WASHINGTON — For the 20 Democratic candidates who tussled onstage in Detroit last week for their party’s nomination, the debates were a chance to goose poll numbers, undercut rivals and wring donations from potential voters.
For the nearly 200 students who attended a summer debate program last week run by the Washington Urban Debate League, the contests were something else: a lesson plan.
The program, a two-week boot camp for middle and high schoolers held at the Washington Latin Public Charter School, enrolls mostly minority students from underserved backgrounds. The presidential debates offered a teachable moment, said David Trigaux, the league’s program director.
“We always try to find ways to connect to what’s going on in the public discussion,” he said. “The timing of the debates couldn’t be better to provide examples of some things to do and some things not to do.”
The standardized test scores at Washington Latin Public Charter School are among the best in the District. The waiting list of families clamoring to enroll in the middle and high school clocks in at more than 1,500 students. And the school, which educates about 700 children and boasts a rigorous classical curriculum, sends its graduates to the nation’s most prestigious universities.
But when Washington Latin sought permission from the city to double in size and open a second campus, it was not a slam-dunk decision.
Two of seven members on the D.C. Public Charter School Board — the oversight panel that decides which charters open and close — voted against the school’s application. Other board members expressed their reluctance. And while the board voted in July to allow Washington Latin to establish a second campus for the 2020-2021 academic year, board members made school leaders agree to more than a half-dozen conditions. READ MORE
Eighth graders are hard at work on original mystery stories due this week. Each story includes a mysterious setting, well-developed characters, a red herring, dialogue, foreshadowing and suspense. The students are midway through a mystery unit, featuring books by Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Varian Johnson, among other writers.
Eighth grade science teacher Ms. Barlev started a Magic the Gathering club this year during her Wednesday in her advisory. The club, open to eighth graders, allows students a chance to bring their own cards to her class and play during lunch. The game is a complicated card game in which each card has multiple features and meanings involving fantasy characters.
Middle Schoolers hosted their first assembly last week, combining grades 5 through 8. The event focused on the theme of adventure and seizing the day, and featured student speakers like Angie Sturr, who read a Doctor Seuss poem, and Giaan Kalsi, who read an introduction encouraging the younger middle schoolers to capitalize on all the exciting adventures and opportunities coming their way. Ms. Sisk spoke about overcoming stage fright and tackling challenges like public speaking. Teachers honored students with merit awards for showing positive examples for their peers and being kind, respectful, generous, and engaged in the community. Students as well wrote merit awards for teachers, honoring their instructors for their enthusiasm and effort. Next week the upper schoolers will have an assembly on the theme of “Home.”