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CHPSP Meeting Notes– November 21, 2017

CHPSPO Meeting

Payne Elementary School

November 21, 2017

6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Brent Diversity Working Group & Town Hall Meeting— Alicia Dorsey, Parent at Brent ES

Provided an overview of the diversity working group and recent town hall on the new efforts targeted at closing the achievement gap at Brent ES. The parent-driven working group started as a way to address concerns around the racial dynamics and inequities at the school. The group determined that an initial focus would be on closing the achievement gap by starting targeted supplemental tutoring for students most in need of academic support.

The program required resources to pay tutors and for other supports from the overall PTA budget. Brent raises about $300K per year so the program leads needed to convey the importance of this program to the whole school in order to get PTA buy-in. They named the program “Rising Tides” to convey that an investment in a smaller group of students would help the entire student body. The PTA did choose to provide support for the tutoring program by funding some outside staff; some internal staff are paid by DCPS through administrative premium. They relaxed the definition of the achievement gap so the net could be cast more broadly, but the program still turned out to serve 100 percent African-American students.

The program is all voluntary, but five teachers rotate through and one teacher provides the coordination. The program runs on T, W, Th with 16-20 students gaining additional instructional time in their days. The first hour is reviewing academic support work and the second hour is focused on structured play and whole child support. They provide homework support (plus snacks) focused primarily on math support. While it is early to see all of the results, the students participating are engaged and responding well.

Ongoing Challenges

Parental engagement in the tutoring program— Realize that parental involvement is critical to the success of the program and Brent is still struggling to engage parents. They want to work on some additional ideas for doing so this Spring.

Although the initial goal was to address concerns around poor racial dynamics, the program has done little o really bring the community out in support and underlying racial divisions persist. The Brent town hall meeting was not well attended by Brent families, an indication that support/enthusiasm is generally not high.

Ward 6 Master Facilities Planning— Nancy Huvendick, 21CSF

Received an update on the city’s Master Facilitations Planning (MFP) process and changes that may impact Ward 6. With the PACE (Planning Actively for Comprehensive Education facilities Amendment Act), the Council Ed Committee tasked the deputy mayor for education (DME) with developing a longterm MFP for all publicly funded schools in DC.

In the past, the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) was often ad hoc and fluid, and schools that were in the plan did not always stay in the plan because it was very political. The Ed Committee’s plan for how to do the CIP using data and criteria has helped, and is an improvement to how the CIP was handled in the past.

MFP Schedule

The MFP is behind schedule, but this is not unusual. The PACE Act originally called for it to finished in March 2018 with a budget, but it is now scheduled for completion in June 2018. The MFP scope is ambitious and requires substantial community input, which takes time. The city has not yet selected a contractor.

Cross-sector Planning

DME’s guidance memo to LEAs requests charter participation and promises nondisclosure of charter data since the charter sector is autonomous. This makes cross sector planning difficult and the Cross-Sector Task Force has had a hard time establishing a coordinated planning process.

Ward and feeder-based planning is a foundational piece of the MFP. Local knowledge is crucial, especially within the complex sector landscape. Ward 6’s 2010 initiative with middle school planning was an example for Wards 1, 5, and 7. Also pertinent to Ward 6 is that a new PCSB report identifies it as a “green zone” where prospective/expanding charter schools are encouraged to consider opening new charter schools.

Discussion about how the overpopulating in Ward 3 schools and lobbying for expansions impacts the planning process across the city. Concern that the context of “providing more accessibility to higher performing schools” is framing the process and not better utilization of buildings and pushing quality across the city.

Discussion about Miner historic building as one on the list of “vacant but on an active school site,” and interest in exploring ways to ensure the building is utilized to support the community rather than make it into an excess building. Also, raised the importance of maintaining green space even when schools undergo renovations.

Decision to draft a sign-on letter from CHPSPO to invite DCPS and DME to plan with us as they committed to doing. Plan to share the CHPSPO letter with other Ward-based educational councils to see if there is interest in a city-wide letter.

CHPSPO Strategic Planning Proposal — Danica Petroshius and Suzy Glucksman

Discussed a proposal to conduct a half-day retreat in an effort to create a strategic plan for CHPSPO. The purpose is to level set knowledge in the group given the influx of new members, leverage new energy and excitement, and collectively identify future goals and objectives over the next few years. Also, interest in thinking more about how to recognize 15 years of CHPSPO (in 2021) and how to market and celebrate it.

All agreed it would be a great opportunity to do so on a weekend afternoon with potential timing set in late January. If you are interested in helping to plan the retreat, contact Danica or Suzy.

Upcoming Events

Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force, Tuesday, Nov 28, 2017 EdCounsel (101 Constitution Ave, NW, Suite 900)

Chancellor Community Forum, Tuesday, Dec 12, 8:45am – 10:00am, Eastern HS

Next CHPSPO meeting is on Tuesday, December 19, 2017

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Suzanne Wells Testimony – DC Public Schools Budget Hearing – April 14 2016

Updated 4/15/2016 with final version.

DC Public Schools Budget Hearing

April 14, 2016

Suzanne Wells

 

Thank you for the opportunity to testify this evening on the DC Public Schools SY2017 budget.  The focus of my testimony this evening will be on middle schools.  My daughter is currently a 5th grader in the Tyler Elementary Spanish Immersion program, and she will be attending Eliot-Hine Middle School, our in-bound middle school, next year.

I want to thank DCPS and the Eliot-Hine principal, Tynika Young, for the efforts over the past several years to work towards Eliot-Hine becoming an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.  These efforts resulted in the school becoming an authorized IB programme this past November.  It is my hope the IB programme will provide an engaging and challenging curriculum for all students attending the school.

There is much talk about the middle schools being a weak link for DCPS, and Mayor Bowser even campaigned on the slogan “Alice Deal for All.” While there is much talk about supporting the middle schools, one area that is seriously lacking is the modernization of the middle school buildings.  The recently released Capital Improvement Plan does seem to have budgeted what are believed to be more realistic numbers for the costs of renovations, yet it is not clear how these higher numbers were determined.  In Ward 6, the middle schools are far back in the renovation queue.  Eliot-Hine Middle School is not scheduled to be renovated until 2019, Jefferson Middle School is not scheduled to be renovated until 2021, and Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan which contains a middle school was not even included in the 2017 – 2022 Capital Improvement Plan.  All students starting at Eliot-Hine and Jefferson next year will be in high school before the buildings are renovated, and it will be even longer for the Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan students.  This doesn’t seem like an Alice Deal for All.

These middle schools are struggling, often through no fault of their own.  They face intense marketing from charter schools that often start at 5th grade, and draw away families who are concerned about their middle school opportunities.  The condition of the buildings also doesn’t help to attract families.  When windows have to be opened in the winter because the classrooms get overheated, or the air conditioners in the warmer months are so loud the students can’t hear the teacher, or the lighting is poor, families often look elsewhere for middle school.

Yet these middle schools present tremendous opportunities for DCPS.  For example, the Eliot-Hine building sits on 6.4 acres of land on the edge of Capitol Hill.  It’s not hard to imagine families choosing to send their children to an authorized IB Middle Years programme in a renovated building that meets the criteria for a Green Ribbon School and sits on a 6.4 acre campus that they can walk to each day.

I encourage the Education Council and the Mayor to find a way to move these middle schools up in the renovation queue in the current Capital Improvement Plan.  Respected organizations like the 21st Century School Fund have repeatedly identified the need for greater cost accountability and oversight in the DCPS modernizations.  There should be savings on the modernizations projects since the city will no longer be doing summer renovation blitzes.  There may be opportunities to reduce some of the modernization estimates if we have a better understanding of the estimated square foot costs for the individual school modernizations, and find some can be reduced while still providing high-quality renovations. Savings achieved from greater accountability and oversight, moving away from summer blitzes, and any possible reduced square foot cost estimates could be put toward our middle schools.  Our city’s middle school students are too important to have their modernizations delayed any longer.

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DC Cannot Afford the Luxury of Not Planning for Its Schools

The DC School Boundary and Feeder Pattern proposal, just released by the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME), reflects widespread sentiment for high-quality, by-right neighborhood schools. Families in all wards want their children to have the choice to attend neighborhood schools that offer a balanced and rich curriculum—with the challenges and support their children need.

We commend the DME and the advisory committee for spending countless hours listening to thousands of parents across the city and debating how best to redraw school boundaries and reestablish coherent feeder school patterns. While some may be unhappy over particular lines or feeder patterns, no one should lose sight of the overall direction this proposal lays out for our city.

Now, much work lies ahead to ensure quality by-right schools in every neighborhood. Because of closures, or misguided reforms to create K-8 educational campuses, some parts of the city have no neighborhood elementary schools; others have no middle schools.

The proposal clearly shows that DC public schools (DCPS) and the DME are being thoughtful about planning to best meet the need, and obvious demand for, high-quality neighborhood schools. Indeed, the proposal, along with the funding formula to help the lowest performing schools, represent a necessary investment in achieving high-quality neighborhood schools everywhere in our city.

But all that good planning will come to nothing if we do not immediately deal with the elephant in the room: the lack of coordination and planning between DCPS and charter schools.

Longstanding neglect of our public schools—which the DME’s boundaries proposal and the funding formula seek to undo–emboldened Congress in 1995 to make DC a testing ground for the burgeoning charter movement. Less than 20 years later, 43% of our public school students attend charters funded with DC taxpayer dollars.

The current lack of coordination between charters and DCPS has had huge ramifications for public policy. Without a substantially growing student population, the creation of new schools, both charter and DCPS, has resulted in existing schools losing enrollment—and therefore resources. And those losses lead to failing schools and school closures.

This tremendous waste, in the name of competition, is not some logical by-product of educational checks and balances. It is a cost borne by all DC taxpayers and, worst of all, every one of DC’s public school kids.

Our city needs to use the DME’s new boundaries plan as the first step in collaborative public education planning with charters. Now is the time for our city to dedicate resources to strategically reopen neighborhood schools and to ensure all neighborhood schools get the resources they need. And it is time for charters to coordinate with existing schools, both charter and DCPS, to ensure that their innovations are brought to the kids who can most benefit.

DC parents want a system of choice schools, not school competition where our children’s educations are put at risk when any school lacks what it needs. A collaborative approach to running our public school system can create an environment in which every school, and therefore every child, has a fair chance to succeed.

Doing otherwise is just a luxury our city cannot afford.

 

Caryn Ernst, Capitol Hill Cluster School parent

Valerie Jablow, Capitol Hill Cluster School parent

Suzanne Wells, Tyler Elementary School parent

Tuesday, June 18, CHPSPO meeting at Watkins

Dear CHPSPO members,The June 18 (Tuesday) CHPSPO meeting will be from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at Watkins Elementary. We have a full agenda for the evening with discussions about open data for education, Revolution Foods (a DCPS food vendor), SWS proximity preference, and the education bills before the council.If you get a chance, stop by the Watkins Food Prints lab at 6 p.m. for a presentation on the “real cost of food,” and enjoy a healthy meal made with food grown by the students at Stuart Hobson (see attached).See you on Tuesday.Suzanne Wells

061813 CHPSPO Agenda.docx

SH Community Flyer.pdf

CHPSPO Meeting Notes – January 15, 2013

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Maury Elementary School Library
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

 

1) At-large City Council Candidates Forum (Charles Allen, Councilmember Wells’ Chief of Staff)

  • In April, District voters will elect an at-large City Councilmember in a special election for a two-year term.
  • Eliot-Hine would like to host a student-led candidates’ forum focused on education and youth issues.
  • Idea is to get students to organize the candidates’ forum, e.g., invite the candidates, find a moderator, advertise the forum, etc.
  • Joe Weeden offered that Defeat Poverty DC would be a co-sponsor.  CHPSPO offered to co-sponsor.
  • Suzanne Wells offered to let Principals Clemens (Capitol Hill Cluster School/Stuart Hobson Middle School) and Gordon (Jefferson Academy) know about the forum to see if there might be opportunities for their students to participate.
  • Charles Allen offered to put together a timeline leading up to the forum.

2) DCPS Lottery Communications (Alaina Smith, DCPS, Office of Strategic Enrollment Initiatives)

  • Encourage parents to attend open houses
  • Encourage schools to list open houses on DCPS open house list
  • Lottery is open Jan 28-Feb 25. Entering early does not mean better chance of getting in.
  • BIG CHANGES to waitlist and registration processes. See this year’s guide.
  • Lottery website: https://lottery.dcps.dc.gov/

3) DCPS Library Task Force update

  • Questions around how recommendations to be implemented, e.g., per pupil funding?
  • Task force recommendations here.

3) Presentation on Maury’s game lending library (Vanessa Ford, Maury Think Tank Teacher)

  • Think Tank and Science Expo on January 24, 6-7:30PM at Maury Elementary School
  • Game lending library at Maury is open to all families in the community. Many families have expressed positive feedback. Games serve as a way to engage children around math, science, problem-solving, cooperation.
  • Maury received a grant from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation to start the game lending library.
  • Think Tank Blog: http://maurythinktank.blogspot.com/

4) Discussion of 2013 CHPSPO Priorities (tabled till next month) – see last year’s priorities here: https://chpspo.org/2012/01/19/chpspo-meeting-notes-january-12-2012/

5) CHPSPO 501(c)3 (Sherry Trafford) (tabled till next month)

  • Bank account is open
  • CHPSPO has been incorporated
  • Almost there for 501c3

Next CHPSPO Meeting:  February 19, 2013


Upcoming Events:

 

  • January 22, 2013, 5:30 p.m., Jefferson Academy Open House
  • January 29, 6:30 pm, Living Room Chat with Principal Tynika Young for 2nd grade families

DCPS School Consolidation Plan Announced

DC Public Schools’ final consolidation plan was announced on January 17.

What does this mean for CHPSPO schools?

Tommy Wells commends Chancellor Henderson and highlights direct impact to Ward 6 schools and invites the public to attend Chancellor Henderson’s briefing to the Council’s Committee on Education about her “School Consolidation Plan of 2013” on Wednesday January 23 at noon in Room 412 (Wilson Building).

Do you see other impact? How does this impact your school?