PAVE Post February 2018
PAVE Spotlight: DC Parent Voice and Choice Week
The first-ever DC Parent Voice and Choice Week (DCPVCW) was a tremendous success, bringing 60 members of PAVE's Parent Leaders in Education Boards to the Wilson Building for 10 meetings with DC elected officials and education policymakers. Their collective voices sent a message to our elected officials that parent advocates are informed, empowered, and ready to work in partnership with our policymakers to better serve our children.
Check out the DCPVCW meeting agendas and see the questions parents had for our policymakers:
It is my hope that [DCPVCW] is part of a continuous process, and that we will always be able to come here and continue the conversation with our councilmembers about what is best for our children.
In preparation for these meetings, PLE Board members discussed the issues facing their wards and communities, brainstormed the questions they wanted to ask, and created the meeting agendas. Parent chairs led each meeting, and PLE Board members called on their elected officials to share plans for parent-identified policy needs, including greater funding for Out of School Time (OST) Programs and the #WeNeed25 movement.
Watch to learn more about funding for OST Programs and the #WeNeed25 movement!
DC Parent Voice and Choice Week concluded Friday night with a special Capstone Happy Hour co-hosted by PAVE and Education Reform Now. Special guest speakers, DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Vice President for P-12 Policy and Practice at The Education Trust, Dr. Lillian Lowery joined PLE Board members, school leaders, community partners, and elected officials at the Capstone. Their remarks addressed the power of family and community engagement, and congratulated parent leaders for the support they received from our elected officials during DCPVCW.
(Left) DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and (Right) Chair of the Committee on Education David Grosso (At-Large)
I value and work hard to make sure that parents voices are at my table at all times. Each [parent] story is an important part of the work that we do.
(Above) Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and Ward 1 DC State Board of Education Representative Laura Wilson Phelan take a photo with Ward 1 families. (Below) Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles (Left) and Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White (Right)
(Above) At-Large Councilmember Robert White Jr. speaks with PLE Board members.
"I’m always going to be a fan of informed, effective, parent voice, and that is what this is."
(Left) Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd and (Right) Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie
(Below) PAVE's Founder and Executive Director, Maya Martin, thanks Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Dr. Lillian Lowery, who spoke at the Capstone Happy Hour.
Check out all the highlights from DC Parent Voice and Choice Week here!
PAVE Parent Power: What's Possible for Our Kids, Our Communities, and Our Schools
We are excited to share that on Friday night we launched our Parent Power Campaign. Throughout 2018, PAVE has set a fundraising goal of $2,000,000 to ensure the voices of families are a fundamental part of our education system’s decision-making process long-term.
Help us PAVE the Way! You can support our work and PAVE the way for Parent Power by texting PAVE to 202-831-8303! Every voice and every dollar counts, so please consider offering what you can to support the power and promise of parent voice in reimagining our education system.
Donate Today
PAVE-ing the Way: Who We Are, Why We Do This Work
Anise Walker,
Ward 8 PLE Board Member

Anise Walker Writes About the Power of Listening to the Concerns of Parents.
"It's urgent that school leaders and city leaders not just hear us as parents, but listen to us. We have something to say and only we know the change we want to see in this world for our children."

Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I attended my neighborhood elementary and middle schools. However, when I got to high school, my mother did not want me to attend the high school in my jurisdiction. Because school choice did not exist at the time, my mother used my grandmother’s address to enroll me in a school with a better reputation. I guess that was my first exposure to the idea of school choice.

When it came time to enroll my daughter in school, I became aware of the choice movement here in DC. At the time, I was working for a non-profit organization that supported charter schools and was placed at Friendship’s Woodridge campus as a mental health specialist. I was very impressed with the vision, mission, and instruction at Woodridge, so at age three I enrolled my daughter there... And she’s been in a Friendship school ever since.

I became an advocate quite by accident, I think. As both a Friendship school leader and a Friendship parent, I was uniquely positioned to listen to both parents and staff members about their concerns. When I joined Friendship’s Parent Advisory Council (PAC), I realized that I was hearing the same concerns shared by my colleagues about student academic success, behaviors, and more. Wanting to get more involved, I offered to start facilitating trainings on those topics for the parents at my school. Encouraged by the informational power parents were starting to exhibit, I was then asked to offer these trainings to other parents in Friendship’s school network – and the rest is history.

In the last 13 years, I’ve been the PAC President and PAC Secretary, a member of Friendship’s district PAC, the parent representative to Friendship’s Board of Trustees, the Ward 8 representative for My School DC’s Parent Advisory Council, and a member of PAVE’s Ward 8 Parent Leaders in Education (PLE) Board. My involvement in these organizations has led me to learn how to best encourage and support parent voice in my school, the schools of my friends’ children, and schools across the city.

Not all policymakers and city leaders have a parent’s real “boots on the ground” type of experience in their day to day world, and therefore, what looks good on paper, doesn’t always translate into good practice. It’s urgent that school leaders and city leaders not just hear us as parents, but LISTEN to us. We have something to say and only WE know the change we want to see in this world for our children.

Upcoming PAVE and Partner Events
Ward 7 Education Fair
My School DC
Join PAVE at the Ward 7 Education Fair to learn more about the excellent school options available to you! The Ward 7 Education Fair is your chance to connect directly with school and community partners before the My School DC school lottery deadline for grades PK3 - 8. The Fair will take place on Saturday, February 10, from 11 am - 2 pm at Rocketship Legacy Prep PCS, 4250 Massachusetts Avenue Southeast. For more information, please visit
Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force Focus Groups
My School DC
The Deputy Mayor for Education’s Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force has been convening a diverse group of education stakeholders,  including DC Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools, to make recommendations for improving DC education. Before the Task Force presents their findings to Mayor Bowser, they want your feedback! See a complete list of meetings below and follow the link to register:
Monthly Community Forums with Chancellor Wilson 
DC Public Schools
Chancellor Wilson and DCPS Leadership are hosting Monthly Community Forums around the district to ensure our families and the broader community have an opportunity to provide feedback and help make critical decisions on the District’s strategic priorities and initiatives. For more information about these forums, please visit
View all upcoming PAVE events here!
Keep in touch! Sign up to join the PAVE listserv.

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PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that connects, informs, and empowers parent leaders to have a voice and a choice in the vision for education in Washington, DC. PAVE's goal is to create an education system in which parents are partners in developing a diversity of safe, nurturing, and great schools for every child in every ward and community.
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