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Developing High School Cohorts in Washington DC

This fall the Algebra Project and the Young Peoples’ Project were invited to Washington by Courtland Cox to explore working in DC public schools. Courtland Cox is a long time resident of the District and a veteran of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

The AP and YPP have engaged in a series of meetings with the Mayor Elect Vincent Gray, the City Council Chairman Elect Kwame Brown, City Council member Michael Brown, the faculty at Howard University, the leadership of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Ms. Kaya Henderson the Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), members of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and many persons from the business and local community.

On November 30th, Principal Thomas Whittle and H.D. Woodson Senior High School faculty hosted a “Math Family Night Out.” Students, parents and community members joined in the project’s Flagway Game—an exciting and alternative way for students to develop number sense. A six-month AP teacher PD workshop series will begin in January 2011, in preparation for a Summer 2011 student and teacher institute in July, and for in-school implementation of the project beginning with the Class of 2015 next fall.

Meanwhile, in early December Bob Moses responded to interest organized by the mathematics department chair Karen Wingfield at Ballou Senior High School, and began collaborating with teacher Amadou Khay Smart and his students who are repeating Algebra I. AP Director of PD Bill Crombie and YPP National Co-Director Omo Moses, and YPP Site Coordinator Sharayna Rolle also are contributing to plans for a Cohorts Model tailored to the needs of DC Public School students and teachers.

The AP and YPP understand that a broader coalition is needed to design and implement a successful implementation in Washington, DC. Toward that end, we also are in continuing dialogue with potential partners, including the American Federation of Teachers; Math for America-Washington, DC; Howard University Education and Mathematics Depts.; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the Mathematics Dept. of the University of the District of Columbia; and others.

Generous support from the newly created SNCC Legacy Project, Courtland Cox, local Minority business leaders and Joan Wynne, together with the involvement of AP Board members Jim Donaldson, BJ Walker and LaDon James, all have been critical to the early success of this preliminary phase of work in DC.

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