Photo by Renee Keith on Flickr.

Top five issues to watch this year: Will charters achieve equitable funding, resist outside regulation, surpass DCPS in popularity, be authorized by Chancellor Henderson, or gain access to closed DCPS school buildings?…Will DCPS get a boundary overhaul, combine its lottery with charters, retain popularity over charters, give closed school buildings to charters, or be affected by legislation from the DC Council? (Examiner, Post)

Are modernized school buildings worth the cost? A new building like Dunbar High School’s can boost standardized test scores by up to 10%, according to one study. But Councilmember David Catania says it makes no sense to invest money in modernizing DC high schools, where enrollment is slipping … And Washington Latin PCS opened the year in the refurbished former Rudolph ES building, which boasts a new library and an athletic field. (City Paper, Northwest Current)

Michelle Obama encourages healthy habits: Michelle Obama visited Orr Elementary with Kaya Henderson and Shaquille O’Neal to promote her “Let’s Move!” campaign, which calls for at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. DCPS is the only school district in the country with 100% participation in the program. (Post)

Effective program loses funding: DC’s Youth Court program has lost its funding despite its advantages over sending kids to a regular court: a 50% lower rearrest rate and a quarter of the cost. (The Atlantic Cities)

Catania continues listening on education: Undeterred by the DC Council’s defeat of his effort to funnel more money to high-poverty schools, David Catania continues to hold his “listening” sessions in each ward. (City Paper)

Allow a neighborhood preference at some charters? Mayor Gray and David Grosso have both introduced legislation that would allow charters to use a limited form of neighborhood preference. Over half of charter school students come from wards 5, 7, and 8, where many schools closed by DCPS were located. (Hill Rag)

Recess has benefits beyond playtime: Recent research supports the theory that recess can reduce bullying and prepare students to learn. Some DC students began the year with 15 minutes of recess per day, which was increased to 20 minutes after parents complained. (Post)

More time for school can help students achieve: Hoping to build on the success of schools that extended their day last year, nine additional DCPS schools opened with an extra hour at the end of the school day … Students participating in Higher Achievement attend summer school to acquire academic skills and confidence and gain admittance to top high schools. (Washington Informer, WJLA)

School reform stops and starts frustrate many: Parents and others in the education community are frustrated by a lack of vision in phase two of school reform and wish that Kaya Henderson was more visible in her role as schools chancellor. (East of the River)

Upcoming Events

Open house: Visit the new Sela PCS, a Hebrew-immersion charter school, at a range of dates and times in September (two this week). 6015-17 Chillum Place NE.

State of DC Schools: Hear from guest speaker Elizabeth Davis, president of the Washington Teachers Union, on Saturday, September 14th from 1 to 3 pm. First Rock Baptist Church, 4630 Alabama Ave. SE.