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Archive for March, 2015

Celebrating Our Roots 2015: The Motown Sound!

On Saturday, March 21st, the Thurgood Marshall Academy community took a trip to Motown for “Celebrating Our Roots.” Now in its fifth year, the annual program provides an avenue for students and the greater community to celebrate African and African-American culture and heritage through visual and performing arts. This year, TMA celebrated all things Motown, taking students, teachers, and families on an artistic and musical journey that explored the distinct sound of ‘60s and `70s Detroit.

Attendees began the morning by moving through an Art Walk, which featured hand-drawnART_4400 portraits of Marvin Gaye by numerous TMA students. Following the Art Walk, the live performance kicked off with the familiar bass line of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It through the Grapevine.” With TMA Senior, Aaron Parrish-Dean, acting as Marvin Gaye and the narrator, attendees were taken on a journey that shared the origins of the rich history and cultural influences of the Motown era. Attendees were treated to performances of eight Motown classics with an ensemble including TMA’s  dance team, chorus, and band. Students and staff hand-picked each song to reflect a particular point in the history of Motown. The performance ended with a spirited rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”, while student performers connected the theme of social justice in the past to the present by referencing the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

This year’s “CelebratingART_4320 Our Roots” was a  bittersweet affair, as this is the final production  for  the creator of the program, Art Teacher  Nafeesah  Symonette. Reflecting on this year’s  performance,  Ms. Symonette said, “Celebrating Our Roots has  become an anticipated event at Thurgood Marshall  Academy and for good reason. In its fifth year we  have explored many different genres of African and  African–American culture for the purpose of not  only preserving pieces of our history, but  introducing it to a new audience.  Our student population and surrounding community are involved in the creative process, which supports cross curricular learning and a sharing of community input and professional talent.”

Ms. Symonette organized the first Celebrating Our Roots event in 2011, and while she leaves behind some very large shoes to fill, the entire TMA community looks forward to continuing her work in the years to come!

Notice from DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education


District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Office of the State Superintendent

March 25, 2015

Dear students and families:

We are contacting you because on February 24, 2015, the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) inadvertently released personally identifiable student data in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The disclosed data includes student names, dates of birth, grade levels, gender, race, ethnicity, English Language Learner classification, non-public attendance, special education status, school of attendance, reason for suspension/expulsion, dates of suspension/expulsion, truancy status, removal to an alternative setting, and unique student identifiers. Social security numbers were not part of the data.


Once OSSE identified this situation on Monday, March 23, we immediately took the following steps to protect your child’s data:

  •  Issued a Notice of Remediation to the FOIA requestor instructing them to cease and desist all use of the inadvertently disclosed data.
  •  Reported the issue to the Executive Office of the Mayor, and the U.S. Department of Education.
  •  Established a dedicated hotline, (202) 481-3400, and email address,, to contact if you would like further information.
  •  Launched a thorough review of the agency’s data response process to ensure there are no further incidents of this nature.


In addition, we will be working with the deputy mayor for education and other education agencies in the District as part of a task force that will engage data privacy experts to ensure that DC becomes a leader in protecting student data privacy.


Please know that I recognize the serious and troubling nature of this breach. I apologize for this situation, and want to assure you that improving our security procedures will be one of my top priorities in my first weeks and months as State Superintendent of Education.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding this situation, or if you would like more information about the records concerning your student that were disclosed, you can contact our hotline at (202) 481-3400, or email us at


Hanseul Kang

State Superintendent of Education

810 1st Street NE, 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20002

Phone: (202) 727-6436 TTY: 711 •

Please click here for the offical letter

2nd Annual STEM Fair comes to TMA!

DEV 3-10-15 071Thurgood Marshall Academy hosted its 2nd Annual STEM Fair on May 10th, 2015, inviting area schools and guest  presenters for an afternoon of science, technology, engineering and math. More than 200 students, including students from Alfred Kiger Savoy and DC Bilingual elementary schools, explored 16 different exhibits where they learned the mathematics and physics of catapults, the process of DNA extraction, and how to create brain caps that explain the different functions of the brain. Professionals from the University of Maryland’s Physics Department, SEAPEARCH, and the Naval Research Laboratory also shared their expertise in technology through hands-on demonstrations, such as operating underwater robots and using magnets to control motion. (more…)