Education, Entertainment, We Love Arts

Young Playwrights’ Workshop Presents

Nicole and Morena Writing / Courtesy Young Playwrights' Theater

Nicole and Morena Writing / Courtesy Young Playwrights’ Theater

In their new original play, the Young Playwrights’ Workshop asks the question, “Do people change?” Set on New Year’s Eve, their latest collaborative effort delves into the lives of diverse characters, from a spoiled socialite to a hardworking waiter.

The Young Playwrights’ Workshop is an after-school student theater ensemble and part of the Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT). The students wrote the play together and will perform it themselves when they premiere Young Playwrights’ Workshop Presents this Monday at the Source Festival.

YPT’s artistic director Nicole Jost leads the after-school workshop. Jost is a local playwright and alumna of YPT’s playwriting program. I talked with her about the show’s evolution and what it means for DC.

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All Politics is Local, Essential DC, Life in the Capital, News, The District, The Features

DC Farm To School Network

Photo courtesy of
‘i fear school lunch’
courtesy of ‘amarino17′

Although I’m not THAT far out of high school, my memories of cafeteria lunches are fairly limited, which leads me to believe that the food served was…well…unmemorable. That is, it wasn’t good enough to be noteworthy and it wasn’t bad enough to be permanently seared into my mind. I have foggy images of square pizza, sloppy joes, grilled cheese, lasagna, and a salad bar which in the 1990s (and I’m dating myself) was a groundbreaking, yet sadly disappointing and unappetizing, addition.

Given my, and I’m supposing most people’s, middling school lunch experience, I was extremely inspired when I learned about the DC Farm to School Network, a coalition of advocates working to connect Washington, DC schools to local farmers to get more healthy, local foods into school cafeterias. With the ultimate goal to improve child health, reconnect students with where food comes from, provide health, food, and environmental education opportunities and support the local food economy. Continue reading

News, The Daily Feed

A Return to Vouchers?

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courtesy of ‘springwools’

Retiring Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will be introducing a bill to bring private school vouchers back to the District. The program first started under Mayor Williams in 2004, under the orders of the then-Republican-leaning 108th Congress. Shortly after the 2008 elections, when the Democrats retook not just the Senate and House, but the White House as well, the Congress put a stop to the program that for four years sent students from DCPS to private schools.

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News, The Daily Feed

Serious Fire at Takoma Education Campus

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‘DC Fire Department’
courtesy of ‘Gersemalina’

This morning, DC Fire/EMS responded to a fire at the Takoma Education Campus on Piney Branch Road, which is currently believed to have started near some roofing work that was going on during the break.  As it is winter break, no students were currently in session, and what staff were present were successfully evacuated, but the facility has suffered extensive damage.

In a statement distributed to press, Safiya Simmons wrote that “DCPS has determined that students won’t be able to return in January and plans to relocate the kids to another school are underway. A meeting with Takoma parents will be scheduled and final plans will be announced next week.

No firefighters were injured in putting out the three-alarm blaze.

News, The Daily Feed

Gray appoints education, economic positions

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‘DC Flag on Bus Stop Crop’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

This afternoon in a press conference at the Reeves Center, Vince Gray announced five appointees to administration positions.  The first two were education-oriented positions, with Gray appointing De’Shawn A. Wright to Deputy Mayor for Education, and Hosanna Mahaley to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s head.  In addition, Gray appointed Rochelle Webb to run DOES, and Gustavo Velasquez and Clarence Brown to continue on at DOHR and the Office on Aging, respectively.

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The District, The Features

She Loves DC: Kaya Henderson – Interim Chancellor, DCPS

Kaya Henderson, Interim Chancellor of DCPS
Photo courtesy of DCPS

Yesterday afternoon, we had the chance to sit down with DCPS Interim Superintendent Kaya Henderson to talk about her new position within the school system, what she loves about DC, and what her goals are as the new interim superintendent of the city schools.

You graduated from Georgetown, you have a bachelors in foreign service, in diplomacy if you will, when did you decide that Education was what you were looking for?

Kaya: When I went to Georgetown, I thought like most folks in the school of foreign service, I wanted to change the world. The world being a big place, I had traveled a ton when I was growing up and I was fascinated by what was going on in lots of other places in the world.  In the course of my four years, as my friends were headed off to farflung places to help other people, it became pretty clear to me that there was something weird about going to Latin America or Africa or Asia to help other people, I felt there were significant needs here.

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News, The Features

DCPS Shows First Ever Growth in Enrollment

Photo courtesy of
‘Back to school’
courtesy of ‘ECU Digital Collections’

For each of the previous 39 years, enrollment in the DC Public Schools has declined.  That stopped in 2010.  DCPS announced an enrollment increase this morning in a press conference with Mayor Adrian Fenty and Chancellor Michelle Rhee.  73 of the 168 123 schools (see comments for alteration) in the District are showing an increase in enrollment, and 14 of those have had to add waitlists for the first time in recent memory.

One of the interesting schools that saw an increase in enrollment of 12% was Coolidge High, which is featured on today’s WAMU morning news, along with Dunbar High, for being one of the District’s turnaround projects.  The ventures, conducted along side the Federal Government and private partners, have boosted test scores at the two high schools by 10-20% depending on the test involved.

481 additional pre-K students enrolled this year are a part of the overall percentage increase, which has yet to be released.  DCPS is adamant, though, that K-12 enrollment remains increased over the 2009-2010 school year.

Is this the economy taking effect?  Are parents who’ve lost jobs faced with the prospect of bigger and bigger loans necessary for private education taking their children to the resurgent DCPS?  Perhaps.  We’re not sure what else, beyond improved conditions, represents the shift toward the boost in DCPS.

News, The Daily Feed

Rhee clarifies “Devastating” comment

Photo courtesy of
‘Jeffrey Zients, Sir Michael Barber, Michelle Rhee’
courtesy of ‘Center for American Progress’

In the Post’s Local Opinions Blog, DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee clarified her earlier comments on the election, wherein she called the results devastating.  She has stepped back her remarks to refer to the status of the election as a repudiation of reform efforts:

“I was describing the perception by some that this election had been a referendum on reform of the D.C. schools itself. If the results were to be read as a repudiation of reform, that indeed would be devastating for D.C. children, for the city and for children throughout the country who are so dependent on successful school reform efforts.”

Rhee’s status as Chancellor has come to be the subject of much public speculation in the wake of Vincent Gray’s win of the Democratic Party nomination for mayor on Tuesday.  TBD today speculates on who might take her place atop DCPS if Gray decides that Michelle Rhee cannot serve his new administration, and questions have abounded to Gray, as well, with Mark Plotkin finding new and unique methods of asking the same question over and over and over today to Gray on his radio show.  Gray has publicly said he won’t make any decisions until he was properly elected and not just nominated.

News, The Daily Feed

Michelle Rhee’s Rumored Resignation and what actually happened today

Photo courtesy of
‘loose lips’
courtesy of ‘amy_b’

Twitter was all abuzz late this afternoon as rumors of a four line resignation email to DCPS staffers spread like wildfire.  While Michelle Rhee’s tenure is in question with the election of Vincent Gray, nothing has been written in stone yet, and no announcements concerning her departure had been made.

We Love DC has obtained a copy of the email that sparked this rumor, and I have to say, if you read this as a resignation email, you likely need as much reading comprehension help as so many of the DCPS students do.  The email was sent this afternoon at 1pm and was titled “Keeping It Moving”:

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All Politics is Local, Life in the Capital, News, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Teacher Appreciation Week: Hooray Teachers!

As part of Teacher Appreciation Week and tomorrow’s Teacher Appreciation Day, the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is offering a variety ways to honor and recognize our local teachers for the lasting contributions they’ve made and continue to make in our lives.

Chancellor Michelle Rhee wrote a personal letter and created the above video highlighting the efforts made by DC teachers during the last year and encouraging the public to extend their own personal thank yous to teachers.

Visit the DCPS site to read outstanding district teachers profiles, publicly thank your own DCPS teacher, or generate your own special 140 character DCPS teacher message and tweet it to @dcpublicschools.

All of the above are fantastic ways to participate in this worldwide teacher celebration week and they only require a few moments of time to show our appreciation to teachers for all the effort they put in each day to teach and for the education that we and our youth receive thanks to them.

The Daily Feed

Lend a Hand: Prom Season 2010

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courtesy of ‘’

It’s that time of year again…practically the biggest night of the entire year if you’re a senior in high school:  Prom!  Lots of family taking pictures, your date pinning  on your corsage, a limo full of friends waiting in the driveway, and of course the dress.  This year you can help a young lady find her dream gown by donating to DC Public Schools Annual Prom Dress Collection.

No girl wants to go to prom in just anything, so it takes days, weeks, even months to find THE dress.  Why not help someone find their dream gown for that special night?  The collection is accepting new and gently used dresses, shoes, jewelry and purses.  You can drop off items between 9am and 5pm Monday – Friday until April 14th at 1200 First Street NE, on the 12th floor.  For more information, call 202-442-5447 or email

The Daily Feed

Rhee Gets Small Victory

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‘Field trip’
courtesy of ‘clio1789′

Chancellor Michelle Rhee can now count another small victory in her fight with WTU and the City Council over the round of layoffs in early October. The D.C. Circuit Court has refused to grant a temporary restraining order in the case, which means that the layoffs will go ahead as planned, in front of the hearing in front of the circuit on November 5th. It’s not a large victory, by any means, as it’s based on the fact that if the re-hiring of those teachers is required, it’s no more difficult to do it after the court has ruled than it would be right now, but there’s momentum for the Chancellor, and that’s something she’s in sore need of.

All Politics is Local, The Daily Feed

Barry Stops Short of Screaming “You lie!”

Photo courtesy of
‘Marion Barry’
courtesy of ‘cliff1066â�¢’

Everyone is rightfully outraged over the recent mass firings of DCPS teachers due to a $44m budget shortfall; over 200 were let go on Friday. Students, teachers and their allies came together yesterday to protest the cuts and a lot of their attention focused on the Chancellor of DCPS, Michelle Rhee. They even received a few not-so-calming words from every body’s “favorite” Councilman Marion Barry, according to NBC Washington.

“Chancellor Rhee has lied to you. Lied to you,” Barry said. “And I don’t like liars.”

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