CHPSPO meets September 20 at Payne Elementary

Dear Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization members,

CHPSPO will meet on Tuesday, September 20, at Payne Elementary (1445 C Street, SE). Liz Davis, the President of the Washington Teachers Union, will join us at our meeting. In addition to the discussion with Ms. Davis, we will be discussing the final preparations for Walk-to-School Day, share school practices on morning drop-off, and begin planning for visits to the Wilson Building in October.

I also want to share a recent interview Andy Shallal did with Gary Ratner, Executive Director of Citizens for Better Schools, on the Pacifica Radio show, “Business Matters,” about the need for a new education strategy and what skills our city should be looking for in the next Chancellor to carry out this new education strategy. A voice recording of the 20 minute interview is available at . Click on “Archived Shows”. Scroll down to “Business Matters” for September 12, 2016, 9:00 am and click on “Play.” (Interview starts around 9:15 and you can skip to that by clicking on grey progress bar to right of the pause button.)

I’m also sharing a letter that was written by a Ward 4 parent regarding changes to staffing for school nurses. CHPSPO has discussed in the past issues dealing with school nurses, and I thought people would want to see this letter.

Hope to see you on Tuesday.

Suzanne Wells

Dear DC Government Officials,
I am writing you to express my concern over changes I recently learned were planned to the way school nurses are provided in our public schools. At a Ward 4 Education Alliance meeting on 9/14, Dr. Schumacher of DCPS confirmed a rumor that schools will no longer have a minimum of 1 nurse per school, and instead have a minimum of 1/2 nurse per school as part of a larger initiative to increase coordination of care with physicians and community health organizations. It was stated that these changes were intended to be implemented by January 2017.

I support the general notions that were presented, including increased equity and better utilization of public resources. But I object to the way the actions are being carried forward. I request that you preserve a full time nurse at each public school. If there are worthwhile initiatives to increase performance and efficiency, then please add to the budget to pay for those. Don’t pay for it by cutting nurse staff to our schools.

In the meeting, it was stated that school staff can manage issues while the school nurse is not present. I strongly object to this for two reasons. First, I don’t see any additional funding going to cover staff positions as we add collateral duties, and I don’t believe you get something for nothing. If anything, the staff should have fewer collateral duties or increased staff to better handle them. Second, the little training that staff gets does not take the place of a true nurse. While they may be able to handle minor bumps and scrapes, can they handle infectious disease outbreaks? Will they know the signs of more serious illness? Waiting until the nurse is back in the office is not an acceptable response. And I do not trust the idea of having centralized resources to supplement by phone. Nothing takes the place of a full-time nurse in the school invested in the school community.

I’d also like you to address the lack of transparency in this process. This represents a notable change in our schools, and you’ve hidden this from us until it’s nearly a done deal. You can do much better than that, and you have in the past. Take, for example, the school boundary realignment process. While it was painful, I do feel that you heard us and adjusted the actions in response to what you heard from us. There has been no such thing for this change, and I don’t think you’re taking us in a direction that many parents want to go. I request that you put a hold on this process and try again with parent input. There’s generally little trust in DC government and this lack of transparency erodes what little is left.

While you state a goal of promoting equity, I don’t think you’ve fully recognized the inequity that reducing nurse staffing drives. For example, when my daughter hit her head, we were fortunate enough to be able to pick her up from school and bring her to a doctor because there was no nurse available in the school. The same would be significantly more difficult for the child of a single parent with a less flexible job.

As it is, your actions seem to be related to the current shortage of nurses, which is already affecting our schools. It’s disturbing to me that the current contract provisions that require at least one nurse per school are not being maintained. What is DOH and DCPS doing about this? Is the council even aware?

Thank you,
Joshua Hertzberg
Ward 4 parent of 2 DCPS students

CHPSPO Agenda 092016.docx


CHPSPO Meets August 16 at Maury

CHPSPO will meet on Tuesday, August 16 at Maury. We will be discussing the search for the new Chancellor, the cross-sector collaboration task force, and planning for Walk-to-School Day. Try to stay cool this weekend!

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Maury Elementary

12th & Constitution Ave., NE
August 16, 2016
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

6:30 – 6:35 Introductions

6:35 – 7:00 Chancellor Search, DME representative (invited)

7:00 – 7:30 Cross Sector Collaboration Task Force, DME representative (invited) and Caryn Ernst

7:30 – 8:00 Walk to School Day Planning Committee

Next CHPSPO Meeting: September 20, 2016

Upcoming Events

First Day of School,
August 22

Chancellor Search Community Meeting
August 30, 6:30 pm, Roosevelt High School
September 7, 6:30 pm, Eastern High School
September 14, 6:30 pm, Savoy Elementary

Cross Sector Collaboration Task Force
September 27, 6 pm, EducationCounsel, 101 Constitution Ave., NW, Suite 900

2016 Walk to School Day
October 5, Lincoln Park

Register at

Suzane Wells


Meet Isamar Vargas – Eliot-Hine’s New Principal!

Please come meet the new Eliot-Hine Middle School principal, Isamar Vargas, learn about her vision and the school’s International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.
    Wednesday, August 3, 8 – 9:30 am, Pretzel Bakery (257 15th St., SE)
    Thursday, August 4, 8 – 9:30 am, Mia’s Coffeehouse (101 15th St., NE)

CHPSPO Meets Tuesday, July 19, at Ludlow-Taylor

Dear Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization members,

CHPSPO will meet on Tuesday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Ludlow Taylor. We’ll hear an update on the recent award of the food services contract, share ideas on the qualities/priorities for the new DCPS Chancellor, discuss next steps in the school modernization strategy, and more. I hope you’ll be able to join us.

If you’d like to have you name removed from the CHPSPO e-mail distribution list, or know someone whose name should be added, please let me know.

Suzanne Wells
Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Ludlow Taylor

659 G Street, NE
July 19, 2016
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

6:30 – 6:35 Introductions

6:35 – 6:50 Update on Award of Food Services Contract, Ivy Ken

6:50 – 6:55 Ideas for Gathering for New Principals, Suzanne Wells

6:55 – 7:15 Discussion of New Chancellor Search, All

7:15 – 7:55 Modernization Strategy, Danica Petroshius and Ivan Frishberg

7:55 – 8:00 Walk to School Day Planning Committee

Next CHPSPO Meeting: August 16 or 23, 2016

Upcoming Events

Cross Sector Collaboration Task Force
July 26, DC Taxicab Commission Hearing Room (2235 Shannon Pl, SE Suite 2032)

2016 Walk to School Day
October 5, Lincoln Park

First Day of School
August 22


DC School Foods Contract – How to Help


Pls see details on where we are regarding the school food contract, what next steps are to review the details, and what you can do (please get involved!) to ensure $40 million is invested in the best meals possible for DCPS students.

Please contact me with any questions.

It is a promising sign that our concerns regarding the DCPS school food contract are being heard. Members of Council have heard that it is not acceptable to push thru $40 million in contracts so late and attempt once again to evade oversight and scrutiny.

But the next steps remain unclear. Council could still approve the contract. And if they don’t, what’s the interim plan? Some schools begin at the end of August and the bulk of schools start in about 6 weeks.

FYI, the full contract was not submitted to Council for review, only an introduction representing 13 pages of approximately hundreds for each contract. Also, no details have been released to compare the evaluations and scales used to measure each proposal. We have requested a copy of the contract and full disclosure of details. At the earliest, we may not see the full contract until late today, tomorrow or even later. I’m not sure if the paper trail for the proposal evaluations will be released at all. Oh and this isn’t free. Apparently transparency costs 25 cents a page.

We will share these details when/if they are released, so we can all evaluate the terms of the contracts and the selection process.


  • We need a strong showing of support at the DC Council Education Committee Roundtable on Wednesday, July 6.
  • Those who wish to testify are asked to call the Committee on Education at (202) 724-8061 or email Christina Henderson at, and provide their name, telephone number, organizational affiliation and title (if any) by 5:00pm Monday, July 4.
  • Please email me at (hillfoodie at yahoo dot com)  if you plan to testify or submit testimony for the record. It would be great to have kids testify! Teachers too! Unfortunately, I will be out of town, but I’ll do everything I can to prepare in advance.

Call/Email: We need parents and DC residents to continue to call Council, email Council,

  • CM Grosso (at Large, Education Committee Chair),, (202) 724-8105
  • CM Allen (Ward 6), (202) 724-8072
  • CM Todd (Ward 4),, (202) 724-8052
  • CM Alexander (Ward 7),, (202) 724-8068
  • CM Bonds (at Large),, (202) 724-8064
  • CM Cheh (Ward 3),, (202) 724-8062
  • CM Silverman (at Large),, (202) 724-7772
  • More contact info here: 

Participate remotely: 

Following the round table and the release of additional details, we will followup with revised next steps.

I have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10am with Sam in Councilwoman Silverman’s office. .

We also know that the procurement process was very questionable. DCPS submitted a school food contract solicitation timetable to Council last September, documenting a timeline spanning gathering initial feedback from stakeholders in September 2015 through approving the contract and referring it to Council 4/18/2016 and starting the contract 6/27/16. According to that timeline, the receipt of best and final offers was scheduled for 3/10/16. That actually occurred 3/30/16, only about 2.5 weeks behind schedule. So at the latest, the contract should have been sent to Council in early May.

What is the cause of the three month delay? It appears the vendors were selected in early April. In addition, vendor selection notices went out in mid to late May, but procurement sent out subsequent messages rescinding those notifications, never providing explanations and never holding briefings with vendors that were not selected.

In addition to the timeline, we also have questions about the who was represented in the selection process, the evaluation criteria, the evaluation scale, prices proposed by each vendor, labor commitments, vendor history and more.

Please stick with us! This has been a long haul. We aren’t done yet.

Thanks everyone!
Becky Levin


CHPSPO Meeting Notes – June 21 2016


Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan 215 G Street, NE

June 21, 2016, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

 1. Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Requirements ( – Sean Chalk, SBOE


ACTION: Online form to collect feedback:


 What do we think makes a great school?

  • School climate/school safety
    • Climate: ask student questions about how they feel about their school, welcoming, do they understand what they need to do to be successful?
    • Are practices unbiased?
    • Parent involvement: encouraged? Retribution? Have a PTA/PTO?
    • Teachers: their voice. Do they trust leadership? Do they trust each other?
    • Things that go beyond testing subjects: arts, music, phys ed., library studies, science, history, foreign language
      • How to measure this?
    • Health, mental health, social/emotional learning, conflict resolution, bullying prevention
      • DC among first to test health education; DC CAS health test: AIDS, teen pregnancy prevention (8th and 10th grades)
      • Nutrition; physical activity
      • How the school handles adverse childhood experiences; homelessness incarceration, divorce, exposure to drug abuse
    • School cohesion (ex: Tyler Spanish + Creative Arts… programs are not cohesive)
    • Special populations
      • English learners, new arrivals
      • Homeless populations
      • There are provisions to measure special populations. Are we looking at growth or end results?

What’s the role of testing, and what should we be looking for through the tests?

  • PARCC for schools, but not for students and teachers, but DIBELS, etc used by teachers to assess students. What about better use of testing w/ a goal to test less. NEED audit to assess testing – how much are students testing, how much are they being prepped for tests,
  • Growth: Assess at beginning and at end of year to test for growth w/in a school year

Next Steps:

  • Review data currently collected, which could be used towards measuring (climate, health, etc…); what do we need to fill in the gaps?
  • Assign weight to the selected indicators’


2. DCPS Education Specifications – DCPS Facilities Team – Josh Tuch


  • Ed spec = guidebook handed to architects when designing a new school
  • DCPS is in process of taking over leadership/ownership of Modernization process from DGS
  • Updating ed specs for the first time in 10 years
  • Met w/ all wards, principals, offices
  • Seeking to develop menu of baseline options; Not cookie cutter, site-specific ed specs
  • Ed specs will defer to local code
  • ‘future proofing’ so that school is flexible as tech/times evolve
  • Note: Ed spec does not define whether full or partial modernization
  • Presentation:

Process (for Ed Spec update):

  • DCPS Expert Interviews and Visioning > Community Input > Document Development & Publication > Site Specific Ed Specs (for individual schools)– Community Input
  • Finalize Interviews/Collect Feedback (Spring 16) > Publish Final Documents (Summer 16) > Collect Community Feedback on Final Document (Fall 16) > Develop Site Specific Ed Spec Policy (Fall 16)
  • Going to engage specific focus groups around grade configuration specs (elementary, middle, high, K-8, etc)
  • Note: Second opportunity for community feedback in the Fall. (reactions to draft)
  • Sample Design Concepts (see presentation)
  • See brainstorming outcomes (attached photo)


  • DCPS needs to have a process around stabilization, (along with modernization)
    • Community should be meeting with Nathanial Beers or Bridget Stesney to address gaps in stabilization and modernization processes (examples: Jefferson has been unable to kick off, in spite of having funds in place. Maury has had to restart process to reflect accurate enrollment projections – which were difficult to obtain.)
    • NOTE: Dr. Beers told council they were anxious to begin community engagement w/ Jefferson, but this has not transpired
  • Community has heard conflicting plans around engagement for CIP? Need to improve approach for engagement.
  • CIP needs to be revisited for Ward 6, from a feeder-pattern perspective (Ex: Eliot-Hine swing space, is this the most sensible use of space, when Eastern will likely be over-enrolled in a few years?)


  • DCPS (Josh/Sharona Robinson) to send to CHPSPO (by way of Suzanne Wells)
  • DCPS Facilities Team will schedule a Ward 6 community meeting with DCPS leadership to begin a discussion on the stabilization plans for Ward 6 that incorporates accurate enrollment projections and accurate accounting of prior facilities improvements, along with plans for meaningful community engagement.


Next CHPSPO Meeting:  July 19, 2016

Upcoming Events

Cross Sector Collaboration Task Force

June 28, EducationCounsel, (101 Constitution Ave, NW Suite 900), 6 – 8 pm


DC Council Hearings (confirm these, as times/rooms sometimes change)

June 22, Joint Oversight Hearing on Lead Testing in Public Facilities, 10 am, Room 500

July 6, Education Public Hearing: DCPS School Foods Contract, 10 am, Room 412

July 11 Education Public Hearing: Planning Actively for Comprehensive Education Facilities Amendment Act, 1 pm.


July 4th Parade, Barracks Row



CHPSPO Meeting June 21 at Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan

Dear Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization Members,

With the end of the school year fast approaching, I wanted to let you know that there will be a CHPSPO meeting on Tuesday, June 21, at 6:30 pm at Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan, ROOM 1 in the ANNEX (building along 2nd St. in parking lot). We will have representatives from the DCPS Facilities Team discussing the Ed Spec designs, and a representative from the State Board of Education discussing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements.

Also, if you have new CHPSPO representatives or new principals at your schools, please let me know, and I will add them to our e-mail distribution list. If you would like your name taken off the CHPSPO e-mail list, please let me know.

Thanks! Enjoy the end-of-the-school year!

Suzanne Wells

062116 CHPSPO Agenda