Chancellor Confirmation Public Roundtables:
DC Council’s Committee of the Whole and Education will host a series of Public Roundtables on Chancellor of DC Public Schools Resolution of Confirmation on:
- Wednesday, January 30, 6:00pm
- Wednesday, February 6, 6:00pm
- Tuesday, February 12, 11:00am
Acting Chancellor Meet and Greets:
DCPS’s Acting Chancellor Ferebee will host a Ward 6 meet and greet on Friday, March 29, 8-9:30 am @ The Pretzel Bakery (257 15th St., SE – near Payne Elementary School!).
Stuart Hobson Middle School, 410 E St., NE
February 20, 2018, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Mission Statement – To promote cooperation among the parent organizations of the public schools [in Ward 6] in order to improve the education received by all children attending our schools.
Overview of the DC Council Performance Oversight and Budget Hearings –
Laura Marks, Chief of Staff, Councilmember Allen and Anne Phelps Budget Counsel at Office of Budget Director shared a presentation with key budget facts, timeline, and key advocacy opportunities/dates. Please review the FY19 Education Budget Process – CHPSPO Presentation for details.
About the budget: Important to note, the budget is a finite amount. Operating budget (recurring costs like payroll, goods, services) is planned for 4 years (must be sustained for 4 years). Capital budget (one-time, more limited spending like facilities) is allocated annually.
About education budget: Enrollment projections have huge impact on school level budgets
- Really important to get these #s right, but they are often off
- Per Pupil Funding applies to DCPS and charter; also takes into account special needs
Education is underfunded. For example, for FY18’s budget OSSE recommended 3.5% increase for FY18. The Mayor’s budget office proposed 1.5%, Council passed 3%. ***If PPF increase this year is <3%, will be tough to fund operating budget; keep programming***
It’s important to engage in Budget forums and hearings not only to bring visibility to specific issues, but to learn about other priorities. When testifying, bring written copies: Councilmembers and staff write notes/qs on testimony.
Ward 6 School Facilities Tour – Joe Weedon, State Board of Education
Joe Weedon to organize on behalf of PTAs a tour of schools to identify potential problems and critical things that need to be implemented between now and when schools are slated to be renovated.
CHPSPO Strategic Planning Meeting – Danica Petroshius and Suzy Glucksman
To enhance our efforts to develop common goals, facilitate collaboration, and drive real change among public schools in Ward 6, to improve the education received by all children, the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization (CHPSPO) is engaging the DC education community in a strategic planning process.
All CHPSPO members, as well as families, principals, and engaged community members are invited to participate in this strategic planning (working) meeting where we plan to develop long-term and short-term priorities for our work supporting Ward 6 schools.
Bike-to-School Day Planning – Sandra Moscoso-Mills
Bike to School Day is Weds, May 9. CHPSPO organizes a ‘party’ at Lincoln Park, where families from all nearby schools meetup, socialize, grab a snack, engage in activities, and join bike trains and walking groups to get to school ON TIME! Learn about the national efforts at http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/.
Please reach out to Sandra to if you’re interested in helping identify local and national speakers, organize activities, invite city partners (DC Water, DCPS, WABA, bike shops, etc), and help get the word out at your school.
- JO Wilson Cheerleaders to perform
Chancellor’s Parent Cabinet – Heather Schoell
Meet periodically and have broken out into issue-based groups of Middle School, Budget, College and Career. DCPS central offers a lot of programming, but not doing a good job communicating to families.
Find background and meeting notes, here: https://dcps.dc.gov/page/chancellor%E2%80%99s-parent-cabinet-sy-2017-2018-cabinet-priorities-and-updates
Other advisory committees shared by the group include
- Global education advisory group (both Heather Schoell (Eliot-Hine and Eastern parent) and Stefany Thangavelu (Maury parent) serve on Global Ed Advisory Group)
- Public Spaces advisory group
More on Boards and Commissions: https://mota.dc.gov/page/boards-commissions-and-task-forces-district-government
New Chancellor – Group Discussion
Ideas for engaging raised: engage in process for finding replacement; relay shortcomings from last experience; Are there changes we should push for vis a vis governance, particularly regarding the role of the State Board of Education.
ACTION: Draft letter to Mayor articulating issues raised during meeting.
Next CHPSPO Meeting: March 20, 2018
DC Council Performance Oversight and Budget Hearings
- Wednesday, February 21, DCPS Performance Oversight Hearing, public witnesses, 10 am (Wilson Building)
- Wednesday, March 28, DCPS Budget Hearing, public witnesses, 10 am (Wilson Building)
- Thursday, April 19, DCPS Budget Hearing, public witnesses (Wilson Building)
Cross Sector Collaboration Task Force Focus Groups
- Tuesday, March 13, 6 – 7:30 pm, Columbia Heights Educational Campus (3101 16th St., NW)
- Wednesday, March 21, 7 – 8:30 pm, Thurgood Marshall PCS (2427 Martin Luther King Ave., SE)
CHPSPO Strategic Planning Meeting – Saturday, February 24, 9:30 am – 1 pm, Northeast Library (7th & Maryland Avenue, NE)
Brent Elementary School, January 16, 2018, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Michelle Edwards, Executive Director of Learn It, Live It, Love It gave a great presentation. Her non-profit organization partners with DCPS Title I schools to bring structured, standards-aligned field trips experiences to students leveraging the museums and organizations in DC and the surrounding areas. She encourages schools and families to reach out to her if you are interested in learning more, contact Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about the organization at www.liveitlearnit.org.
Gene Pinkard, Chief, School Design and Continuous Improvement joined for a discussion about issues of interest to CHPSPO members. He started off with a brief introduction of his office. His office is new since June 2017 and is focused on the following:
- Enrollment and Enrollment Growth
- School Performance
- Innovation and School Design
Their core question to address is: what is going to make DCPS a world-class district?
The discussion moved to questions from attendees:
Question: The Public Charter School Board analysis on charter programs, need and growth, encourages charter school applicants to consider opening Montessori, language immersion, and schools in Ward 6 (calling it a “green zone”). Yet DCPS has those schools already in Ward 6 – why is DCPS not targeting or supporting that kind of growth? Is DCPS thinking about these kinds of things?
Answer: Chancellor Wilson has made it clear he is not a fan of wait lists; he wants to focus on the need for making the space bigger or replicate programs in other places. So, Gene’s office is thinking more about how we connect successful programs to schools or communities that want and need them. Some examples could be:
- Bruce Jackson Miner Principal and LSAT want to talk about some additional programming and working to decide what is best for the students today and the future.
- Looking at enrollment growth and facilities is a key aspect – and we need to have smart solutions to that – even potentially serving students with partners.
- Think about the equity we create with our students. Opportunities to open high-quality experiences for students including perhaps more citywide programs. Families in DC value diversity and citywide schools may offer that option.
Question: Can you talk about the data you use on citywide programs? In DC, being a citywide school does not mean you are a diverse school necessarily.
Answer: The data we used was national data.
Question: Will you communicate short and long-term plans to address growth across school communities? People want to know what is ahead so they know whether they want to also stay and invest in a school instead of leaving for a charter.
Answer: We do need to improve communications, but we are working hard on this area and improving planning. We want to bring more schools into the portfolio so that there are more choices in DCPS; we want to increase capacity to capture demand now and in future; and we want to improve how we communicate about all of it. Need to do more to communicate about all of this
Question: Can you talk more about the role of DCPS in increasing enrollment as this is the first-year enrollment has gone down? And, we encourage more meetings like this one in order to address the gaps between parents and DCPS and to use more of a common language. CHPSPO is about investing in our school particularly neighborhood schools and less about choice; and we know that quality is not just test scores.
Answer. I want to make clear is that test scores are important but don’t define quality. Quality is outlined in the Excellent Schools Framework we are developing. It’s achievement, talent and leadership, culture and climate, equity and engagement.
OSSE has PARCC and test scores tackled in the conversation. We want to also look at formative data and whether a school feels right for my kids and my community. We want to capture what families feel when they are valued and feel safe and welcomed.
Choice and neighborhood schools are not a contradiction. Primary investment has to be in our neighborhood schools. The city is only going to function if its neighborhoods have strong quality schools. So, we are looking at strengthening feeder patterns, culture/climate and other aspects of quality.
Question: Will DCPS support a Challenger Center at Elliot Hine?
Answer: We have mixed thoughts on whether it works, and whether it’s what the community wants. But I want to talk more about it with you offline.
Question: We need to focus on retaining teachers and leadership. But some school leaders are not collaborative and problems with school leadership can fester for a long time. Teachers don’t have a way to give robust feedback on principal performance. There isn’t a safe way for teachers to bring feedback that is taken seriously. Principal evaluation is set up with an incentive to manipulate the system and to encourage fraudulent reporting of data. What is the plan for supporting transparent data, better systems for teachers to report concerns, and for teachers to be an integral part of principal evaluations.
Answer: Yes, everybody in the school community should have a voice in its success. I agree on the general concerns. But we do have some mechanisms – the INSIGHT survey is anonymized and goes to quality of leadership and instructional culture, student/parent surveys. Every school has areas for improvement.
My office checks and collects that data. Principals are half evaluated on outcome data. And they choose other areas they want to be evaluated on – but they can’t control the data.
But, there is more that we can do around principal development. We have a periodic leadership academy – but don’t yet have ongoing, robust support that helps principals become more successful on all aspects of leadership.
On family engagement, we recommend that principal engagement with the LSAT is the norm. That needs to be the expectation and how they are responding.
Comment: Concerns were raised that LSAT is implemented differently in every school and is not enough to garner authentic, robust engagement of families. Need support for principals on family engagement and communications across the board.
Question: Gene asked to the group: what would you like to see as the DCPS response to high demand of a limited number of sites in a geographic region?
Answer from Suzanne: I appreciate the work DCPS has to do in this area is hard. Conversations and communications with our community are key. We have talked about a strategic plan for Ward 6 with Claudia Lujan. The current DCPS strategic plan doesn’t get into details. I’d like to see decisions made on where and when we are going to open x school and expand y program and add program to school x. To do this in a way that will work, we should have citywide and neighborhood conversations. For example, Historic Miner could be an early childhood center. We should generally have much more project-based learning – ask every school to do more. But we can’t just give our ideas, we need a broader conversation with a plan and a process.
Gene: Claudia, Michael and myself will embark on a portfolio retreat around the composition of the schools itself. We will look at options like a complimentary layer of citywide schools for the next 5-10 years with citywide conversations to ensure equity. It’s also likely that we need to be more present in communities around what we are doing.
Idea from Erin Roth: Schools need to really market themselves and be slick about it in order to compete with charters that have high marketing budgets it seems. DCPS could help schools with simple communication and marketing tools and templates that would get across the basic mission and messaging statements for each school in a packaged way for parents.
Idea from Sara Carr: I would argue for a little more ad hoc action. Charters will be here in five years with five new Montessori schools. We need quick action and keep our schools and not give up buildings to charters. The long-term planning is needed, but we need action now too.
Caryn Ernst, CHPSPO Member, and Member of the Cross Sector Task Force
Over the course of two years, the Deputy Mayor of Education (DME) has allowed the Task Force to only focus on a small set of areas that would result in little or no push back from DCPS or charters. They are releasing soon a set of recommendations for public input and are releasing meeting dates for feedback.
Generally, they have proposed the following core issues which are generally the right issues:
- Opening, closing and siting of schools
- Serving at-risk students
- Enrollment stability
But within each category the recommendations are very narrow and parents on the Task Force, including Caryn, have concerns the Task Force should recommend more:
Opening, closing and siting of schools
Issue: Charters are opening schools without citywide strategic plan and without community input. Areas with dozens of schools and other areas with dirth of schools. No coordination re: closing schools or siting of schools.
Recommendation: Have a citywide strategic plan on where schools are, where excess capacity is, how are programs spread throughout city, where are achievement levels different, etc. This is a good recommendation however there is no overarching criteria around that nor any requirement that charters abide by it. Charters have said that they will continue to open schools regardless of plan as long as there is one child not achieving at proficient. There has been no pressure put back on the charter board to stop opening schools without the plan. No agreement to put caps on the amount of charters or collaborative planning – they are allowed to open as many as they want whenever.
Issue: On school sitings parents have pushed for community involvement. Currently, charters simply notify an ANC commissioner within a month of the opening of a school and count that as community engagement. They believe that is sufficient.
Issue: The recommendations do not acknowledgement that neighborhood schools and charters are different and should be treated differently around closings. Neighborhood public schools should not be closed based on ESSA metrics/test scores. Yet DME is pushing very hard to replicate what Denver does – when a school scores below a certain level on the quality score, they are closed after 3 years of warning. Then there is a notice to open new schools. Denver however even acknowledges that schools in low-income communities get closed first and that creates churn and that is not good for those communities.
Serving At-Risk Students
Issue: Of the 10-15 recommendations that will be released for input, the vast majority are about promoting school choice. To improve options for at-risk kids, they recommend giving preference in the lottery if you are at-risk. DME data shows this policy would impact less than 1,000 at-risk students which means it’s not a solution. It doesn’t solve the problem of educating at-risk students better. We need to figure out which schools are beating the odds, look at those schools and what they are doing, and then replicate them. The DME refused to do that.
Recommendations to centralize the mobility process are included to address the problems we have now that you can walk out and go to another school, and there is no data or funding transfer and it creates many issues. So, the recommendation is to centralize the mobility data and the parents on the Task Force support that recommendation. But it’s not enough. The recommendation doesn’t address enrollment stability. It helps smooth mobility and data collection, but doesn’t solve it.
Parents recommended (but were rejected) that after October, wait lists be eliminated and the decisions about mobility go to a centralized system so that movement can be distributed evenly. A centralized wait list would increase stability.
The recommendations from the Task Force also include instituting that the funding follows the student if they transfer.
The parents encouraged other parents and community members to attend the meetings and give feedback. (Confirm here, in case of changes –> https://dme.dc.gov/collaboration)
- School Leader and Principal Focus Group
- Wednesday, February 7, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm at Capitol View Library (5001 Central Ave SE)
- Register Here
- Family and Advocacy Focus Groups
- Friday, February 9, 9:30 am – 11:00 am at Mt. Pleasant Library (3160 16th St NW)
- Tuesday, February 13, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Capitol View Library (5001 Central Ave SE)
- Register Here
- Policy Expert Focus Group
- Wednesday, February 14, 9:30 am – 11:00 am at Shaw Library (1630 7th St NW)
- Register Here
- Teacher and School Staff Focus Group
- Wednesday, February 28, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm at Benning (Dorothy I. Height) Library (3935 Benning Rd NE)
- Register Here
- Citywide Meetings
- Tuesday, March 13, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (Location TBD)
- Wednesday, March 21, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Location TBD)
Cross Sector Collaboration Task Force
- General Meeting: Tuesday, January 30, Education Counsel (101 Constitution Ave, NW, Suite 900)
- Focus Groups: (see above)
JO Wilson’s 4th Annual DC Summer Camp Fair (http://www.dccampfair.com/)
Thursday, January 25, 6 – 8pm, J.O. Wilson (660 K Street, NE)
CHPSPO Strategic Planning Meeting
Saturday, February 24, 9:30 am – 1 pm, Northeast Library (7th & Maryland Avenue, NE)
Next CHPSPO meeting is on Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Updated 4/15/2016 with final version.
DC Public Schools Budget Hearing
April 14, 2016
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.
Join us and spread the word (print this flier and share with your school communities!).