Ward 5 needs a knowledgeable, committed educator who has a demonstrated passion for our children's education, who our parents can trust, who can relate to the work of our teachers, and who can support our school community through informed advocacy on the State Board of Education.
That candidate is me.
I am a former award-winning 7th grade math teacher and lifelong educator. I coach DCPS and charter principals and school leadership teams every single day. I have a track record of success and demonstrated passion for improving life outcomes of our students. I love this city and want more than anything for future generations to be able to benefit from all it has to offer as others and I have.
My priorities include:
Increase focus on our most at-risk students: Ensure we increase funding and enhance our school quality measures to hold schools accountable for growth of historically disadvantaged students.
Invest in our community schools: Ensure our neighborhood schools receive the time, attention, and resources necessary for them to excel; promote transparency and consistency across sectors
Improve our lottery process: Implement neighborhood preference (10-20%) and give higher preference to students in a zoned proximity to low-performing schools.
Community collaboration and mental health supports: Promote school-community collaborations and ensure every school provides mental health supports for students and teachers.
Meaningfully engage our parents and community: Serve as a visible leader in our school communities. Launch teacher, parent, and community advisory councils to invest residents in the process of improving our schools.
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My campaign team promotes #InvestIn5 because we believe there is an opportunity for us to build on the collective strength of our communities to improve our schools. We believe every deliberate action community members take is an investment in our students' future.
Meet Zachary Parker:
Proud Eckington Neighborhood resident
Family rooted in DC since the 60s
Third-generation educator and former award-winning math teacher
Senior Director of School Support with ANet (working alongside and coaching DCPS and charter leaders and teachers daily)
Founder and CEO of Global Millennials for Progress (U.S. nonprofit focused on mobilizing millennials to take action in the areas of education, environment, health, human rights, and poverty)
CEO and principal consultant of Accelerate Educational Consulting
Northwestern University (B.S. in Speech and Language Pathology) and Columbia University, Teachers College (M.A. in Education Policy and Leadership) alumnus
Teach For America alumnus (Greater New Orleans Region '09)
Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated
Board Member of Love to Langa (U.S. nonprofit focused on educating and supporting the children of Cape Town, South Africa)
Listen: Zach on WPFW
School Board Members
Our campaign believes Ward 5 businesses will play an integral role in helping to transform our schools. We welcome local businesses to align with our campaign to bring about the change our students deserve. If interested in joining our business advisory council, please email our team at email@example.com.
All students can achieve at high levels
A poor education limits the opportunities one is afforded to attend the college and/or pursue the career of their choice
We must examine how race and racism has informed and currently shapes the education our students receive
There is no place for racism in our schools and classrooms
Ward 5 has a rich educational history
Our State Board of Education representative should be present and a leader in our collective education space
It is unfair to teachers and students not to focus on student growth in addition to absolute student achievement
Some of our highest performing and often-lauded schools have significant achievement gaps between students of color and their white peers, which we must focus on as much as improving some of our lowest performing schools
Common Core is a tool of equity to ensure all students are learning from the same high standards
Autonomy is not the enemy of transparency
We need to honor the work teachers do everyday, recognize the passion parents have for providing their children the best education possible, and trust the work educators do broadly
Leaders and teachers need to be content experts
A strong traditional public school system is critical for thriving communities and a well-rounded education
Charters have a place in our education landscape
I reject the notion of being a "district person" or "charter person" and believe in quality schools, whatever the distinction; they are all our schools
We need a strong teacher evaluation system focused on proven instructional strategies, pedagogy, and student achievement; IMPACT is flawed
Our students are currently overassessed due to the lack of a coherent assessment strategy in the District and in many schools
We need more cross-sector collaboration
Our teachers need broader support
Absolute student achievement matters
Only focusing on student achievement (by way of test scores) dismisses the very real structural racism that has relegated many of our highest at-risk students in failing schools
We need greater oversight of our schools and an independent, reliable data/research arm informing the public of our schools' strengths and areas of improvement
Dual language programs are a nice to have (and are important), while improved language access for our students and families is a must. We need to make progress on both.
elow are my positions on some of the latest happenings in the DC ed space.
Safe Passage Ways: The recent and tragic murders of students at KIPP HS and Ballou HS should remind us that we need to prioritize safe passage ways for our students. We need to better leverage police and community resources to ensure our children's safety.
Out of School Time Funding: Out of School Time Funding is a necessary component in the FY19 budget and promises to support our students academically.
Student Fair Access to School Amendment Act 2018: This policy is a welcomed and needed policy change, which protects our children's right to an education and curves suspension rates for students, especially students of color who are often caught up in the school-to-prison pipeline. I support the policy, however, believe we need to be vigilant about how this policy impacts school culture and learning in the classroom. A consequence of this legislation could be additional red tape that usurps teachers' authority in the classroom, gives schools an out from managing tight behavior management systems, and promoting alternative means of excluding students from meaningful learning in the class.
Neighborhood Preference: I believe in building the school-community relationship whether DCPS or charter, and believe ensuring that our schools reflect the communities in which they serve is the way to strengthen these ties. 10-20% of school seats should be allotted for neighborhood preference.
Star Rating System: OSSE's recommendation and the Board's vote for allocating 70% of a school's quality review rating to student proficiency numbers does not tell a full enough narrative about our schools. While achievement is important, and needs to be our unwavering focus, we must all consider the very real and disparate circumstances our schools face depending on at-risk population and learning gaps, among other very important factors. Not enough weight is given to the performance of a schools' at-risk population or growth from year to year, which essentially means schools with more affluent and fewer at-risk students will always score higher than peer institutions with contrasting narratives. What is more, when you look deeper in the data of some of our higher achieving schools, you'll find troubling trends of achievement gaps where students of color are often lagging behind their white peers. I propose a more equitable distribution on the city's rating system that acknowledges achievement but also recognizes schools' work and progress with at-risk students and growth.