DCPS Report: Little Opening Day Drama
Compared to the fiascoes of year's past, most of D.C.'s 127 public schools had uncommonly quiet openings last month, according to a report released this evening by Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's office.
There were no major scheduling snafus and just a smattering of teacher vacancies when classes began on Aug. 24. Most of the schools that had undergone summer renovation and construction were good to go. All but two (Hart Middle and Miner Elementary) had their kitchens and cafeterias up and running.
"Our students and teachers were able to arrive at school and focus on learning from day one unlike previous years when drama often overshadowed the first day of school," said the ten-page study.
Still, there were enough kinks to leave plenty of room for improvement. Nearly half of the 22 schools that were supposed to offer Read 180, a self-paced computerized program for kids reading below grade level, weren't able to. Either they didn't have enough computers because they were ordered late, or there were classrooms with what the report called "limited Internet connectivity."
Twenty classrooms across thirteen schools were without air conditioning, including Anacostia, Ballou and Banneker high schools, Eliot-Hine Middle School and Ludlow-Taylor, Thomas and Tyler elementary schools. Anacostia was also short 92 geometry textbooks. Dunbar had textbook issues as well. And while there were only 28 teacher vacancies, ten of those were for special education instructors. Kelly-Miller Middle School and Hyde Elementary began the year without special education coordinators.
The report also noted that it does not oversee bus service for special education students, which has been plagued by problems. The bus operation, which is supposed to take about 4,000 special needs kids to schools throughout the region, has left scores of them late or sitting at home because of bugs in the new routing software it installed this summer.
DCPS said that while the buses are under the jurisdiction of court-appointed administrator David Gilmore, it will "continue to pursue available options that enable DCPS students to arrive on time each day to school."
You can read the report here
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