More than 50 D.C. youths in the custody of the city’s juvenile justice agency either have been killed or found guilty of killing someone else over the past five years — and the majority of them had been categorized in advance as posing a “high,” “high-medium” or “medium” risk of reoffending.

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D.C. school officials incorrectly reported their progress in adequately meeting the needs of special education students, saying they quickly handled cases that actually dragged on for years and in some cases may have never provided students services, according to a court-appointed monitor’s report.

In one case, a deaf student with college dreams dropped out of high school after D.C. Public Schools failed to provide an adequate sign language interpreter and some equipment. It took DCPS months to get her the promised equipment — some of which arrived broken.

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Tiffany Johnson is the beneficiary of the Washington, D.C., merit pay system.

Washington, D.C., public school teacher Tiffany Johnson is a “highly effective” educator — and saw her pay jump to $87,000 from $63,000 this past year as a result.

“When I was making way less, I was entertaining the idea of going to a neighboring school district,” said Johnson, 29, a special-education teacher. “I’m not going anywhere now.”

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Special Education Children

Tiffany Johnson, a special-education teacher, got a large raise after earning the rating "highly effective" for two years in a row.

WASHINGTON — During her first six years of teaching in this city’s struggling schools, Tiffany Johnson got a series of small raises that brought her annual salary to $63,000, from about $50,000. This year, her seventh, Ms. Johnson earns $87,000.

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Some officials associated with the District’s public charter schools are lauding an initiative that will streamline the way these schools are evaluated.

The Public Charter School Board, parents and other stakeholders spent almost three years developing the Performance Management Framework (PMF), which will be an evaluation tool to assess and monitor charter school performance. Schools that are rated will fall into one of three tiers. Tier 1 schools will have met standards of high performance; Tier 2 schools are those which fall short of high performance standards but meet minimum overall performance; and Tier 3 schools are those which fall significantly short of high performance standards and show inadequate performance. Tier 3 schools that fall below 20 percent of an established number of points may have their charters revoked.

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D.C. to train more special-ed students to use Metro

D.C. school officials are increasing their efforts to teach special-education students to take Metro to school, as the city tries to cut the $26,000-per-student annual cost of transporting them by bus.

D.C. Public Schools and other city education leaders are identifying students whom they believe can be “trained” to navigate public transportation, and who attend schools that are accessible by bus or train from their homes.

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For D.C. students, a tale of two call centers

When something goes wrong, parents of D.C. special-education students dial the call center.

The call center is housed in the Office of the State Superintendent for Education’s Department of Transportation, and handles 330 calls a day — about one call for every 11 students who the city buses to school, because their neighborhood school can’t provide the special-education services the student requires.

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Adult Ed graduates reach for goals

WEST HARTFORD – Proud families and friends looked on as the West Hartford Adult Education program honored twenty-three graduates of its high school completion programs in a ceremony at the Town Hall Auditorium on November 16.

Assistant Superintendent Tom Moore addressed the graduates, noting that their perseverance to attain their goals in spite of adversity is an inspiration to all who attend this ceremony. State Department of Education Consultant Ajit Gopalakrishan welcomed the graduates to the start of the next level of attainment, the post secondary education that many of them will pursue.

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A federal judge has ruled that District of Columbia public schools must make sweeping changes to how young children with disabilities are located and served.

In a ruling last week, Judge Royce Lamberth said the district must ensure that 8.5 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 5 are enrolled in special education and related services, as required by federal law.

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