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EDUCATION
JAY MATHEWS
 
America's Most Challenging High Schools: Making the grade

America’s Most Challenging High Schools ranks schools through an index invented by Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews. The index formula is a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school in 2015, divided by the number of graduates that year. Noted in our national and local tables are the percentage of students eligible for government meal subsidies — a common benchmark for poverty — and each school’s average scores on the SAT, a common college entrance exam with a national average of 1497 out of 2400.

Mathews considers college test participation a better measure of school success than test scores, which largely reflect parental income. Schools with ratios of 1.000 or above make the list. The list has grown to include nearly 2,300 schools across the country and more than 180 in the Washington region. It includes some private schools - noted with a (P) - for comparison. Certain public schools with highly selective admissions are omitted from the list, but information about them can be found online, along with full local and national lists, at washingtonpost.com/highschoolchallenge.
REGIONAL RANKINGS
The top 50 Washington-area schools, as ranked. The Washington Post's Jay Mathews. Principal schools are marked with a (p).
RANK

SCHOOL

LOCATION

CHALLENG RATING
MEALS SUBSIDY %
Average SAT score
1.
Washington International (P)
Washington, D.C.6.922n/a1888
2.Winston Churchill
Potomac, md
6.488
41836
3.School Without Walls
Washington, D.C
5.893
201738
4.Washington-Lee
Arlington, VA
5.714
331697
5.Richard Montgomery
Rockville MD
5.469181743
6.
McLean
Fairfax County VA
5.42691852
7.H-B WoodlawnArlingtonVA
5.418181821
8.
Bethesda Chevy Chase
Bethesda MD
5.383121763
9.
Poolesville
Poolesville MD
5.35171886
10.Oakton
Fairfax County VA
5.239131792
11.
Yorktown
Arlington VA
5.165141772
12.
Walt Whitman
Bethesda MD
5.09721872
13.
Quince Orchard
Gaithersburg MD
5.012221624
14.
George Mason
Falls Church VA
4.94171776
15.
Walter Johnson
Bethesda MD
4.63371751
16.
Thomas S. Wootton
Rockville MD
4.55861831
17.
James Madison
Fairfax County VA
4.514101786
18.
Holton-Arms (P)
Bethesda MD
4.431n/a1976
19.
Dominion
Sterling VA
4.411211638
20.
Langley
Fairfax County, VA
4.34621850
21.
Centennial
Ellicott City MD
4.34291797
22.
South River
Edgewater MD
4.310121581
23.
Banneker
Washington, D.C.
4.255651499
24.
Herndon
Herndon VA
4.231391668
25.
Centreville
Fairfax County VA
4.214251672
26.
Indian Creek (P)
Crownsville MD
4.167331689
27.Columbia Heights
Washington, DC
4.144901190
28.
Marriotts Ridge
Marriottsville MD
4.11751773
29.
National Cathedral (P)
Washington, D.C.
4.105n/a
2096
30.
Robinson Secondary
Fairfax County VA
4.097111728
31.
River Hill
Clarksville MD
4.01261788
32.
Georgetown Visitation (P)
Washington DC
4.000n/a
1953
33.
Lake Braddock Secondary School
Fairfax County VA

3.962161692
34.
Annapolis
Annapolis MD  
3.953491388
35.
Severna Park
Severna Park MD
3.91651664
36.
Southern
Harwood MD
3.851251467
37.
Urbana
Ijamsville MD
3.84151640
38.
Broadneck Sr
Annapolis MD
3.808101628
39.
Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart (P)
Bethesda MD
3.785n/a
1838
40.Briar Woods
Ashburn VA
3.75841640
41.
Northwest
Germantown MD
3.733261588
42.
Fairfax
Fairfax VA
3.707271675
43.
West Springfield
Fairfax County VA
3.677131705
44.
W.T. Woodson
Fairfax County VA
3.637111810
45.
Stone Bridge
Ashburn VA  
3.61161666
46.
Eleanor Roosevelt
Greenbelt MD
3.606431536
47.
Tuscarora
Leesburg VA
3.570161601
48.
Osbourn Park
Manassas VA
3.536281569
49.
Chesapeake Science
Point Hanover MD
3.515261615
50.
Loudoun County
Leesburg VA
3.483141614

Education
 
That’s the Idea: Some schools serving low-income students believe in a challenge
By Jay Mathews Columnist April 17 at 2:00 PM


I am having an argument with Erich Martel, an experienced former history teacher in the D.C. schools. He thinks it is wrong for schools to require that all, or nearly all, students take Advanced Placement courses, among the toughest our schools have.

I disagree. My view stems from hundreds of successful teachers I have interviewed who believe lack of progress in U.S. high school achievement is because so little is demanded in most classrooms. The 2016 America’s Most Challenging High Schools list, released this week by The Washington Post, reveals growing numbers of schools that share this opinion and are taking even low-income students much further than before.

Most public schools in the Washington region are in this group. The national list shows only about 10 percent of the nation’s schools meet our definition of challenging, compared with more than 70 percent in this region. Most suburban districts here are involving average students in AP, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge courses and tests on an introductory college level.

D.C. schools also are doing more with AP. The Columbia Heights Educational Campus, a program led by innovative principal Maria Tukeva for 35 years, requires all of its students, mostly from low-income families where English is not the first language, to take AP English. It has made significant gains in the percentage of students passing the three-hour final exams.  Even more startling is the appearance of....click to read more

This undocumented, standout student faces another challenge: Paying for college
By Emma Brown April 11, 2016 at 1:22 PM


Edwin Ordoñez poses for a portrait at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington. Ordoñez, an undocumented 18-year-old high school senior from El Salvador, is a superstar student. (Allison Shelley/For The Washington Post)

Edwin Ordoñez was 9 years old when he and his father swam across the Rio Grande and slipped into this country, the final leg of a long and risky journey from their native El Salvador.

Edwin spoke no English, but he was smart, determined and focused on his education. Nine years after arriving in the United States, he is a standout student poised to graduate as valedictorian of the District’s Bell Multicultural High School.

But his impending graduation — and his quest for higher education and a better life — opened another grueling journey in the past six months. Wanting badly to go to college, he applied to 25 schools, including six in the Ivy League, but those applications came with a serious caveat: He didn’t know whether he’d be able to go, even if accepted. Like many families, his can’t afford much tuition, but unlike most other students, he’s not eligible for federal loans or grants because of his immigration status. Click to read more.....
May 16 - May 20, 2016

IN THIS ISSUE
Focus on Instruction
Leadership Team and Other Updates
Shout Outs
Opportunities and Updates
Ambiente, creating a climate for learning
Sports - Griffins Update!
Thought for the Week
Weekly Calendar
Upcoming Events and Activities
SPORTS UPDATE - LAST WEEK'S RESULT

Congratulations to the boy’s rugby team.  The team defeated The Heights in the semifinals of the playoffs.  Now the boy’s rugby team will face Landon in the championship.

Congratulations to the high school softball for qualifying for the state tournament.

Congratulations also goes out to Xavier Boone and Alida Angafor for qualifying for the state tennis tournament.  The state tournament takes place this week.  MS BSOC defeated Stuart Hobson.  MS GSOC lost to Stuart Hobson.  HS SB defeated HD Woodson.  HS BB defeated Eastern and Cardozo.  HS Tennis defeated Roosevelt but lost to Cardozo.
 
TEAM RECORDS

Lincoln
BB 2 – 2
SB 3 – 1
BSOC 3 – 0
GSOC 1 – 2

Bell
HS SB 5 – 2
HS BB 7 – 4
Boys Rugby 4 – 1
Tennis 3 – 2

THIS WEEK'S SPORTS SCHEDULE  

Monday
MS BB vs. Hart at 4:00 @ Ft. Greble
Tennis State Tournament at 3:30 @ SETLC

Tuesday
Tennis vs. Wilson @ 4:00 @ Ft. McNair

Wednesday
MS BB vs. Hardy at 4:00 @ Maury Wills
HS SB vs. Sidwell Friends at 5:00 @ Sidwell Friends (State Tournament)

Thursday
HS BB vs. Phelps at 4:00 @ Kelly Miller
MS GSOC vs. Oyster Adams at 4:30 @ CHEC
Boys Rugby vs. Landon at 5:00 @ Landon (Championship)

Friday
MS BB make-up game TBD

Saturday
No Games
 
UPCOMING EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES



    ENDING STRONG

    The testing season has presented many challenges to the continuity of instruction, and we thank all teachers for striving to maintain focus on your curriculum and projects! As we enter the last five weeks of the year, we can help students and ourselves to feel a sense of accomplishment and focus, by focusing on the big higher order questions of your course.  This is what will allow students to synthesize and make sense of their learning this year. Try opening and closing your class with one of your course essential questions.  Use the higher order question stems to formulate questions that will help students make connections – for example, “How do the concepts (name the concepts) we learned in unit one, relate to the new concepts (name the concepts) in our current unit?”

    Or, “Evaluate the GRASPS we have done so far this advisory – which one was the most personally interesting to you, and how does it relate to your future career?”

    Through opening and closing class in this way, you are also preparing students to speak authentically during their final portfolio presentations this year!

    ASSESSMENT SEASON CONTINUES

    AP is complete, PARCC is almost complete, and now we continue with ACCESS for ELL’s, Agile Mind, I Ready and SRI.

    The multitude of required assessments, as well as technology requirements has meant that we need to consistently adjust to make sure we are testing 100% of students.  The end of the year calendar has been adjusted again to reflect where we stand today in terms of assessments.  Please review the revised calendar carefully, and use this as you plan the remainder of the school year.   Thank you in advance for your flexibility!

    PLANNING FORWARD

    An important part of ending the year is reflecting on our curriculum and planning for improvements in the coming year. Every summer, CHEC holds a Curriculum Development Institute, during which teachers are paid to refine and develop curriculum for the coming year. The institute provides professional development in UbD and other design methods, as well as extensive time to work on big idea templates, GRASPS, assessments and exemplars, and to receive feedback in order to refine the products. We also incorporate gallery walks by students and parents to get feedback on the relevance and rigor of the projects designed. The description and application for CDI are attached below in the links. Please read it over and see if there are any times you can participate.  It is an excellent opportunity to get a head start on the new year, and reduce last minute planning!

    GALA TIME!!

    The CHEC Scholarship Gala is this Thursday, May 19th at the nearby Embassy of Italy. There are still some tickets available - the CHEC staff price is $75 for you, and $75 for a +1. The event has free valet parking and a truly amazing silent auction. Come out to celebrate and support our many 2016 scholars. Please contact Robin Winer, Room A110, ext. 5007, robin.winer@dc.gov for tickets and/or further details.

    CHEC IS SELECTED TO THE LENOVO SCHOLAR NETWORK

    We are excited to announce CHEC’s selection for the 2016-2017 Lenovo Scholar Network. The program, now in its third year, provides select NAF academies across the country with a comprehensive mobile application development curriculum, promoting critical thinking, team building and analytical skills needed to create the next generation of developers and innovators.  CHEC is one of 50 NAF academies selected to participate in the Lenovo Scholar Network during the 2016-2017 academic year.   



NEW SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAM OFFERS EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR DCPS STUDENTS
By Kellye Lynn, ABC 7 | Wednesday, May 25th 2016



WASHINGTON (ABC7) — The library at Columbia Heights Education Campus in Northwest Washington was transformed into a job fair on Wednesday. Students came with one purpose. Kimoni Stephens is a 17-year-old junior at the school and explained, "We are here interviewing for internships over the summer."

The program offers 500 paid internships to DC Public School (DCPS) students with a range of employers from the Washington Nationals to the White House. Maria Tukeva is the principal of Columbia Heights and told ABC 7 News, "It's an amazing experience for young people to have a paid internship in their 11th grade year because that will help them in their 12th grade year to keep even more focus. It will help them realize if this is the career they want to go into as well."

The participating students are enrolled in the National Academy Foundation Career Academies at DCPS. Their curriculum has prepared them for this special day. "We're learning how to present yourself in public. We're learning how to act on an interview and handle certain situations," Stephens said.

Kajuan Centeno knows what he wants out of his future. "I want to be a hotel owner or entrepreneur," he confidently stated. Before the 17-year-old does that, he must secure his first job. "It's going great. They asked me some very good questions. They liked the attitude that I have, so I think it's going really well," he shared.

Von Iyengar, an internship coordinator with Courtyard Mariott agreed. "These kids have so many big dreams. When I ask them questions, 'What do you want to be?' They say, 'I want to own a hotel.' One of them even told me today. So that for them is so great and we are only here to support them."
WE HAVE A RECOGNITION! CHEC HAS THREE TRACHTENBERG SCHOLARS – A HISTORIC FIRST



March 17, 2016 - Last week, the President of George Washington University, and George Washington himself, came with a huge surprise for three CHEC seniors.  Carlos Lopez Sanchez, Lisa Le, and MD Ahammed, won the Steven Trachtenberg scholarship, a four year, full ride scholarship to George Washington University.   The three students and their family members were overwhelmed with joy when they received the scholarship news from Dr. Steven Knapp, President of the University.  The 3 CHEC students join seven others from DCPS in winning the scholarship.  According to Dr. Knapp, this is the first time he can remember three scholarship winners from one school alone in the same year.

We salute these students for their embodiment of pride, poise of perseverance; each of them worked relentlessly, and are truly deserving of the life changing award.  Congratulations to all of the teachers, counselors and administrators who have touched their lives and encouraged them on their journey. This is the kind of event that makes our mission come to life, and proves that if we can dream it, we can achieve it.




STEPHANIE O'SULLIVAN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE VISITS CHEC

December 9, 2015 - CHEC students were delighted to receive Director O'Sullivan at the school and to learn firsthand about the wide range of available career opportunities in the intelligence community. Ms. O'Sullivan, who holds the most senior position of any woman in the U.S. intelligence community, spoke movingly about her personal narrative and aspirations as a young student interested in the sciences in the small town of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Ms. O'Sullivan strongly encouraged our students to consider pursuing STEM related careers and to aspire to work for one of the sixteen different federal agencies that she oversees. The agencies are currently looking to expand their ranks by hiring more women and minorities. Accompanying Director O'Sullivan was CHEC's very own Berta Gonzales (Class of '08) who spoke passionately about her time at CHEC, college and working in the intelligence community.




CHEC'S CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER AWARDED HIGHEST LEVEL OF ACCREDITATION


November 23, 2015 – Congratulations to Director Ana Ayala, and the entire staff of the Bell Teen Parent Child Development Center! Our program has achieved a new, five-year term of NAEYC Accreditation by successfully completing the renewal process. The administration, teaching staff, and families of Bell Teen Parent Child Development Center are all to be congratulated for continuing to uphold the mark of quality represented by the NAEYC Accreditation system. The process was extremely rigorous, and involved site visits, and ratings on the ten NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards. Please congratulate Ms. Ayala, her staff and the Bell Babies on this wonderful achievement!!!

DC PUBLIC SCHOOLS AWARDS NEARLY $1.7 MILLION TO SCHOOLS IN EMPOWERING MALES OF COLOR INNOVATION GRANTS


January 28, 2016 - Today, DC Public Schools (DCPS) awarded nearly $1.7 million dollars in innovation grants to 16 schools across the city as part of the Empowering Males of Colors (EMOC) initiative. The Empowering Males of Color Innovation Grants will improve academic and social outcomes for young males of color by focusing on academic development, family engagement, and social-emotional supports. “The schools receiving the Empowering Males of Color Innovation Grants have demonstrated a strong commitment to partnerships and innovative ideas that will help our young men of color excel,” said Eugene Pinkard, Jr., Deputy Chief of School Turnaround and Performance at DC Public Schools.  

“I am thrilled that so many schools took this challenge to build innovative programs and supports for our young men of color,” said Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public Schools. “With these targeted programs, we will see more of them reach graduation and be prepared for college and beyond.”

The EMOC Innovation Grants recipients are:
  • Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC) ($225,000) will create a multipronged initiative that includes expanded trauma-informed care services, gang and violence prevention sessions, mentoring, and a unified approach to bonding for males of color. (Click to read more)

D.C. friends win Gates scholarships,
will have college costs covered
By Michael Alison Chandler May 1, 2015 at 12:01 AM


Fernando Umanzor and Abreham Gebre have lived parallel lives. Both came to the United States when they were 4, one from El Salvador, the other from Ethi­o­pia. They grew up attending D.C. public schools, striving to learn English while their parents worked hourly-wage jobs in office buildings, restaurants or hotels and pushed... (click for more)

Charles Brooks can’t be stopped in Bell’s last-second win over Eastern
By Mark Giannotto October 16, 2015


Considering Bell’s Charles Brooks and Eastern’s Jarome Johnson traded highlights all night long, it only seemed right that the one with the ball last would strike the decisive blow. Except Brooks, the area’s leading rusher entering Friday, ended this thrilling rematch of  (click for more)



At D.C. School, 1,300 Students Stopped to Discuss Ferguson


By: Martin Austermuhle, WAMU
September 11, 2014


On any normal Friday, students in Joe Talarico's AP English Literature at the Columbia Heights Education Campus could expect to discuss Antigone or The Great Gatsby. But on the Friday before the Labor Day weekend, they were asked to reflect on something different: the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. 


And it wasn't just them: over 1,300 students across the campus, which encompasses a middle and high school, were asked to do the same. Whether in (click for more)



CHEC Receives Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC) Planning Grant

April 28, 2014 –
CityBridge Foundation, in partnership with Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC), announced that Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC) was among an exclusive group of schools to receive a Breakthrough Schools: D.C. planning grant. Breakthrough Schools: D.C. is part of a national initiative called "NGLC Regional Funds for Breakthrough Schools." The Breakthrough Schools: D.C. competition was first announced in fall 2013 to encourage (click for more)



In a City Desperate for Good Middle Schools, One May Be Hiding in Plain Sight

Sam Chaltain
Posted:

Like a lot of cities, Washington, D.C., frets about its middle schools -- or lack thereof.

Just over a year ago, then-Councilwoman Muriel Bowser introduced a resolution calling on the city to improve its middle schools or risk continuing to lose its schoolchildren to the suburbs, private schools, or the rapidly growing charter sector. Earlier this year, in her inauguration speech as D.C.'s newest mayor, she reiterated the point: "If you stay united with me," she promised, "we'll transform our middle schools."

Bowser is right to place the (click for more)

CHEC is the #1 non-select school in the DMV
Overall CHEC is #3 in DC and #34 in the region.


Washington, DC, April 8, 2014:
Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC), home to Bell Multicultural High and Lincoln Multicultural Middle Schools, is once again one of DC’s most academically challenging institutions according to The Washington Post's annual rankings.  CHEC is #3 overall in the District and #34 in the metro area when compared to other public schools and public charter schools.  

CHEC has held the position of 34, which is in the top 19% on the index, for the past 3 years.  CHEC is ranked 291 out of 2025 of the top high schools nationally, which is in the top 14% of this exclusive grouping of schools. What is even (click for more)

Principal Maria Tukeva receives
2014 In Her Honor Award




March 25, 2014,
in a ceremony at Howard University, CHEC’s very own Maria Tukeva was a distinguished recipient of the
2014 In Her Honor award from The Emergence Community Arts Collective. The award recognized Maria for making history through an enduring legacy of activism and excellence in the field of education. This grassroots award celebrates significant contributions to (click for more)


D.C.’s Hospitality High to convert from charter to traditional school
By Emma Brown, Published: April 28

Leaders of Hospitality High, a D.C. charter school backed by some of the Washington area’s largest hotel companies, have decided to relinquish their charter to join the city’s traditional school system.  The unusual move - it is the first time a D.C. charter school has converted into a traditional school — allows Hospitality to avoid potential closure by the D.C. Public Charter School Board, which is responsible for approving new charters and closing those that underperform. "Our choice to merge with D.C. Public Schools was in the best interest of our students and the commitment that we’ve made to the District of Columbia to expose them to the wonderful industry that is hospitality (click for more)

First Lady Michelle Obama returns to CHEC to tell students: 'My story can be your story'


IN A SLOW RECOVERY, MAKING A LIVING IN THE ARTS TAKES CREATIVITY








By Idit Knaan


When 37-year-old Raquis Petree walks into the Columbia Heights Education Center on a recent Monday, he is the man of the hour. Fellow teachers and staff holler “Great job” and offer warm handshakes. Everyone he runs into seem to be in agreement: Friday’s show, the
(click for more)

Krishunda Pennn is selected to share teacher insights on BetterLesson.com

June 6, 2013 - BetterLesson selects 8th grade Math instructor,  Ms. Krishunda Penn, as one of 14 new Master Teachers in thecountry who will share their teaching insights and experiences through the BetterLesson site.
The Master Teachers were selected for their exceptional mathematical knowledge, unique ability to illuminate math for their students, as well as leadership in their schools and community. They are an inspiring, dedicated group who are eager to help teachers around the country make the leap to the Common Core.

I’m thrilled to collaborate with teachers across the country to create and share lessons that will help students meet the Common Core Standards!” - Ms. Penn (click for more)

Congratulations to Chris Best,
Rubenstein Award Winner!!



The Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Faculty is one of the District of Columbia Public School’s top honors, and the selection process is very competitive. Chris Best, the Custodial Foreman at Columbia Heights Educational Campus received a Rubenstein Award for 2013-2014 and this well-deserved recognition reflects his lasting impact on our school. Mr. Best is one of only two support staff city-wide to receive this honor - it was said by the DCPS nominating committee that "he stood out among the many candidates as an outstanding asset to DCPS." (click for more)

 
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