WTU News and Information 
April 8, 2015
WTU Happy Hour & Evening with Endorsed Candidates


5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Busboys and Poets
625 Monroe St NE
 Washington, DC 20017

(Brookland Location)

Great Conversation,  
Free Food & Drink





Tuesday, April 21, 2015 

4:30 - 6:30 pm 

McKinley Tech


Calling All Bilingual

& ESL Teachers!

Special contract action segment on working conditions for bilingual teachers and teachers of English Language Learners.


-- OSSE Presentation on licensure

and recertification requirements

(Bring your certification questions)


-- Local school union elections

training for all current and

future local school union leaders


-- Find out more on DCPS Drug

and Alcohol Testing policy 


Mobilization May Kickoff!

 Time to reclaim our members   


During the meeting, building reps can pickup membership status lists and recruitment tools for 2nd annual membership campaign in May.

Learn about great incentives!


  In celebration of our one year union building anniversary,

enjoy the world's favorite

noodle dishes from  

Noodles & Company!



Wednesday, April 22  

@ WTU Offices

5 - 7 pm


On April 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 endorsed by the union in the D.C. City Council races in Wards 4 and 8. The phone banks will be proceeded by a short training.



 IMPACT TEACH 7 Support: Questioning Beyond Bloom
Saturday, April 25, 2015
WTU Teacher Center
1239 Penn. Ave. SE
 9 am - 1 pm
Free, Participants earn 4 PLUs

Dianne Moore Williams (Whittier EC)

Whether or not you have been told that your questions are "low level" or
lack rigor" and tried to use Bloom's Taxonomy to dispute the charge,
this session is for you.
Leave the session being able to:
1. Defend your questioning practices;
2. Ask purposeful, better crafted questions; and
3. Use research to inform your questioning practices. Teacher
Materials for Teach 7

Participants must bring:
ˇ Common Core Standards
ˇ DCPS Unit Plans
ˇ Additional Resources related to the Unit Theme
ˇ 2 Complex texts used for Close Reading
ˇ Technology Intergration
ˇ PARCC Question Stems
ˇ Bloom Question stems


DCPS Snow Days Makeup


DCPS has announced the following schedule to make up for the two days

lost to snow: 

  • Monday, May 18, which was a parent/teacher conference day is now a full instructional day for students. Principals will work with teachers, students and families to find alternative ways to discuss a student's progress and status as needed and/or requested.

  • Thursday, June 18, which was a half-day for students, will now be a full instructional day.

  • Friday, June 19, will now be a half-day for students and will be the last day of school.

See the letter sent to parents

and families 


For more information: dcps.hranswers@dc.gov

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.

Learn more about the WTU Sick/Maternity/
Paternity Leave Banks
  on the
Leave bank enrollees should plan ahead when possible as the application process takes three weeks to complete.


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. Stay abreast of the latest WTU events, activities an news at the new and improved WTU Facebook page.


to "Like Us" on Facebook

Quick Links
President's Message
A transparent, solution-driven
bargaining process with
member involvement

WTU President Elizabeth Davis

In recent weeks, some of you have contacted the union with questions about the status of contract negotiations. You are rightfully concerned about the slow pace of negotiations. And so is your union.  Be assured that the WTU is doing all that it can to get DCPS to speed up the process, including submitting a proposed negotiations schedule.  


I also want to assure you that negotiating a new contract that recognizes and values your role in building a first-class school system--an agreement that sets the stage for improving teaching and learning in schools across our city--is your union's top priority.


Under my leadership, we've taken a very different approach to contract negotiations than that taken by previous WTU administrations. From the outset, we've sought to be as transparent as possible and to involve as many of you in the process as possible. We've done this by making sure active teachers are well represented on the bargaining team and by engaging members at delegate assembly meetings around various contract proposals.


Our bargaining team has also met with groups of members, such as athletic trainers, counselors, social workers, librarians, special education teachers, early childhood educators, and National Board Certified Teachers, to vet new proposed contract language related to these areas.

And we will continue to do that throughout the process.


In the past, members were only engaged when it came time for them to vote on the contract.


We are also working to make sure the community, the city council and members of the State Board of Education are aware of the contract language that the union is proposing because we believe that our solution-driven proposals are good for both students and staff--and a positive step toward the goal of giving all of our kids equal access to a high-quality education.


The WTU has also taken the lead in initiating a more thorough and thoughtful process called "interest-based bargaining." We brought the idea of "interest-based bargaining" to Chancellor Henderson and DCPS lead negotiator Jason Kamras and they agreed to it.


Negotiating a contract is challenging and time-consuming work. Attached is a FAQ with responses to many of the questions received from members. 


But be assured that your bargaining team will remain intact and fully engaged until that process is completed and we reach a settlement that members like yourself feel comfortable ratifying.


In solidarity,

Liz Davis 


WTU leadership institute provides opportunity

for training and to weigh-in on contract proposals 


More than 50 educators were on hand for the WTU's Union Leadership Institute at Ballou HS on March 28 where attendees had the opportunity to participate in training sessions on IMPACT, the school system's teacher evaluation system, and discuss some of the contractual issues that teachers are confronted with on a regular basis. There was also a presentation on the DCPS FY2016 budget and the concerns and questions that teachers have raised about the budget process. 


The institute opened with Pres. Elizabeth Davis sharing her ongoing concern about the school system's teacher evaluation system IMPACT, which she said is "having a devastating effect on teacher morale, teacher retention." She also noted that DCPS can't continue to "ignore the reality that some students haven't made the academic gains that have been promised since 2008."


WTU general vice president Candi Peterson provided information on the upcoming local school elections for teacher representatives to school-based committees such as the Local School Advisory Team. She stressed the importance of teachers serving on these committees to ensure they have a voice in decisions made at their schools.

The institute ended with participants being given an opportunity to hear about and weigh in on some of the proposals being discussed by the WTU and DCPS during contract negotiations.


Here is the school-by-school initial budget allocations   


Here is the DCPS response to budget questions from the WTU and its members 


Send any additional budget questions to Chris Rinkus, DCPS deputy chief of enrollment: christopher.rinkus@dc.gov  

Hold a local union election and have a voice in your school

Local school elections due by May 31


The union committees and local school union leadership roles established in the WTU contract gives you a voice in your school. Elections for the Building Representative, the School Chapter Advisory Committee, Personnel Committee and Representative/Delegate Assembly should be held in May.  


Teachers at schools that don't hold elections are unable to fully participate in resolving local school issues, and don't have input when critical decisions are made about their local school budget, excessing, hiring, etc.


Here's a packet with additional information about

local school elections and the necessary forms


Survey shows WTU's Shared Vision

conference was a hit with teachers 

Watch a video of the conference highlights 

WTU's Shared Vision Conference was a major success with more than 200 teachers, parents, elected leaders and members of the community in 


attendance. A survey of 140 teachers who attended the Feb. 21 conference and were

issued Professional Learning Units affirms its success.


Ninety percent of the respondents "strongly agreed" that they were satisfied with the conference. In addition, 85% found conference handouts "engaging and useful" and 87% of those surveyed said the workshops were "well-planned and interactive."


Here are some of the other results:

  • Eighty-seven percent said the content an strategies they learned during the conference would be "useful in my work."
  • Ninety-two percent said they would recommend next year's conference to colleagues.
  • Ninety-two percent found the conference's atmosphere "enthusiastic, interesting and conducive to a collegial professional exchange."

We hope you can join us for our third Annual Shared Vision Conference scheduled for Saturday, February 20, 2016. Save-the-date!


Best practices of high-performing schools is shared

at international conference attended by Pres. Davis

Supporting the teaching profession is focus of gathering in Canada 


WTU President Elizabeth Davis was in Canada, March 29-30, for the 5th International Summit on the Teaching. Dedicated to supporting the teaching profession and enhancing its status around the world, the summit drew over 400 educators from 17 countries.  


The international summit brings together education ministers and leaders of teachers' unions and associations from a number of high-performing and rapidly improving education systems, according to results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), to discuss education policy and practice and the teaching profession.


For Pres. Davis, the gathering was an opportunity to learn more about the best practices of the highest performing school districts in the world and to hear from experts on education like Linda Darling-Hammond. "There are data-driven, researched best practices for teaching and learning, and it's important that we know what they are if we're going to turn around our low performing schools here in D.C.," said Davis.


The role that teacher collaboration and leadership play in those countries with high performing schools was a major focus of this year's summit. "Involving teachers and listening to their voices are key ingredients in the success of the best school systems-both nationally and internationally," Davis noted.


Go here to see the summit's program 


Nominations for WTU election committee, delegates to

the Md./DC AFL-CIO convention and the AFT convention


In accordance with the WTU constitution and by-laws, the union will soon be conducting elections for the Elections Committee, delegates to the Maryland/DC AFL-CIO Convention, and delegates to AFT Convention.


At the link below, you will find a letter from the chair of the WTU Elections Committee, as well as additional information about these elections, including eligibility, term of office, deadlines and nominating petitions.

OSSE event offers more than 100 workshops
on a wide range of educational issues

Registration is open for the final 2014-15 LEA Institute, "It Takes a City: DC Does it Best!", to be held May 1-2, 2015, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown Washington, DC.

DC public school and public charter school teachers, administrators, service providers, parents and families are invited to attend this exciting two-day event.  During the institute, participants will select from over 100 workshop sessions on topics including:
  • Instruction and the Common Core
  • STEM and the Next Generation Science Standards
  • Positive Behavior Supports
  • Special Education
  • English Language Learners
  • Educator Effectiveness
  • Early Childhood
  • Parent and Family Engagement (including sessions for parents/families, as well as LEA staff)
Participants will receive OSSE Professional Learning Units (PLUs)
for workshop attendance.

Register HERE

Empower DC releases internal
DCPS school closure e-mails


In March 2013, Empower DC and its members filed a lawsuit to block the closure of 15 DC public schools.

Although the injunction being sought, which would have stopped the closures entirely, was blocked, the judge allowed the lawsuit to move forward on several counts, including Empower DC's claim of disparate racial impact.  The closures ultimately displaced 2,642 children, of which only 2 were white.


As part of the "discovery" phase of the lawsuit, Empower DC received thousands of internal DCPS emails related to school closures and had the opportunity to question under oath four high-level DCPS officials, including Chancellor Kaya Henderson.


These emails show how external, education privatization organizations are having a significant influence on DC education policy behind the scenes, in particular pushing for closures, the rise of charter schools, etc. 


Among the many emails that stood out to us are:


1) An exchange between Chancellor Kaya Henderson and former Mayor Vincent Gray dismissing Ward 8 advocates and residents (Bates #007037)


2) An email from Peter Weber, DCPS Chief of Strategy, to Chancellor Kaya Henderson about setting up a "straw man" (definition:  a fake argument set up to be defeated) for school closures (Bates #001233)


3) An email from Chancellor Kaya Henderson dismissing the federal Department of Education and Empower DC's concerns about the discriminatory impact of school closures (Bates #002579)


Follow this link to all of the individual emails


Follow this link to the merged emails for easier searching