We are grateful for a productive DSO summer as we continue projects with our social impact partners who continue to do amazing work.
New this summer we have two amazing volunteer interns Hanxi and Ankita who are revamping marketing and recruiting materials to increase engagement with students, working professionals, and clients. More specifically, they are planning workshops on campus, connecting with student organizations, and developing a new and improved website to attract more people to volunteer with DSO.
On July 26th, we hosted a Design Thinking Workshop in the Bay Area on the theme of Nonprofit Operational Sustainability. Over 20 people participated, including both nonprofits and nonprofit supporters. Some immediate feedback indicates this workshop was timely and helpful. DSO member Amy Badiani and alumna Lizzie Li organized the workshop. We’re honored by all the participation and thankful for our co-facilitators from Salesforce.org and studio b:ask.
Stay tuned for the results of these summer efforts in future updates.
Since last October, our D.C. team has been working on an important project to improve education for young people in the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems in Washington, D.C. Many young people, especially youth with identified special education needs, who are detained, committed, incarcerated or placed in the care of the government experience a variety of disruptions to education, which makes it difficult for them to achieve their educational goals. In D.C., there are a number of groups working to ensure these students within D.C.’s justice systems are well served. Public Defender Service (PDS) for D.C. is a model defender organization that seeks to “provide and promote quality legal representation to indigent adults and children facing a loss of liberty in the District of Columbia.” On the education side, School Justice Project (SJP) uses special education law to ensure that older, court-involved students with disabilities can access a quality education.
DSO’s partner from SJP is the co-chair of the D.C. Superior Court’s Juvenile Justice Subcommittee of the Court Education Work Group and a member of the Students in the Care of the District of Columbia Working Group (convened by Councilmember David Grosso) while DSO’s partner from PDS is a member of both groups. These groups are focused on improving education for court-involved students via cross-collaboration and coordination among a variety of agencies. The Students in the Care of D.C. Working Group introduced several policy and legislative recommendations listed in the Students in the Care of D.C. Working Group Recommendations (2018 Report) that aim to improve educational opportunities and student achievement of court-involved students. One of the legislative recommendations to establish a Standing Coordinating Committee is moving forward and will be in place next year. As stated in the 2018 Report, the purpose of the permanent Standing Coordinating Committee is to allow agencies, local education agencies, attorneys, advocates, and former students to continue to identify challenges and resolve issues that students in the care of D.C. face in order to improve educational opportunities and student achievement.
DSO is assisting both groups and the Standing Coordinating Committee by conducting additional research to bolster the initial findings in the 2018 Report and outline substantive issues that the Standing Coordinating Committee should consider once it is formed. DSO’s key research questions aim to illuminate the size and scope of the education issues that court-involved students face and identify best practices on obtaining transferable credit. The team has undertaken a significant data discovery effort with numerous D.C. agencies to identify data that is currently available to answer the key research questions and compile substantive issues that will be shared with the Standing Coordinating Committee. The work is complex but incredibly rewarding. For more information about the topic you can explore Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System.
The DSO team is comprised of DSO teammates Haejin Hwang, Anthony Buchanan, Justin Pizzimenti, Haidi Al-Shabrawey, Sanjana Padmanabhan, Alice Ye, Chloe Li, and Javier Vicente and our wonderful partners Claire Blumenson, Co-Chair of the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee and Executive Director of School Justice Project, Tayo Belle, Senior Staff Attorney at School Justice Project, and Nakisha Winston, Staff Attorney at Public Defender Service for D.C.
“The DSO team’s data discovery effort has illuminated the complex data landscape of the DC juvenile and criminal justice systems and illustrated the importance of our work for the population of DC court-involved students with disabilities.”
*-* Haejin Hwang, DSO DC Engagement Lead and SJP Project Team Lead