CHPSPO Meeting Notes – November 15 2016

Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan, 215 G Street, NE

November 15, 2016, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

1 . Film Screening – Most Likely to Succeed – Julie Scofield

  • Looks at alternative schools; focus on critical thinking, how to deal w/ failure, problem-solving
  • Films can only be accessed via screenings
  • $350 to host one screening
  • Upcoming Nov 16, 6PM- HU Architecture Bldg, Nov 19 @ Berry Montessori @ Silver Spring
  • Julie is attending the November 16 screening.  General agreement that CHPSPO would be interested in sponsoring a screening.

2. December 9 Wilson Building Visits – Ivan Frishberg

  • Periodic, but regular visits w/ delegation
  • Focus on priority issues; consistency among issues across visits
  • Requests out to: Mendelson, Grosso, Bonds, White, Silverman, Allen, Cheh
  • Issues:
    • Selection of Chancellor; think of Qs council should raise in confirmation process
    • Modernization
    • Cross-sector collaboration task force

3. Discussion with Liz Davis, President of the Washington Teachers’ Union

  • ESSA (WTU member feedback):
    • testing window expanded
    • amount of time devoted to testing vs teaching
    • school climate, teacher morale impacted, which impact teaching and learning


  • Q: WTU Contract – will there be requirements on class size in future contract? A: already have class size requirements, but it has been difficult to enforce it. Cap (maximum) for any class is 24 (varies depending on type of class). To address this with school (sometimes principals aren’t clear on caps), start by requesting meeting w/ principal, entire advisory team. Parents are the most effective advocates.
  • General Info on new contract:
  • Teacher eval – teachers unable to challenge ratings; cultivates climate of fear; teachers afraid to speak out about gaps in needs/resources like ELL, SpEd, nurse
  • John Davis will complete the process; hoping to be able to finish in 8 sessions
  • Q: Are grievances filed? A: Yes, they are filed and frequently won by WTU, but DCPS frequently appeals. Enforcement is difficult. (WTU follows National Labor Relations Board (NLRB))
  • Q: How to change the ‘adversarial culture’ between DCPS and WTU/Parents. How do we get to a different type of relationship? A: Focus on Mayor and Council and determine endorsements based on issues. Need to increase organizing. Helpful when advocates/parents/constituents/allies craft messages and rely on WTU to lead on engagement.
  • Q: What is the make up to the WTU staff? A: 9 staff members + attorney on retainer. Looking to hire an attorney. Capacity: organizers; partnerships w/ orgs like DC Fiscal Policy Institute

4. Use of Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products – Peabody, SWS&Goding, Payne and Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan representatives

  • Healthy Schools Act requires schools to report whether they use environmentally friendly cleaning products. Three schools self-reported (Peabody, SWS@Goding, Payne and CHM@L)
  • CHM@L has done thinking on environmental issues in and around the building. Cleaning products are low-hanging fruit.


DCPS Energy and Sustainability Liaison, Sally Parker discovered the following:

  • 14 vendors in DCPS list which provide cleaning supplies. Out of 94 pages of products listed, only 14 products met Office of Contracting and Procurement guidelines.
  • How purchased: business manager and custodial foreman should coordinate. Suggest DCPS work with vendors to restrict list to green cleaning supplies
  • Need to retrain custodians to trust that products being used actually do the job
  • Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines:
  • Custodians have PD; next session in February
  • ACTION: Try to add to PD agenda, Roosevelt custodian to talk about sustainable cleaning products.
  • ACTION: CHM@L to work w/ foreman and purchasing manager to introduce products from the sustainable list and report back to CHPSPO.  Schools that self-reported they use environmentally-friendly cleaning products will also report back on their experiences at a future meeting.


    • movement towards dispensers that don’t require dilution

5. Remarks by Principal Brown  (Eastern HS) –

  • Jefferson, SH, CHM@L, EH. DCPS will have a vertical articulation day where staff will be invited to Eastern to learn about Eastern’s programs (Nov 30)
  • 825 students enrolled. 9th graders on 4th floor in ‘bubble’. Enter/exit through separate door.
  • Open Houses @ EHS are all 6-7PM: December 15, 2016 and January 12, February 16, 2017

6. Remarks/Update by Joe Weedon, Ward 6 member, State Board of Education

  • EH looking for reps from its feeder schools for the SIT. Meetings will kick off in 2 months. will meet every 2 months once project comes online
  • Residency requirements to address variances in student addresses, legal guardians, joint custody arrangements, etc. After year 1, can opt to use tax records to prove residency.
  • SBOE Hearing – Evaluating School Quality Under Every Student Succeeds Act

Next CHPSPO Meeting: December 15, 2016

Upcoming Events

State Board of Education Hearing on Evaluating School Quality

November 16, 5:30 PM, 441 4th St NW (at Judiciary Square)

Film Screening: Most Likely to Succeed

November 16, 5:30 pm, Howard University, Mackey Building, 2366 6th St., NW

Cross Sector Collaboration Task Force

November 22, 6 pm, EducationCounsel, 101Constitution Ave, NW Suite 900

Open Houses  (See additional open houses here: )

November 2, 9:30 am and 6 pm, Eliot-Hine Middle School

November 3, 9:30 am and 6 pm, Stuart Hobson Middle School

November 16, 6 pm, Jefferson Academy

December 1, 9 am, Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan

December 15, 6 pm, Eastern HS

December 13, 9 am, Eliot-Hine Middle School

December 13, 9 am, Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan

January 12, 9 am, Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan

January 12, 6 pm, Eastern HS

February 9, 6 pm, Stuart Hobson MS

February 16, 6 pm, Eastern HS

Wilson Building Visits

December 9


A Better Way to Rate Schools?

A message from Ward 6 School Board member, Joe Weedon, about upcoming decisions on how DC rates schools — and how to make your voice heard on Nov. 16

Currently, schools are rated almost entirely on reading and math test scores–and almost entirely on the proportion of students who are “proficient,” regardless of how much academic progress students in the school did or didn’t make.

This approach has led to many complaints: too much focus on tests and test prep; not enough attention to other subjects;  pressure on schools to focus on teaching students who are close to the proficient cusp instead of kids who score substantially higher or lower; a disincentive for schools to enroll challenging students, whose test scores typically grow more slowly; and, not enough attention to the non-academic aspects of education, including providing a nurturing, safe, challenging, engaging environment.

Thanks to the new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, passed last year, DC has the chance to greatly revise the basis on which we evaluate school quality. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and the State Board of Education (SBOE) have been meeting with members of the community since the spring to hear ideas for fixing the current system.  OSSE produced a “straw man” draft, meant to elicit comment. The SBOE responded with its concerns about what was and wasn’t in the draft.

The discussion now moves to a larger, public stage: the next SBOE meeting, Nov 16 at 5:30. While any member of the public can testify on any issue they want, the three main subjects up for discussion that night are:

  • The Weight of Test Scores:  Our current system overwhelmingly emphasizes test results. We are hearing that this focus on testing has harmful effects on our schools. The OSSE discussion draft suggests a new total test weight of 80%; the SBOE response memo suggests it should be much lower. We need to hear from parents, students, educators, and organizations about how the current testing weight has affected their schools and what they think the new weight should be.
  • The Weight of Growth in Relation to Proficiency:  Rather than holding schools accountable almost entirely for whether their students reach specific proficiency levels, ESSA offers DC the opportunity to credit schools for the progress students achieve each year, meaning that if students enter the year well below proficiency but make above average strides, the school will be credited for that growth–not penalized because the student hasn’t yet reached proficient. We need to hear from parents, students and organizations on what they believe the appropriate balance is between rating schools based on the proportion of students who meet proficiency thresholds and the actual academic progress the students have made.
  • Open, Welcoming Spirit and Other Qualitative Indicators of Quality: In addition to test scores, the SBOE believes that part of a school’s rating should be based on such qualitative factors as whether all students, teachers and parents feel welcome in their schools and such factors as school discipline, attendance, bullying, parent engagement, teacher turnover, student reenrollment, etc. Data for ratings could be drawn from surveys of parents, teachers, and students and from existing data. We need to hear from parents, students and organizations on what factors we should be looking at when assessing our schools.

Please consider testifying before the Board on these or related questions. 

Wed. Nov 16, 5:30 PM
441 4th St NW (at Judiciary Square)

You must sign up by 5 pm, Tuesday Nov 15. Sign up by emailing Please circulate this information to all interested schools, parents, educators, organizations.

Or, if you can’t attend the hearing, send written statements to me at and we will make sure your input gets to OSSE. 

Thank you,
Joe Weedon

CHPSPO Meeting Notes – October 18 2016

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization

Miner Elementary School, Large Group Instruction Room, 601 15th Street, NE

October 18, 2016, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.


  1. Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force (Caryn Ernst)
  • DISCUSSION (Policy proposal for by-right, neighborhood schools):
    • In wards 7/8 (and 5) 30-50% of the population mobile throughout the school year (low income). Some schools like Cluster in Ward 6 that also experience churn. Higher percentage of churn in HS than in MS/ES.
      • Most mobility from out of state to in state and from charter to DCPS
      • Task force: What are strategies to reduce mobility
      • By right charter schools as proposed solution. Proposed by DME, not task force and is being supported by the DME
      • The Public Charter School Board did not support the proposal because it would reduce choice for families.
    • Other policy ideas:
      • Since schools impacted by this have a high degree of churn, what if there were a central way to have kids transition via central office and schools have to reserve a percentage of slots for those kids
      • Ed council reps: project churn at school level, set the high churn schools up w/ transition academies to get students transitioned into regular classrooms.
      • Currently, no data about why students are moving
    • ACTION: one of the ward education councils will author a letter supporting policies (not by right)
    • ACTION: Encourage DCPS to discuss policy options under consideration and consider impacts on DCPS
    • (

2. November Wilson Building Visits – topics & attendees

  • Topics for discussion include:
    • Chancellor search
    • Cross-sector task force – opportunity to raise concerns about mobility proposals, and balance on task force
    • Modernization issues
  • Who to visit: Grosso, Allen, White, Cheh


3. Summer Modernization Hearing Follow upWhen

4. Monthly Best Practices Discussions

  • Topics suggested:
    • PTO
    • Fundraising
    • Aftercare
    • Environmental/sustainability

5. Walk-to-School Day Closeout

6. Changes to Nursing (Beth Bacon):

  • Information meeting notes:
    • Charged w/ improving outcomes
    • DOH mentioned needs assessment and some outreach to public but parents not clear what that entailed
    • Moving resources; working w/ community resources/primary care physicians
    • Only 40% of students have universal health forms completed
    • Algorithm which determines 20-40 hours/week support (though not enough nurses currently to cover the support)
      • Special health needs
      • Enrollment
      • Health suite use
      • Profile data
    • Could be reassessed monthly
    • Presentations, etc:
  • Ed Committee Roundtable on October 25.

Next CHPSPO Meeting: November 15, 2016

  • Liz Davis
  • Enrollment Office

Upcoming Events

DCPS State of the Schools

October 18, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Roosevelt High School

Cross Sector Collaboration Task Force

October 25, 6 pm, Location DC Taxi Cab Commission 2235 Shannon Pl SE #3001.

Open Houses

October 19, 6 pm, Jefferson Academy

November 2, 9:30 am and 6 pm, Eliot-Hine Middle School

November 3, 9:30 am and 6 pm, Stuart Hobson Middle School

November 16, 6 pm, Jefferson Academy

December 13, 9 am, Eliot-Hine Middle School

Fall Festivals

October 22, 10 am – 2 pm, Maury Fall Festival

October 22, 11 am – 3 pm, Tyler Harvest Festival

October 26, 4 – 6 pm, Miner Oktoberfest

October 28, 5:30 pm-  8 pm, Hilloween at Eastern Market

October 29, 6 – 9 pm, Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan Haunted Harvest Festival



Update on Changes to School Health / Nurse Program

Follow up on this with good news.

Yesterday, Councilmember David Grosso (At-Large, Chair of Education Committee) introduced emergency legislation to require “any school receiving school nurse services above 20 hours per week to continue at the existing level of services for the remainder of the school year 2016-17.” That means school nurse allocations can’t be cut starting in January with the implementation of the new Department of Health (DOH) School Health Services plan.

Here’s a link to Councilmember Grosso announcing the emergency bill:

At this Tuesday’s Roundtable, there were many, many witnesses speaking out against reductions in school nurse allocations — and speaking up for the value of school nurses. Beth Bacon testified as an SWS parent — and as a CHPSPO/Ward 6 rep, and Sandra Moscoso will submit written testimony with the responses from seven Ward 6 schools on our quick survey. If you would like to add your responses, please answer the 3 questions by 10/31/16.

The hearing lasted 5+ hours – with Councilmember Grosso questioning DOH Director, Dr. Nesbitt, for few hours at the end. Lots of details in the new DOH plan — and Councilmembers Gross and Allen (Ward 6) were adamant about the lack of public engagement and clear explanations on these changes. Note that DOH is transitioning from a nursing contract (which goes through DC Council for review) to a grant program (which doesn’t) — which means that advocacy and monitoring on the part of parents and advocates is not done!

Thanks to everyone who had a hand in this!


Changes to School Health Services Program, Concerns, and What You Can Do

The Department of Health is changing the method of delivering school health services and school nurse staffing allocations starting in January 2017.

For background, see the slide presentation made at two community forums in October to explain these changes or read more information on the school health services program here.

Overview of the changes

According to the DOH presentation, the goals of the changes is to improve health outcomes for our students and standardize level of care provided. Changes reflect an underlying belief that public health initiatives for schools don’t require a credentialed nurse in each school 40 hours per week, despite documented value of school nurses.

There will be a new algorithm to determine whether a school gets 20 or 40 hours per week of nurse coverage will be based on four elements: children with special health needs; enrollment; health suite use; profile data. These data will be reassessed monthly, so coverage could increase or decrease monthly at a school if one or more of the data points changes.

DOH plans to staff point people at schools to calculate the algorithm and identify student needs related to Individual Health Plans. The goal is to improve health outcomes for DCPS students (currently only 40% of DC public school students have complete universal health forms, which includes up-to-date immunizations).

When a nurse is not there, schools will be responsible for using its own staff to cover health needs, or calling 911.

Concerns raised about these changes

* Decreased coverage in light of national recommendations (CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend full-time school nurses)

* Possible need to rely more heavily on 911 when the nurses aren’t there

* Starting a new program in the middle of the school year

* Lack of transparency and community engagement in how decisions were made about the changes and what is driving the need for cost savings?

How you can help

1. Send feedback ASAP on school nursing (to help provide Ward 6 perspectives to the City Council). Send us an email at or share feedback this form:

Please share:
* What is the value of school nurses to you personally or your school community?
* What is the impact on your school when school staff has to cover nursing duties when a school nurse is not on site?
* Name of your school

2. Sign a petition from the Washington Teachers’ Union and the DC Nurses Association. Every Child Deserves a Full-Time Nurse in His or Her School

3. Testify in front of the City Council or submit written testimony for the Education Committee’s Public Roundtable on School Health Services Program on Oct. 25:
Note: If you are unable to testify at the hearing, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Written statements should be submitted via email to or by mail to the Committee on Education, Council of the District of Columbia, Suite 116 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004. The record will close at 5:00 p.m. on November 8, 2016.


October 18 CHPSPO Meeting at Miner

The Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization will hold it’s October 18 meeting at Miner Elementary. We will be discussing the cross-sector task force, visits to the Wilson building planned for November, follow up to the Summer Modernization hearing, and more. Hope to see you on the 18th.

Suzanne Wells

101816 CHPSPO Agenda.docx


Council hearing: summer modernization roundtable, Childhood Lead Prevention Act

For those of you tuning into tomorrow’s hearing ( please see materials distributed by CM Allen’s office.

Ahead of the DCPS/DGS hearing tomorrow on summer modernization work and the Childhood Lead Prevention Act, Councilmember Allen asked DCPS and DGS a number of advance questions about the condition of and work at Ward 6 schools. Their responses are attached. If you haven’t already signed up to testify but would like to submit written testimony, the hearing record will close on October 20.

If you are unable to testify in person, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted to Ms. Aukima Benjamin, staff assistant to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 108, Washington, D.C. 20004. They may also be e-mailed to abenjamin or faxed to (202) 724-8118. The record will close at the end of the business day on October 20, 2016.

Tomorrow’s witness list is also attached. If you have any questions, just let me know.



Laura Marks, Chief of Staff

Office of Councilmember Charles Allen, Ward 6

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 406

@CM_CharlesAllen |

ATTACHMENT — DCPS Ward 6 Work Order list 10.4.16.pdf

DGS pre-hearing questions letter response CM Allen 10.4.16.pdf

2016-10-06 Summer Modernization, B21-831 Childhood Lead Prevention.docx