The Wilson Beacon

Mr. Bellino’s Graph of the Month

Adin McGurk, Maya Wilson

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If you’ve ever gone off-campus for lunch, or looked longingly at the upperclassmen scanning their DC one cards, you’ve likely seen Wilson’s resident numberphile, Joseph Bellino. Bellino’s title is Official Data Coordinator. And if you’ve ever been lucky enough to make the trip to his office, as some of us at The Beacon have been, you’ve been greeted by a store of graphs and charts depicting every population trend, subset, and correlation that he can possibly coordinate.

Principal Kimberly Martin, another avid analyst of Wilson’s data, appreciates Mr. Bellino’s coordination more than anyone. “I bring these theories to him and then we’ll talk through the data,” Martin exclaimed. “He’s the smartest guy in the school. Isn’t he awesome? I love that guy.”

As two frequent budget-cut and graduation-rate reporters, we were somewhat shocked to find someone equally as passionate about Wilson statistics. We wanted to share some of that love with our dedicated readership.

The first graph of the Beacon’s newest column illustrates the distribution of Wilson’s students’ homes across the city in their respective school boundaries, showing exactly where they are coming from and what school they would attend according to the location of their residence. Martin sought this graph to directly address speculation about exactly how much of Wilson’s population is out of boundary, and has since presented it at morning parent meetings and to the PTSO.

This graph also has some interesting implications beyond depicting where students are coming from. It shows that there are 172 students who have to cross the entire city to get to school every day, and if they’re relying on WMATA as their transportation, that makes being on time a challenge. There has recently been renewed enforcement of the DCPS policy that states that three tardies is equivalent to one absence, and five unexcused absences is a one letter grade reduction. This policy fails to consider the consequences it will have on students like these.

Martin also highlighted a second key takeaway from the chart. “I used to hate charter schools because they would cannibalize the public schools that were around them, they would take the top students, and then they would have these great test scores and they would think that they were amazing because they had the highest passage rates,” she said. “I can’t help but think that we [Wilson] are the cannibal. That we take the very best and brightest from all of these other schools.”

So there’s some food for thought. •

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