Next time you’re visiting IDEA, be sure to look closely at the walls! On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, IDEA hosted 150 volunteers, coordinated by City Year DC, to help add inspiration and spirit to our building. We are grateful to everyone who came out to paint! We now have a Timberwolves mural in our gym and inspirational quotes in every hallway to help promote school pride. We are especially thankful to parents who came out to support our project. This day of service was part of an initiative between DC Public Schools and the DC Public Charter School Board to promote more collaboration among public and charter schools. At the opening ceremony for the day, we heard from DC Public Schools Chancellor Dr. Lewis Ferebee and Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray. IDEA is proud to serve the Ward 7 community and beyond.
Just as we’re improving our facility, we’re also working to strengthen our scholars’ and families’ commitment to being in school, on time, every day. We are teaching lessons about the importance of coming to class consistently and promptly, and providing parents with timely updates around their scholar’s attendance. This week we implemented a new daily bell schedule, making advisory at the start of our day. The school day still begins at 8:25, with students expected to arrive by 8:15 in order to be seated in advisory when the bell rings. Advisory period is just as critical to your child’s education as any other class. Advisory is when students receive targeted intervention to make sure they are working at grade level, and when juniors and seniors take free SAT preparation classes. All of us at IDEA are working hard to instill a love of learning and the value of education in our scholars, but we need our scholars, their families, and our community to come together to make this happen.
Not only do we demand excellence from our scholars, but we also require our teachers and staff to do their best to grow as educators. To this end, we recently completed our mid-year teacher portfolio presentations--just like we did with scholar portfolios. Teachers and school leaders went through the process of reflecting on their commitment to IDEA’s instructional principles and on their contributions to the school community. The school wide portfolio process motivates staff and scholars to take initiative and strive for continued growth. Teachers understand what it means to be an innovative teacher and we help them access the tools they need to succeed. I am proud of our staff and our scholars on their thoughtful self-reflection during this process!
We also invited the Danielson Group--an educational consulting firm--to spend time in every IDEA classroom observing the quality of teaching and learning. While we are awaiting their official report, evaluators told us that our staff is dedicated and our scholars are engaged. We look forward to receiving their detailed recommendations so we can continue to improve as a school community.
Engaged families are also essential to the growth and development of our community. We are thrilled to be seeing so many parents attend our parent boosters and parent engagement events, coordinated by our clinical staff. We had a great turnout at our January dinner and have scheduled several more events this school year. We are also conducting a parent survey to learn more about the needs of IDEA families. Please complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HYZL52
As always, we welcome your suggestions for improvement and appreciate your willingness to support what we do at IDEA.Yours,