The nonproﬁt organization LevelTen held a town hall meeting on Dec. 17 at Covenant House Washington’s Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Service Center titled h e Crisis: Challenges Teen Face. h e LevelTen Town Hall was a forum of discussion that addressed the achievement gap and its impact on student school retention rates and later life success.
Panelists, who also served as facilitators for small break-out groups, included recently elected ANC Commissioner Darrell Gaston, who recently ran against Marion Barry for the Ward 8 Councilmember seat, Latosha Frink, a local youth mentor and business woman and Diallo Sumbry, a local youth development specialist and founder of the Andinkra Group which manages the Beat Ya Feet Kings.
“The planners of the event were ﬁrm in our plan to have a group of panelists and attendees that represented various parts of the community,” said Daphne Charles, LevelTen’s director of community mobilization.
Opening with a spoken word piece by poet Jonathan Tucker, the meeting was nontraditional in its format. After introducing themselves, panelists joined tables and initiated conversations regarding the state of DCPS, the achievement gap’s prevalence in DC and the role parents play in student success. Among the list
of risk factors participants believe contribute to the achievement gap of DCPS students
included a lack of an educational standard within most homes, low expectations from parents and educators and stereotyping of students.
“Expectations come from parents,” said one participant. “That’s the foundation of a
Responses from participants that include solutions and ways to mobilize the community have been compiled and will be displayed on the LevelTen website.