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


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


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 (!/ClothetheKidsCapHillUniformDrive)

o   An Amazon wish list has been set up (

-          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


Next CHPSPO meeting:  June 17, 2014


CHPSPO Meeting is Wednesday, May 20 @ Logan EC

Dear Capitol Hill Public School Parent Organization members,

Our Tuesday, May 20th, meeting will be at Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan (215 G Street, NE) from 6:30 – 8 p.m. On our agenda for the evening are:

- Joyanna Smith, the new DC Board of Education Ombudsman;
– Sarah Johnson from DCPS who will be discussing the Student Assessment Task Force;
– several members of the DCPS Parent Cabinet; and
– an update from the Homeless Subcommittee and the upcoming uniform drive.

If you have upcoming events at your schools that you want to publicize, please send them to me.

Suzanne Wells

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan

215 G Street, NE

May 20, 2014
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

6:30 – 6:35 Introductions

6:35 – 6:50 Introduction to DC Board of Education Ombudsman (Joyanna Smith)

6:50 – 7:20 DCPS Student Assessment Task Force (Sarah Johnson)

7:20 – 7:30 Update on What Our Community Can Do to Help Homeless Children Attending Capitol Hill Schools (Ronnie Hollmon)

7:30 – 7:55 Chancellor’s Parent Cabinet (Marty Welles, Gary Carleton, Arthur Yarbrough)

7:55 – 7:55 2014 Bike to School Day Closeout (Suzanne)

Next CHPSPO Meeting: June 17, 2014


Capitol Hill Uniform Drive Kick Off: Support ALL Children in Our Area Schools – by Liz Festa

20140516_105025_2CHPSPO and the venerable Playtime Project at the DC General Shelter are proud to kick off the Capitol Hill Uniform Drive from the week Memorial Day to the end of the school year. The uniform drive will benefit children living at the shelter and with limited access to school clothing, hygiene items and laundry facilities.

From green to grey, pale yellow to red, white and blue, we have assembled over 1,230 uniform items and hundreds of pairs of underwear, socks and toiletries for the 310 kids designated as homeless (in the shelter or unstable/temporary housing) attending school right here in Capitol Hill area public schools. That’s according to our tally (based on calls and OSSE data.)  Their identities are kept confidential and they are housed in small rooms at the DC Shelter, where conditions are by all accounts deplorable, lacking sanitary outdoor play areas, hot water and laundry facilities.

I would like to say 310 kids, but the number is 309 now without Relisha Rudd, who is still missing and who attended Payne Elementary School in our neighborhood and disappeared from here, as well. This uniform drive is a tribute to her and others children who are among the ranks of DC’s growing homeless family population.

At the peak of hypothermia season (late February/early March), there were over 1,400 children living in emergency shelters in DC. Of these, about 600 children were living at DC General Shelter, at full capacity. The rest were placed in motels on the outskirts of the city and in recreation centers. Overall, the number of families living in emergency shelters had increased by 130% since just last year.

Right now, there are approximately 500 children living at DC General Shelter.After consulting with homeless families advocates, we learned that uniforms are of vital importance to the dignity and well-being of kids while in our public schools. Kids just want to fit in and don’t want to come to school in the wrong clothes or soiled ones. They are very conscious of clothes that are too small, sweat stains, lack of deodorant, the same shirt appearing unwashed several days in a row. Bullying and stigmatizing of kids who are living in challenging conditions can ensue.

So, with that in mind, we have worked up a list of all the colors and sizes kids at local public schools need.

There are about 15 schools included in the drive, from Amidon-Bowen to Walker Jones, where the homeless population ranges from 1 to 82, but those numbers are always in flux and tend to rise through the year.

The biggest need will be for the ubiquitous white shirts and navy or khaki pants in large sizes. We’ve “shopped” for you!  You will find these and all the  sizes and colors needed, including generic clothing items for the schools without a uniform, at the Amazon wishlist on the Playtime Project and CHPSPO websites. Donations made through the Playtime Project are tax-deductible as the Project is a 501(c)3.  Because it serves children and teens at the shelter, the Playtime Project is best equipped to fill the needs of the kids at the point of day when they need the uniforms. They know all the kids, and know that they like to go to school already dressed in uniform, the better to blend in with their peers.
Clothing bought on-line and donations will be collected at Evolve Property Management though their kind donation of space at 1344 H Street NE.  Evolve also served as a point of collection for the DC Holiday Pajama Drive.

Be sure to thank them!

Other partners include the Maury Elementary Girl Scouts and some talented elementary school artists in the area who have created posters and will be distributing their own flyers throughout the neighborhood, as will Eliot-Hine Middle School students.

Ready to donate or get the word out to others?

  • Help us get the word out by telling your school communities, friends and neighbors

Extra clothing can be used at a number of schools with the highest need. For example, Miner, Maury and Payne have similar uniform codes and are quite close to each other. Children grow every month, it seems, and will quickly need new clothing, so don’t worry about too many white shirts or khaki pants and navy skirts/dresses!

*The schools are Amidon-Bowen, Brent, Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan, Eastern SHS, Eliot-Hne, Ludlow-Taylor, Maury, Miner, Payne, Peabody ES, School within a School, Stuart Hobson, Tyler, Walker Jones, Watkins, and J.O. Wilson. —  Of those, Peabody did not have a homeless population (at the time of our tally) and Eliot-Hine has a grant for uniforms at this point needs toiletry items.

Thanks so much!

Email Liz Festa with any questions twodecks (at) comcast (dot) net

CHPSPO Meeting is Wednesday, April 23 @ Payne ES

Dear Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization members,

Hope everyone had a great Spring break. CHPSPO will meet on Wednesday, April 23, from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at Payne Elementary (1445 C Street, SE). We will be discussing Bike to School Day (May 7), the proposals for school boundaries/feeder patterns, SY14/15 budgets, and ways our community can support homeless children attending our area schools. Attached is the agenda. Hope to see you on Wednesday.

Suzanne Wells

042314 CHPSPO Agenda


CHPSPO Meeting April 23

Dear Capitol Hill Public School Parent Organization members,

CHPSPO will not meet on the third Tuesday of April because of Spring break. Our next meeting will be Wednesday, April 23 (note that we will not meet on April 22 as previously planned due to a hearing the Public Charter School Board is holding on April 22). The meeting will be from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The Mayor’s Fiscal Year 15 DCPS budget was released on Thursday. Here is a link to the budget:

The City Council is holding a hearing on the budget on April 17. If you are in town, and want to testify, the hearing will start at 10 a.m. in room 500 at the Wilson building. Contact Jamaal Jordan at jjordan or call 724-8061.

Mayor’s Budget Townhall

Monday, April 21, 6:30-8:30 PM

Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan, 215 G St., NE


Boundary Review

Most of you received robo calls about the upcoming community meetings being held on the school boundaries and feeder patterns. These are important meetings to make your voices heard. There will be community meetings this Saturday at Dunbar and Saturday, April 26, also at Dunbar.

Center City Community Meeting #1
Saturday, April 5
Dunbar High School – Cafeteria
101 N St. NW
Information Fair: 9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Presentation: 9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Working Group: 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Center City Community Meeting #2
Saturday, April 26
Dunbar High School – Cafeteria
101 N St. NW

Information Fair: 9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Presentation: 9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Working Group: 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Visit for more information.

Suzanne Wells