3 DC Women Steal the Show at Forum 2015 Opening Plenary
3 DC Women Steal the Show at Forum 2015 Opening PlenaryAnne Sussman, Director, K-12 Communications
If a standing ovation is a good way to kick off an event, Forum 2015 is shaping up to be a great conference. At Wednesday’s opening plenary luncheon, three powerful and influential D.C. leaders — who just happen to be women — sat down with College Board President David Coleman to talk about the strides their city has made, and continues to make, in educating its children and keeping them safe.
Mayor Muriel Bowser, Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, and Chief of Police Cathy Lanier spoke with fierce pride about Washington’s gains in NAEP reading and math scores and having the country’s highest rate of students signing up for the FAFSA – which means more students will be more likely to go to college.
“We are raising our expectations about what [students] can achieve,” said Mayor Bowser, “and we know that when they leave our schools, they are prepared.”
Support, positivity, and engagement were all cited as important factors in positioning students to be successful in life. “We’ve made it a real priority to engage students and families,” said Chancellor Henderson. “We speak positivity and opportunity into young people’s lives … and [that] will absolutely determine their trajectory.”
Chief Lanier agreed, adding that it is important to focus on the actual individuals whose lives you are improving – rather than numbers or statistics. “Policing isn’t about making arrests, it’s about making connections,” she said. “Investing in nontraditional policing and community engagement has reduced kids involved in homicides 63 percent.”
Near the end of the discussion, David Coleman asked if there were any areas the panelists wanted to see faster progress in — or where they wanted things to slow down. Chief Lanier cited the speed at which technology changes as one of her biggest barriers, while Mayor Bowser was eager to get things moving more than ever. “I feel like I have to go fast every single day,” she said. “We have a legislative agenda that’s aggressive, and we should go fast – but we have to be strategic.”