D.C. schools with a significant share of struggling students are receiving an infusion of money, part of a campaign to bridge achievement gaps in the District.
The venture, called Excellence through Equity, sent a total of $2.6 million from the District to the city’s 115 public schools, according to D.C. Public Schools. The largest sums went to schools with the greatest concentration of students receiving low scores on college and career readiness tests.
“We are doubling down on our efforts to build a system that is focused on both excellence and equity — a system that meets the needs of all families and sets every student, in every school, up for success,” Mayor Muriel E. Boswer (D) said in a statement.
Schools can use the awards — which ranged from $95,250 for Columbia Heights Educational Campus to less than $1,000 at eight schools — to address attendance, math and literacy instruction, or social emotional learning, which aims to help students gain skills to understand and manage emotions. Aside from those guidelines, schools are free to design programs as they see fit.
The freedom allows schools to “innovate and provide the programming that best supports their unique school situation and population,” said Michelle Lerner, a spokeswoman for the D.C. public schools.
At Brightwood Education Campus, which received $62,500, money will be put toward professional development and staff training in social and emotional development at the Ward 4 school, according to the school system.
Other programs include math and literacy clubs at Stuart-Hobson Middle School and after-school tutoring at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.
Funding for schools was determined by the concentration of students who last school year received a 1 or 2, which denotes that a student did not meet or partially met expectations, on Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessments — widely known by the acronym PARCC.
As part of a five-year plan detailed by D.C. Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson in September, the school district will embark on getting all K-2 students up to reading level, narrowing the achievement gap and ensuring that students are challenged and prepared.
The latest initiative, Lerner said, aligns with those priorities.
“It’s really the direction we want to go,” she said.