Bulletin-8-28-2017 - CHEC BULLETIN

Go to content

Thank you to all for a very smooth and motivating first week of school! Instructional Superintendent David Pinder visited classes, and was extremely pleased and excited about what he saw – content focused lessons, students engaged, and teachers inspiring their students. He also noted what a positive climate there was!

Now that we are in week two, and we have completed diagnostics, looked at PARCC data, and found out more about our students, we can focus fully on content.  As a project and portfolio based school, we plan backwards from our portfolio projects, and get them engaged in their learning from day 1. When students know what the ultimate product is (exemplar), and how it will be assessed (rubric), they are empowered to take charge of their learning, increasing engagement.  Even though students may not initially know how to do what is expected on the GRASPS, they can begin to analyze where their strengths and weaknesses are, and become self directed learners.  The essential questions and global themes are excellent ways to develop “intellectually curious scholars.”

So let’s jump in, share those questions and themes, and have students read and analyze the GRASPS, exemplar and rubric, so they can get started on those projects!


  • Shout Out to Ms. Pugh for coordinating a great week for our Cat Island Exchange students!! Kudos to Mr. Heber Diaz and Ms. Hartwill for assisting with the activities!!
  • Shout Out to all faculty and staff for a great first week of school!!!
  • Kudos to our Dream Dean Team for focusing on climate and culture right away!!
  • Shout out to our ADVANC Team for a great week one of instruction in our extended day for ELL’s!!!
  • Shout out to all members of the admin team for organizing student town halls and orientations!!


The results of the 2017 PARCC indicate areas to celebrate and build on, and others to intensify our efforts in.  The performance in all grade levels improved over the previous year. All subgroups (ELL, SPED, and Economically Disadvantaged) improved as well, although there are still significant gaps between the subgroups and the overall population. We also had dramatic reductions in the number of students receiving low scores (levels 1 and 2).  As CHEC is a grade 6-12 institution, it is often compared to other high schools. In that context, out of 22 high schools in total, the scale of improvement in Math gains ranks #3 out of 22 schools and in ELA gains #6 out of 22 schools.

Some key highlights and celebrations are:

ELA scores rose 5% overall (for the second consecutive year), from 19% Proficient and Advanced to 23% Proficient and Advanced!

CHEC had these grade improvements in ELA:
  • 6th Grade up 2.5%
  • 8th Grade up 9.6%
  • 9th and 10th Grade up 8.8%

Math scores rose overall from 5% Proficient and Advanced to 13.8% Proficient and Advanced

CHEC had these grade improvements in Math:
  • 6th Grade up 11.5%
  • 8th Grade up 3.6%
  • 9th and 10th Grade up 10.7%
  • African American students overall increased by 11.6% in Math and 4% in ELA

In coming PARCC updates, we will highlight specific areas of need, as well as our strategies for improvement.  Please share any ideas or strategies you have!
August 28, 2017 - September 1, 2017

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

In the fall, we have High School and Middle School Football, High School and Middle School Boys and Girls Soccer, and HS and Middle School Girls Volleyball, as well as Cross Country.  Please come out and support the teams.  The schedule will be published soon!
HS GSOC vs. Capital City PCS at
Riggs LaSalle @ 4:00

HS GSOC vs. Washington International at
CHEC @ 4:00

No Games

HS BSOC vs. Washington International at Washington International @ 5:30

HS FB vs. Dunbar at Dunbar @ 6:00

No Games
No SLC Meeting

SLC Morning Meeting

Department Meetings

AOHT Orientation Assembly at 10:30am
Department Meetings

No Meetings
Back to School Night 9-11am & 6-8pm

CHEC Latin Jazz Ensemble Performance
2017 AEP Annual Convening at the
Mayflower Hotel (read more)

Greetings from Sewanee,

We know that school starts tomorrow but for us it started a week ago! Library life has been real since then; grinding hours AFTER CLOSING! We still carry ourselves as Griffins with pride, poise and perseverance and with a plus around here social justice tends to be a hot topic among numerous discussions. Classes could not go any smoother without the items we have learned at Bell and we sincerely mean that. We will see everyone back in December.



The Instructional Calendar has been distributed to all through a link that was emailed. This week we will reinforce routines and rituals, analyse the diagnostics, and ensure the introduction of GRASPS I.   It is important, as well as motivating to students, to have them read and interact with the GRASPS at the beginning of the unit.  It then becomes the starting point for the unit and the standards based instructional process.

We are still focusing on our schoolwide levers for Instruction identified by researcher Mike Shmoker:

  • A clear and viable curriculum (UbD)
  • 120 minutes of reading and writing every day for every student (Use of CHEC 7 Strategies, and Complex Text)
  • Cold calling (equity sticks), with higher order and essential questions, in all classes to increase student accountability and engagement.
  • Use of CHAMPS for classroom management and focus

Below is the timelines for the standards based instructional process, which should be in place in all classrooms. By the end of this week, steps 1 through 9 should be complete.
1. Provide Students with Syllabus, and Portfolio Checklist (what will be in Portfolio, and dates of portfolio presentations)
2. Provide Students with Portfolio Folders, dividers for sections, and have Portfolio Checklist stapled to the folder. If the portfolio is digital, digital folders should be set up.
3. Teach students how to place and remove work from portfolio, where, when (during the class period) and how to access
4. Teach students the Sourcebook model and procedures you use, with focus on writing prompts and journal prompts, begin list of sourcebook entries on board or flip chart.
5. Provide students with Annotated Bibliography for 25 Books.
6. Provide students with GRASPS, Essential Questions, Rubric, Exemplar, and due date for First Portfolio Project.
6. Provide students with GRASPS, Essential Questions, Rubric, Exemplar, and due date for First Portfolio Project.
7. Teacher unwraps the standards for the project with the students.
8.Teach students how to assess the exemplar with the rubric, marking each section of the exemplar where the standard is met. Students become familiar with benchmark/exemplar portfolio products that meet the standards and discuss why they think they meet the standards.
9. The GRASP has been broken down into component parts to teach. Teacher identifies standard for first component part and teaches the standard, models first part of the GRASPS.
10. Students complete a draft in class of first part of GRASPS during workshop period, including revising and editing. Students peer edit, teacher moves around the class and assesses at the elbow. Students revise to standard.
11. This process is repeated for each component part of the GRASPS.
12. Students submit final completed GRASPS, with each component part or draft, which have already been reviewed and revised.
13. Teacher scores the project using the rubric and providing commentary, preferably on sticky notes. (some of the feedback has already been provided during the completion of each part of the GRASPS, so there should not be a need to correct as much in this review)
14. Students are taught to prepare entry slip, entry slip is prepared in class for the first portfolio project
15. On standard work is placed in the portfolio and on the bulletin board, work not on standard is revised to standard as homework, tutoring, or during differentiated workshop time.
16. New Unit Begins, begin with Step 6, and follow steps 7 - 15 again. #10-11 from above Students complete a draft in class of first part of GRASPS during workshop period, including revising and editing. Students peer edit, teacher moves around the class and assesses at the elbow. Students revise to standard. This process is repeated for each component part of the GRASPS.
17. New Unit begins, begin with Step 6 through 15 again (If you include a 3rd GRASP)
18. All students have completed at least two authorized portfolio product with entry slips to present, and have selected one to present.
19. Students are taught how to complete note cards, and use sticky notes to highlight where/how they the standards
20. All students have been taught to use the presentation rubric to prepare for presentations.
21. All students have been provided with higher order questions that will be asked in the panels.
22. Charts with panel name assignments have been posted.
23. Students have been taught what their role on the panels are.
Leadership Retreat 2017 - Leading Men Fellowship, CHEC Bellman, Eastern Men of Excellence & One Common Unity

From August 7th – 10th CHEC Bellmen Nathan Webb and Jarelle Mason joined with four Eastern H/S Men of Excellence in traveling to Harper’s Ferry, WV for a 3 day leadership retreat featuring shared conversations and sessions for team building, low ropes, high ropes, establishing trust, taekwondo, yoga, and canoeing 6 miles down the Shenandoah River.  The level of leadership that the Bellmen display was beyond words.  From DCPS host/facilitator Antwan Perry; “it was an amazing experience, and know that these young men represented themselves, their families, and DCPS well.  I am glad that I could share in this experience with them. We truly empowered these young men, and they left the retreat better than when they came. Please congratulate them and ask them to share their experiences with you when you see any of them.”


The Leadership Team will continue to meet on Wednesdays this year.Our first meeting was Wednesday, August 23. A shout out goes to Ms. Donzella Hartwill, who came to the meeting and joined in the work! The team dove into the PARCC data and began to analyse the implications for instruction. This week, the team will meet at 3:30 pm in the High School Library and work on the Comprehensive School Plan. We will be surveying teachers regarding the design of the Early Release Day, so the Leadership Team can discuss and plan for the format for those days. The Leadership Team is a group of teachers, counselors, and administrators who meet every week to discuss school needs, and plan for improvements.  The Leadership Team designs the school’s comprehensive school plan, and helps in its implementation.  Please consider joining the Leadership Team this year. It is open to all faculty and staff.  We need the involvement and voices of all.  Remember, Leadership team meetings are open to all who are interested in schoolwide decision-making and leadership.  You can come once, or as many times as you like, but please make your voice heard!

In August, 2017, Multicultural Career Intern Program (MCIP) in partnership with University of Maryland‐College Park, launched its 10th Annual Math Curriculum Design Institute with funding from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). This year's sessions are specifically designed to prepare instructors to integrate technology in the mathematics classroom to; help students visualize mathematics abstractions; support an inquiry‐based mathematics lesson that promotes critical thinking and rigorous content; and connect the math content to real world applications.

The Math Institute is significanty informed by the work of a team of multidisciplinary instructors who are being equipped with the skills, knowledge and dispositions to design and implement authentic, interdisciplinary learning experiences for students. The transfer goal of these sessions is to independently design interdisciplinary units and performance-based assessments aligned to Rigor, Relevance and Social Justice – always seeking ways in which great teachers design multidisciplinary learning experiences and assessments. Teacher enrollment for the Institutes is citywide from DC Public Schools, with focused inclusion of instructors of Special Education and English Language learners (ELL).  The instructors include legendary Math Guru Fakhri Emami, University of Maryland faculty and guest speakers, and Primary/Secondary Professional Trainer and Instructional Designer Darry Strickland.

The participating teachers will also gain exposure to trainings in use of technology, development of curricular documents based on Understanding by Design (UBD), and collaborations with teachers of other disciplines – all with emphasis on the assessment part of curriculum considering GRASPS (Goals, Roles, Audience, Situation, Products, and Standards), and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

The main Institute goals are:

  • Strengthening the content knowledge needed to teach the Common Core Standards in mathematics with understanding and coherence at middle and high school
  • Appropriate use of Technology in personalized learning
  • Developing new strategies for assessment and student engagement
  • Aligning the work of the previous Institutes with what the students need to learn in the application of the Common Core Standards

The institute began with two days of instructive seminars, on August 7 and 8, and will continue throughout the school year one monthly Saturday professional development sessions in each of the months of October, November, January, February, March, April.  All sessions are hosted at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus, 3101 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20010.
Special events, updates, and opportunities.



CHEC EMOC is gearing up for another year of growth and empowerment. There will be an opening meeting for the planning committee and any volunteers who are interested in learning about and contributing to our mission. Meet us in the HS conference room Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 7:45am to find out more. Our goal is to facilitate the development of our boys' physical, mental, spiritual, financial, creative, and social success. The planning committee will be responsible for planning events, engaging other CHEC staff, and keeping track of the growth made possible by our efforts. If you are interested, please join us on Thursday morning or email Program Coordinator, DeMario Hardmon-Fort, at dhf@speaklight.org for more information.

New & Improved.......This year, we are excited to share that the weekly parent workshops will be structured with monthly awareness themes  and corresponding workshops, psychoeducational curriculum, plus monthly circles for our parents!

Who?  all  6th-12th Grade CHEC Parents   --- please inform & encourage them to attend!
When? in English, Thursdays @ 9:30 -11am in Spanish, Wednesdays @ 9:30-11am

CHEC Parent workshops will begin the 2nd week of October.

Please encourage parents to sign up during Back 2 School night.
Stay tuned for a flier & schedule detailing the month-to-month events & activities so we can keep our parents engaged and informed!

PGT has a dynamic team of school based social workers, a school psychologist and community partners (Marys Center & DBH) here to support students in need of tier 2 & tier 3 level supports!  
Anyone can refer students to us!
Please keep an eye out for our at-risk students that will need more supports.....and feel free to consult with us if you are unsure!
PGT Referrals have been emailed out at the beginning of the school year and paper referrals are also available in the MS & HS mailroom, "PGT Referrals Box".   

PGT members are happy to consult with teachers & staff related to students, classroom management and resources! We also want to ensure we are working in partnership with each of you to ensure the success of all students!  Also, PGT members are represented at SLCs weekly  on Tuesdays to ensure there is regular dialogue and consultation/referrals available as needed!

We have students that are considered "homeless/ displaced/ unaccompanied" at CHEC..... please refer the names of any students that you believe may be living on their own, doubled up with other families, or living in shelters, etc... to:
MIDDLE SCHOOL HOMELESS LIASON ----  Ms Karen Carino  (karen.carino@dc.gov)
HIGH SCHOOL HOMELESS LIASON ----- Ms Paula Crivelli (paula.crivelli-diamond@dc.gov)
(even if you are unsure of a students living situation, please email us!)
Welcome to a new school year! Your middle and high school librarians are here to assist you and students throughout the school year. Quick reminders how we can help:

- Instructional Partnership: Plan and collaborate with your librarian to provide curricular content and 21st century learner skills.
- Technology Integration: Need suggestions for web tools to make assessments or learning more meaningful? Technology troubleshoot issues? We can help.
- Reading Advocate: Books and reading materials in all formats are the tools students need to create, reflect, learn, and be change makers. Teacher resources and PD materials are also available for check out. Schedule a library or mobile library visit.

DCPL Educator Cards are available for you! Use this card for access to databases and resources or to check out books for classroom use. If you are new and/or did not receive an educator card last year, talk with your librarian.

Librarian Contacts: Bell HS: A205 Ext 511 / Lincoln MS: C205 Ext 4018
Librarian: Angela Falkenberg (angela.falkenberg@dc.gov


As you know, our school mission is to prepare 100% of our students for post-secondary education and careers.  In order to achieve this goal, we know that some students need more time.  Our students who are still learning English, need the time and support to not only learn English well, but to learn all of the material in their content classes.  Our test results show that our English learners need to make more progress, and to do this they need more class time and support in learning English.  For this reason, we have created an After-School Academy for our English Language Learners, called, “Avance.”  Students in Avance will attend one extra hour per day, from 3:25 to 4:25, four days a week, and will receive additional instruction in English, as well as help with completing their assignments in other content areas.  We are grateful and excited that over 10 teachers have signed up to work with Avance. If you are interested in this program, please contact M. Tukeva or J. Aguilar.

A great resource from Mandy McCulloch... This is a new resource from the Holocaust Museum that was published on antisemitism.  It might be useful in some of the History and English courses. https://www.ushmm.org/confront-antisemitism

Some important notes about behavior

Students continue to notice the great changes we’ve made here at CHEC! Thank you for your vigilance in keeping students accountable and for your consistency in teaching students our expectations.
The following are a few items that we need to be especially clear about and aligned as an entire staff:

  • Cell phones are not allowed at all.  If you see it, you should confiscate it—this means in the shirt or pants pocket. Do not tell them to put it in their locker or their book bag; they should have done this upon arrival to school and turned their cell phones in during morning intake.  It is a zero tolerance policy and if we do not do this across the board, it is confusing for students.
  • During hallway transition, it is crucial that you are on time and at your door greeting students and monitoring student activity throughout the transition.
  • Please pay closer attention to uniforms this week. There are still a number of students who have not been caught in daily checks by their teachers for being out of uniform.
  • Please remember that students should not be permitted out of class without a pass. Students should have a pass at all times when out of the classroom.
  • Call home, call home, call home. We communicate both positive and negative incidents to families because we want to partner with them to support their children every step of the way!

How will you celebrate the small gains, behaviorally and academically, this week? Consider the following:
  • Give PBIS points when a student that often has a tough day completes all of his or her work.
  • Recognize when a student gets back on track after a redirection.
  • Honor publicly students who turn in homework, especially when they’ve struggled to do so in the past.
  • Catch students “doing good,” transitioning appropriately, speaking to one another kindly—point them out and give them PBIS points.

Let’s spend these next week’s celebrating the small stuff, the small efforts and the small progresses while building relationships with our students.
Submitted by Suzannah Weiss
Clear your schedule!
Yoga Wednesdays
September 6th, 4:30 - 5:30 pm
(yes, back to school night)
In the New Dance Studio, E205

Teacher Wellness
(but share it with your students)

”A” Stance - Power Posing

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves.  Standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.   When you have time, check out this Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy.  It’s powerful!

Stand with the intent to claim the space!

Yoga Connection:
Wonder Woman Stance is a wide version of Mountain Pose.  If you think about a mountain, it has all the qualities of a confident/stable structure.  Mountains don't move. Mountains support many other beings and ecosystems.  Mountains create stunning landscapes that are familiar and awe-inspiring.  Mountains are rooted to the earth and reach for the sky simultaneously. Mountains are written about, sung about and painted.  Mountains are solid and grounded.  When in Mountain Pose, the mind can call upon all those things to infuse the body with the qualities of mountains.  When in Mountain Pose, the body can sense all those things enough to convince the mind that it is so!

Action Item:
When we widen our base by stepping out with our legs to form the shape of the letter  "A,"  we increase our stability and our feeling of empowerment.  
Throughout this week, take an A Stance --legs apart, feet parallel and knees soft-- and sense your grounding.  Allow the energy of being rooted to flow down and the energy of personal power to flow from the ground up through your core.   To sustain upright balance, slip into the posture of "at-ease" and ready, sensing your posture as if falling up towards the sky.

Increases flexibility, strength, and stability in the feet, legs, thighs, and buttocks
Builds strength in the whole body
Enhances agility, mobility, and stability in the foot, ankle, knee and hip joints
Improves posture, confidence, stability and groundedness.

Dance... Sweat... Move... Transform...

CHEC Family -

WEEK TWO - Grooving in Circle Skills

Attached is a Circle Suggestion for Week 2.  It's an opportunity to simply practice Circle Skills.  There are a lot of suggested ROUNDS, but feel free top play with the sequence and quantity.  As the Circle Keeper, you can listen to what is said in Circle and riff on something that comes up in your unique Circle.

The parts that should be kept firmly in tact are the parts that are structural; WELCOME, MINDFULNESS MOMENT, OPENING RITUAL, CHECK-IN ROUND, CHECK-OUT ROUND & CLOSING RITUAL.

Have fun with it while you groove in the skills for running effective and "tight" Circles so you can count on them when you need them in the future.

Circle Agreements to post in your room can be found here:

General Agreements for Keeping Circles

1. Speak only when you have the talking piece.
2. Listen from the heart.
3. Speak from the heart.
4. What gets said here stays here, what gets learned here leaves here.
5. You have the option to pass.
Back to content