Nov 5 Newsletter

Professional Development Update

November 5, 2020


Native American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.


WTU Professional Learning Courses

Sign up now for the BRAND NEW WTU course Universal Design for Learning with instructor Nadia Torney. Starts TODAY!!! 45 PLU's for successful completion of the course. Sign-up here:


Hispanic Culture and Spanish Language 2

Instructor: Louis Blount. November 7th, 14th, 21st, December 5th, 12th @ 9am-1pm

This intense course is designed for school personnel in D.C. Public Schools to converse in Spanish beyond the basic level with Hispanic students and parents. Emphasis will be on acquiring an advanced understanding of the Spanish language through grammatical structures used in Spanish conversation, mastering listening concepts for communicating with native Spanish speakers, writing basic communicative texts for parents, and reading in the target language to communicate educational matters to parents. Mastery of these advanced skills and learned vocabulary will be immediately used in communicating with Spanish-speaking members of school communities. In addition, participants will have an appreciation of important cultural and social events in the Hispanic cultures in the local community.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Culture and Spanish Language I or Instructor’s permission. Participants may earn 45 PLU’s or 3 graduate credits from Trinity University.

RSVP here:

National Board Certification Support Classes

Instructor: Maria Angala. 4-8pm; Thursdays: October 15, November 5, 19, December 3, 17

The class is composed of a series of comprehensive review sessions designed to provide interested National Board candidates important information about the certification process, time to examine component and Assessment Center requirements, the opportunity to plan how to meet requirements, and time to collaborate, gather resources and information needed to pursue certification — all in a supportive, constructive, and collegial environment. Session 1: Focus on Body of Knowledge and Content Knowledge. Session 2: Differentiation in Instruction. Session 3: Teaching Practice & Learning Environment. Session 4: Effective and Reflective Practitioner. Session 5: Foundations in Practice for Components 2, 3 and 4. Participants may earn 45 PLU’s. RSVP here:

WTU & Pulitzer Center PD Series

Click here to sign up for a powerful and profound Professional Development Series in partnership with the WTU and the Pulitzer Center (8 PLU's for attending the full series).


PD Series Description

This series examines ways that students can engage with journalism skills and global reporting on the under-reported impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to deepen their engagement with their curricula, while also empowering them to investigate and communicate under-reported stories from their own communities. Hosted in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, a nonprofit journalism and education based in D.C., this series will feature interactive workshops, free resources, and presentations by professional journalists. Click here to sign up.

Local Letters - Tuesday, November 10 at 4:00 pm EST

How can students find the under-reported news stories that matter to them, and turn their responses into action? In this interactive workshop, participants will explore an interactive workshop that teaches students identify and summarize news stories they care about, make local connections to global issues, and identify potential solutions in their own communities.

The COVID-19 Writers Project with Zawadi Morris - Wednesday, November 17 at 4:00 pm EST

Morris will share her process developing and producing The COVID-19 Writers Project for The Brooklyn Reader, a publication she also founded. The COVID-19 Writers Project (C19WP) captures a hyperlocal viewpoint of the coronavirus Pandemic from inside the virus’s hotspot—New York City—while examining the extent to which health outcomes are impacted by socio-economics, education, and race.(

Seema Yasmin - Wednesday, December 1 at 4:00 pm EST

Dr. Seema Yasmin, a journalist and epidemiologist, presents her experience reporting on misinformation and disinformation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. (

Global News and Journalism Skills to Engage and Empower Students - Tuesday, December 8 at 4:00 pm EST

Connect with Pulitzer Center education staff to explore global news resources and journalism skills for the classroom. As part of this interactive session, participants will examine how global news can support their curricula and support students in making local connections to global issues.


WTU Tech Tuesdays

Upcoming sessions on Netiquette & Productive Communication with Families, Flipgrid and Sway! Register here


Reinventing the Algebra 1 Experience

On Thurs., November 5th, from 1:15-2:00 PM, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be hosting a fireside chat with an esteemed leader in the field, Bob Moses, President and Founder of The Algebra Project, and Henry Hipps, Deputy Director on the K-12 Education team, about why reinventing the Algebra 1 experience is necessary and timely. Anyone is welcome to attend!” To register for this fireside chat, please register here.


The Future of Early Math: What Science and Practice Tells Us

Omo Moses, Founder and CEO of Math Talk, will participate in a virtual panel and webinar, Tuesday, November 10th, 3:00pmET - 4:30pm ET, The Future of Early Math: What Science and Practice Tells Us, co-sponsored by The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the National Association for Family, School, And Community Engagement. Register here.


Omowale Moses has done a lot of exciting work over the last two years in early childhood and family math and recently authored, Sometimes We Do (Math Talk).

Lynching: Reparations as Restorative Justice, an online conference 9:00 a.m. EST - 1:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, November 17th, 2020, hosted by the Civil Rights Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern Univ. School of Law. To register, click here.

Speakers will include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Angela Y. Davis, Congressperson Sheila Jackson Lee and Dread Scott. Additional speakers include Margaret Burnham, Ron Daniels, William “Sandy” Darity, Quanda Johnson, Maxine Jones, Evan Lewis, Joey Mogul, Thomas Moore, Sheila Moss, Ángel Nieves, Nkechi Taifa, and Annie Whitlock.

Ignite My Future: TECHademy (12/9 @5:30-8:30pm)

All educators welcome to join and receive no-cost transdisciplinary resources and strategies designed to effectively engage with the foundations of computational thinking across subject areas. Teachers participating in a Ignite My Future in School Virtual TECHademy will receive: 

• A motivational Keynote on “Computational Thinking in the World Around Us” • Best Practices of online learning, modeled by Discovery Education Professional Development experts • Access to Ignite My Future In – no-cost website with educator and family resources and opportunity to join a global community of collaborative educators through IMFIS Learning Leaders • Five “Grab and Go” lessons that are immediately ready to be used in a virtual environment • A digital event bag with free digital tools like GooseChase and a Certificate of Participation 

Reserve your seat today!


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"No Confidence"


November 2, 2020                                                    



Washington DC Teachers’ Vote ‘No Confidence’ in DCPS’ Plan to Reopen Schools to In-person Learning

WASHINGTON — The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) voted at a Member Assembly last week to express “No Confidence” in the District’s plan to safely reopen schools.

“Last Thursday evening night, DC’s teachers spoke loudly and clearly. We do not have faith that the DCPS plans to reopen our schools are in the best interest of students,” WTU President Elizabeth Davis said. “Despite negotiations throughout the weekend, we’re disappointed that we were not able to come to an agreement. The Chancellor’s plan to reopen our schools to in-person learning will disrupt the education of a vast majority of DCPS students. As educators, we do not believe this plan is good for our students or good for our schools.”

The Union voted overwhelmingly, with more than 93% of members present supporting the motion, during a special membership assembly to express “No confidence in Mayor Muriel Bowser, Chancellor Lewis Ferebee, and the DC Public Schools plan to reopen our schools to in-person learning on November 9th, as it currently stands.”

Earlier last week, the Council of School Officers, the union representing DCPS principals and other mid-level administrators, sent an Open Letter to the Deputy Mayor and Chancellor outlining their concerns with the District’s reopen plans.

The Washington Teachers’ Union and DCPS will resume negotiations about a safe return to our schools later in the week. While many elements of an agreement have been reached, the Union believes that plans should be revised to ensure greater equity across the city to ensure that students furthest from opportunity have access to additional in-person learning opportunities and that no educator should be required to return to in-person learning if they don’t believe adequate protections for themselves, their students and the community are in place.

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You can download the Press Release here.

The WTU represents more than 5,000 active and retired teachers. It is dedicated to social and educational justice for the students of the District of Columbia and to improving the quality of support, resources, compensation and working conditions for the public servants and proud teachers who educate our students in D.C. Public Schools.


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Headlines - Mon, Nov 2

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Headlines - Mon, Oct 26

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Reopen Questions

For Immediate Release 

Washington DC Teachers, Families and Students Rally to Express Concerns About City’s Plan to Reopen Schools to In-Person Learning

WASHINGTON — Washington DC teachers, families, and students joined at the John A. Wilson Building today to share their concerns about the city’s plan to reopen schools to in-person learning. While many expressed their desire to reopen our city’s schools, they expressed concern about the lack of transparency in city planning and the impact of proposed staffing changes on students. Speakers also expressed concerns for the health of elementary students, teachers, and communities as 21,000 students plus thousands of staff return to DC school buildings in the coming weeks while COVID-19 cases increase across our nation.

“We saw many elements of the DCPS plan for the first time during yesterday’s press conference and we still haven’t seen concrete details,” Elizabeth Davis, the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) president stated. “Our demands are for common sense protections for our communities including but not limited to access to testing, licensed nurses on-site at every school, verification that our HVAC systems work properly to circulate air and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. DCPS must treat teachers and community members as full partners in developing and in verifying plans to keep everyone safe.”

While the community hearing was occurring outside, the DC Council held an oversight hearing on the city’s plan to reopen schools. Only representatives from the Deputy Mayor for Education and DC Public Schools were invited to speak. Questions parents, teachers and community members submitted to have answered by DC Public Schools about the city’s plan to reopen schools to in-person learning are attached.

“Listen to my kid’s teachers,” said Greg Wahl, a DCPS parent and a professor at Montgomery College. “Their dedication during the pandemic has been amazing. I know they would like nothing better than to be back in the classroom with their students, but they see that it's not safe for themselves, it’s not safe for the kids, it’s not safe for the families, and it’s not safe for the community. They are the ones who would know. As parents, that is also what we demand from DCPS, from the Council and from the mayor: LISTEN TO THE TEACHERS.”

During a press conference yesterday, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee presented many elements of their plan for the first time to citizens and teachers. The presentation included information on learning loss for our youngest students.

The proposal being put forward by DC Public Schools would reassign many staff members from middle and high schools across the District to supervise CARES classrooms to support early education and elementary school students. In the proposed CARES classrooms, serving approximately 14,000 learners, students would continue to receive their lessons via Distance Learning. Staff being reassigned from their current duties supporting middle and high school students would not be providing direct instruction. Additionally, DCPS’ proposal would provide live, in-person instruction for 7,000 elementary school students. This will result in many teachers being reassigned to new classrooms and, possibly grades. Students who remain in Distance Learning environments, whether at home or in CARES settings, could see their class balloon to up to 40 students.

“It’s clear that DCPS has a different definition of collaboration than Washington’s Teachers and parents do,” Davis continued. “We want to ensure parents, teachers, and community members are involved not just in the decision on when to reopen our school buildings, but throughout this crisis.”

“Trust in leadership is critical in a crisis,” said Sandra Moscoso-Mills, the Home School Association (HSA) president at School Without Walls High School. “Refusing to share data and picking and choosing what data you share undermines trust. Removing trusted leaders creates chaos. Parents and students are scared. When a trusted leader we depend on to act in our students’ best interests is suddenly removed, how can we then trust the Mayor, the DME, and the Chancellor are working to protect us?”

In early October, School Without Walls principal Richard Trogisch was removed from his position. Many reports indicate he had raised concerns about the safety of students and staff should the School Without Walls Francis-Stevens campus reopen to in-person learning.

Earlier in the week, in response to complaints filed by the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU), the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) Hearing Examiner on Tuesday October 20 ruled that DC Public Schools (DCPS) violated the law by refusing to bargain with WTU regarding reopening planning and granted WTU’s renewed request for preliminary relief. The PERB found that there is reasonable cause to believe that DCPS has violated the law by not bargaining with WTU regarding reopening and ordered that DCPS bargain with WTU over health and safety matters as they relate to reopening within 5 days of the ruling. DCPS must also rescind the Intent Form that it sent to teachers on June 30, and the Staffing Assignment Survey it sent to teachers on September 29.

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The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) represents more than 5,000 active and retired teachers. It is dedicated to social and educational justice for the students of the District of Columbia and to improving the quality of support, resources, compensation and working conditions for the public servants and proud teachers who educate our students in D.C. Public Schools.


The press release is available here.

The questions submitted by community members are here.

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Bill 23-515


Bill 23-515, Statewide Educational Data Warehouse Amendment Act of 2019


The WTU strongly supports Bill 23-515, Statewide Educational Data Warehouse Amendment Act of 2019, and I am here today to testify in support of the legislation. The bill would amend the State Education Office Establishment Act of 2000 to authorize the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to expand the Statewide Educational Data Warehouse to include additional information on teachers. We believe this effort is long overdue.

As I testified to last December, teacher turnover is a significant problem in the District of Columbia. Our schools and classrooms lose a high-percentage of highly-qualified teachers each year, a level of churn that is higher than other large jurisdictions. In its October 2018 report and its report update the D.C. State Board of Education (SBOE) found that average annual teacher attrition at the school level in both District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools is—and has consistently been—about 25 percent. This is significantly higher than the national average and is higher than other urban jurisdiction.


Read President Davis' full testimony here.

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Oct 21 Statement - PERB Ruling

For Immediate Release:

Washington DC Teachers Release Statement on Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) Ruling Against DCPS Reopen Plan

WASHINGTON — In response to complaints filed by the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU), the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) Hearing Examiner on Tuesday October 20 ruled that DC Public Schools (DCPS) violated the law by refusing to bargain with WTU regarding reopening planning and granted WTU’s renewed request for preliminary relief. The PERB found that there is reasonable cause to believe that DCPS has violated the law by not bargaining with WTU regarding reopening and ordered that DCPS bargain with WTU over health and safety matters as they relate to reopening within 5 days of the ruling. DCPS must also rescind the Intent Form that it sent to teachers on June 30, and the Staffing Assignment Survey it sent to teachers on September 29.


President Davis' statement and the PERB rulings are available here.




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Headlines - Week of October 19

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October 15 Statement on MOA




October 15, 2020


Washington DC Teachers’ Release Statement on

Reports of an Agreement to Reopen Schools to In-Person Learning

Calls on Council of the District of Columbia to Open Upcoming Hearing to Public Witnesses


WASHINGTON — The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) President Elizabeth Davis released the attached statement regarding today following reports that the Union had agreed to a framework for reopening schools to in-person learning.


Read the full statement here.



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Headlines - Mon, Oct 12

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Statement on In-Person Learning, Oct 2020




Washington DC Teachers Union Releases Statement on Mayor Bowser’s Plan to Reopen Schools to In-person Learning

Reiterates Union calls for transparency and public engagement


WASHINGTON — Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) President Elizabeth Davis the attached statement on the Mayor’s decision to reopen schools to in-person learning on November 9.

“While our teachers want to return to our classrooms and resume in-person learning, we can only do so when it is safe and when the Mayor and Chancellor have come to the table to work with us and other Union leaders to ensure the safety of our students, school –based staff, and communities.

“The Mayor and Chancellor Ferebee have failed to share the details of what COVID 19 safety measures have been instituted in each school. Their secrecy is a major part of our concern. In a survey of teachers the WTU conducted last week, less than 3% believed our schools will be safe to reopen for in-person learning on or before November 9. Fewer said that DCPS has shared detailed information on proposed schedules and staffing plans. Nothing announced today will change these numbers.

On our brief tour on Friday of schools that are currently open to students, I saw no evidence of progress being made to ready the buildings for in-person teaching and learning before our group was asked to leave the school. Signage was virtually non-existent and needed upgrades to restrooms and installation of hand sanitizing equipment were not complete. Teachers, rightly, feel as if they are playing Hunger Games with the Mayor and Chancellor. If our schools are truly ready or in-person learning, as the Mayor and Chancellor suggest, then why would they not want parents and school workers to see the evidence for themselves?

“In recent days, we’ve seen how quickly a public gathering can turn into a ‘super-spreader’ event. Research and news articles continue to document growing concerns around student exposure to this virus and its spread in school setting. We ask that the Mayor and Chancellor work with us to accomplish the following before they move forward with plans to reopen our schools to in-person learning:

  • Agree to a safety checklist for school facilities. The WTU has adopted this checklist from national best practices to ensure our school buildings are equipped and safe for students, teachers, and school staff. We also want to ensure public reporting of any deficiencies and a public process for ensuring conditions are corrected. In partnership with Local School Advisory Teams (LSATs) and all Unions represented in our schools, tours shall be scheduled and approval of conditions for reopening must be agreed upon by all partners;
  • Agree to a Memorandum of Agreement that covers school operations and develop specific staffing plans and guidance for teachers at each school, without compromising teacher privacy. While we appreciate the decision to extend the deadline for staff to respond to the DCPS staff survey, we believe the survey should be rescinded due to technical issues and concerns with provisions requiring teachers to share personal health information;
  • Work in partnership with the Union to establish clear and specific protocols for cleaning and sharing information on COVID exposure in school communities. Multiple school –based staff have entered buildings since the school year began, yet school communities have not been notified; and
  • Provide details on the purchase and distribution of PPE for school communities and clear, agreed upon, protocols for their uses in a school facility.

“The WTU will stay the course on ensuring that teachers, parents and other education stakeholders are provided the evidence that the schools are ready for safe return. Teachers, students, other school workers and our students are not disposable pawns to be used as a part of an experiment.”


Last Friday, President Davis joined Council of School Officers (CSO) President Richard Jackson, and Walakewon Blegay from the DC Nurses Association (DCNA) in visiting a school. During their visit to Cardozo Education Campus, school officials asked them to leave because the school was “unsafe.” The Union leaders, who represent the majority of school-based staff, were not allowed to enter the other schools, Noyes ES and Phelps ACE HS, they’d planned to visit. On their visit, the Union leaders saw limited evidence of an investment in signage and improvements to the physical school plan designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school system.

The WTU has created a Checklist for Safely REOPENING Schools outlining the protections that need to be in-place before opening our buildings to students. We encourage school communities to REPORT UNSAFE CONDITIONs Here.


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You can download the full statement here.



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Headlines - Mon, Oct 5

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