to prevent it in order to protect students from the physical and emotional harms that it may cause.

Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name‐calling; graphic and written statements, which may include use of cell phones or the Internet; or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating. Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Harassment creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school. When such harassment is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability, it violates the civil rights laws that OCR enforces.8

A school is responsible for addressing harassment incidents about which it knows or reasonably 9should have known. In some situations, harassment may be in plain sight, widespread, or well‐known to students and staff, such as harassment occurring in hallways, during academic or physical education classes, during extracurricular activities, at recess, on a school bus, or through graffiti in public areas. In these cases, the obvious signs of the harassment are sufficient to put the school on notice. In other situations, the school may become aware of misconduct, triggering an investigation that could lead to the discovery of additional incidents that, taken together, may constitute a hostile environment. In all cases, schools should have well‐publicized policies prohibiting harassment and procedures for reporting and resolving 10complaints that will alert the school to incidents of harassment.

When responding to harassment, a school must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred. The specific steps in a school’s investigation will vary depending upon the nature of the allegations, the source of the complaint, the age of the student or students involved, the size and administrative structure of the school, and other factors. In all cases, however, the inquiry should be prompt, thorough, and impartial.

If an investigation reveals that discriminatory harassment has occurred, a school must take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile

7 For instance, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has jurisdiction over Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000c (Title IV), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin by public elementary and secondary schools and public institutions of higher learning. State laws also provide additional civil rights protections, so districts should review these statutes to determine what protections they afford (e.g., some state laws specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation).

8 Some conduct alleged to be harassment may implicate the First Amendment rights to free speech or expression. For more information on the First Amendment’s application to harassment, see the discussions in OCR’s Dear Colleague Letter: First Amendment (July 28, 2003), available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/firstamend.html, and OCR’s Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties (Jan. 19, 2001) (Sexual Harassment Guidance), available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html.

9 A school has notice of harassment if a responsible employee knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, about the harassment. For a discussion of what a “responsible employee” is, see OCR’s Sexual Harassment Guidance.

10 Districts must adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of student and employee sex and disability discrimination complaints, and must notify students, parents, employees, applicants, and other interested parties that the district does not discriminate on the basis of sex or disability. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.106; 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(b); 34 C.F.R. § 104.7(b); 34 C.F.R. § 104.8; 34 C.F.R. § 106.8(b); 34 C.F.R. § 106.9.

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environment and its effects, and prevent the harassment from recurring. These duties are a school’s responsibility even if the misconduct also is covered by an anti‐bullying policy, and regardless of whether a student has complained, asked the school to take action, or identified the harassment as a form of discrimination.

Appropriate steps to end harassment may include separating the accused harasser and the target, providing counseling for the target and/or harasser, or taking disciplinary action against the harasser. These steps should not penalize the student who was harassed. For example, any separation of the target from an alleged harasser should be designed to minimize the burden on the target’s educational program (e.g., not requiring the target to change his or her class schedule).

In addition, depending on the extent of the harassment, the school may need to provide training or other interventions not only for the perpetrators, but also for the larger school community, to ensure that all students, their families, and school staff can recognize harassment if it recurs and know how to respond. A school also may be required to provide additional services to the student who was harassed in order to address the effects of the harassment, particularly if the school initially delays in responding or responds inappropriately or inadequately to information about harassment. An effective response also may need to include the issuance of new policies against harassment and new procedures by which students, parents, and employees may report allegations of harassment (or wide dissemination of existing policies and procedures), as well as wide distribution of the contact information for the district’s Title IX and Section 504/Title II coordinators.11

Finally, a school should take steps to stop further harassment and prevent any retaliation against the person who made the complaint (or was the subject of the harassment) or against those who provided information as witnesses. At a minimum, the school’s responsibilities include making sure that the harassed students and their families know how to report any subsequent problems, conducting follow‐up inquiries to see if there have been any new incidents or any instances of retaliation, and responding promptly and appropriately to address continuing or new problems.

When responding to incidents of misconduct, schools should keep in mind the following:

The label used to describe an incident (e.g., bullying, hazing, teasing) does not determine how a school is obligated to respond. Rather, the nature of the conduct itself must be assessed for civil rights implications. So, for example, if the abusive behavior is on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability, and creates a hostile environment, a school is obligated to respond in accordance with the applicable federal civil rights statutes and regulations enforced by OCR.

When the behavior implicates the civil rights laws, school administrators should look beyond simply disciplining the perpetrators. While disciplining the perpetrators is likely a necessary step, it often is insufficient. A school’s responsibility is to eliminate the

11 Districts must designate persons responsible for coordinating compliance with Title IX, Section 504, and Title II, including the investigation of any complaints of sexual, gender‐based, or disability harassment. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(a); 34 C.F.R. § 104.7(a); 34 C.F.R. § 106.8(a).

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hostile environment created by the harassment, address its effects, and take steps to ensure that harassment does not recur. Put differently, the unique effects of discriminatory harassment may demand a different response than would other types of bullying.

Below, I provide hypothetical examples of how a school’s failure to recognize student misconduct as discriminatory harassment violates students’ civil rights.12 In each of the examples, the school was on notice of the harassment because either the school or a responsible employee knew or should have known of misconduct that constituted harassment. The examples describe how the school should have responded in each circumstance.

Title VI: Race, Color, or National Origin Harassment

Some students anonymously inserted offensive notes into African‐American students’ lockers and notebooks, used racial slurs, and threatened African‐American students who tried to sit near them in the cafeteria. Some African‐American students told school officials that they did not feel safe at school. The school investigated and responded to individual instances of misconduct by assigning detention to the few student perpetrators it could identify. However, racial tensions in the school continued to escalate to the point that several fights broke out between the school’s racial groups.

In this example, school officials failed to acknowledge the pattern of harassment as indicative of a racially hostile environment in violation of Title VI. Misconduct need not be directed at a particular student to constitute discriminatory harassment and foster a racially hostile environment. Here, the harassing conduct included overtly racist behavior (e.g., racial slurs) and also targeted students on the basis of their race (e.g., notes directed at African‐American students). The nature of the harassment, the number of incidents, and the students’ safety concerns demonstrate that there was a racially hostile environment that interfered with the students’ ability to participate in the school’s education programs and activities.

Had the school recognized that a racially hostile environment had been created, it would have realized that it needed to do more than just discipline the few individuals whom it could identify as having been involved. By failing to acknowledge the racially hostile environment, the school failed to meet its obligation to implement a more systemic response to address the unique effect that the misconduct had on the school climate. A more effective response would have included, in addition to punishing the perpetrators, such steps as reaffirming the school’s policy against discrimination (including racial harassment), publicizing the means to report allegations of racial harassment, training faculty on constructive responses to racial conflict, hosting class discussions about racial harassment and sensitivity to students of other races, and conducting outreach to involve parents and students in an effort to identify problems and improve the school climate. Finally, had school officials responded appropriately

12 Each of these hypothetical examples contains elements taken from actual cases.

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and aggressively to the racial harassment when they first became aware of it, the school might have prevented the escalation of violence that occurred.13

Over the course of a school year, school employees at a junior high school received reports of several incidents of anti‐Semitic conduct at the school. Anti‐Semitic graffiti, including swastikas, was scrawled on the stalls of the school bathroom. When custodians discovered the graffiti and reported it to school administrators, the administrators ordered the graffiti removed but took no further action. At the same school, a teacher caught two ninth‐graders trying to force two seventh‐graders to give them money. The ninth‐graders told the seventh‐graders, “You Jews have all of the money, give us some.” When school administrators investigated the incident, they determined that the seventh‐graders were not actually Jewish. The school suspended the perpetrators for a week because of the serious nature of their misconduct. After that incident, younger Jewish students started avoiding the school library and computer lab because they were located in the corridor housing the lockers of the ninth‐graders. At the same school, a group of eighth‐grade students repeatedly called a Jewish student “Drew the dirty Jew.” The responsible eighth‐graders were reprimanded for teasing the Jewish student.

The school administrators failed to recognize that anti‐Semitic harassment can trigger responsibilities under Title VI. While Title VI does not cover discrimination based solely on religion,14 groups that face discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics may not be denied protection under Title VI on the ground that they also share a common faith. These principles apply not just to Jewish students, but also to students from any discrete religious group that shares, or is perceived to share, ancestry or ethnic characteristics (e.g., Muslims or Sikhs). Thus, harassment against students who are members of any religious group triggers a school’s Title VI responsibilities when the harassment is based on the group’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, rather than solely on its members’ religious practices. A school also has responsibilities under Title VI when its students are harassed based on their actual or perceived citizenship or residency in a country whose residents share a dominant religion or a distinct religious identity.15

In this example, school administrators should have recognized that the harassment was based on the students’ actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic identity as Jews (rather than on the students’ religious practices). The school was not relieved of its responsibilities under Title VI because the targets of one of the incidents were not actually Jewish. The harassment was still based on the perceived ancestry or ethnic characteristics of the targeted students. Furthermore, the harassment negatively affected the ability and willingness of Jewish students to participate fully in the school’s

13 More information about the applicable legal standards and OCR’s approach to investigating allegations of harassment on the basis of race, color, or national origin is included in Racial Incidents and Harassment Against Students at Educational Institutions: Investigative Guidance, 59 Fed. Reg. 11,448 (Mar. 10, 1994), available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/race394.html.

14 As noted in footnote seven, DOJ has the authority to remedy discrimination based solely on religion under Title IV.

15 More information about the applicable legal standards and OCR’s approach to investigating complaints of discrimination against members of religious groups is included in OCR’s Dear Colleague Letter: Title VI and Title IX Religious Discrimination in Schools and Colleges (Sept. 13, 2004), available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/religious‐rights2004.html.

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education programs and activities (e.g., by causing some Jewish students to avoid the library and computer lab). Therefore, although the discipline that the school imposed on the perpetrators was an important part of the school’s response, discipline alone was likely insufficient to remedy a hostile environment. Similarly, removing the graffiti, while a necessary and important step, did not fully satisfy the school’s responsibilities. As discussed above, misconduct that is not directed at a particular student, like the graffiti in the bathroom, can still constitute discriminatory harassment and foster a hostile environment. Finally, the fact that school officials considered one of the incidents “teasing” is irrelevant for determining whether it contributed to a hostile environment.

Because the school failed to recognize that the incidents created a hostile environment, it addressed each only in isolation, and therefore failed to take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment and prevent its recurrence. In addition to disciplining the perpetrators, remedial steps could have included counseling the perpetrators about the hurtful effect of their conduct, publicly labeling the incidents as anti‐Semitic, reaffirming the school’s policy against discrimination, and publicizing the means by which students may report harassment. Providing teachers with training to recognize and address anti‐Semitic incidents also would have increased the effectiveness of the school’s response. The school could also have created an age‐appropriate program to educate its students about the history and dangers of anti‐Semitism, and could have conducted outreach to involve parents and community groups in preventing future anti‐Semitic harassment.

Title IX: Sexual Harassment

Shortly after enrolling at a new high school, a female student had a brief romance with another student. After the couple broke up, other male and female students began routinely calling the new student sexually charged names, spreading rumors about her sexual behavior, and sending her threatening text messages and e‐mails. One of the student’s teachers and an athletic coach witnessed the name calling and heard the rumors, but identified it as “hazing” that new students often experience. They also noticed the new student’s anxiety and declining class participation. The school attempted to resolve the situation by requiring the student to work the problem out directly with her harassers.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Thus, sexual harassment prohibited by Title IX can include conduct such as touching of a sexual nature; making sexual comments, jokes, or gestures; writing graffiti or displaying or distributing sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials; calling students sexually charged names; spreading sexual rumors; rating students on sexual activity or performance; or circulating, showing, or creating e‐mails or Web sites of a sexual nature.

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In this example, the school employees failed to recognize that the “hazing” constituted sexual harassment. The school did not comply with its Title IX obligations when it failed to investigate or remedy the sexual harassment. The conduct was clearly unwelcome, sexual (e.g., sexual rumors and name calling), and sufficiently serious that it limited the student’s ability to participate in and benefit from the school’s education program (e.g., anxiety and declining class participation).

The school should have trained its employees on the type of misconduct that constitutes sexual harassment. The school also should have made clear to its employees that they could not require the student to confront her harassers. Schools may use informal mechanisms for addressing harassment, but only if the parties agree to do so on a voluntary basis. Had the school addressed the harassment consistent with Title IX, the school would have, for example, conducted a thorough investigation and taken interim measures to separate the student from the accused harassers. An effective response also might have included training students and employees on the school’s policies related to harassment, instituting new procedures by which employees should report allegations of harassment, and more widely distributing the contact information for the district’s Title IX coordinator. The school also might have offered the targeted student tutoring, other academic assistance, or counseling as necessary to remedy the effects of the harassment.16

Title IX: Gender‐Based Harassment

Over the course of a school year, a gay high school student was called names (including anti‐gay slurs and sexual comments) both to his face and on social networking sites, physically assaulted, threatened, and ridiculed because he did not conform to stereotypical notions of how teenage boys are expected to act and appear (e.g., effeminate mannerisms, nontraditional choice of extracurricular activities, apparel, and personal grooming choices). As a result, the student dropped out of the drama club to avoid further harassment. Based on the student’s self‐identification as gay and the homophobic nature of some of the harassment, the school did not recognize that the misconduct included discrimination covered by Title IX. The school responded to complaints from the student by reprimanding the perpetrators consistent with its anti‐bullying policy. The reprimands of the identified perpetrators stopped the harassment by those individuals. It did not, however, stop others from undertaking similar harassment of the student.

As noted in the example, the school failed to recognize the pattern of misconduct as a form of sex discrimination under Title IX. Title IX prohibits harassment of both male and female students regardless of the sex of the harasser—i.e., even if the harasser and target are members of the same sex. It also prohibits gender‐based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex‐stereotyping. Thus, it can be sex discrimination if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their

16 More information about the applicable legal standards and OCR’s approach to investigating allegations of sexual harassment is included in OCR’s Sexual Harassment Guidance, available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html.

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sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity. Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment and gender‐based harassment of all students, regardless of the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the harasser or target.

Although Title IX does not prohibit discrimination based solely on sexual orientation, Title IX does protect all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, from sex discrimination. When students are subjected to harassment on the basis of their LGBT status, they may also, as this example illustrates, be subjected to forms of sex discrimination prohibited under Title IX. The fact that the harassment includes anti‐LGBT comments or is partly based on the target’s actual or perceived sexual orientation does not relieve a school of its obligation under Title IX to investigate and remedy overlapping sexual harassment or gender‐based harassment. In this example, the harassing conduct was based in part on the student’s failure to act as some of his peers believed a boy should act. The harassment created a hostile environment that limited the student’s ability to participate in the school’s education program (e.g., access to the drama club). Finally, even though the student did not identify the harassment as sex discrimination, the school should have recognized that the student had been subjected to gender‐based harassment covered by Title IX.

In this example, the school had an obligation to take immediate and effective action to eliminate the hostile environment. By responding to individual incidents of misconduct on an ad hoc basis only, the school failed to confront and prevent a hostile environment from continuing. Had the school recognized the conduct as a form of sex discrimination, it could have employed the full range of sanctions (including progressive discipline) and remedies designed to eliminate the hostile environment. For example, this approach would have included a more comprehensive response to the situation that involved notice to the student’s teachers so that they could ensure the student was not subjected to any further harassment, more aggressive monitoring by staff of the places where harassment occurred, increased training on the scope of the school’s harassment and discrimination policies, notice to the target and harassers of available counseling services and resources, and educating the entire school community on civil rights and expectations of tolerance, specifically as they apply to gender stereotypes. The school also should have taken steps to clearly communicate the message that the school does not tolerate harassment and will be responsive to any information about such conduct.17

Section 504 and Title II: Disability Harassment

Several classmates repeatedly called a student with a learning disability “stupid,” “idiot,” and “retard” while in school and on the school bus. On one occasion, these students tackled him, hit him with a school binder, and threw his personal items into the garbage. The student complained to his teachers and guidance counselor that he was continually being taunted and teased. School officials offered him counseling services and a

17 Guidance on gender‐based harassment is also included in OCR’s Sexual Harassment Guidance, available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html.

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psychiatric evaluation, but did not discipline the offending students. As a result, the harassment continued. The student, who had been performing well academically, became angry, frustrated, and depressed, and often refused to go to school to avoid the harassment.

In this example, the school failed to recognize the misconduct as disability harassment under Section 504 and Title II. The harassing conduct included behavior based on the student’s disability, and limited the student’s ability to benefit fully from the school’s education program (e.g., absenteeism). In failing to investigate and remedy the misconduct, the school did not comply with its obligations under Section 504 and Title II.

Counseling may be a helpful component of a remedy for harassment. In this example, however, since the school failed to recognize the behavior as disability harassment, the school did not adopt a comprehensive approach to eliminating the hostile environment. Such steps should have at least included disciplinary action against the harassers, consultation with the district’s Section 504/Title II coordinator to ensure a comprehensive and effective response, special training for staff on recognizing and effectively responding to harassment of students with disabilities, and monitoring to ensure that the harassment did not resume.18

I encourage you to reevaluate the policies and practices your school uses to address bullying19 and harassment to ensure that they comply with the mandates of the federal civil rights laws. For your convenience, the following is a list of online resources that further discuss the obligations of districts to respond to harassment prohibited under the federal antidiscrimination laws enforced by OCR:

Sexual Harassment: It’s Not Academic (Revised 2008): http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/ocrshpam.html

Dear Colleague Letter: Sexual Harassment Issues (2006):


Dear Colleague Letter: Religious Discrimination (2004):


Dear Colleague Letter: First Amendment (2003):


18 More information about the applicable legal standards and OCR’s approach to investigating allegations of disability harassment is included in OCR’s Dear Colleague Letter: Prohibited Disability Harassment (July 25, 2000), available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/disabharassltr.html.

19 For resources on preventing and addressing bullying, please visit http://www.bullyinginfo.org, a Web site established by a federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs. For information on the Department’s bullying prevention resources, please visit the Office of Safe and Drug‐Free Schools’ Web site at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/SDFS. For information on regional Equity Assistance Centers that assist schools in developing and implementing policies and practices to address issues regarding race, sex, or national origin discrimination, please visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/equitycenters.

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Sexual Harassment Guidance (Revised 2001): http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html

Dear Colleague Letter: Prohibited Disability Harassment (2000): http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/disabharassltr.html

Racial Incidents and Harassment Against Students (1994): http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/race394.html

Please also note that OCR has added new data items to be collected through its Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which surveys school districts in a variety of areas related to civil rights in education. The CRDC now requires districts to collect and report information on allegations of harassment, policies regarding harassment, and discipline imposed for harassment. In 2009‐10, the CRDC covered nearly 7,000 school districts, including all districts with more than 3,000 students. For more information about the CRDC data items, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/whatsnew.html.

OCR is committed to working with schools, students, students’ families, community and advocacy organizations, and other interested parties to ensure that students are not subjected to harassment. Please do not hesitate to contact OCR if we can provide assistance in your efforts to address harassment or if you have other civil rights concerns.

For the OCR regional office serving your state, please visit: http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm, or call OCR’s Customer Service Team at 1‐800‐421‐3481.

I look forward to continuing our work together to ensure equal access to education, and to promote safe and respectful school climates for America’s students.



Russlynn Ali

Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

Saturday, October 16, 2010

DCPS Office Hours with Kaya Henderson, Deputy Chancellor

Event Description

Each participant will have five minutes to talk to
Kaya Henderson, to raise an issue, provide feedback or ask a question.
There are 24 five-minute slots available for parents, and will be scheduled on a first-come-first-served basis. We look forward to seeing you!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

6-8 p.m.

Johnson Middle School (Ward 8)

1400 Bruce Pl. SE

Washington, D.C. 20020

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kaya Henderson is named Interim D.C. schools chancellor

Presumptive Mayor-elect Vincent Gray has named Kaya Henderson the Interim D.C. Schools Chancellor.  Outgoing Chancellor Michelle Rhee issued a statement today.  It can be viewed here, http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/About+DCPS/Press+Releases+and+Announcements/Press+Releases/Resignation+Statement+of+Michelle+Rhee

Ms. Henderson has served under Chancellor Rhee as deputy chancellor for "human capital".

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mayor Fenty Names Interim Superintendent for Education

Mayor Fenty Names Interim Superintendent for Education

Washington, DC – Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty named Beth Colleye as interim State Superintendent of Education, overseeing all aspects of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Colleye previously served as the OSSE general counsel.

As general counsel, Colleye built the OSSE General Counsel's Office into an integral part of the agency and managed successful legal strategies to get the District out of special education class action lawsuits. Representing the District in multiple federal government audits and enforcement actions, Colleye has assisted in saving the city millions of dollars in potential audit findings. Additionally, Colleye helped draft and implement compliance policies, state-level standards and legal opinions central to education reforms.

“Beth Colleye has served as a valuable asset to the education team, and will play a vital role in furthering OSSE’s goals,” said Mayor Fenty. “I’m confident she will work as hard as humanly possible to ensure the best interest of our students remains a priority for the agency.”

“Beth Colleye has worked tirelessly to improve education for all District youth,” said Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso. “Her compassion, sense of urgency, and hard work has helped move the District and education reform in the right direction.”

Beth Colleye

Interim State Superintendent of Education

As the interim state superintendent of education, Colleye will utilize her existing experience and knowledge of the agency to continue the education reforms set forth by Mayor Fenty while aiding transition efforts in preparation for new leadership.

Prior to joining OSSE, Colleye served as counsel for Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP and as an associate for Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP. In both of those positions, she managed complex financial investigations domestically and abroad.

A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and Columbia College in New York City, Colleye currently resides in Ward 3 where her school-aged daughters attend DC Public Schools.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

DCPS Enrollment Up for the First Time in 39 Years

WASHINGTON, DC – DC Public Schools has seen its first enrollment increase in 39 years, announced Mayor Adrian Fenty and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Michelle Rhee today at a press conference.

“We are extremely excited about the changes occurring in our classrooms and families across the district are sharing that enthusiasm by enrolling their children in DC public schools,” Mayor Fenty said. “This historic reversal in enrollment proves that our hard work over the past three years has created quality schools that appeal to families and set a foundation for future growth.”

* 73 schools saw their enrollments rise this school year.

* Enrollment increased at schools in all 8 wards.

* Powell Elementary, Hardy Middle, Turner Elementary at Green, and Coolidge High are among those schools that saw significant increases, 32 percent, 24 percent, 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

* Early Childhood Education continues to be an area of growth: 481 more preschool and pre-kindergarten students enrolled this year versus last.

* Older students are choosing to remain in DCPS: there was no decrease in K-12 enrollment.

“Our neighborhood public schools are becoming an increasingly attractive option for families throughout the city seeking a quality education,” said Chancellor Rhee. “Inside and out, our schools are getting better and our test scores are improving. We still have a long way to go, but the stabilization we saw last year and the gains we’re seeing this fall illustrate that we are indeed moving in the right direction.”

As part of a more robust enrollment and recruitment push, every DCPS school held at least one open house during the 2009-10 school year. In addition, DCPS chose its second Recruitment Schools cohort, an initiative geared at ramping up enrollment at traditionally under-enrolled schools throughout the city through targeted media and community events.

DCPS will submit final enrollment numbers to the Office of State Secretary of Education (OSSE) today, to be released in detail at a later date.

Friday, September 24, 2010

OSSE's Proposed Rulemaking on "Standards for Student Code of Conduct”

Please review the following proposed rulemaking issued by OSSE on "Standards for Student Code of Conduct."  Information on the draft rulemaking's date of entry into force and your rights to submit comments on the rulemaking are provided in the last paragraph of this document.
The State Superintendent of Education, pursuant to the authority set forth in section 3(b)(11) of the State Education Office Establishment Act of 2000, effective October 21, 2000 (D.C. Law 13-176; D.C. Official Code § 38-2602(b)(11)) (2009 Supp.), hereby gives notice of her intent to adopt, in not less than thirty (30) days after the publication of this notice in the D.C. Register, a new Chapter 25, entitled “Standards for Student Code of Conduct”, of Subtitle A (Office of the State Superintendent of Education) of Title 5 (Education) of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR). This proposed rulemaking takes into consideration public comments received on previous Notices of Proposed Rulemaking published in the D.C. Register on February 6, 2009 (56 DCR 1301) and on November 13, 2009 (56 DCR 8855), as well as comments made during a public hearing held on January 6, 2010, before the District of Columbia State Board of Education.

The proposed rules address state-level standards for student conduct policies and procedures at local education agencies (LEAs) in the District of Columbia. The proposed rules recognize there must be a balance between individual rights and responsibilities and the rights and responsibilities of the school community. The proposed rules give LEAs flexibility to develop standardized expectations relating to student conduct and disciplinary responses consistent with the state standards. LEAs are encouraged to establish policies and procedures with a broad range of strategies and interventions. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) recognizes the necessity to make available to LEAs ongoing state-level guidance to assist with implementation of this chapter.

Consistent with best practices and a policy letter dated July 31, 2009, from the U.S. Secretary of Education to chief state education officers, these revisions address the appropriate and selective use of seclusion and restraint techniques in schools. Finally, new to this proposal is a provision to address aggressive behavior such as bullying.

Subtitle A, Title 5 of the DCMR is amended to add a new Chapter 25 to read as follows:



2500.1 The legal authority for this chapter includes section 3(b)(11) of the State Education Office Establishment Act of 2000, effective October 21, 2000, (D.C. Law 13-176; D.C. Official Code § 38-2602(b)(11) (2009 Supp.)).

2500.2 The purpose of this chapter is to provide uniform standards for the development of policies and procedures governing student conduct and discipline in the District of Columbia public schools.

2500.3 This chapter establishes standards by which an LEA may develop a broad spectrum of strategies to address inappropriate student conduct.


2501.1 Each LEA shall adopt and implement written policies and procedures governing student conduct and discipline. The policies and procedures shall be consistent with the standards set forth in this chapter.

2501.2 The disciplinary responses to inappropriate student conduct contained in the policies and procedures of the LEA shall be fair and appropriate, minimize disruption to a student’s instructional program, and foster the health and safety of all students.

2501.3 LEAs are encouraged to utilize school-wide strategies for prevention, intervention, and remediation of inappropriate student behavior to meet the needs of the school community and promote student academic achievement.

2501.4 The policies and procedures of the LEA shall include the following basic elements:

(a) A statement of purpose and philosophy regarding student conduct;

(b) Standards for student conduct, including prohibited student conduct; the range of disciplinary action which may be imposed for prohibited conduct; the criteria for disciplinary actions, which shall include the utilization of a progressive approach to discipline; and interventions and strategies to prevent and address misbehavior which take into consideration a student’s developmental level among other factors; and

(c) Written policies and procedures to address:

(1) Maintenance of disciplinary records and information;

(2) Distribution of the student disciplinary policies and procedures to students and their parents or guardians within thirty (30) days after the first (1st) day of each school year or upon registration;

(3) Access to the policies and procedures through an effective means of communication such as printed copies or electronic links to copies of the policy and procedure on the LEA’s website consistently;

(4) Use of student suspension in compliance with clearly defined procedures;

(5) Use of student expulsion in compliance with clearly defined procedures in extreme and rare occasions and as a response to only the most serious misconduct or behaviors, which may cause serious physical injury or are a major disruption to the school environment;

(6) Compliance with federal and District laws which require LEAs to expel from school for a period of not less than one (1) year a student who is determined to have brought a firearm to school or to have possessed a firearm at a school. The chief administrative officer of the LEA may modify the expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis, if that modification is in writing;

(7) Prohibitions with regard to bullying conduct. The policies and procedures shall affirm that the LEA does not tolerate bullying of any kind;

(8) Re-entry of students to school upon completion of an off-site suspension or expulsion;

(9) Establishment and timely distribution of an education plan for a student who is suspended or expelled that enables the student to maintain academic work on pace with work that the student would have been completed if the student was not subject to any disciplinary action;

(10) Applicability of the student conduct and disciplinary policies during regularly-scheduled school hours and at all school-sponsored events, as specified by the LEA; and

(11) Compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and regulations promulgated pursuant to the IDEA, including 20 U.S.C. §1412(a)(5) and 34 C.F.R. §300.530 and §300.504, and utilization of procedural safeguards to prevent disproportional disciplinary actions against the population of individuals covered by the IDEA.

2501.5 The policies and procedures of the LEA shall provide that:

(a) An in-school suspension shall not exceed fifteen (15) school days;

(b) An off-site school suspension shall not exceed ninety (90) school

days; and

(c) A full suspension shall not exceed ninety (90) school days.


2502.1 The use of restraint or seclusion is prohibited except in an emergency circumstance, which is defined as a circumstance that meets both of the following criteria:

(a) Intervention is necessary to protect the student or another person from imminent, serious physical harm; and

(b) Other less intrusive, nonphysical interventions have failed or have been determined inappropriate.

2502.2 For a student with a behavior intervention plan or an Individualized Education Program (IEP), restraint may be used only when it is included in the student’s IEP or a Section 504 Accommodation Plan under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The restraint must be used to address specific behaviors under defined circumstances and must be implemented by appropriate staff.

2502.3 Any restraint or seclusion shall be applied only by school personnel who are trained in the appropriate use of specific authorized techniques. Any chemical restraint must be ordered by a physician, determined to be medically necessary, and administered as detailed in the medical action plan.

2502.4 A space used for seclusion shall, at a minimum, be free of objects and fixtures with which a student could self-inflict bodily harm, shall provide school personnel an adequate view of the student from an adjacent area, and shall provide adequate lighting and ventilation.

2502.5 School personnel must be able to see the student placed in seclusion at all times and must speak with the student at least once every ten (10) minutes.

2502.6 After thirty (30) minutes of seclusion, the school director, head of special education, or other senior member of the school’s staff shall personally observe the student to assess the need for continued seclusion.

2502.7 No seclusion shall continue longer than one (1) hour.

2502.8 Each LEA shall maintain written incident reports for each incident involving a restraint or seclusion. The reports shall be placed in the student’s permanent file and maintained along with disciplinary records.


2503.1 The student conduct and discipline policies and procedures of each LEA shall provide for the proper and timely notification to the student and his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) with regard to student misconduct.

2503.2 The student conduct and discipline policies and procedures of each LEA shall provide procedural safeguards with regard to student misconduct, including the following:

(a) Notification to all appropriate parties provided at a reasonable amount of time prior to a hearing setting forth the following information:

(1) Written description of the charge(s) of misconduct;

(2) Basis for the disciplinary action;

(3) An explanation of the student’s rights, including the right to a hearing and appeal; and

(4) A description of the disciplinary process, procedures, and potential consequences.

(b) Procedures before a neutral decision maker including the opportunity for conferences, a hearing, and appeal.


2504.1 Each LEA shall maintain a copy of its disciplinary policies and procedures. The LEA policies and procedures shall be made available to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education upon request. An LEA shall provide to OSSE, upon request, all information necessary to comply with any requests made by OSSE pursuant to this chapter

2504.2 Each LEA shall ensure that all data and information related to disciplinary actions are reported in a manner that complies with all requirements specified by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education and the U.S. Department of Education.


2599.1 For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed.

Alternative setting or school program – means an educational program other than that in which the student was placed prior to disciplinary action.

Bullying – means intentional verbal, physical, or written conduct that creates a hostile environment. Bullying includes actions motivated by an imbalance of power based on a student’s actual or perceived personal characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs, or motivated by the pupil’s association with another person and based on the other person’s characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs. This also includes any type of use of information and communication technologies to exhibit this behavior known as cyber-bullying.

Expulsion – means the denial of the right of a student to attend a school or program, including all classes and school activities, except alternative settings, for one (1) calendar year or such shorter period as deemed appropriate.

In–school suspension – means the mandatory assignment of a student to attend an assigned alternative school program in lieu of previously assigned curricular activities for a period not to exceed fifteen (15) school days.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA - means the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, approved November 29, 1975 (89 Stat. 773; 20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq.).

Local education agency or LEA – means the District of Columbia Public School system or any individual or group of public charter schools operated under a single charter in the District of Columbia.

Medical action plan- means a medical treatment plan for an individual student that is developed and submitted to a school in accordance with section 4 of the Student Access to Treatment Act of 2007, effective February 2, 2006 (D.C. Law 17-107; D.C. Official Code §38-651.03)).

Off-site school suspension – means the mandatory assignment of a student to attend another appropriate site or alternative school program in lieu of previously assigned activities for a period not to exceed ninety (90) days.

Restraint - the use of force to limit a student’s freedom of movement.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973- means the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, approved September 26, 1973; (87 Stat 394; 29 U.S.C. § 794).

Seclusion – means the involuntary confinement of a student alone in an area from which he or she is physically prevented from leaving.

Suspension – means the denial of the right of a student to attend any school or program, including all classes and school activities, except in an approved alternative setting, in no event exceeding ninety (90) school days pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

Weapon - includes, but is not limited to, the following: weapons enumerated in D.C. Official Code § 22-4514 (2001), Act of July 8, 1932, (ch. 465, 47 Stat. 650); firearms as enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a) (2000), approved, June 19, 1968, (82 Stat 226); and knives, razors, martial, arts devices and other weapons or instruments designed to be or commonly used as weapons.

All persons desiring to comment on the subject matter of this proposed rulemaking should file comments in writing not later than thirty (30) days after the date of publication of this notice in the D.C. Register to the following website at osse.publiccomment@dc.gov; or to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Attn.: Jessica Morffi, re: Student Code of Conduct; 810 First Street, NE 9th Floor Washington, DC 20002. Additional copies of this rule are available from the above address and on the Office of the State Superintendent of Education website at www.osse.dc.gov.


Please join the chancellor's community forum on September 29th 2010. The topic would be on GETTING THE SCHOOL YEAR OFF TO A STRONG START

Chancellor’sCommunityForumSeriesCheck in with two key parts of a successful school year:

•Meet the Instructional Superintendents. This year, all principals and their schools will have the benefit of more attention and guidance from instructional “supes.” Meet them and learn how their work will benefit your child’s school.

•Meet the Comprehensive School Plan. Each DC public school must complete one each year. What’s their purpose? How important are they? What do they have to do with your child’s learning? How can they be improved for next year?

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010 6:30 –8 p.m. at Cleveland Elementary School

1825 Eighth St. NW

Washington, D.C. 20001

Friday, September 17, 2010

AJE's Testimony in a Public Hearing hosted by OSSE on IEP Process Policy

AJE testified before a public hearing hosted by OSSE on IEP Process Policy on September 16th 2010. Below is a copy of the testimony.

Good afternoon, my name is Weadé Wallace, I am a project director with Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc, an organization dedicated to educating parents, youth, and the community about the laws governing public education, specifically for children with special needs.

As the federally mandated Parent Training and Information Center of D.C., we also seek to empower youth and parents to be effective advocates and youth to self advocate by providing direct services and trainings to parents of students, regarding special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.

On behalf of Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc, we commend the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for the proposed Individualized Education Program (IEP) Process Policy to ensure that students with disabilities are provided a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). We support this proposed policy and believe that it will strengthen parental engagement and promote school accountability.

In our work relating to the IEP process, we have discovered that the core of the challenges faced by parents lies within the implementation of this policy. Implementation of the IEP Process policy is very important to the progress of students with disabilities. Some of the challenges faced by many of our parents include the unwillingness of the public school agency to identify and evaluate children who are suspected of being disabled and in need of special education, even if they’re passing from grade to grade. Prior to commencing the initial evaluation process of a child suspected of being in need of special education, some schools often implement supports and pre-interventions like the Student Support Team (SST). However, there is a lack of follow-through or systematic evaluation to examine the effectiveness of these pre-interventions, like the SST. Also, all local educational agencies must be made aware that the Student Support Team (SST) process is not a prerequisite to referring a child for initial evaluations. Both of these processes can and should occur concurrently.

The public school agency has 120 days to evaluate a child from the date a parent submits a written request and consent for evaluation. This process does not always occur in a timely manner. Some local educational agencies (LEAs) prolong this process by waiting until a few weeks before the 120 day period to convene the Multidisciplinary team (MDT) to review existing data about the child and to identify what evaluations are needed.

Frequent communication with parents must be a key component to the implementation of the IEP Process policy. The LEAs must adhere to the evaluation procedures and schedules of a child’s IEP. Parents should be informed of their child’s progress in all areas of services on a quarterly basis, or as stated on their child’s IEP.

As part of the recent Easy IEP process, schools are not obligated to take notes during IEP meetings. Note taking must be mandatory to reflect parents’ concerns, issues addressed by the IEP team and all decisions made by the IEP team. Parents are the primary stakeholder in their children education and it’s necessary that they leave their child’s IEP meeting with meeting notes for their personal records. Meeting notes are an important document for parents and should be mandatory at all IEP meetings.

All IEP meetings must include at least one general education teacher. Despite the overall efforts of IDEA to get more students in general education with the appropriate supports, general education teachers are not always invited to IEP meetings. Also, the LEA must increasingly notify parents of their option to invite a representative of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to IEP meetings when discussing post-secondary transition. The presence of RSA will provide parent with more knowledge and resources about their child’s transition options.

Local Educational Agency (LEA) representatives at non-public schools should also be fully knowledgeable of the students’ needs and services when attending IEP meetings. These individuals should be present at all IEP meetings and have some authority to make important decisions when necessary.

In closing, we are pleased with the efforts of the OSSE to strengthen the implementation of the IEP process for students with disabilities. We realize that this is a collective effort and that all participants of the IEP Team, including parents, must be fully engaged in this process. It is our hope that the local educational agencies (LEAs) will consistently implement the IEP Process policy to develop successful and valid IEPs for all students with disabilities.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

OSSE Division of Early Childhood Education and Child Care Licensing Is Moving

Today the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) announced that the Division of Early Childhood Education will be moving its offices, including Child Care Licensing, from the current locations at 717 14th Street, NW, and 825 North Capitol Street, NE, to join the other divisions of OSSE at the 810 First Street, NW headquarters. The new location is convenient to Metrorail and is served by the Red Line, Union Station stop, as well as several bus lines.

This agency within OSSE is responsible for coordinating early childhood education services for children from birth to kindergarten for the District of Columbia.
Due to the move, the Division of Early Childhood Education offices will be closed beginning on Thursday, September 16th and will reopen for business on September 20th at the new offices.  Please contact (202) 727-1839 or visit OSSE’s website for more information.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

D.C. Receives $75 million in federal Race To The Top funding

District of Columbia schools have been awarded $75 million in federal Race To The Top funding. Race To The Top is part of President Obama’s $4 billion education reform agenda.

Along with Maryland, DC was one of 9 states to receive the award in this second round of the competition.

The competition is funded through the 2009 economic stimulus law.  It encourages ideas to connect student performance data to individual teachers and principals, targeting low-performing schools, adopting common national standards and creating public charter schools.

OSSE Posts Proposed Individualized Education Program (IEP) Process Policy for Public Comment

This proposed policy creates uniform expectations for local education agency (LEA) implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements governing the individualized education program (IEP) process. The IEP process requires parents, teachers, LEA personnel, evaluators, and related service providers to pool their collective knowledge and expertise to ensure that students with disabilities are provided a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). As the state education agency (SEA), OSSE expects all LEAs to ensure that all appropriate IEP Team members participate in the IEP process to develop complete and valid IEPs.

The public comment period is for 30 days beginning Friday, August 20, 2010, and concluding Monday, September 20, 2010. A public hearing for the proposed policy will be held Tuesday, September 7, 2010. A copy of the hearing notice can be found here*.
Individuals who wish to submit their comments as part of the official record should do so no later than 5 pm Monday, September 20, 2010 to:

Tameria Lewis, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education

c/o Desirée Brown

Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Division of Special Education

810 1st St. NE - 5th Floor

Washington, DC 20002


e-mail to osse.publiccomment@dc.gov

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Judge Rules in DL Case that D.C.'s Child Find Program Violated the Law

Last week, a Federal District Court judge ruled that D.C. broke the law by failing to locate, identify and evaluate disabled pre-school children and offer them an education, as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The case has been in litigation since 2005

Chief Judge Royce Lamberth found that there was no "genuine dispute" that [the District] only provided a [free and appropriate education] to approximately 600 students per year, which is half of the qualifying 3- to 5-year-old children in the District” who qualified.  He relied on data for the years 2000 to 2007.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/blogs/capital-land/dcs-special-needs-pre-schoolers-vindicated-in-court-100432679.html#ixzz0wzyxYWVV

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

D.C. School Performance Toward Adequate Yearly Progress

In 2010, 15 schools in the District of Columbia met the annual goals of No Child Left Behind, down from 54 in 2009.  AYP is a yardstick of a school's progress toward full proficiency by 2014.

Eight DCPS elementary schools met the benchmark, down from 29 in 2009 and 38 in 2008. Two of those schools, Mamie D. Lee and Sharpe, provide services exclusively to special needs students. Of the remaining six, Mann, Key and Stoddert elementary schools are in Ward 3, Kenilworth is in Ward 7, and Ludlow-Tayor is in Ward 6.  Montgomery was merged into Ward 6's Walker Jones Educational Campus in June. Two senior high schools joined the ranks as did four public charter elementary schools.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wednesday, July 28th Chancellor Rhee Holds Forum on DCPS Standardized Test Results

On Wednesday, July 28th, 6:30 - 8 pm, Chancellor Michelle Rhee is hosting a discussion concerning DCPS student performance on standardized tests. It will include breakout sessions designed to assist parents in reading the results on the DIBELS and DC-CAS tests. The meeting will occur at Shaw @ Garnet-Patterson Middle School, 2001 10th Street, N.W.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

DC Delays Plan to Change Rate Structure for Private Special Ed Placements

D.C. has delayed its decision to implement new rate structures that would cap tuition payments for D.C. special education students attending private schools funded with D.C. tax dollars.  Originally scheduled to take effect in the Fall of 2010, following expressions of concern by parents and education, the plan was halted by the Office of State Superintendent until July 2010.  The plan would have restricted tuition rates to $215 per day, for $38,700 per 180-day school year. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Early Education Round Table

Join Miriam Calderon, director of early childhood education, and Carol Day, president of the National Black Child Development Institute, for an openquestion-and-answer session about DCPS’ early education (Preschool, pre-K, Head Start, Early Stages) program options.

Light snacks and childcare will be provided.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

7-8 p.m.

DCPS Central Office

1200 First Street, NE

Washington, D.C. 20002

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

D.C. elementary test scores show decline

D.C. officials announced Tuesday that reading and math test scores declined in elementary schools this year, halting a two-year run of significant gains and dealing a setback to Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee as she seeks to overhaul city schools.

The news was better for middle and high schools, which saw continued gains in reading and math on the District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS), administered every April.

After rising 20 percentage points from 2007 to 2009, the elementary math proficiency rate dipped 4.6 points this year, to 43.4. The elementary reading proficiency rate, which had risen 11 percentage points from 2007 to 2009, fell 4.4 points, to 44.4 percent. The proficiency rate is essentially a measure of the portion of students who pass the tests.

School-by-school scores will not be available until later this month.

Rhee, who joined Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) to announce the 2010 scores in a mid-morning news conference at Ballou High School, said she couldn't account for the drop in elementary scores, and that it would require some study.

"We're going to dig into the data," she said.

Rhee and Fenty emphasized the overall record of test score gains since the mayor appointed Rhee in 2007. School reform has become a key issue in Fenty's reelection campaign against challenger Vincent C. Gray (D), the D.C. Council chairman.

Rhee called the three-year gains at the middle and high school levels -- an average of 14 percentage points in reading and 17 points in math -- a significant achievement. In a statement distributed to reporters, Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which consults with urban school districts, called the growth "unusual and important," adding that the District is one of the few cities in the country to see double-digit growth at the secondary level.

Officials also reported that the percentage of students scoring at advanced levels has doubled in elementary and secondary schools since 2007.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

-- Bill Turque

Monday, June 28, 2010

Comment Period Open for Proposed Regs on Certification of Non Public Special Education Schools

On June 18, the D.C.'s Office of the State Superintendent issued proposed rules prescribing certification standards for private special education schools serving disabled students with funding from the city. The public comment period began on June 18th and ends on July 17th. Those rules can be viewed here: http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/NoticeHome.aspx?NoticeID=296643

To submit comments in writing on this rule send them to Office of the State Superintendent of Education, 810 First Street, N.E., 9th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20002, Attn: Jessica Morffi, Title 5, Chapter A-28; or Osse.publiccomment@dc.gov. All comments must be received by OSSE not later than thirty (30) days after publication of this notice in the D.C. Register. Copies of this rulemaking may be obtained from the OSSE website at osse.dc.gov or at the above referenced location.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Union Ratifies Contract, Which Imposes a New Teacher Evaluation System

Last week, The Washington Teachers Union ratified a new contract which now has to go before the D.C. Council, where it is expected to be approved overwhelmingly. The contract provides for a new performance evaluation system and according to some estimates, some instructors could receive as much as $140,000 per year under the new agreement.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DCPS Chancellor's Community Forum is on Special Education: Wed May 26

REMINDER:  This month's DCPS Chancellor's Community Forum is on Special Education.  Randle Highlands Elementary School located at 1650 30th Street, SE, this Wednesday, May 26, from 6:30 until 8:00pm. 

In addition to the Chancellor, Deputy Chancellor Richard Nyankori will attend. There will be a brief open discussion and then break-out sessions. One of the break-out sessions is "DCPS Alternatives to Nonpublic Schools". The forum will be held at Randle Highlands Elementary School located at 1650 30th Street, SE, this Wednesday, May 26, from 6:30 until 8:00pm.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The New Tentative Agreement Between the Washington Teachers' Union and DCPS

A new contract proposal between the Washington Teachers' Union and DCPS is scheduled to be approved soon by Union members, according to the Washington Post on May 20th.

The tentative agreement would raise the average annual salary from about $67,000 to $81,000 - by 21.6%. It would also create a privately financed performance compensation program to begin in 2013, potentially adding $20,000 to $30,000 a year to teacher pay based on criteria such as improvement in student test scores. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/06/AR2010040604392.html

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Strengthening School Advisory Groups: Let's work together to help our students succeed

We need your help to clarify the guidelines that govern Local School Restructuring Teams. Join the conversation with DCPS staff, parents and community members to define the role of the LSRT and how DCPS can better support school advisory groups.
Ward 1 Parent Resource Center (in Tubman Elementary School) 3101 13th St. NW Washington, D.C. 20010 Thursday May 13, 2010, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Please spread the word to anyone else you think would be interested.

If you have any questions, please contact Luke Kohlmoos at (202) 442-5194 or luke.kohlmoos@dc.gov.

Chancellor's Community Forum May 26, 6:30-8pm Randle Highlands Elementary School (Ward 7)

DCPS' goal is to ensure that students with special needs receive the services they require to succeed academically and participate fully in school life. Share your ideas with Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Deputy Chancellor for Special Education Dr. Richard Nyankori at our monthly Chancellor’s Community Forum on Wednesday, May 26.
Chancellor’s Community Forum on Special Education Wednesday, May 26, 2010 6:30-8 p.m. Randle Highlands Elementary School (Ward 7) 1650 30th St. SE Washington, D.C. 20020

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Workshop on the 2010 Census

Please come join us at AJE for a Workshop on the 2010 Census. The Workshop provides you with information on the advantages of the Census for you and your community. We also emphasize on how the Census affects children with special needs.

Place of the workshop: 2041 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE Suite 400 WDC.
Date and Time: March 30, 2010 from 5p.m. to 7p.m.
Incentives: Bus Tokens, Childcare and Dinner.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The George Washington University Medical Center's 15th Annual Research Day

The George Washington University Medical Center's 15th Annual Research Day

March 10, 2010
Jack Morton Auditorium and Marvin Center
The George Washington University

featuring Keynote Addresses on
Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Daniel H. Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Center for Autism Research and Treatment, UCLA

Mark Batshaw, M.D.
Director, Children's Research Institute
Children's National Medical Center

Followed by Town Hall Panel Discussion with GW Faculty*
working on various aspects of Autism
*Donna Betts, Art therapy; Cathleen Burgess, Speech/communication therapies; Margaret Dunkle, Public Policy; Valerie Hu, Biomedical/genetic studies, Anthony LaMantia, Neurodevelopment; Marian Jarrett, Special Education; Francys Subiaul, Social cognition; Lorri Unumb, Legal/legislative issues;
Ben Yerys, Brain imaging

For more information: http://gwumc.edu/research/researchday.html

Please RSVP at: http://www.doodle.com/55tya3n6d3g53xy8 by March 3rd to reserve a free program booklet and complimentary box lunch.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

DCPS invites you to the upcoming Chancellor's Community Forum

Join Chancellor Rhee and Key DCPS staff to learn "Everything You Need to Know About Pre-School/Pre-K and Out of Boundary Lottery Process" Download the invitation in an easy to print format [PDF].

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Ronald Brown Middle School
4800 Meade St., NE
Washington, D.C. 20019

For child care, disability accommodations, and/or language interpretation services (Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Amharic, French, and American Sign Language), call or email Sang Yoon at (202) 480-0860 (Sang.Yoon@dc.gov) at least two days in advance.

To reply to this e-newsletter, send an email to Nicole Smith, Office of Family & Public Engagement, at nicole.smith2@dc.gov.
Please share this e-newsletter with colleagues and friends! If you know anyone who would benefit from receiving this e-newsletter, feel free to forward it.
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This e-newsletter is provided to you by: District of Columbia Public Schools Office of the Chancellor 825 North Capitol Street NE, 9th floor Washington, DC 20002 202-442-5885

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The D.C. Public Charter School Board is hosting a charter school expo on Saturday, January 9th, from 12 pm to 4 pm at the Convention Center.

Learn about the many charter school options; talk with school leaders, charter school parents and students;
Children's entertainment; door prizes (include Target and Giant giftcards);
The first 500 children that attend will receive giftbags!

This event is free for D.C. families and metro-area teachers.

For more information, please check out: http://www.dcpubliccharter.com/Parents-and-Community/Charter-School-Expo.aspx