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Walk to School Day is October 2, 2018 – Save the Date and Register!

  • What: Safe Routes to School celebration, with student performances and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen.
  • When: Wednesday, October 2, 7:30-8:15 AM
  • Where: Lincoln Park
  • Register your school at http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/registration/.

This year, we’d like to focus on student performances – please reach out if you have a performance group who would like to strut their stuff at Walk to School Day!

Contact us: chpspo@gmail.com.

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DC Council: Please Support Transparency, Stability and Success for All Public Schools, All Students

Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization
Please Support Transparency, Stability and Success for
All Public Schools, All Students

The Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization (W6PSPO) is an all-volunteer collaboration of parents, educators and community members helping to strengthen and support public schools in Ward 6. Ward 6 schools serve a diverse student population, including students from across the city. Almost 40% of students attending Ward 6 DCPS schools live in Wards 5, 7, and 8.

We believe the DC Council can play a significant role in demanding and shaping a stronger education system that supports success for every student. We ask the Council to leverage every tool in its toolkit, including adjusting budgets, demanding action by DCPS in oversight, requesting a performance-based budget, amending the School Reform Act, stopping administrative actions that have not included robust public engagement and may negatively affect communities, to implement the following recommendations.

Ensure Transparency for All

Transparency for All Schools and LEAs. Parents and students must know that they are safe and supported. We support the Public School Transparency Act and urge the Council to take swift action to pass it.

Strong Oversight. We need strong oversight over both sectors and our education system as a whole to ensure transparency so that parents and the public are never kept in the dark about proposals, decisions or the impact of decisions on students, educators and school communities.

Stabilize School System and Supports

Invest in School Improvement and Stability. Having access to a predictable, high-quality elementary to high school feeder pattern is the most important predictor of in-boundary participation rates. We continue to see the opening of new schools that don’t take into account impacts on feeder patterns [1], pull students out of their in-boundary schools, and spread our precious education dollars thin. We see regular closures of schools causing great disruption and confusion to families. We need strategies for filling under-enrolled schools, particularly middle and high schools, and meeting the needs for middle schools that take into account what communities want. And, we need to continue to build on specialized programs such as language immersion programs by providing them a feeder path that continues those specialized programs.

Invest in Teacher and Principal Retention. Excessively high teacher and principal turnover creates tremendous instability throughout the school systems. An October 3, 2018, DCSBOE report on Teacher Turnover found that “teacher turnover is higher in DC than in other comparable American cities, including New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee, and higher than the national average. The yearly teacher turnover rate, averaged over three years, across both traditional public and public charter schools is about 25 percent, compared to a national average of approximately 16 percent and an average of 19% among a selection of urban districts. In both sectors, schools with the highest percentages of at-risk students tend to suffer from the highest rates of teacher turnover.” We recommend that the Council take action on the recommendations outlined in the report:

  • Create and maintain a single comprehensive and publicly available source of teacher and principal turnover data
  • Require the state to work with LEAs to ensure richer data collection on teacher and principal characteristics
  • Support a new, sustained research project exploring linkages between teacher and principal turnover and student success

In addition, as Chancellor Ferebee said at our recent W6PSPO meeting “Often people don’t leave jobs, they leave leaders.” We must ensure that the principal evaluation system includes effective processes for feedback from staff, students and parents. And we must be sure we are doing all we can to ensure our teachers and principals have the support they need to help all students succeed.

Develop and Follow a System-wide Master Facilities Plan. The master facilities planning by the Administration lacked authentic engagement and is unworkable as it only looks at planning for half of our students. We need a system-wide structure for planning and decision-making around school facilities for all public schools, both DCPS and Charter, including accurate projections for enrollment and vacant seats, strategies for filling under-enrolled schools, and community-responsive and community-engaged planning for new schools. System-wide plans should include coordination and strategy around opening, closing and changing the programmatic focus of schools.

Community-School Supported DC Research Collaborative: Kick off and fund the DC Research Collaborative, guided by a robust, diverse steering committee not comprised of majority mayoral appointees, that ensures safe and full sharing of data to support the work of the Collaborative, grounded in the needs of students and school improvement from the perspectives of those on the ground.

Ensure Adequate Resources and School Budgets

Educational Technology, including IT Support and Teacher Training: The DCPS technology initiative in the Mayor’s budget focuses on computer hardware and is a good first step. However, schools also need adequate IT support and teacher training to ensure that technology is used effectively. A comprehensive, multi-year plan for DCPS technology, as called for by the DCPS Student Technology Equity Act of 2019, is needed. Additionally, Council should press DCPS and OCTO on how it will support school technology for the remainder of this school year, in advance of online PARCC testing.

Adequate and Equitable Education School Budgets: Each year, costs increase faster than increases to school budgets. As a result, many schools are faced with staffing cuts each year. Schools can’t close achievement gaps and ensure college and career readiness for all with fewer and fewer resources each year. We must provide enough resources so every school has a strong base budget that builds on the previous year’s budget. In addition, at-risk funding must supplement, not supplant, other funding. Solving this challenge will likely involve increasing DCPS’s budget allocation from the Mayor as well as “looking under the hood” in DCPS central office budgeting, and at citywide costs for operating both DCPS and a charter sector. We highly recommend that Council (1) require and fund the DC Auditor to conduct a DCPS and PCSB budget audit and (2) commission a school budget expert to investigate these issues and make recommendations to mitigate unstable school budgeting and continued reductions in school staffs in the years to come.

Adequate Capital Budget for School Facilities: We must ensure that our DCPS schools that have yet to be modernized see a fast track to modernization and that we have robust funding for ongoing maintenance, repair and stabilization needs. We must also ensure safe, healthy, and modern school buildings.

  • Ensure an Effective Partnership between DGS and DCPS: Currently, school buildings are not being maintained efficiently and effectively. School communities too often have to turn to Councilmembers, media and social media to turn work orders into action items. We need significant oversight that will lead to new policy or funding that will ensure DGS and DCPS can work together efficiently and effectively to quick-response action that ensures the safety and health of students and faculty at every school. 
  • Ensure Healthy and Safe Schools: Significant attention needs to be paid to ensure agencies are adequately protecting the health and safety of students, educators and staff in schools. We need to ensure transparency and support for lead-free schools and water and keep schools safe from other environmental hazards. We need to ensure transparency and allow the public access to observe implementation of the Water Filtration and Testing Protocol.

Support and Demand Effective Public Engagement

Effective Local School Advisory Teams (LSATs): LSATs are a critical aspect of ensuring school budgets are implemented effectively and are responsive to educator, student, and school community needs. However, LSATs are implemented unevenly and with varying degrees of success across schools. There should be significant research and oversight to understand the current state of LSATs and solutions uncovered to ensure robust engagement of LSATs across all schools.

Agency Support for Authentic Community Engagement: We need a robust conversation about how to improve community engagement in education issues involving the Mayor’s office, DME, DCPS, OSSE and the PCSB. From the lack of engagement in the Chancellor search to lack of regular engagement with communities about how to problem-solve together, DC has generally failed in engaging parents and communities in productive solutions. We believe that authentic engagement can be a critical lever in accelerating progress for students. Oversight is needed to uncover how engagement can be improved and systems put in place to ensure its effective use. Specific examples include major disconnects between agencies and those on the ground (e.g., educators and parents) on issues such as modernization, stabilization, school budgeting, school openings, strengthening feeder systems, school technology needs, etc.


[1] DCPS will open a new selective high school this year, Bard High School Early College and plans to double the capacity of  Banneker Academic High School, and the PCSB is considering 11 new applications this spring that include six stand-alone middle or high schools.

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W6PSPO Meets Tuesday, October 17

The Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization will meet on Tuesday, October 17 at 6:30 pm. I am still working to confirm the location, and will let you know ASAP where the meeting will be.

We will be joined by Carla Mike, the DCPS Connected Schools Manager and Lena Heid, the Eliot-Hine Connected Schools Manager. We will also be joined by Teresa Biagioni, the DCPS Director of School Planning who will be sharing initial plans for the Stevens Early Learning Center DCPS will be opening. We will also have a discussion led by Betsy Wolf on the Comprehensive Staffing Model (see attached), and a discussion on possible agenda topics for W6PSPO meetings during SY19/20.

Finally, we need to begin planning for elections for the W6PSPO Board of Directors.

Please consider running for one of the following positions:

Chair – Prepare for monthly meetings including developing the agenda, inviting speakers and identifying meeting locations. Inform membership about relevant education issues affecting public schools in Ward 6. Testify on an as needed basis to represent the views and opinions of the W6PSPO membership.

Vice-Chair – Assist the Chair in all responsibilities.

Secretary – Maintain the CHPSPO website, including CHPSPO’s Flickr, Twitter and Facebook accounts. Prepare minutes from the monthly meetings.

Treasurer – Maintain CHPSPO’s 501(c)3 status and file appropriate tax documents.

2020 Bike-to-School Chair (May 2020) – Lead a group of parent volunteers to plan the 2020 Bike-to-School Day event.

2020 Walk-to-School Chair (October 2020) – Lead a group of parent volunteers to plan the 2020 Walk-to-School Day event.

Self-nominations are encouraged.

Hope to see you on Tuesday.

Suzanne Wells

Budget Models 071719.docx

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Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization – August 20, 2019 – Meeting Notes

Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization – August 20, 2019 – Meeting Notes

Claudia Lujan, Deputy Chief, DCPS Strategic School Planning and enrollment, shared information on enrollment trends for the Eastern High School feeder pattern.  DCPS prepares school level Recruitment Planning Tools to help schools with recruitment.  These Recruitment Planning Tools show the percent of students living in-boundary who enrolled in the school, and they also show the “Top 5 School Competitors,” i.e., the schools where in-boundary students attend.

In general, DCPS is seeing a high in-boundary capture rate at the elementary schools (around 85%), a much lower in-boundary capture rate for middle schools, and a slighter higher in-boundary capture rate over middle schools for high schools.  Recently, DCPS has seen the middle school in-boundary capture rate increase by 3%.

Principals can use these recruitment planning tools to help in recruiting from feeder schools.  The keys to a strong recruitment strategy are:

  • Parents saying good things about schools (parents listen to other parents)
  • Principals’ vision for the school
  • Teachers and their connection with students and their families.

Principal Brown from Eastern High School shared his thoughts and the steps he is taking to increase in-boundary enrollment.  He said building relationships with the feeder schools is key. He feels it is important to get to know the leadership and counselors at the feeder schools.

He wants parents and students to come into Eastern to begin to take away myths about the school.  Some of the myths Principal Brown identified are:

  • Eastern can’t service English language learners (the school can serve these students)
  • Brown Education Campus is a feeder school to Eastern, but many families at Brown believe they fed into Spingarn when it was open or to Friendship Public Charter School Collegiate Academy.

Eastern is working on communicating the strong academic framework it has with its International Baccalaureate program, and its 9th grade academy.  Eastern developed a vision when it reopened in 2010 that it would be the highest performing comprehensive high school in the city by 2020.  Principal Brown is working to update the school’s vision beyond 2020. Principal Brown plans to hold vision setting sessions with the community in the coming months.

The meeting ended with Sarah Livingston sharing some basic facts from the FY2020 budget for DC and DCPS based on information she has gathered from the final budget approved by the Council.  Three changes the Council made to the Mayor’s March 20 proposed budget are:

  • Increased the per pupil formula from 2.2% to 3% which raised the foundation level to $10,980
  • Allocated $5.35 million, to be spent on 31 schools that had net budget decreases in the proposed budget, including Payne, Walker-Jones, and Watkins in W6.
  • Allocated $260,000 to maintain bus service for the Capitol Hill Cluster School.

 

Next W6PSPO Meeting: September 17, 2019

Upcoming Events

October 2, 2019          The Education Committee/Committee of the Whole will hold a hearing on on Councilmember Allen’s Public School Transparency Act.  If you wish to testify you may sign-up online at bit.do/EducationHearings or call the Committee on Education at (202) 724-8061 by 5:00pm on Monday September 30. 2019.

October 2, 2019          Walk-to-School @ Lincoln Park 

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W6PSPO Meets Tuesday, August 20 @ Northeast Library

Dear Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization members,

W6PSPO will meet on Tuesday, August 20 at 6:30 pm at the Northeast Library (330 7th St., NE). We will be discussing the Eastern High School feeder pattern. Claudia Lujan, Deputy Chief, Strategic School Planning and Enrollment with DCPS will join us for our meeting. Claudia will present data on in-boundary/out-of-boundary enrollment patterns at the elementary and middle schools that feed into Eastern, and where students residing within the Eastern High School boundaries attend school.

This meeting will be an opportunity to discuss the strengths of the feeder pattern, and where efforts are needed to bolster the feeder pattern. We are hopeful Eastern principal, Sah Brown, will be able to attend, and we welcome other principals to the meeting.

Also, Walk-to-School Day is October 2. We will begin to plan our annual event at Lincoln Park soon. Please register your school on the national Walk & Bike to School Day website.

Hope to see you at our meeting on Tuesday.

Suzanne Wells

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W6PSPO Updates

Dear Ward 6 Public School Parent Organization members,

First, I want to thank Danica Petroshius and the CHM@Logan community for their leadership and persistence on the sexual misconduct issues, and their efforts to ensure this won’t happen to other children.

Below are updates to share with your school communities:

1. W6PSPO will meet on August 20 at 6:30 pm. We will be joined by representatives from DCPS who will share information on the Eastern High School feeder pattern. The location for the meeting is TBD.

2. The Capitol Hill Community Foundation’s A Literary Feast will be October 26, 2019.
Over thirty homes on Capitol Hill will host a book-themed dinner party. All proceeds from the ticket sales go to support the Capitol Hill Community Foundation’s grants to neighborhood schools. The are still looking for families (you can also co-host to lighten the load) who are willing to host a dinner for 8 or more guests. Contact Todd Cymot, if you are interested or want more information.

3. The Deputy Mayor for Education is requesting comments on the city’s water filtration and testing protocol. Comments are due August 7. Attached are suggested comments that were prepared by Hannah Donart and other parents. Because the presence of lead and other contaminants in drinking water at our schools is a serious concern, it is important to comment on this protocol.

4. On Wednesday, August 7, Natalie Wexler, tutor, education author and blogger will discuss her new book The knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education –and How to Fix it with Elizabeth Green, of Chalkbeat education news organization, at 7 pm at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW Free, (202) 364-1919, politics-prose.com

5. On Thursday, August 15, The cast of children and adults of a delightful play with a lovingly learned lesson, The Lemonade Stand, will give two performances. Tickets are Adults–$20, Seniors & Students–$10, Children–$5. See flyer below for more information.

6. Attached is the current roster of principals and PTA leaders for the schools in Ward 6. Please send me any updates to the roster. Also, if you wish to have your name taken off the W6PSPO distribution list, please let me know.

Hope everyone enjoys the remaining days of the summer break.

Suzanne Wells

DC Water Filtration & Testing Protocol for DCPS and DPR Facilities – Questions & Comments.pdf

CHPSPO School Year 2019 2020 Representatives 080419.docx

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W6PSPO Meeting Notes – June 18, 2019

June 18, 2019
Payne Elementary School, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

  1. Discussion on what makes a rich curriculum – Jessica Sutter (DC State Board of Education – Ward 6 Representative)
    • SBOE Role:
      • No power over books, approach, etc
      • Purview over state standards: focus on social studies, art, health, pe
    • SBOE Challenges:
      • Not sure what is being taught in schools; what are students actually learning?
        • looking at required time allocated to curricular areas; if schools are dedicating time to subjects per state standards (example: mandates that physical education be provided for an average of at least 150 minutes per week for students in grades Kindergarten through five and an average of at least 225 minutes per week for students in grades six through eight)
        • If schools are not dedicating required classroom time to subjects, what is getting in the way?
    • Process:
      • Reviewed Ward 6 school websites for curriculum / calendars. Not all schools publish schedules; spoke w/ principals; reaching out to community
    • Learnings/Discussion
      • PE: Most schools list 30 mins for elementary schools
      • Concerns that when classroom time is allocated to social studies and science, there is less time for literacy
      • For Elementary: Teachers may be asked to teach new subjects, which can be a professional development issue
      • For Middle Schools: Standards won’t change, but adequate staffing is an issue
      • Science: lack of materials and qualified/competent teachers is an issue
      • Access to resources and equity issues impact the ability for schools to offer content meeting standards
      • Gentrification impact: needs change, students don’t all face intense needs and now needs are more about “lifting students from above”.
      • Stuart Hobson adds advanced/elective offerings by stretching the schedule w/ 0 period, etc.
  2. At-Risk Funding and Transparency Bills Hearing –
  3. W6PSPO Strategy
    • Annual tour of schools by CM Allen?
      • Need point person for each school
    • Attend CM Allen office hours with focus on school facility issues
    • Working on W6PSPO branding, communication strategy changes to better reflect Ward 6-wide work.

Next CHPSPO Meeting: July 16, 2019

Upcoming Events

 

DCPS: Reducing Barriers for Attendance July 17
6 – 7:30 pm

Anacostia Library
1800 Good Hope Road, SE

DCPS: Navigating Special Education in DCPS August 7
6 – 7:30 pm

Tenley-Friendship Library
4450 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

DCPS: The Immigrant Family Experience
in DCPS (Conducted in Spanish)
August 15
9 – 10:30 am

Latin American Youth Center
1419 Columbia Road, NW

October 2: School Transparency Amendment Act of 2019 Hearing: Committee of the Whole and Education.

Visit W6PSPO on the web at http://chpspo.org

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W6PSPO Meets July 16 at Northeast Library

The Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization will meet on Tuesday, July 16, at 6:30 pm at the Northeast Library (330 7th St., NE). Jennifer Comey from the Deputy Mayor for Education’s office will join us to give an overview of EdScape Beta, a new data resource tool intended to inform and support program and school planning. Hope to see you on Tuesday.

| edscape

Suzanne Wells