Tag: Montgomery County Public Schools

First citywide program for connecting black women with HIV prevention drugs coming to DC

A $1 million investment from the MAC AIDS Fund will go toward making D.C. the first major city to get a program that will connect black heterosexual women (the second-highest group of new HIV infections) in the District with pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. (Slate, 6/17)

In 2009, D.C. declared an HIV epidemic that rivaled those in many African nations, with around 3 percent of the city’s residents living with HIV. In some areas and age groups, it was closer to 5 percent. Though targeted prevention efforts have cut D.C.’s new-diagnosis rate by almost 60 percent since then, the city still has an HIV rate nearly twice as high as the state with the next highest rate, Louisiana, and nearly 4 percent of black residents are infected. In D.C. and across the country, HIV is a racialized epidemic among women: As of 2012, 92 percent of D.C. women living with HIV were black.

Channing Wickham, executive director of Washington AIDS Partnership, which is at the forefront of these efforts, had this to say:

The Washington AIDS Partnership is excited to be at the center of Washington, D.C.’s goal to “end HIV” through the soon-to-be released “90/90/90/50 by 2020” plan, and innovative HIV prevention strategies such as  Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for women. Stay tuned for a major announcement with more details on June 30!

RACISM/INEQUALITY | Marcela Brane, Herb Block Foundation president and CEO, shares with WRAG this year’s winner of the Foundation’s annual Herblock Prize for Editorial Cartooning, and the enduring impact and significance of the political cartoonist in society. Check out the winning cartoon, “Racist EZCash,” by Mark Fiore(Daily, 6/20)

REGION | Leaders of Washington’s former bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics are said to be keeping up the momentum of their efforts by continuing to meet to discuss objectives for further regional cooperation, even without the possibility of the summer games. (WBJ, 6/17)

Unemployment rates in D.C.’s ward 7 and 8 are at the lowest levels in several years, according to newly-released federal data from the Department of Employment Services. (WCP, 6/17)

– A report by the District’s Office of Revenue Analysis examines the gender pay gap among the city’s workforce. While men make more than women for the same work in most industries, D.C.’s nonprofit sector is shown to be one area where women often make more than men in similar positions. (WBJ, 6/17)

–  This Is The Insane Amount of Money it Takes To Be Considered “Wealthy” in DC (Washingtonian, 6/17)

Montgomery County schools have adopted a new budget officials hope will narrow the school system’s achievement gap and lower class sizes. (WaPo, 6/17)

– Data show that more than 1.3 million U.S. students were homeless in 2013-2014. Advocates are looking to bring greater awareness and support to youth experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty, and a new report surveying homeless youth reveals that many schools may be failing to help students. (WaPo, 6/17)

– According to estimates, there are still 37 million homes in the U.S. that contain lead-based paint and 6 million that recieve drinking water through lead pipes. With children shown to absorb more lead than adults, the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging physicians to be more proactive about testing children for exposure. (NPR, 6/20)

Video: Can the U.S. End Teen Pregnancy? (Atlantic, 6/14)

Just in case you haven’t heard, Clevelanders are very, very happy today.

– Ciara

Montgomery County schools face challenges in serving increasing numbers of English language learners

EDUCATION/EQUITY | The pushback against proposed changes to the structure of Montgomery County Public Schools’ English for Speakers of Other Languages program highlights the rapid demographic changes in the county and the major academic achievement gap between English language learners and other students:

The number of students learning to speak English as they take classes at Northwood High School has tripled in three years. Many of those 350 teenagers have fled Central America as unaccompanied minors. Some are missing years of education. Not everyone graduates from high school in four years. […]

The plans to restructure come as the number of English-language learners has climbed nearly 40 percent since 2007 in the suburban school system, with more than 22,000 such students this school year — about 14 percent of the system’s 156,000 total enrollment.

HOMELESSNESS | The rate of homelessness in Arlington is declining, down 27 percent from last year and 64 percent since 2013. (ARLnow, 4/6)

COMMUNITY | The Healthcare Initiative Foundation has awarded The Universities at Shady Grove a $648,900 grant to fund 112 scholarships over five years to support students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Social Work program and the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Nursing. The primary goal of the Healthcare Initiative Foundation is to enhance and expand workforce development in the healthcare field within Montgomery County. The scholarships will provide needed pathways to degrees and careers and will help build a culturally competent healthcare workforce. Read more about the program here.

RACE | Study finds police fatally shoot unarmed black men at disproportionate rates (WaPo, 4/7)

TRANSIT | The Purple Line is one step closer to reality. At this rate, construction might begin later this year and be completed by 2022. (WAMU, 4/6)

HIV/AIDS | The graying of HIV: 1 in 6 new U.S. cases are people older than 50 (WaPo, 4/6)

DISTRICT | This week the Kojo Nnamdi Show has featured a series of stories documenting challenges and changes in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia. (WAMU, 4/4-7)

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: One of the most prominent advocates for strategic philanthropy reflects on the negative side effects of strategic philanthropy done poorly. (Chronicle, 4/4) – Subscription required.

Dog hockey > regular hockey any day.

– Rebekah

Friday roundup – March 21 through March 25, 2016

Reflections on implicit bias were shared by Board Chair Missy Young and lead staffer Dara Johnson from the Horning Family Fund. (Daily 3/24)

– The Consumer Health Foundation‘s Kendra Allen interviewed Sequnely Gray, Community Engagement Coordinator for So Others Might Eat and a TANF recipient, about her experience advocating for families on TANF and the impact of benefit time limits. (CHF, 3/21)

– A new report found significant racial disparities in the acceptance rates among selective academic programs at public schools in Montgomery County. (WaPo, 3/22)

 In Loudoun County, a proposal that would concentrate mostly low-income, majority Hispanic students into two schools is evoking memories of “separate but equal” policies of the past. (WaPo, 3/20) 

–  Grantmakers in Health, with support from the Aetna Foundation, released a supplement on health equity innovations, published with the spring 2016 edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The supplement highlights promising strategies and emerging approaches for building healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities. (SSIR, spring 2016)

–  OpinionThe color of heroin addiction — why war then, treatment now? (WaPo, 3/23)

 The deadline to apply for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards is Friday, April 1. Hint for Nonprofits: Nominating your corporate partners is a great way to show your appreciation and deepen your relationship!

Related: Interested in learning how to build new, stronger, and more mutually beneficial corporate partnerships? Join WRAG and more than 20 CSR professionals from some of the region’s top companies for the 2016 Fundamentals of CSR workshop on April 14-15.

Click the image below to access WRAG’S Community Calendar. To have your event included, please send basic information including event title, date/time, location, a brief description of the event, and a link for further details to: myers@washingtongrantmakers.org.

Calendar won’t display? Click here.

Are you #TeamPancakes or #TeamWaffles? Personally, I found both to be far too filling.

– Ciara

Report reveals racial disparities in selective Montgomery County academic programs

– A new report finds significant racial disparities in the acceptance rates among selective academic programs at public schools in Montgomery County (WaPo, 3/22):

At the high school level, for instance, the report found an acceptance rate of 45 percent for white students applying to selective programs studied, compared with 39 percent for Asians, 23 percent for Hispanics, 19 percent for African Americans and 11 percent for low-income students.
Community leaders called the data deeply troubling, saying it reflects diminished opportunities for minority students at a time when the fast-growing school system is increasingly diverse.

How Can Schools Identify The Most Effective Teachers? Just Ask The Students (WAMU, 3/21)

COMMUNITY/POVERTY | The Consumer Health Foundation‘s Kendra Allen interviews Sequnely Gray, Community Engagement Coordinator for So Others Might Eat and a TANF recipient, about her experience advocating for families on TANF and the impact of benefit time limits on families. (CHF, 3/21)

ENVIRONMENT | An investment into a D.C. company affiliated with the Nature Conservancy may give a needed boost to a program designed to incentivize incorporating stormwater retention into new developments. Stormwater runoff contributes to the pollution of the area’s waterways. (CityLab, 3/18)

DISTRICT | Superior Court judge sides with D.C. lawmakers on control of locally-raised dollars (WaPo, 3/18)

HOUSING | Why it seems impossible to buy your first home (WaPo, 3/22)

What a cute family!
– Rebekah

Philanthropy and its support of black-led social change efforts

Opinion: In this op-ed, Nat Chioke Williams, executive director of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, discusses the urgent need for philanthropy to ramp up efforts to propel the Black Lives Matter movement and other black-led grassroots efforts like it, and ways foundations like Hill-Snowdon are working to answer the call. (Chronicle, 8/27).

[…] this movement is at risk if it doesn’t get the money it needs to build institutions that can capitalize on this social power. For far too many decades, black-led social-change organizations have received too little in donations to grow into the strong influencers on the American way life that they must be.

WRAG president Tamara Copeland had this to say of Mr. Williams’ op-ed and announcement:

“The Hill-Snowdon Foundation sets an important example for the philanthropic community with this announcement. Supporting black-led social change organizations sends a powerful message that needs to be heard at no time like the present. Leadership matters.”

HEALTH | Opinion: Brian Castrucci, chief program and strategy officer at the de Beaumont Foundation, writes about how real-time data on communities could work to dramatically change the way local health departments tackle neighborhood challenges. (HuffPo, 8/28)

HOMELESSNESS/DISTRICT | The District has been implementing expanded services for homeless individuals through year-round shelter placement in motels (as opposed to the usual practice of motel placement when temperatures fall below freezing) in an effort to better control the stream of homeless families seeking shelter in the winter months. (WaPo, 8/31)

HOUSING/POVERTY | When it comes to housing, terms like ‘affordable housing’ and ‘low-income housing’ are not even close to being synonymous. In a three-part series on housing in D.C., two authors take a look at why semantics are so important when we talk about those in need of secure housing.  (HuffPo, 8/25)

WORKFORCE/IMMIGRATION/VIRGINIA | In Virginia, labor advocates and officials are hoping to crack down on businesses that improperly classify immigrants as independent contract workers in an attempt to cut corners and save money. A growing number of industries in the state are engaging in the unfair practice, making enforcement difficult. (WaPo, 8/30)

– Montgomery County Public Schools are seeing record-high enrollment this year – a trend that began in 2007, and is expected to continue for years to come. Officials are calling for additional funding and higher taxes to meet growing needs. (WTOP, 9/1)

–  Report: Chronic school absenteeism is contributing to academic gaps (WaPo, 8/31)

ARTS | D.C.’s Historic Murals Are Disappearing (WCP, 8/31)

Here’s some little-known philanthropy history for the day.

– Ciara

A first-ever count of homeless D.C. youth

In an effort to better serve the city’s full homeless population, the District is conducting its first-ever count of homeless youth. The city currently has a goal of ending youth homelessness by the year 2020. (WAMU, 8/18)

The week-long census kicked off Monday and runs through Aug. 25. Service providers, city agencies and even some businesses are taking part in the count, which city officials say will help bring to light a population that isn’t often included in other homeless counts.


The District already takes part in an annual count of its homeless population. In May, the count revealed that on any given night, over 7,200 residents live on the street or in shelters throughout the city.

– A number of school districts in Maryland expect to see record spikes in public school enrollment this year. Montgomery County, in particular, is preparing for the surge in students (WaPo, 8/18):

In Montgomery, the state’s fastest-growing school system, the total increase in students since 2007 would be more than 18,700 if this year’s projections bear out. Last school year, the county’s enrollment climbed by 2,563 students.

Singe Moms and Welfare Woes: A Higher-Education Dilemma (Atlantic, 8/18)

ECONOMY/HOUSING | The District May Be Heading Towards Record High Residential Construction (District Measured, 8/18)

POVERTY | Stories about the struggles of being poor often go viral or are included in the opinion pages of major news outlets, but very few of them are written by individuals who have actually experienced poverty firsthand. Recently, a famed author took a look at just why these pieces typically come from more affluent writers. (HuffPo, 8/17)

Can you find these lesser-known monuments on a map?

– Ciara

Experimenting toward a solution to end homelessness

A large-scale study on homelessness by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Vanderbilt University is examining different methods of helping homeless families to determine which method has been most effective. The study is currently at the halfway mark and is finding that one method is particularly successful (Atlantic, 7/11):

The research is following families who were given different types of housing assistance. The first group received a Housing Choice Voucher (commonly known as Section 8), which provided them with a subsidy for permanent housing. The second group was given temporary rental assistance for housing in the private market, an option known in the housing world as rapid rehousing. The third group received time-limited housing in a setting that included services like medical assistance and counseling. The fourth group received the usual type of interventions that a homeless family would be given, such as some time in emergency shelters and whatever housing assistance they can find on their own.

After 18 months, families using the Housing Choice Vouchers are doing much better than those who received traditional interventions. Children in the families that were given vouchers moved schools much less frequently than they otherwise would have. These families spent less time in shelters, parents had fewer health problems and lower incidences of domestic violence, and they were mentally more stable than those who received typical interventions.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING/TRANSPORTATION | Affordability in the Washington DC Region: The Growing Burden of Housing Plus Transportation Costs (Helping Hands Blog, 7/8)

Related: In 2013, WRAG published What Funders Need to Know: Housing, that focused on how transportation costs factor into affordable housing for our region’s residents.

ECONOMY/MARYLAND | In Frederick, MD, thousands of residents commute each day to jobs outside of the city. As low-wage jobs abound within Frederick, a student group has researched ways to grow the city’s employment opportunities and improve commuting into nearby areas. (GGW, 7/9)

VETERANS | Recently, The Kojo Nnamdi Show took a look at some of the many challenges facing military families and veterans in the Washington region. Click here to listen to the audio from the show. (WAMU, 7/9)

Related: Last year, WRAG published What Funders Need to Know: Veterans, about the unique characteristics and circumstances for post-9/11 veterans.

YOUTH/WORKFORCE | Starbucks and a number of other corporations have announced the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative aimed at finding jobs for 100,000 unemployed young people over the next three years. The program is in response to the rapid decline in employment opportunities among American youth. (NYT, 7/13)

AGING | The AARP Foundation, the Calvert Foundation, and Capital Impact Partners have recently launched the Age Strong Initiative that seeks to invest more than $70 million into organizations providing solutions for older, low income Americans. You can read more about the new initiative here.

– New data on student progress at Montgomery County public schools points to persistently wide achievement gaps in math and reading. (WaPo,7/12)

The Need to Better Manage DCPS School Modernization (DCFPI, 7/13)

Happy 30th birthday, .org!

– Ciara

Friday roundup – March 9 through March 13, 2015

New plans for D.C. Public Schools under their new budget were announced this week. While a number of cuts will be made at the central office, four new schools will be opened, and additional programming is expected to be introduced to students. (WaPo, 3/12)

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced Thursday that after years of school closures, D.C. Public Schools plans to open four next year and will hire 200 new school-based staff members. Many of the new employees will work in the city’s comprehensive high schools, offering a more expansive and consistent range of extracurricular activities and advanced courses citywide.

The budget aims to improve equity as school leaders push to persuade more families to choose neighborhood schools. City public school enrollment continues to grow overall, but many families have been choosing public charters or schools across town through a citywide lottery.

The system is projecting a fourth straight year of increased enrollment, with more than 1,500 new students next year, putting enrollment at more than 49,000.

– A Schott Foundation for Public Education report showed that Montgomery County leads the country’s large urban school districts in graduation rates for black male students. In 2012, three out of every four black male students in the district had earned a high school diploma. (Gazette, 3/4)

– David Bowers of Enterprise Community Partners was a guest on the WPFW’s Business Matters show and spoke on the housing affordability crisis affecting the city. Audio from the interview is available here. (WPFW, 3/9 [at the 4:30 minute mark])

– County planners in Arlington look ahead to the year 2020 – when market-rate affordable housing could become a thing of the past. The Board is working on an Affordable Housing Master Plan that could be adopted in July. (ARLnow, 3/10)

Median rental price for a one-bedroom D.C. apartment is $2,000, study says (WaPo, 3/12)

– WRAG’s Washington Regional Food Funders consultant Lindsay Smith shared her takeaways from the recent National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, and discussed the importance of protecting federal nutrition programs. (Daily, 3/10)

– Wage stagnation and unemployment, combined with rising rents and food costs, gave way to a sharp rise in requests for food assistance in the region last year. Many are finding that putting fresh, nutritious food on the table is still no easy task. (WaPo, 3/10)

Why Some Schools Serve Local Food And Others Can’t (Or Won’t) (NPR, 3/11)

Opinion: Why pro-immigration states are fighting back (WaPo, 3/12)

– NPR interviewed a local teen who fled violence in Central America. (NPR, 3/9)

Related: On Tuesday, March 31 at 9:00 AM, WRAG members and invited guests can attend a funder briefing on Immigration Relief and the Impact on the D.C. Region. The special event, sponsored by a number of WRAG members, will be moderated by Rose Ann Cleveland of The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and  includes remarks by Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; a panel with Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA; DJ Yoon, executive director of the National Korean American Services & Education Consortium; and Maya, immigrant leader and potential beneficiary.

How Philanthropic Leadership Changed The Equation for Returning Veterans in San Diego (WRAG members)
Wednesday, March 18, 2015  12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Institute for CSR: Session 2: Investing in Communities (Institute for CSR Class of 2015)
Thursday, March 19, 2015  9:00 AM – Friday, March 20, 2015  5:00 PM

The Anacostia River: A Challenge and Opportunity for Philanthropy (WRAG members and other invited funders)
Thursday, March 19, 2015 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

America is so young, it only takes four presidents to trace back to the Founding Fathers.

– Ciara

Another view of the affordable housing crisis

While there are many ways to view affordable housing in D.C. and other major cities, two major themes tend to emerge. An author discusses why we may all be wrong about the way we view solutions to affordable housing – and the very problem itself. (GGW, 3/4)

Whenever we discuss housing affordability, we usually hear two major opposing beliefs. Both are well-honed, clear arguments. And both are wrong—or at least, not completely right.

Some say that new development only provides high-end housing which doesn’t do anything to help those who really need it. Therefore, they oppose new market-rate development.

Others say the problem is we don’t have enough development. Regulations constrict supply and drive up costs. Get rid of regulations and the free market will build housing for everyone.

– For low-income residents, finding affordable rental units in the District is no easy task. That’s why D.C. councilmembers are working to introduce a bill that would offer more information to residents on the city’s rent-controlled housing stock in the form of a central database. Though helpful if implemented, most residents would find the listed units were still out of reach. (WCP, 3/3)

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT | Today, Supreme Court justices began hearing arguments in a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. A decision is not likely to be made until June in the case that threatens the tax credits for individuals in some states who meet certain income requirements. You can also read a nice breakdown of the case here. (Atlantic, 3/4 and WaPo, 3/3)

ENVIRONMENT | Prince George’s ranks near top in state for recycling, diverting waste (Gazette, 3/3)

Opinion: D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson discusses what she thinks has led to the fast growth of D.C. students – real respect for those who teach. (NYT, 3/3)

– Montgomery County Public Schools have released their 2014 Annual Report to the Community. The interactive, multi-media report can be accessed here. (MCPS, 3/4)

The Annual Report to the Community for the 2013-2014 school year tells the story of MCPS—the factors that are driving change in our district; the strategies we are using to close the achievement gap and prepare our students for success in the 21st century; and the operational and student performance data we use to monitor our progress.

Kids living in the toughest circumstances are less likely to go to charter schools (GGW, 3/3)

HOMELESSNESS | “Housing first” approach works for homeless, study says (WaPo, 3/4)

FOOD | The University of the District of Columbia is the country’s only land grant university with a specifically urban focus that was created to provide agricultural training to the public. This distinction has made the institution a leading resource for urban farmers. (Elevation, 3/3)

PHILANTHROPY | The Top Five Most Promising Trends in Philanthropy (Forbes, 3/2)

TRANSIT | In Seattle, a program that charges transit riders based on their income is taking off in direct response to the displacement of lower-income riders to the suburbs after the technology boom there. Other cities may soon take note. (BBC, 3/2)

Welcome to “Cat Island,” a place that is just as terrifying as it sounds…unless you really, really like cats.


New report on well-being of boys and young men of color

The Urban Institute has released a new report that examines the risks of poor health and developmental outcomes on boys and young men of color who have been exposed to chronic stress from living in poor households. (Urban Institute, 2/2015)

Boys and young men of color are at risk for poor health and developmental outcomes beginning at birth and persisting through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. As a result of household poverty and residence in segregated neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage, they are disproportionately bombarded by environmental threats – often without the benefits of supportive systems of prevention, protection, and care. This exposure to chronic stress undermines cognitive, social-emotional, and regulatory human development as well as the immune system. The parents of boys and young men of color are similarly affected, which affects boys directly in utero and interferes with their parents’ abilities to promote their health and development and to protect them from harm as they mature.

There are no simple or inexpensive solutions to these challenges. But investing in promising
strategies now will have long-term benefits for both the boys and young men themselves and for society as a whole.

– A new report from the D.C. Office of Human Rights shows that last year, there was a 41 percent increase in the number of reported discrimination cases in the District. (DCist, 2/13)

– Opinion: A Kaffeeklatsch on Race (NYT, 2/16)

DISTRICT | After Historic Anacostia Facade Collapses, Neighbors Charge City With “Demolition by Neglect” (WCP, 2/16)

EDUCATION | Former superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools Joshua Starr reflects on his time with the school system after three and a half years. (WAMU, 2/15)

WORKFORCE | A new study by the Migration Policy Institute reveals some significant disparities in the literacy and numeracy skills of the American workforce compared with other developed countries, as well as among racial groups in the United States. (CityLab, 2/16)

Within the U.S. workforce, there is a gap between the foreign-born and native-born populations, largely due to language barriers. Foreign-born immigrants are overrepresented in the pool of low-skilled workers in America (33 percent), compared with their share in the total U.S. adult population that participated in the survey (15 percent).

Still, the majority of American adults with low literacy and numeracy skills were born in the United States, according to the report.

Boston doesn’t want to hear about how much snow D.C. has.

– Ciara