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Message to Families Regarding School Closure – May 11th & 12th

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Capital City takes Top Honors at citywide National History Day competition

Capital City high school students took home top honors in every category at this year’s citywide competition held at the National Archives on Thursday, April 30, 2015. “Our students showed strong work today,” said Laura Moye, 10th Grade History Teacher, “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

National History Day , a yearlong academic program that focuses on historical research for students 6th-12th grade, around a yearly selected theme. This year’s theme focused on “Leadership and Legacy in history.” This marks the fifth year Capital City has competed in this competition.

Through the competition, students developed a research topic and then engaged in primary and secondary research, including interviewing experts and probing through archival materials. Students first competed in Capital City’s annual in-house National History Day event in which the top three projects from each category were selected to attend the citywide competition.

The following students won high honors at this year’s citywide NHD competition and will compete in the national National History Day competition to be held June 16-18, 2015 at the University of Maryland.

Nationwide, more than 5 million students participate in this annual competition.

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2015 National History Day Citywide Competition Winners from Capital City:

Group Performance

1st Place: Felicia and Tan – Archimedes 2nd Place: Jesamil, Chidinma, Maria - Rigoberta Menchu

Individual Performance

2nd Place: Ner - William Ellsworth "Dummy" Hoy: The Best Deaf Baseball Player

Individual Documentary 1st Place: Brandy – Alice Paul 2nd Place: Noemi - Ali: The Truths and Realities of the Greatest Fighter of All Time

Group Documentary 2nd Place: Phong, Carlos C., & Danny - The Heroic Terrorist? John Brown's Leading the Raid on Harpers Ferry

Group Web site 1st Place: Milan, Mesgana, & Jennifer – The Mother of Planned Parenthood: Margaret Sanger 2nd Place: Rau & Kevin A. – Joseph McCarthy: The Leadership and Legacy of a Darkened Senator

Individual Web site 1st Place: Daniel – Thomas Edison: Inventing the Horrors of AC 3rd Place: Deborah - Theodora

Research Papers 1st Place: Colby - An End to Excessive Destruction: Gifford Pinchot and the Establishment of American Conservation

2nd Place: Dona – Bhimrao Ambedkar 3rd Place: Kevin T. – Alan Turing

Group Exhibit 1st Place: Daliza, Mariana, & Gerardo – Whoover?: The Man Behind the Evolution of U.S. Intelligence 3rd Place: Elsy & Malena – Leonardo da Vinci

Individual Exhibit 3rd Place: Dominique – Guido D'Arezzo: A Quantum Leap in the Evolution of Western Music



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Educators: Register for the Developmental Designs Summer Institute

Capital City Public Charter School has been chosen as a host site for one of The Origins Program’s Developmental Designs Summer Institutes, August 3-7.

Each summer, The Origins Program, an educational consulting organization based in Minneapolis, conducts Developmental Designs™ professional development programs around the country.

Hundreds of middle-level educators attend these programs and learn how to strengthen students’ social-emotional skills, build inclusivity, and increase academic success.

Educators throughout the area will join us for this interactive professional development. Gathering many voices from many schools and backgrounds enriches these workshops. Together, we can:

  • Explore the power of social-emotional learning for adolescents
  • Acquire new knowledge about positive behavior techniques
  • Weave consistent teaching practices throughout our schools


Register here !

  1. For those new to the Developmental Designs approach, join us for: Developmental Designs 1 (DD1)


For more information about the institute, click here.

If you have registration questions, contact The Origins Program’s registrar, Sarah Biros at Sarah@OriginsOnline.orgor 612-822-3422.

Developmental Designs looks forward to working with you this summer to advance the social, emotional, and academic growth in adolescents throughout the Washington DC area.



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6th Graders Investigate Labor Conditions

All our students know people who work, but they might not necessarily be aware of the conditions under which the people closest to them are employed or how these conditions differ between industries and have changed over time. To learn more about this, our 6th graders set out to explore the world of labor during their first semester expedition.

At first, the students eased into the topic by discussing crucial questions such as, Why do we work? What are working conditions, and why do they matter? They analyzed case studies from significant phases in the U.S. labor movement. Their first case study centered on Frederick Douglass and how he used his oratorical skills and his Narrative to criticize the institution of slavery. The second case discussed how laws were passed to protect child laborers during the Industrial Revolution. The example of the formation of the United Farm Workers of America helped students to understand the role of unions as well as the experience of migrant laborers in this country and it followed into the fourth case about modern-day garment workers.

The expedition’s comparative approach helped students to understand how workers brought about change and what they did to advocate for improving their rights as workers and as humans, but at the same time it also made them aware that despite all progress, much more needs to be done.

The contrast of different eras and cases, as well as the 6th grade’s intention to seek out themes that would be significant to 6th graders, successfully spurred the students’ interest and lead to many classroom discussions where it became clear that deeper learning had taken place. For instance, “student discussions raised several important questions,” noted Ms. Hua. These questions included, “Which groups of workers are given fewer rights? How does an education help us secure ‘good’ jobs and what is a ‘good’ job?”

Through this expedition, 6th graders gained an understanding of workers’ rights, the importance of fair labor conditions and the value of working every day.

Different fieldwork and classroom activities enhanced the students’ learning experience. The group visited the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and the Baltimore Museum of Industry to support the slavery and Industrial Revolution case studies. A classroom activity focused on the introduction of the assembly line asked students to collaboratively build a replica of a 1914 moving van. After learning more about the harsh working conditions that slaves, child laborers and migrant farm workers were subjected to, the students conducted short research projects on working conditions in the garment industry.

Students interviewed the Organizing Coordinator of the Garment Worker Center in Los Angeles to gain insight into modern day issues. This allowed them to make connections between the past and present and seek out change in their own community.

Students read a variety of texts about garment factories around the world and in the United States to build additional background knowledge. They created brochures to build public awareness by synthesizing informational texts, organizing their notes from fieldwork and expert visits, and finally citing their sources to justify their claims. “The research project was complex and rigorous,” noted Ms. Hua. “Students persevered to complete the project.”

The expedition concluded with student-generated presentations for their peers. They created visual displays and brochures. Some students even decided to research specific companies and displayed their information on T-shirts, seen in the above photo.



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The 10th Grade Injustice Project

“Injustice,” said 10th grader Ashley, “is when someone is treated unfairly, and no one else is there to help them."

She continues, "because that person is too scared or doesn’t feel it’s important to help them.” The focus on injustice, timely given the current events in and outside of our country, was the subject of the expedition for 10th graders in their English and World History classes this fall.

As part of this semester-long expedition, students engaged in a project focused on immigration rights. Through the Injustice Project, students interviewed immigrants in the U.S. to understand the diverse array of reasons why someone may flee his/her country and to then tell their interviewees' stories. “It brought a real face to the issue (of immigration and injustice),” said Ms. Monét Cooper, 10th grade English teacher. “They also learned about advocates, those who sit at every seat of the table (of the issue) from lawyers to social service providers and translators.”

We “wanted them to have a sense of not just the problems that exist in the world,” explained Ms. Cooper, “but also that there are solutions, and that you have to dedicate yourself to solving those challenges.”

Through the Injustice Project, students gained 21st Century Skills as they learned how to be professional when asking for and carrying out an interview. “The students’ voices need to be heard, and they are learning how to be heard in a professional setting,” said Ms. Cooper.

After interviewing their experts, students developed written and photo essays to share what they learned and to express the message they wanted to share about the hardships their interviewees faced. In Ashley’s team’s photo essay (quoted above), all of the photos were pictures of their interviewee, Josue, who had fled his country due to threats against his life. “There are parts when he’s remembering part of his life and there are parts where he’s laughing,” said Ashley. “He’s showing how even though he’s not with his family now, he can have a new life and be happy about it.”

This year, students had the unique opportunity to present their projects to Washington Post staff members at their downtown office, thanks to Kathryn Tolbart from the Post. “By having the audience at the Washington Post of professional reporters and photographers who care deeply about these issues and are able to provide our students with feedback, we were preparing them for the real world,” said Ms. Cooper. “It’s helpful for our students to receive authentic feedback that can improve their work and broaden their perspective.”

“Expeditions are a huge endeavor,” continued Ms. Cooper. “It’s a learning process for the teacher as well as the student. Human rights are a universal right, but through this study, students understand how much a privilege it is. Just because it’s a right, doesn’t mean that we have all the rights associated with it that we should. Students realize that it is ultimately their responsibility to take care of each other.”