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District’s Charter and Traditional School Principals to Work Together to Solve Problems

Principals from the District’s traditional public schools and public charter schools will spend the next 11 months learning how to better manage their schools — working together — as part of a program aimed at improving school leadership across the city.

Beginning this month, 10 D.C. Public Schools principals and 10 charter school principals will immerse themselves in a graduate training program that will teach them how to navigate the complexities of running an urban school. The principals will learn how to better develop teacher talent, change school culture and respond to crisis situations.

The program, based at Georgetown University, has been around since 2013 but previously was offered only to D.C. Public Schools employees. It has now opened up to charter school principals.

It will bring principals from the two sectors into the same room — a rarity, since they often are seen as competing. Traditional school advocates argue that the charters strip neighborhood schools of resources and are not held to the same standards to educate the hardest-to-serve students, while charter school advocates say their schools offer District families a necessary alternative to neighborhood schools and more control over their children’s education. Charters are popular in the District, enrolling nearly half of the D.C.’s public school students.