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Movers & Shakers

Kaya Henderson stepping down as Washington D.C. schools chancellor

During Henderson’s tenure, district stabilized and test scores rose
Kaya Henderson lead District of Columbia Public Schools for more than five years.
Kaya Henderson lead District of Columbia Public Schools for more than five years.

Kaya Henderson will step down in September as chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools after serving in the position for more than five years.

She says she will spend time with family before considering other offers in education, published reports state.

During Henderson’s tenure, the once-troubled district has stabilized and seen marked improvements in test scores, academic programs and extracurricular offerings. She also initiated reforms for socially and economically challenged students, leading the district to four years of enrollment growth after four decades of decline.

At the Tony Awards in June, Broadway composer Andrew Lloyd Webber announced a $1.3 million donation to provide theater arts training and college scholarships for outstanding drama students in underfunded U.S. public schools.

The funds, which will be distributed by American Theatre Wing (founder of the Tony Awards), will also be used to purchase instruments, lighting rigs and dance floors, among other equipment. “Disgracefully the arts have too often borne the brunt of short-sighted cuts to educational budgets,” Webber stated.

Michigan state Rep. Klint Kesto sponsored a new law that requires schools to teach students about genocide, including lessons on the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide. It recommends six hours of age-appropriate instruction between grades 8 and 12, although final curriculum will be up to educators.

The law also established the Governor’s Council on Genocide and Holocaust Education, a privately funded advisory body.

San Diego USD Superintendent Cindy Marten intends to involve families and communities more deeply in student success.

Under a new initiative—part of the district’s Vision 2020 plan to establish “quality schools in every neighborhood”—Marten will hire an executive director of family and community engagement, and organize community school networks. The district will survey families and help them develop comprehensive plans for each student’s education.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a new law—Incentives to Complete Career Development Courses—designed to better prepare high school students for the workforce. The measure encourages students to earn industry certification in a high-demand field, complete practical workplace training or pass an AP computer science class.

For every student who accomplishes one of these goals, a district or charter school will receive $1,000. The law sets aside $1 million for when the incentives go into effect in the 2017-18 school year.