Each year, parents and community members ask: will DC public schools be ready for
students in the fall? Do students have what they need to succeed in school? Do they
have what they need to prepare for college and their future as productive citizens?
For too long the answer has been no. DC VOICE's programs are changing all that.
In order to create and sustain change in our schools, reliable and unbiased information
about school conditions is needed. DC VOICE's innovative Ready Schools Project mobilizes
community volunteers who enter over 100 DC public schools each year to interview
principals on school conditions. The data gathered from these interviews help inform
a compaign for action throught reports, town hall meetings, and political hearings.
The Ready Schools Project has endured five DCPS superintendents, organized over
400 parents and community members, and been an agent for positive change in our
Expanding on the success of the Ready School Project, DC VOICE recently launched
two pilot programs: the Ready Classrooms Project and the Ready Charters School Project.
For the Ready Classrooms Project, DC VOICE volunteers interviewd over 100 teachers
in the Washington, DC Public School System to assess whether they have what they
need to be successful teachers. The Ready Charters Project Interviewd over a third
of the charter schools to determine their readiness for the coming school year.
From scores of interviews with students,we have learned that they want to be included
at all levels of school reform.After all,they are the primary users of the actual
systems we seek to improve. Invitation to Dream brings high school studets together
to discuss their dreams in the areas most critical to school reform- neighborhoods,
schools, teachers, and classmates. Students provide feedback on school improvement
factors, meet in focus groups facillitated by community volunteers, and interact
with local artists to express their vision for improved schools through various
media, including poetry,dance,song and visual art.