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At Back-to-School Time, Help Provide Uniforms for Homeless Children in Capitol Hill Schools

It’s back to school for our kids – and homeless kids living in a decrepit shelter just a few miles from the Hill.

When you buy back-to-school supplies and clothes for your kids, please consider buying uniforms for a few of the 100s of homeless children who attend public schools on Capitol Hill.

It’s easy to help: Buy one or more uniforms on Amazon and the items will ship directly to the Playtime Project (the organization districting them to DC General families): http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/SGKH8FLM7WFU/ref=cm_sw_su_w

With the ongoing news of terrible conditions at the old D.C. General Hospital (especially in the wake of Relisha Rudd’s disappearance), this uniform drive is something we can do to help children living day-to-day at a shelter just around the corner.

Ask a co-worker and a friend or neighbor to purchase a uniforms too. Purchases are tax deductible.

More info about the uniform drive here: https://www.facebook.com/ClothetheKidsCapHillUniformDrive

New uniforms for these kids WILL make a difference! They need a uniform 5 days a week and not only do they have the means to buy enough shirts and pants for 5 days, there is no clothes washing facilities at DC General, making it very hard to go to school in clean uniforms.

We understand from teachers and advocates for homeless kids that clean clothes (which this uniform drive provides) can help cut down on bullying (sadly) and improve the confidence and sense of dignity of the child.By Liz Festa and Beth Bacon

 

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DC Cannot Afford the Luxury of Not Planning for Its Schools

The DC School Boundary and Feeder Pattern proposal, just released by the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME), reflects widespread sentiment for high-quality, by-right neighborhood schools. Families in all wards want their children to have the choice to attend neighborhood schools that offer a balanced and rich curriculum—with the challenges and support their children need.

We commend the DME and the advisory committee for spending countless hours listening to thousands of parents across the city and debating how best to redraw school boundaries and reestablish coherent feeder school patterns. While some may be unhappy over particular lines or feeder patterns, no one should lose sight of the overall direction this proposal lays out for our city.

Now, much work lies ahead to ensure quality by-right schools in every neighborhood. Because of closures, or misguided reforms to create K-8 educational campuses, some parts of the city have no neighborhood elementary schools; others have no middle schools.

The proposal clearly shows that DC public schools (DCPS) and the DME are being thoughtful about planning to best meet the need, and obvious demand for, high-quality neighborhood schools. Indeed, the proposal, along with the funding formula to help the lowest performing schools, represent a necessary investment in achieving high-quality neighborhood schools everywhere in our city.

But all that good planning will come to nothing if we do not immediately deal with the elephant in the room: the lack of coordination and planning between DCPS and charter schools.

Longstanding neglect of our public schools—which the DME’s boundaries proposal and the funding formula seek to undo–emboldened Congress in 1995 to make DC a testing ground for the burgeoning charter movement. Less than 20 years later, 43% of our public school students attend charters funded with DC taxpayer dollars.

The current lack of coordination between charters and DCPS has had huge ramifications for public policy. Without a substantially growing student population, the creation of new schools, both charter and DCPS, has resulted in existing schools losing enrollment—and therefore resources. And those losses lead to failing schools and school closures.

This tremendous waste, in the name of competition, is not some logical by-product of educational checks and balances. It is a cost borne by all DC taxpayers and, worst of all, every one of DC’s public school kids.

Our city needs to use the DME’s new boundaries plan as the first step in collaborative public education planning with charters. Now is the time for our city to dedicate resources to strategically reopen neighborhood schools and to ensure all neighborhood schools get the resources they need. And it is time for charters to coordinate with existing schools, both charter and DCPS, to ensure that their innovations are brought to the kids who can most benefit.

DC parents want a system of choice schools, not school competition where our children’s educations are put at risk when any school lacks what it needs. A collaborative approach to running our public school system can create an environment in which every school, and therefore every child, has a fair chance to succeed.

Doing otherwise is just a luxury our city cannot afford.

 

Caryn Ernst, Capitol Hill Cluster School parent

Valerie Jablow, Capitol Hill Cluster School parent

Suzanne Wells, Tyler Elementary School parent

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CHPSPO July 15 Meeting @ Riverby Books 6:30 PM

Dear Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization members,

I hope everyone is having a good summer break.

CHPSPO will meet on Tuesday, July 15, at 6:30 p.m. at Riverby Books at 419 East Capitol St. We will be discussing the upcoming Ward 6 School Board election, comments on the School Boundaries and Feeder Patterns proposal, discuss ideas for building community between schools, hear an update on school library advocacy, and more.

If your school elected new PTA representatives and you would like me to add their names to this e-mail distribution list, please let me know. Also, if you’d like to have your name removed from the list, please let me know.

Please remember that comments on the School Boundaries and Feeder Patterns proposal are due to the Deputy Mayor for Education by July 21.

Suzanne Wells

071514 CHPSPO Agenda 1.docx

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Ward 5 Council on Education Panel Discussion- June 24

On June 24th, the Ward Five Council on Education is bringing together representatives from eight of the agencies that comprise the DC education system for a panel discussion. Each of the agencies in attendance will give an overview of their respective organization, their role within the system and how they interact with parents and their children. Most importantly, you’ll have the opportunity to ask the question you’ve been waiting to ask! Our goal is that those present will walk away from the meeting with a good understanding of DC education landscape and how to find resources that will allow them to make the best decision for their family. To join us, RSVP at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-conversation-on-dc-education-landscape-tickets-11955008753 (you do not have to RSVP to attend but RSVPing is helpful for planning purposes).

WHAT: Community Conversation on Navigating the DC Education Landscape

WHEN: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)

WHERE: Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library – 5401 South Dakota Ave NE, Washington DC 20011

RSVP: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-conversation-on-dc-education-landscape-tickets-11955008753

WHO:
RaeShawn Crosson-Settles,Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Mary Lord, DC State Board of Education
Shanita Burney, District of Columbia Public Schools
Scott Pearson, DC Public Charter School Board
Erika Wadlington, DC City Council Committee on Education
David Street, Washington Teachers Union
Aryan Bocqut, My School DC
Joyanna Smith, Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education

If you have questions or concerns please feel free to email us at ward5coe@gmail.com. We hope you’ll be able to join us!

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CHPSPO Meeting Notes – May 20, 2014

Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan215 G Street. NE

May 20, 2014 – 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

 

1.  DC Board of Education Ombudsman

-          Monica Warren-Jones, the Ward 6 State Board of Education member introduced Joyanna Smith, the new DC Board of Education Ombudsman who began her position on February 26, 2014.

-           Joyanna explained that she helps to resolve complaints, disputes and problems faced by students, parents and educators in the DC public schools and the public charter schools.  If systemic issues exist, the Ombudsman will look to make recommendations to fix problems.

-          The Ombudsman will develop a management report after the end of the school year.

 

2.  DCPS Student Assessment Task Force

-          DCPS has formed an Assessment Task Force to evaluate student assessments.  Representatives from DCPS conducted a focus group to hear parent’s views on the purpose, importance and expectations of student assessments.  CHPSPO members said:

o   They want timely feedback on test results.

o   Want access to all the testing data that is available for their children.

o   A plan of action to address student’s needs.

o   Report cards tend to just show typical progress, e.g., going from developing to mastered.  Would like to see more substance.

o   Tests can be very stressful for some students, e.g., throwing up on test day.

o   We need a healthier approach to testing.  Some students have been told their teacher’s job depends on how well they do.  Some parents talked about how they tell their children not to worry about the test, but to try to do their best.

o   Tests drive instruction too much.

o   Tests are starting to affect how students learn/don’t learn, e.g., students aren’t learning how to write multi-paragraph essays.

-          DCPS is moving to the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers next school year to better align with the common core standards.  See https://www.parcconline.org/about-parcc

 

3.  Update on Homeless Children Attending Capitol Hill Schools

-          Roni Hollman reported that 1400 homeless children attend DC public schools.  There is a desperate need for school uniforms.

o   A Facebook site was created (https://www.facebook.com/#!/ClothetheKidsCapHillUniformDrive)

o   An Amazon wish list has been set up (http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/SGKH8FLM7WFU/ref=cm_sw_su_w)

-          Help is needed to pick up uniforms that have been delivered to Evolve Management, and take them to the Playtime Project at the shelter at DC General.

-          CHPSPO will send a short message that can be posted on the school list serves describing what can be done to help.

 

4.  Student Assignment and School Boundaries Advisory Committee

 -          Marty Welles gave a brief update on the status of the effort to adjust the school boundaries and feeder patterns.

 

5.  Chancellor’s Parent Cabinet

- Gary Carleton and Marty Welles shared an update on the Chancellor’s Parent Cabinet.  The Parent Cabinet meets monthly.  They recently discussed parent engagement.  Topics are identified for each month.

- To learn more about the Parent’s Cabinet see http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Parents+and+Community/Chancellors+Parent+Cabinet.

 

Next CHPSPO meeting:  June 17, 2014