WTU News and Information 
March 21, 2015


 Union Leadership Institute



March 28, 2015 

9:00 am - 1:00 pm

at Ballou SHS


Training topics include:



   Grievances & Arbitration

Supplies & Technology

Teacher Planning 

 -- Morning Block Time

-- Individual Planning

-- Collaborative Planning


DCPS FY16 Budget Presentation: Consultation for LSATs


Top 10 Contractual Issues, Grievances & Investigations for New Local School Union Team



 Learning Accessible  


IMPACT TEACH 7: Questioning Beyond Bloom


Earn 4 PLUs! Breakfast,  

Snacks & Give-aways!      

Register your local school

union team TODAY:





Regional Meetings

Tues., March 24

4:30 - 6:30 pm

(Hardy, Whittier, WTU)


Join us and bring your
and concerns on the

PARCC Assessment and 

local school issues.

    You can also sign up

for the ULI.    





Every Tuesday

4:30-7:30 pm

March 10 - March 31, 2015

WTU Teacher Center

1239 Pennsylvania Ave., SE


WTU IMPACT T-3 is designed to raise awareness of research that supports differentiation and to teach the basic components of differentiation. The goal of the session is to help teachers reflect on strengths of their current instructional practice and provide opportunities for further growth in teaching academically diverse students effectively. Taught by WTU Teacher Leaders and PD trainers, Alicia Hunter (Wilson SHS) and Rajeeni Galloway (Marie Reed EC), the mini-course is aligned to TEACH 3 of the DCPS IMPACT Teacher Assessment System. 


Members will receive three Professional Learning Units. Email to register:


DCPS Retirement  

Information Session

 March 30 & 31

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Annuity Fund Provider Fair

on March 31 


DC Retirement Board

900 7th Street, NW, 2nd Floor

(near the Gallery Place Metro Station)


For more information: dcps.hranswers@dc.gov

"Is your school on an extended day schedule?" Tell us when the extended schedule started and in what way the school day has been extended. If your school has instituted any form of extension of the contractual 7.5 consecutive hour school day let us know, email: dialogue@wtulocal6.net.
STEM Education Conf. 
at GWU

The George Washington University is hosting a FREE event called STEMosphereŽ, which is part of a larger event for educators called Share Fair. STEM=Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. STEMosphereŽ is a huge expo of fun, hands-on, interactive STEM-inspired activities and education methods for a PreK-12 audience. Exhibitors include NASA Aeronautics, Discovery Education, the Smithsonian Science Education Center, First Robotics and more.



Saturday, April 11, 9:30am - 3:30pm

Charles E. Smith Center

George Washington University

600 22nd Street NW 

Washington, DC


Register at:


for graduating DCPS seniors


The Washington Teachers' Union
Scholarship Fund is offering $20,000 scholarships to motivated, high-achieving District of Columbia Public School graduating seniors who are interested in obtaining a degree in education and returning to teach in D.C. public schools.


All applications must be submitted or mailed and postmarked by May 15, 2015. Winners will be announced on May 31, 2015.   

Go here for more information.

Not returning to DCPS  

next school year?

Then you'll need this information.


The Declaration of Intent to Not Return (DINR) Application is now available online. The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the WTU and DCPS requires that members who do not intend to continue employment with DCPS the following year submit a DINR application no later than April 1. This requirement applies to members who are retiring as well as resigning from the school system.


WTU members who submit a DINR application by April 1, and who do in

fact leave the school system on their own accord at the conclusion of

the school year, shall be eligible for a one-time $1,000 bonus payable

by September 30, 2015. Members who do not submit the DINR application by April 1, but voluntarily separate from DCPS during the 2014-2015 school year or at any point before or during the 2015-2016 may be required to pay a $1,000 penalty fine to DCPS.


The 2015 DINR application period closes at 5pm on Wednesday, April 1, 2015.


A FAQ sheet and more information is available here.


The DINR application here

Need to Renew Your License?... 
Check out the OSSE
Documents page on the

Our website has a

fresh, bold new look!  

On it you'll find a wealth of valuable resources, and documents outlining your rights as a D.C. Public School educator. You'll also have access to an ever-growing list of WTU member benefits.


Check it out!


Your union and its leaders are working hard on your behalf.  And we're doing our best to keep you informed.  
Now, the WTU has a new and improved Facebook page where you can find out about the latest WTU events, activities and news.



to "Like Us" on Facebook

Quick Links

Despite chancellor's claims, teachers

say they get no respect and very little support


On March 3, the New York Times ran a column by D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson. Here are a couple of excerpts from that column:   


"I think it all comes down to doing everything possible to truly respect teachers, not just pay them lip service. Second, it means giving teachers the resources they need to meet those expectations. It means providing teachers with training that actually makes a difference in their classrooms. And it means making sure teachers never have to worry about having enough paper, pencils or computers."


WTU recently sent out a survey to teachers with the following question: Do you believe that Chancellor Henderson and her administration are doing everything they can to live up to the claims that the chancellor wrote about in her column?


More than 200 teachers responded to the question with 91% answering "No" and 9% percent saying "Yes."


Here are some of the comments made by the teachers who responded to the survey:


"Respecting teachers is not subjecting them to a 30-minute evaluation that will define them as a teacher. Respecting teachers is not micromanaging them using a rubric that will suffocate them."


"Teachers continue to be scapegoats for low test scores, despite having incompetent administrators who are unfamiliar with data-driven programs, inadequate technology, and a lack of guidance from administrators regarding available professional development and support systems."


"I do not think she [the chancellor] is being purposefully deceptive, but there is clear ignorance when it comes to knowing what is going on in schools. We don't have enough paper. We have one copier and it is frequently broken. Our testing cycle is two weeks long because we don't have computers for all."


"Chancellor Henderson can begin showing real respect for the 4500 teachers in DCPS by reworking her teacher evaluation system in which only 9% of the teachers in our neediest schools are rated highly effective compared to 41% in our wealthiest schools."


"I think the chancellor conveys the ideal she would like to believe exists within DCPS, but I think that she is completely out of touch with what teachers think and feel."


"They consistently demean the profession by not allowing us any say in what happens in our building. By sending in so-called master educators to evaluate us, and by using a rubric that is overly punitive? When do I get to do an evaluation of how well they have supported me in my profession?"


HERE is President Elizabeth Davis's response to Henderson's column 

Key issues come to the forefront

at school counselors' forum


On March 12, the WTU hosted a meeting of school counselors at the union's offices. The forum featured American School Counselors Association President Eric Sparks; former DCPS School Counselor John Porter; Award-winning Ballou High School Counselor Michele Rucker; and Lindsay Wright, president of the D.C. School Counselors Association.


The discussion was led by WTU President Elizabeth Davis who asked the more than 30 DCPS school counselors in attendance to talk about their roles and the challenges they face. Several said they see their chief responsibility as assisting with the college and career readiness of students.


School counselors, it was noted, can be instrumental in bolstering the success of their school's most vulnerable students, helping them to deal with such issues as attendance, academic achievement and problems at home.


One counselor said that there can be repercussions for speaking out. "If you advocate for yourself or your students you sometimes get push back [from administrators]. You're seen as adversarial," noted one counselor, adding that challenging an administrator could result in a bad score on your IMPACT evaluation.


Rucker explained how she has learned to use data to support what she does on behalf of students.


It's important, Sparks said, for school counselors to seek the support of students and parents, who can advocate on their behalf with top school officials, as well as the city council and other elected leaders. 


Wright urged the counselors to become more involved in professional

associations like the one she heads up. "We need to advocate for ourselves by showing up at meetings and other events, and showing that we want to make our profession better," she said.


Davis said that the well-attended forum, which included State Board of Education members Tierra Jolly and Mary Lord, is just the start of an ongoing relationship between the union, the school counselors and the organizations represented at the meeting.

Members discuss school library issues, efforts

to address equitable access to high-quality educators 


The WTU held its monthly delegate assembly meeting at McKinley Tech on March 10 where President Elizabeth Davis opened the meeting by acknowledging the union's highly successful Shared Vision Conference. She also reported that the WTU had gained some 1500 new full members in 2014. The union now needs to "work on engaging those members," she said.


Davis assured members that the union is doing everything it can to push DCPS to expedite contract negotiations, and told members that their union would be inviting some of them to attend sessions that will give them an opportunity to "assist with writing contract language related to the work you do."


During a discussion of their contract issues, some school librarians voiced concern about the lack of a dedicated school library budget and the frequent violations of their contract. There was widespread agreement among both the librarians and the classroom teachers in attendance that school libraries are often an underutilized and overlooked resource. "The support that a good library can provide to classroom teachers is enormous," one librarian stressed. 


Read a recent Washington Post article on DCPS school libraries 


The final presenter, Etai Mizrav from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), shared plans to address the Equitable Access to Excellent Educators provision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).


One of the issues that OSSE is grappling with is how to attract top teachers to low-performing schools. Mizrav noted that one of the things that all teachers want is a collaborative environment where their input is solicited and valued.


At least one WTU member pointed out that the school system's IMPACT teacher evaluation program discourages teachers from taking jobs in high-needs schools out of fear of receiving an unfair poor rating when being evaluated.

Proposed new grading system

gets a hearing at WTU meeting


The school system's proposed new Systemic Grading Policy was the focus of DCPS deputy chief for secondary schools Jane Spence's presentation to educators attending the March 10 Delegate Assembly. "We felt it important that we first got the input [of teachers]...those directly involved with the proposed change," Spence explained.


The proposed changes are designed to address some of the wide variance from school-to-school and classroom-to-classroom as to how students are graded, she said. "We want to make sure students have a consistent grading experience across schools." 


Some of the questions and issues discussed during Spence's presentation included where competency-based instruction fits in with the new grading policy, how the new policy would impact application schools like Banneker, which has its own grading system, and the use of an online grading system to notify parents and students of progress.


Spence promised that professional development would be offered to educators before the new grading system is rolled out in August.


HERE is a powerpoint presentation on the proposed Systemic Grading Policy.


WTU endorses Bowser and White in City Council races

Phone banks set for April 1 & 22, 5 pm-7pm 


On April 1 and 22, the union's COPE (Committee on Political Education) committee will hold a phone bank at the WTU offices on behalf of Renee Bowser and Trayon White, the candidates were recently endorsed by the union in the D.C. City Council races in Wards 4 and 8. The phone banks will take place from 5 pm-7 pm and will be proceeded by a short training.


Bowser, a union activist and long time ANC commissioner, is a candidate for the Ward 4 seat on the council, and White, a former member of the D.C. State Board of Education and a graduate of Ballou High School, is running for the Ward 8 seat. Both will be on the ballot for the April 28 special election.


To volunteer for the phone bank, contact David Street at  dstreet@wtulocal6.net or 202-570-5226.  



Teachers offer feedback on PARCC assessment
Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents say 
implementation is going not very well or poorly 

On March 13, Chancellor Henderson had this to say in the publication Politico about PARCC testing in DCPS:


D.C. schools meanwhile lauded the successful launch of PARCC testing Thursday, noting that thousands of students were able to take the tests with only minor technology or human error issues. DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson said the first two days of testing went as expected. "The transition to this new test, especially one of this scale, was a big lift but it was absolutely necessary for students and our educators," she said. "It took months of preparation, training and support - and we said early on that 'perfect' on this first week would include some minor glitches that we were ready to handle and address."


Many WTU members have told us that they are deeply disturbed by the inadequate training they've received and the weeks of disruption caused by the administering of the PARCC assessment. They are also concerned that some schools lack the technology needed to administer the test. In addition, students, parents and administrators have complained about the destructive impact the excessive testing and test preparation is having on teaching and learning.


Following the publication of Henderson's comments, the WTU asked members: "How well has the implementation of the new PARCC assessment gone at your school?"


We received more than 230 responses to our survey with 58% of the respondents rating the implementation as going not very well or poorly, and 40% saying very well.   


WTU will continue to seek feedback from members to share with district officials. Members can still participate in this survey by using the link emailed to them earlier this week.  

Members say DCPS PD needs to do

more on PARCC, Common Core, IMPACT


The WTU recently surveyed WTU members on the quality, accessibility and appropriateness of the professional development provided by the school system from August - December 2014. We received close to 300 responses from teachers in schools across all eight wards of the city. A majority of the respondents had attended three or more of the professional development sessions offered by DCPS during the first semester.


Here are some of the key findings:

  • A majority of these sessions were either lectures or lectures followed by breakout sessions, according to those responding to our poll, and very little of it was job embedded (mentoring, coaching), or included hands-on participation.
  • Most of the respondents had to travel from their school to other locations to participate in the professional development sessions. A large number of those polled said they would prefer training using the Internet or distance learning.
  • Most of the respondents gave the PD sessions offered by DCPS an overall grade of "C".
  • Respondents agree that the professional development courses offered by DCPS have had content relevant to their jobs and helped them to do their jobs better and to better help their students in the classroom. However, they disagree that the training has helped prepare them for advancement.
  • Most of the respondents still had not received training on the Common Core State Standards, and over 50% had not had training in PARCC. Most of those that did receive PARCC training gave it a "F" for quality.
  • Respondents gave DCPS a grade of "C" for the quality of its IMPACT training, with a slight majority (27%) saying they had not received any IMPACT training.
School counselor and WTU member
Michele Rucker is an award winner

WTU member Michele Rucker is the winner of Nathaniel E. Hill Award as an outstanding professional school counselor.  An educator with DCPS for 29 years, Ms. Rucker began her career in vocational and career education at Burdick Career Center. Her first counseling job was in the Phelps Alternative Education program. She has also worked as a counselor at Jefferson JHS, Booker T. Washington Public Charter School, Garnet-Patterson MS, Kelly Miller MS, Shaed EC and Brookland School  @ Bunker Hill EC. She is currently a counselor at Woodson STEM SHS.


Ms. Rucker, who will celebrate her 20th anniversary as a school counselor in August, had these responses to the questions we recently posed to her.


What is the primary role of professional school counselors like yourself?

Professional school counselors are dedicated to working on behalf of all DCPS students. We represent the three C's of counseling: committed, caring and creative. A few of the comprehensive services counselors provide are college and career readiness, and personal, social, emotional, and academic counseling. We serve as members of school-based teams, including the principal's leadership team, the crisis team, attendance and student support teams. Counselors analyze school counseling program data to determine the effectiveness of their programs, interventions and initiatives. We use data to show the impact our counseling programs have on attendance, achievement, behavior, suspensions, and other measures of our success.


What are your thoughts on being selected for the Nathaniel E. Hill Award for your outstanding work as a school counselor?

It is an honor to be the recipient of the Nathaniel E. Hill Award. It is awesome to be recognized for my years of dedication on behalf of the students in DC Public Schools and, in particular, my contributions during the last school year. I am grateful for Mr. Hill's legacy as the former DCPS Director of Guidance and Counseling and for those counselors on whose shoulders I stand. There were many counselors who shared with me their best  practices, which I still  continue to use. I believe this quote says it best: "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others." (Pericles)

WTU member Kristen Whitaker is recognized
as one of the country's top high school teachers

A Columbia Heights high school teacher is being recognized as one of the best in the country. Kristen Whitaker, a history and government teacher at Columbia Heights Educational Campus, was named the 2015 Teacher of the Year by the National Center for Families Learning. With support from Toyota, she has been awarded a $20,000 grant to spend on classroom initiatives. "To be acknowledged for something that you just truly love to do is a blessing and a wonderful thing," she said. "I'm still in shock that this award even exists."


Read more