Honors senior Sarah Aldridge returned to Washington, D.C. this summer to join the D.C. Public Schools Urban Education Leaders Internship Program. As a political science major and sociology minor, Sarah is passionate about equity in access to public education. Within that, her specific area of interest is on students who have traditionally been left behind in public schools, especially low-income and students of color.
This is not Sarah's first experience in Washington, D.C. She spent the Fall 2016 semester in D.C. working with the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and at the national office for the Sustained Dialogue Institute.
Photos shown here contributed by Sarah show her in D.C. during the fall of 2016: (Top) overlooking The National Mall and (Bottom) at the Capitol Rotunda.
Sarah is thriving in her work this summer with DCPS. She is paired with the Advanced and Enriched Instruction team, which is currently focused on increasing access to pre-AP and AP courses throughout the District, as well as increasing AP pass rates. This group is targeting students regardless of their background and working to eliminate historical segregation of advanced courses in schools. Sarah explains that, "So far, I've done extensive research on clustering/grouping practices in schools and the effects on students, helped to develop the summer enrichment program curriculum, and now I'm working to learning a bit of basic coding and webpage design to help streamline resources for teachers throughout the DCPS system."
She has also been shadowing her supervisor and networking with school administrators, teachers and staff throughout the Central Office. The goal of DCPS is to develop the best educational practices to challenge and support students to excel. Sarah shares, "I was drawn to spending my summer at D.C. Public Schools because of their mission statement to providing an equitable, high-quality education for all students. Working with the DCPS system has given me such a rare insight to how decisions are actually made and implemented in schools, and I love knowing that all of my work is directly making the schools better for students."
Beyond her work at DCPS this summer, Sarah attended the Young Women Run Summit to gain campaign and political training, a conference on Technology for Societal Change, and briefings and protests surrounding the healthcare repeal. As she reports, "I been intentional about pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to learn more about the many political issues facing our nation at this time, and the role I can play as a solution in the future." Sarah's commitment to interdisciplinary learning, community engagement and service epitomizes the mission of Honors at App. Keep up the good fight, Sarah. We can't wait to see how your senior Honors thesis develops out of the combination of your grounded learning at App with this hands-on experience working in D.C. Do keep us posted!
Top photo contributed by Sarah shows her holding a DCPS T-shirt in Washington, D.C. this summer.
Story by Garrett Alexandrea McDowell, Ph.D.