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From prison to work: Former inmates learn to be entrepreneurs at Georgetown University

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WASHINGTON (ABC7) — A program that helps D.C. inmates transition to life outside is celebrating its first round of graduates.

15 fellows with Georgetown University’s Pivot Program graduated over the summer and will finish their last day of class at the end of August.

The Pivot Program is a one-year transition and re-entry program centered around academic work and pushing former inmates to become entrepreneurs.

“Business schools are about creating opportunity. There is a population in our community that is ready to contribute,” said Pietra Rivoli, director of Pivot Program. “We support if they want to transition to full-time employment. We also support if they want to create their own business.”

Sheri Davis, a fellow in the program, calls it a second chance. “One mistake shouldn’t define my whole life.”

Davis is a former District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) elementary teacher, who has two masters in business and primary education.

Life was going pretty good before she committed a crime that resulted in 22 months behind bars.

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Karen-Keys Gamarra for Fairfax School Board At-Large – DONATE TODAY

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About Karen

Karen Keys-Gamarra has been serving on the Fairfax County School Board in the 10th largest school district in the nation.  She is the only African American elected to a county wide position. Keys-Gamarra is an experienced child advocate and attorney who represents children from diverse backgrounds.

Karen’s professional focus is on developing solutions for children and families.  As a Board member, she address such concerns as providing greater access to Advanced Academics, improving special education services and inclusion practices, addressing discipline disparities, improving services to our military-connected students and strengthening  anti-bullying efforts.

Karen serves on the Governance, Audit and Community Criminal Justice Comittees.  Keys-Gamarra also serves as the liaison to the Title I Parent Advisory Committee.

Why Karen?

When slavery sums up a child’s exposure to black history in a classroom, we need a change in our educational system. When discipline referrals for black, brown and special education students are more than three times those of their counterparts, we need a change in our educational system.

When Advanced Learning classes don’t reflect the diversity of the community, we need a change in our educational system. These are just a few of the issues negatively impacting our community.

Education is the great equalizer in our society and every child deserves access to excellent education in their community schools. I’m Karen Keys-Gamarra and I ran for School Board in the 10 the largest school system in our nation because we need to make sure all students have access to quality education. As an attorney who represents the best interests of children and works to remove barriers for kids every day, I recognize that this effort necessarily includes addressing concerns within our educational system.

As a mother of three boys, all of whom are of African American and Hispanic descent, I know the fears of a parent who wants to make sure that their child is not only safe but prepared for the future. I ran for school board because these fundamental issues are critical to our community and to my family. Now that I have served on the Board for nearly 2 years, I have been steadfast in working to remove barriers to access to education.

I work to remove confederate names from our schools and championed discipline reform designed to limit discretionary punishment and instead, provide rehabilitative work that includes parents in developing solutions and second chances. I have also led efforts to make sure that more children have access to advanced learning opportunities because I truly believe that every child needs to discover their strengths without societal limitations. And I have advocated for a curriculum that reflects the history of our student body and a workforce that brings the strength of diversity to our schools.

I am an African American parent and Attorney who advocates for access to educational opportunity. When we change the culture of our schools so that every child can discover his or her potential, we will see the achievement gap disappear and our communities become stronger as a whole. As a Fairfax County School Board member representing the entire County, this is my pursuit and my purpose.

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Education

RAP COMPETITION OFFERING $1,000 PRIZE TO BOOST FINANCIAL LITERACY OF YOUNG AFRICAN AMERICANS

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Do you have rap lyrics strong enough to inspire others to invest in stocks and win a cool grand? Find out by entering Stock Market Tracks, a new investing-themed rap competition geared to boost the financial literacy of young African Americans to expand knowledge about the finance world and Wall Street.

A fantasy finance and mobile investing app designed to educate the next generation of investors, Invstr is offering the contest that includes a $1,000 cash first prize for best song.

“Our goal is to open up finance to people who may never have considered investing as an option before,” stated Kerim Derhalli, founder and CEO of Invstr. “This competition is a great way for people to start thinking about an investment portfolio. Music is a great medium to learn and we hope that this competition opens doors to the world of finance.”

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My School DC Lottery Now Open

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The My School DC lottery application for school year 2019-2020 is now open. My School DC is the city’s common application and public school lottery for DC Public Schools (DCPS) and the majority of public charter schools (grades PK3-12).

Families must use the My School DC lottery application to apply to:

  • DCPS PK3 / PK4 programs (including programs at in-boundary DCPS schools);
  • DCPS citywide and out-of-boundary schools (PK3-12);
  • DCPS selective high schools (9-12); and
  • all participating public charter schools (PK3-12)

The application deadlines are February 1, 2019 for grades 9-12 and March 1, 2019 for grades PK3-8.

Have questions or need help with your application? Call the My School DC hotline at (202) 888-6336, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or email info.myschooldc@dc.gov.

For more information and to apply, go to www.myschooldc.org.

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