New reports on absenteeism in D.C.’s Head Start programs

The Urban Institute has released two companion reports on the absenteeism in Head Start programs in D.C. Public Schools. According to the reports, more than 25 percent of the students enrolled last school year were chronically absent, having missed at least 10 percent of the year. (WaPo, 1/26)

Overall, less than half – 44 percent – of the school system’s Head Start students had what one report called “satisfactory attendance,” which is missing 5 percent or less of the school year.

Research shows that early attendance problems often persist, putting children at greater risk of performing poorly on math or reading tests in elementary school, repeating a grade or dropping out of school.

The newly released reports are Absenteeism in DC Public Schools Early Education Program and Insights into Absenteeism in DCPS Early Childhood Program.

PHILANTHROPY | As we move full speed ahead into the new year, thought leaders including WRAG’s own Tamara Copeland, Rosie Allen-Herring of United Way of the National Capital Area, and Vikki Spruill of the Council on Foundations offer their insights on what they think lies ahead this year for philanthropy in the Washington region. (WaPo, 1/25)

ARTS/EQUITY | While THEARC in D.C.’s Ward 8 celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, advocates and admirers of the arts focus on how to get more cultural offerings east of the river. (Elevation DC, 1/27)

“We need a gallery, we need space—period,” says Kimberly Gaines, a creative consultant who lives in Deanwood. She says that it’s a struggle to find good spaces to display art. That the arts organizations that do exist in Ward 7 often need help navigating the grantmaking process. And that some talented artists are being overlooked.


A vibrant art community east of the river would bring residents closer, she says. “This side of town, we’re commuters. We commute downtown. It’s difficult not having art-related entertainment on this side of town. Now, fortunately, you can go over to Southeast, but even still, you’re leaving your community. I just want to see a show in my neighborhood.”

Related for Funders: Next week, WRAG’s Arts & Humanities Working Group will meet to discuss issues related to diversity and racial equity in the region’s cultural sector. More information is available here. Please note that this meeting is for grantmakers only.

HOMELESSNESS | Homeless Population at Motels Continues to Climb, at a Cost of Millions (WCP, 1/26)

HEALTH | Brian Castrucci of the de Beaumont Foundation delves into the growing primary care physician shortage facing insured Americans, and how primary care and public health can work together to remedy the problem. (HuffPo, 1/26)

REGION | As part of their You Are Here project, MIT Researchers have put together some new graphics showing the average median household income for each stop on the Metro system’s lines. The graphs also include overall income averages for each line, with the Orange line having the highest at $97,236. (WaPo, 1/26)

ECONOMY | Inequality Is Not Just About Wall Street: It’s In All 50 States (WSJ, 1/27)

Check out how a photo of a young man helped raise over $400,000 in just one day. 

– Ciara