Wednesday Antwan Wilson starts his first day as chancellor of D.C. Public Schools. His tenure begins after his successor Kaya Henderson, retired from her position last year. He will oversee DCPS and its 48,000 students. The school system that has received praise for its rising enrollment, increased graduation rates and improved test scores.
However, Wilson is gearing up to face the challenge of closing DCPS’ wide achievement gap. Though test scores show improvements among all students, assessments show that they’ve gone up faster for white students than for students of color. Wilson says tackling that problem requires starting as early as possible.
“If we can get them on the right trajectory at age 3, 4, 5, 6 then they tend to be in a position where they’re going to succeed at 11, 12 and 13 years of age,” Wilson said. “That’s not the only thing that matters. It is an important boost to put students on the right path.”
Prior to joining DCPS, Wilson served in school systems in Oakland and Denver. Both of these systems have faced similar challenges as DC.
“My work coming in, is really to learn what has worked, but also understanding where there are opportunities to go deeper, and that work comes through my engagement with the community, that work comes through my engagement with teachers,” Wilson said.
Listen to the full interview here.