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Morning Shots

Touring D.C. International Public Charter School

Last week, CER Interns attended a First Fridays Tour at D.C. International Public Charter School (DCI). Mary Shaffner, the Executive Director, founded the school in 2014 with “the mission of training students to become multilingual, culturally competent and capable of taking their learning to the next level.” Each student engages in partial language immersion in content-based instruction classes in Spanish, French, or Mandarin Chinese.

During the tour, one aspect of DCI that struck us the most was the considerable amount of racial, intellectual, and economic diversity. Forty percent of students are African American, 27 percent are Latino/a, 26 percent are Caucasian, and 7 percent are Asian. A majority of students take part in the free and reduced meals program, and 20 percent of students receive special education. The tour showcased this variety by bringing us to different classes, and focused on the school’s distinctive elements, like its concentration on language and effective implementation of technology in the classroom.Students finalize their presentations

DCI heavily relies on intensive language immersion. Students take language classes every day, and take other classes in in the student’s target language. Roughly 50 percent of a student’s day involves using their target language to, for example, discuss controversial topics, write reports, or read articles about current events.

Technology is also highly used in the classroom. Each student has their own Chromebook that can be used for independent projects, homework, assessments, and research. Technology gives students access to a wealth of information and resources. In addition, it instills a sense of responsibility in each of the students.

“We believe that a student who embraces culture is best prepared for future success. While our world grows more interconnected, the job market of the future has yet to be defined. But we know that

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Education’s Impact on Success

Education is an essential part of life. It can create an opportunity of a lifetime that many aren’t fortunate enough to obtain. Education is the key to success that opens the door to knowledge, opportunities, and personal development.

My mother strongly valued education when I was younger. It was unacceptable to bring home any grade less than a B, even though she wanted me to strive for all A’s. She knew from the start that we had full potential. I started in a public school. The classes weren’t very difficult. I easily excelled in math, reading, social studies, and science. Elementary school was a breeze. But then …middle school happened. I made a transition from a public school to a charter school. The classes became more rigorous. In the 7th grade I got my first C ever. I knew this was unacceptable. I had to try harder. What I failed to realize was that it would become more difficult. In 10th grade I got my first F, but it wasn’t long until that F went away. More rigorous courses allow me to unlock my full potential.

I noticed that during the transition of schools there were many differences: different school hours, different classes, different grading policy, but most importantly, a different feel towards education. I wasn’t sure how it would impact my learning experience in the future but so far so good.

Just like my mom pushed me to get good grades, made me take more rigorous courses, made me strive for what’s best, I strongly believe that students everywhere should have the opportunity to these challenging diverse schools. The internship at The Center of Education Reform would be the perfect place to start. I’m going to look forward to these few weeks.

Tre’Von York, CER Intern


Intersection of Politics and Education

As I prepare to enter into my fourth and final year at Wake Forest University I can’t help but reflect on the opportunities I have been awarded due to my education, which makes me think about what other individuals miss out on due to a lack of access to education. This inequity of access to education continues to propel the achievement and opportunity gaps persistent in many communities throughout the nation, not just in my home state of North Carolina.

This obvious inequity made apparent the need to use policy and politics to better the state of education, not just teacher practices confined to the classroom. Through my time spent in the education department at Wake Forest I have learned ways to work to diminish the achievement and opportunity gaps through teacher practices in the classroom. Although there is a discussion of these persistent problems, there is little discussion of the policies that work to diminish these discrepancies outside of the classroom. I do not discuss this missing component to condemn the education department at Wake Forest, but rather as a springboard to discuss my motivation to spend my summer with CER.

This missing component of my education is the reason why I am spending my summer interning at CER. I hope to gain an understanding of what policies are being enacted at the federal, state, and local levels to make access to quality education available to all, not just those with a coveted address. As well, I hope to learn more about reform initiatives implemented in several schools to see what works and what does not work and hope to continue these initiatives in my future as an educator.

Elizabeth Kennard, CER Intern


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