Good Evening to All,
I am Khai Booker, a long-time parent at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan. I have 2 children one in 4th grade and another in 6th grade. Our school offers a unique choice in education, is richly diverse and hails from every Ward in the city. Currently we serve from PK-3 through 6th grade. We are scheduled to expand to 7th grade next year and 8th the year after. At a time when many families are leaving DCPS at middle school, we believe that with the right investments, we can keep our students and bring others back from charters, private schools and the suburbs.
Public Montessori is at the forefront of a national trend, backed by a 100 year old pedagogy that has been tested around the globe. Simply put: Montessori seeks to instill a love of learning in EVERY child. The learning environment we have created shapes the child for success academically as well as socially and has been proven effective in research and by our alumni. Throughout its history, Capitol Hill Montessori has always worked to mirror the goals of DCPS. Our current Student Satisfaction Index is 98%. We believe this score reflects Montessori’s insistence that students’ voices be heard. They need to know that the Mayor and DCPS will keep their word and do their part.
According to the lottery results, many other families want to join our middle school. Over 1/3 of our 6th and 7th grade applicants have chosen CHML as one of their top three schools. This expansion is definitely about more than 7 rising 7th graders and right-sizing a few toilets. If we don’t build it, they will still come and when the facilities are inadequate, there will be many angry and disappointed families. More importantly there will be children who have been let down by the very adults upon whom they should be able to depend.
I’d like to make a few points regarding our current Math test scores, as our Reading scores are very strong. Despite the fact that our school has doubled in size in 3yrs, and the fact that Montessori teaches Math differently than most traditional schools, our Math scores are on a steady incline. On the 2012-13 DC CAS, 38% of our students scored Proficient or Advanced in Math and our goal is to increase this number to 46%. Our scores on this year’s PIA’s give us hope. We want to be great. For this reason, we are doing the following:
- Our Students use First In Math and LearnZillion at home;
- Our Teachers use sample lessons from Achieve the Core;
- We have a DC CAS Resource Specialist assisting all teachers on how to maximize their classroom time leading up to the test;
- We host a Saturday Scholars program.
We are part of a strong and committed community but one of our most important partners must be DCPS. What answer would this panel give to the rising 6th and 7th graders who were promised a middle school and those who are transferring to CHML? Would you still tell them that all you can manage are a few age-appropriate toilets? And finally, do you think that they will believe in someone who does not keep their word? Thank you for your time and attention.
Testimony of Khai Booker,
Parent at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan
March 20th, 2014
The mayor’s office is reviewing DCPS school assignment policies* – for the first time in 40 years. The Ward 6 representatives on the Deputy Mayor of Education’s Advisory Committee on Student Assignment – Denise Forte and Martin Welles – are interested to hear from you at three community forums:
Eliot-Hine Middle School – Thursday, Feb. 13
Stuart-Hobson Middle School – Tuesday, Feb. 18
Jefferson Middle School – Thursday, Feb. 20
All forums 6:30-8:00pm (6:00pm arrival)
Come to any or all of the forums to share your views and recommendations on:
- Your experience with the current student assignment and choice policy (including lotteries)
- School boundaries for elementary, middle and high schools for Ward 6 families
- Feeder patterns for middle and high schools
- Bridging student assignment and choice policies across DCPS schools and charter schools
* School choice and student assignment policies establish the access rights that students have to public schools in the District of Columbia. School choice and student assignment policies determine who gets to go to which school, where and how parents and students apply to school, what rights students have to remain in a school they have chosen, and what rights students have to transfer between schools.
For more information on the community meetings, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (ward6boundaryfeeders at gmail dot com)
More information and materials from the DME on the Boundaries and Feeder Review Process here.
Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
659 G Street, NE
November 19, 2013
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
1. School Boundaries and Feeder Patterns – Open discussion
- Background: DME’s press release and materials: http://dme.dc.gov/DC/DME/Initiatives+and+Priorities/Statewide+Commission+on+Children+Youth+and+Their+Families/Student+Assignment+and+School+Boundaries+Review+Process
- ACTION: Sign up for focus groups and working groups
- ACTION: Volunteers will work on survey for feeder with the help of Mary Filardo, 21st Century Fund, using this as framework (see preliminary discussion below): http://dme.dc.gov/DC/DME/Publication%20Files/Defining%20Principles%20Worksheet.pdf
- ACTION: To be more intentional to give Chancellor feedback on middle schools, group is forming. For reference, the Ward 6 Middle School Plan: http://www.dc.gov/DCPS/Parents+and+Community/Community+Initiatives/Building+on+Momentum:+Ward+6+Middle+Schools
- In boundary % (on school profiles) should change to indicate that school is in feeder pattern
- Feedback on November 15 Council Hearing
- Highlights: scrutiny around process, selection of advisory committee members, Chancellor expressed lack of strategy around middle schools, Catania called upon Chancellor/DCPS to produce a middle school strategy within a month
- Video: http://dc.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=30&clip_id=1966
- Tweets: http://storify.com/CHPSPO/school-boundary-review-roundtable/
- Preparing for Principles/Survey:
- Q: What is working about your current in-boundary/in-feeder middle school?
- Capitol Hill Cluster School:
- Peabody feeding into Watkins feeding into Stuart (the cluster model is working)
- Stuart Hobson students are enrolling following on feeder patterns based on their elementary schools (Ludlow-Taylor, JO Wilson, Watkins)
- DCPS is setting enrollment numbers too high for Stuart Hobson
- The communication to parents at Peabody and Watkins about activities at Stuart Hobson helps families become familiar with their middle school and starts to set the expectation that Stuart Hobson is going to be their middle school.
- Principal reaches out to all feeder schools to encourage participation with the middle school sports, events, etc.
- JO Wilson:
- Want to maintain current feeder pattern to Stuart Hobson.
- Great local option supporting neighborhood schools and an established, reliable option for parents.
- Ludlow Taylor:
- Want to maintain current feeder pattern to Stuart Hobson.
- Want to maintain current feeder pattern to Eliot-Hine and to Eastern.
- Seeing the progress around Eliot Hine and link w/ International Baccalaureate w/ Eastern and would like to see it continue.
- Families like the choice of being able to attend the Spanish Immersion program. Like that we live on Capitol Hill, and can still have choices in the neighborhood.
- Like Amidon-Bowen feeding into Jefferson.
- The school’s intention to keep cohorts together, beyond geographic boundary. Intent to keep neighborhoods together.
- Q: What is NOT working about your current in-boundary/in-feeder middle school?
- Boundaries for Watkins don’t match the size of the school.
- Charters like Washington Latin are pulling most advanced students. If DCPS MS doesn’t offer advanced courses, it’s tough to keep the advanced students.
- Ludlow Taylor:
- At Ludlow Taylor, students are not leaving at 5th grade, because parents see a clear path to Stuart. However, there is no connection with Eastern.
- Instructional Superintendents structure does not support vertical integration of programming or collaboration among schools within a feeder pattern.
- The Ward 6 Middle school plan that DCPS approved has not been supported nor adequately funded.
- Jefferson is an important piece of puzzle – not successful in getting Brent or Thompson students
- Capital/facility improvements have come about too slowly. It is a struggle by the school and community to get DC to fund renovations.
- Too much choice in the system. Choice came about because system was not servicing schools. There isn’t thought about the capacity of a school vs. cachment as a feeder – needs to take charters into account when thinking about decisions around boundary/feeder. Currently, there is no strategy.
- General Comments
- No strategic planning between Charter and DCPS.
- (former Ward 5 parent) Ward 5 has shut down DCPS schools and many neighborhoods are being serviced by charters.
- Boundary discussion is an opportunity to ‘level playing field’ by introducing neighborhood preference and advocating for legislation that requires charters to take in-boundary students, regardless of time of year.
- Catania’s refusing to outsource MS to charters creates an opportunity.
- Boundary planning should happen w/ charters as part of discussion.
- There is intentional misalignment of middle schools starting at 5th grade.
- IB has been slow to get off the ground at Eliot-Hine, which hurt the implementation of the Ward 6 middle school plan.
- DCPS’ competitive advantage on middle schools should be a predictable feeder pattern and path for students. Charters seem to be doing a better job of operating as a system than DCPS.
- Charters seem to do a good job of showing the continuum of education among charter school feeder patterns.
- Questions still to be answered:
- What values do we hold that we believe should influence school boundaries and feeder patterns, e.g., proximity, diversity, choice, predictability?
- What is our vision for school boundaries and successful feeder patterns, e.g., successful feeder patterns from elementary to middle to high schools?
- How do middle schools influence school boundaries and successful feeder patterns?
- How to ensure an open, collaborative and fair process for determining school boundaries and feeder patterns? Ideas for getting broad input from Ward 6 parents – survey?
2. “A Call to Action” event on December 9, organized by the Washington Teacher’s Union. Stay tuned via: http://www.wtulocal6.org/. Read Principles: http://chpspo.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/principlesuniteus2013.pdf
3. School Information “Night” – December 8, 2-5PM @ Capitol Hill Day School
Next CHPSPO Meeting: December 17, 2013
December 8 School Information “Night,” 2 – 5 p.m., Capitol Hill Day School
December 9 A Call to Action (TBD)
December 10 Deputy Mayor for Education’s Focus Group on School Boundaries and Feeder Patterns, Logan
Please save the date, Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 6:30–8:00 pm, at Eliot-Hine Middle School, for a candidate forum for the upcoming April 23rd At-Large City Councilmember special election. This forum will focus on education and youth issues.
The candidate forum is being sponsored by the Eliot-Hine Middle School Civics Club, Stuart Hobson Middle School, Jefferson Academy, Defeat Poverty DC, and the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization (CHPSPO). This non-partisan forum will be co-moderated by Elliot-Hine Middle School students, and a member of the DC media.
- What: At-Large City Councilmember Special Election Candidate Forum
- When: Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 6:30-8:00 pm
- Where: Eliot-Hine Middle School, 1830 Constitution Ave, NE (Stadium/Armory Metro; D6, 96, 97, & B2 Metrobus; BikeShare at Stadium/Armory Metro; on-site parking available)