FLOC Deputy Director Robyn Lingo Testifies Before DC City Council – 3/6/15

Testimony of Robyn Lingo
For Love of Children (FLOC)
To the City Council Committee on Education
OSSE & SBE Performance Oversight Hearing March 5, 2015

Chairman Grosso and members of the Committee on Education:

My name is Robyn Lingo and I am the Deputy Director at For Love of Children (FLOC). Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on behalf of For Love of Children.

Last year, our nation reached a profound milestone — 80 percent of our students now graduate high school. Within the District of Columbia, however, we struggle to graduate even 64 percent of our students. Our city boasts the highest proportion of young adults with college degrees, yet only 10 percent of our city’s own high school students will attain postsecondary degrees.

OSSE’s mission to remove barriers and ensure children receive a great education, coupled with SBE’s policy leadership, advocacy, and oversight will help our city move closer towards a city where every student has a viable path to a postsecondary degree. Similarly, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s stated goal is to ensure that every child have equal access to learning resources.

As the Deputy Director of For Love of Children, I know we can bring this educational justice to our city. I know that out of school time programs play critical roles in ensuring every student’s successful path. A nationwide study by the Afterschool Alliance showed that DC has the highest after school participation rate in the U.S., yet we ranked 49th in the percentage of low-income children enrolled in an afterschool program.

Over the past 50 years, FLOC has served more than 10,000 children, turning disparity into opportunity. Currently, 100 percent of our seniors graduate high school and over 70% have graduated from postsecondary or are persisting towards a degree. FLOC sparks community transformation one young person at a time by ensuring access to quality afterschool services that lead to postsecondary success. FLOC programming focuses on youth empowerment by building critical thinking, leadership, and advocacy skills that dramatically increase readiness for postsecondary education. Through our signature Neighborhood Tutoring and Scholars Programs, we intervene early and expose students to educational opportunities and career experiences that lead to proven success.

With more than 100 local and national partners, FLOC provides critical access to free afterschool services — from first grade through college and career — for youth throughout the city. Furthermore, by partnering with our students and families, we are organizing a community call for wider access to quality out of school time programming.

We understand the exceptionally powerful role partnership plays in academic success. We’re here today to recommend that OSSE & SBE increase their data sharing partnership with out of school time programs serving elementary and middle school youth. With this access to student-level data, FLOC and our peer organizations could improve the educational supports we provide our students and better prepare them for the next step in their educational journey.

We also recommend OSE & SBE more actively engage highly effective out of school time programs broadly in strategic discussions about raising postsecondary readiness rates for our community’s most vulnerable youth. As we know, students spend over 300 hours a year in out of school time programs. Our data-driven programs have measureable success guiding students toward postsecondary degrees.

These are tangible, achievable steps we can take together to move closer to our vision: a city in which every child’s potential — regardless of zip code, skin color, or socioeconomic status — is unlocked with a postsecondary degree, opening the doors to success in life.

Thank you, again, for the opportunity to testify. I look forward to working with you this year.

(Robyn Lingo is FLOC’s Deputy Director.)

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