After years of uncertainty and interruption, it appears we are finally (mostly) back to the routines and rituals of life that we all took for granted before the pandemic. I love looking out my car windows on the drive to the office in the morning and seeing the tiny brigades of children in backpacks walking to school, talking with their friends, and generally just getting to be kids again.
And, yet, scenes like these can be deceptive. In ways both mundane and dramatic, the effects of the pandemic are still taking a profound toll on our students and our DC community more broadly. Gun violence is on the rise. Educators report increased levels of student anxiety, depression, and conflict. Teacher morale is low, and schools are struggling to fill open positions. Standardized test data reveals shocking declines in math and reading with significant splits along lines of race and income. In short… the kids are not alright.
Now is not the time for modest proposals that support incremental improvement—this is our chance to address head-on the inequities and inefficiencies that have been quietly preventing our children from achieving their full potential in schools. We should not fixate on rebuilding what we have lost but, rather, building for the very first time what our students have deserved all along—a system that serves Black and Latino/a students as effectively as White students, that meets the needs of exceptional learners and students with disabilities, that nurtures the mental health and emotional well-being of students, and that ultimately prepares students to thrive in life and career after they graduate.
In the pages of this report, you will read about some of the “big bets” that we are making at CityBridge as part of our system-wide transformation.
For years, DC has been cited as one of the fastest-improving urban school districts in the country. There is no reason we should not also lead the charge to reimagine schooling system-wide in the wake of the pandemic. We have the talent. We have the resources. The question is: Do we have the will and the drive to make it happen?
I am confident that we do. And I am humbled by your support and partnership as we embark on this next, great chapter in our city’s public education story.
Now is not the time for modest proposals that support incremental improvement.Rachel evans, ceo