CHPSPO Meeting Notes – February 16, 2016

J.O. Wilson Elementary School

K Street, NE, February 16, 2016, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.


  1. – DC Alliance of Youth Advocates  #ExpandLearningDC – Joseph Gavrilovich
  • Work w/ 120-130 youth serving nonprofits in the district
  • Collective voice for issues of interest in DC Gov
  • Main issue areas
    • Youth homelessness
    • Workforce development
    • Expanded learning
      • Afterschool and summer learning opportunities
    • Afterschool/aftercare in DC has sustained declining stream of funding
      • Fewer points of access for kids who need it most
      • Requesting $10M in funding for quality expanded learning opportunities;
    • ASK of CHPSPO/community: Testimony on behalf of community based non-profits/service; DC TRUST; Sign letters/ online petitions
    • Discussion:
      • Compatibility w/ extended day is important
        • Asking DCTRUST and DCPS to coordinate on an aftercare vision; DC has some of best programming in the country (ex: America SCORES started w/ DC SCORES); Coordination w/ OSSE on outcomes for afterschool
      • Focus on quality/avoid disparity in quality
      • How will $10M be used?
        • DC TRUST budget (intermediary to fund community based programming)
        • Funding that covers DCPS funding for after school programming; in schools where there are waitlists, reduce waitlists to zero; increase quality of care
        • Recommendation should be in place ahead of when Mayor compiles budget
      • How does AYA ensure quality of programming?
        • A: Comprehensive survey of all member programs
      • How does AYA implement programming?
        • A: Schools/principals make choices; If what is in place works, enable ability to accommodate all families; if what is in place does not work, want to be able to make space for other community-based partners


2 – Council Oversight Hearings – Laura Marks

  • SEE hearing list provided by CM Allen’s team, but NOTE – SUBJECT TO CHANGE
  • Oversight wraps up mid-March; March 24 Mayor releases her budget, then budget hearings start
  • Not many public witnesses for OSSE or DCPS
  • Capital budget will be discussed in DME, DCPS and DGS hearings
    • Q: Will budgets reflect last FY budget formula? Will there be an increase in per pupil spending (there was not this year)?
    • Q: Will capital budget plan approved last year continue this year?
  • Qs/As:
    • Moving Eliot-Hine and Jefferson’s renovations up depends on whether there is additional capital budget (330M reduction over five years)
      • School Improvement Team (SIT) needs to be in place before architectural firm can come on board
      • Eliot-Hine kicked off SIT committee application (applications being received from community)
    • Q: Has Mayor felt ‘heat’ about moving the capital funds? When is a good time to reach out? A: Now is time to reach out w/ phone calls, etc.
    • ACTION: Resend letter by Ivan Frishberg asking for phone calls to council/mayor/etc re: Capital Budget
    • Q: What happens at DCPCS Budget Oversight hearings? A: Executive Director, team, etc speak. Not much oversight of the DCPCSB. Focus on operation of the board, as there is not much direct mandate.
    • On Cross-collaboration task force: Initial meeting is Feb 17:
    • ACTION: Not many parents have signed up to testify for upcoming hearings (See planned dates below). To testify for hearings, can submit informal paragraph and it is counted in record. Testimony period is open beyond hearing and is counted in record. To ensure points are heard, best to pull together a panel. NOTE: Dates/times/room numbers change, so double-check.


  1. Wilson Building Visits on School Modernization Funding –Ivan Frishberg
  • Visit with Deputy Mayor for Education scheduled for February 26 to discuss DCPS capital budget.


  1. Operational Budgets – Joe Weedon
  • Schools should get budgets soon
  • Enrollment – Eastern may decline; middle schools continue to drop
  • Budget schedule:
    • Feb 12 initial school budget allocation to be released
    • March 4 – LSATs/principals to work on budget
    • March 7 – principals submit budget to DCPS


  1. High School Credits – Joe Weedon
  • BACKGROUND: Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is proposing a broad regulation that would allow high school students to test out of any course. A Task Force convened last year by the State Board of Education had recommended that high school students be allowed to test out of only foreign language and math courses.  A petition is circulating that encourages the State Board of Education to reject this proposal.
  • ACTION: Please consider signing this petition (
  • The way new regulations are written by OSSE enable test-based credits for any class.
  • Concerns: it’s unknown what OSSE is intending to do w/ regulation in future; lose the public process for adding other courses like World History to scope of classes for which test-based credit can be awarded.


  1. CHPSPO 2016 Priorities Discussion – Everyone
  • Advocacy/relationship building:
    • Focus on advocacy vis a vis Wilson Building visits, testimony.
    • Civic engagement – give parents tools/training to help them learn how to be effective advocates. Planning vis a vis key legislative/decision activities (budget, oversight, etc)
    • Soft touch; Being present when there is not a crisis; there are schools/advocates in Wilson Building every day
      • PTAs split up the year; (Ex: thank you letters to mayor; )
      • 3rd grade cornerstone – re: DC gov. Every 3rd grader should be there
    • Identify similar issues PTAs are dealing with. Find structured ways to discuss issues like budget, staffing?
      • Ex: follow budget cycle; report back after budgets are allocated to identify common issues/themes and plan for next FY
    • Quality of education should not depend on politics/advocacy
    • Focusing the advocacy around tangible issues
      • Don’t forget CHPSPO priorities from previous years. We need to be accountable for what we’ve advocated for in the past, e.g., middle schools
      • Track what we promised to do, and where we fell short
    • Achievement gaps
      • Gap has not narrowed in a decade. What can we learn from other schools, including charter schools, about how to narrow the achievement gap?
    • PTA Support/Strengthening
      • Sharing session w/ PTOs + tools at beginning of year and ongoing support
      • What are the different ways LSAT operates, how in your schools, how can we operate better in ours?
      • How do PTAs encourage greater collaboration w/ teachers?
      • How can schools manage drop/off/ pick up and breakfast?
      • How do schools implement restorative disciplinary practices? (examples: taking recess away?)
      • Computers/tech are outdated; how do we get computers refreshed especially now that testing is computer based?
      • How does PTO encourage parents to get more involved and more socio-economic collaboration
      • Each PTO re-invents the wheel, how can we learn from each other?
      • What is the city-wide education issue that CHPSPO participates in?
      • How is DCPS ensuring quality of before/after programming
      • How do we advocate for retention of staff
    • High Schools
    • How do we ensure safe, high quality high schools
    • School modernization; increase capital dollars
    • Improving food service


Next CHPSPO Meeting:  March 15, 2016


Upcoming Events

  • February 26 – Meeting w/ Deputy Mayor – TBD
  • February 29Mayor’s Budget Engagement Forum @ King Greenleaf Recreation Center


Council Performance Oversight Hearings

  • Wednesday, February 17:  OSSE
  • Thursday, February 18: DCPS (public witnesses only)
  • Wednesday, February 24: DCPS (government witnesses only)
  • Thursday, February 25: DGS (including school modernizations)
  • Wednesday, March 2: Deputy Mayor for Education, State Board of Education
  • Thursday, March 3: Public Charter School Board

School Auctions

  • February 27, Tyler’s Alchemy of Great Taste, Eastern Market North Hall
  • March 11, Cluster Rocks, Atlas Theater
  • March 19, Maury at the Market, Eastern Market North Hall
  • April 30, Brent’s Taste of the Hill, Capitol Skyline Hotel

CHPSPO Meeting Notes – November 17, 2015

Miner Elementary School, 601 15th St., NE

November 17, 2015, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

1) Keep Calm and Substitute Teach – How DCPS plans/budgets for substitutes, and why/how to become a substitute – Suzanne Wells, Tammy Alexander and Heather Schoell

  • Principals can name request parents to be subs
  • John Isabella (DCPS) reported– substitutes pool fills 200-300 requests per day. 90% of requests are filled.
  • Substitutes fill in for teachers and aides.
  • Schools get budget but rolled into teacher salaries.
  • Substitute are licensed by OSSE
  • Substitute must deliver a 5 min prez/lesson – those who meet the bar, go on to background check
  • DCPS sees sub pool as a pool of potential teachers;
  • Subs can put in name for a specific school (and schools can request specific subs)
  • Every teacher is supposed to leave a file w/ lessons

2) High School Credit Flexibility – Mary Lord, At-Large Member State Board of Education ESEA – reauthored

  • State board trying to innovate/engage public
  • How to focus more on learning and the learner – free up teachers and students to innovate & allow students struggling to get the time they need and those who excel to be able to accelerate
  • Move towards mastery-based (or performance-based) learning.
  • Q: How to assess mastery

3) Wilson Building Visits, December 4 – Ivan Frishberg 9-Noon

  • Requests to meet with Chairman Allen (11 AM)
    • Mendelson
    • Grosso
    • Bonds
    • Todd
  • Issues – modernization – process and what is happening at the schools and cross sector collaboration task force (Key issues under cross-sector task force to be refined)

4) Eliot-Hine Update – Roni Hillmon and Heather Schoell

  • Watkins to be renovated 2016-17 / Looking at swing space at Eliot Hine
  • Promises to Eliot-Hine
    • HVAC (promised by may 2015)
    • Tech in each classroom
    • Room in need of repair (leaks into classrooms); mold/air quality
    • Dec 9 next PTO meeting – 6PM in library. Patrick Davis, lead


Next CHPSPO Meeting:  December 15, 2015


Upcoming Middle School Open Houses

Nov 16, (Monday) 9:00-10:30 am: Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan, Upper Elementary and Middle School Open House (

Nov 17, (Tuesday) 9:30-10:30 am and 6-7:00 pm: Eliot-Hine Middle School Open House (

Nov 19, (Thursday) 9:30-10:30 am and 6-7:00 pm: Stuart-Hobson Middle School Open House (

Nov 20, (Friday) 9:30-11:00 am: Jefferson Academy Open House




CHPSPO Meeting Notes – September 15, 2015

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Stuart Hobson Middle School

September 15, 2015

1) Discussion about CHPSPO’s nomination to the Cross-Sector Task Force

  • Issues we think are important for the Task Force to address
    • Planning: # of seats, site selection, curriculum
    • Grade alignment (consistency around at grades are included in middle school)
    • Financial transparency
    • Long-term à amend the existing laws
    • Ways to foster stability throughout the school system
    • Ways to foster collaboration not competition
  • Discussion with people interested in serving on Task Force
    • Caryn Ernst (Capitol Hill Cluster School parent and former PTA president) and Sandra Moscoso (Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan & former LSAT Chair/BASISDC parent)
  • Voting on CHPSPO’s nomination
    • Caryn Ernst was selected to receive the CHPSPO nomination.

2) Discussion about blog, Valerie Jablow;

  • Follow the blog via email, disseminate it into your communities and reach out to Valerie to contribute posts

3) Upcoming DC Council Education Committee hearings and events. Laura Marks

  • Visit here for calendar of Education Committee hearing dates in September and October 2015 and instructions for submitting testimony
  • Public School Food and Nutrition Services Programs and School Food and Nutrition Services Contract Requirement Act of 2015 – public roundtable. Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 10:00 a.m., Hearing Room 412
  • Early Learning Quality Improvement Network Amendment Act of 2015 and Higher Education Licensure Commission Amendment Act of 2015. Thursday, October 1, 2015, 10:00 a.m., Hearing Room 412
  • Public Charter School Fiscal Transparency Amendment Act of 2015. Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 1:00 p.m., Hearing Room 120

4) CHPSPO visits to Wilson Building, Ivan Frishberg.

In process of scheduling group visits with councilmembers on education committee.

5) DCPS Library Resourcing. Peter MacPherson.

  • Proposal to advocate for adequately resourcing DCPS libraries (recommended is 20 volumes/student, which is not currently the case at many schools). Idea is to apply the $13.7 million settlement from Chartwells towards funding volumes in schools without adequate collections.
  • Surveys were distributed to CHPSPO librarians to collect information about individual school collections. Please return completed surveys to Suzanne Wells.

6) Walk-to-School Day Planning, George Blackmon

  • Wednesday, October 7, 7:30-8:30 AM @ Lincoln Park
  • Schools are encouraged to hold their own events, if the distance to/from Lincoln Park is inconvenient.
  • Speakers; draft agenda:
    • 7:30: Arrival/Snacks and American Parkour Academy demos
    • 7:45: Ward 6 CM Charles Allen welcomes everyone
      • NOTE: Charles give a shout out to Mark Toorock and Matt Caraballo from American Parkour Academy (they won’t speak, but will be leading demos on the park).
    • 7:48: Maury ES Cheerleaders perform
    • 7:53 Miriam Kenyon, director of health and physical education at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)
    • 7:56: Tommy Wells, Director of the District Department of the Environment
    • 7:59: JO Wilson ES Cheerleaders perform
    • 8:04: Fitness celebrity Gabriella Boston leads yoga stretch
    • 8:10: Charles Allen sends everyone off to school

7) American Parkour, Mark Toorock and Matt Caraballo

Next CHPSPO Meeting:  October 20, 2015

Upcoming Events

September 30 Education Committee hearing on DCPS Food & Nutrition Services Program, 10AM

September 30  DCPS State of Schools with Chancellor Henderson, Dunbar HS, 7-9 PM

October 4        Brent Fall Festival

October 7        Walk-to-School Day (register your school at

October 8        Jefferson Academy vs Stuart Hobson (6-8 PM @ Coolidge HS)

October 10      Capitol Hill Cluster School PTA Renovators Tour Fundraiser

October 17      Capitol Hill Community Foundation’s A Literary Feast (

October 21      Education Committee hearing on issues facing youth

October 24      Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan’s Haunted Harvest, 6-9PM

October 24      Maury Elementary’s Fall Festival

October 24      Tyler Elementary’s Harvest Festival, 11AM-3PM

November 8    JO Wilson’s Taste of H (


CHPSPO Meets Tuesday, February 17

Dear Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization members,

CHPSPO will meet on Tuesday, February 17, at 6:30 p.m. at a private home. We will be discussing the ESEA waiver, upcoming education hearings, Living Classrooms, and CHPSPO priorities for the coming year. I will send a final agenda around on Tuesday morning.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. Stay warm!

Suzanne Wells

021715 CHPSPO Agenda

CHPSPO Meeting Notes – November 18, 2014

Payne Elementary School Library, 1445 C St., SE

November 18, 2014, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Extension of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver, Jeff Noel, OSSE

  1. Process of preparing first administration of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment – computer delivered assessment; higher standard of rigor; aligned with Common Core State Standards
  2. Proposing a one year pause for high-stakes decision making (school classifications and teacher evaluations) during first year of implementing new assessments
    • in order to evaluate impact
    • Test results often come back late – may be 6 months behind: a lot of analysis follows initial rollout
  3. OSSE proposes we come together to have a discussion as the education community to discuss the new assessments. Jeff Noel was invited back to the December CHPSPO meeting for further discussion.
  4. Concerns were raised about high-stakes testing, and the desire to see more data on schools beyond test scores, e.g., student re-enrollment, school climate, teacher retention.

Parent Bill of Rights, Monica Warren-Jones

  • Goal is for kids to become the global citizens they need to be and DCSBOE are engaging families in a proactive manner
  • Draft reflects what is expected of schools
  • Not supposed to impede or supersede existing federal/state laws
  • Draft Parent Bill of Rights Public Roundtable, 6 to 8:30 pm at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library
  • Aiming to vote in December and adopt as a board
  • No Bill of Rights for DC currently (MASS, NY, NH have them)

Challenger Center, Joe Weedon

  • Challenger Center was created by family survivors of the Challenger. Today there are 30 Challenger Centers in the U.S.
  • Strong desire for there to be a Challenger Center within a few miles of Capitol
  • Eliot Hine has been identified as a good location
  • In order to move forward, there is a need for a long-term rental agreement w/ DCPS
  • The existing Challenger Centers are independent, non-profit organizations.
  • All DC schools would have access to it, as well as schools and visitors from outside of the city
  • Curriculum, professional development are owned by the Challenger Center. The Challenger Center raises the money to build the Center.
  • A trip to a Challenger Center in NY may be planned in near future.

Committee of the Whole vs. Education Committee, Suzanne Wells

  • Phil Mendelson considering moving Education Committee back into Committee of the Whole
    • 9 standing committees and 8 veteran councilmembers
  • How to advocate?
    • Call Chairman’s office
    • Make office hours apt
    • Joint coalition letter

Disposition of Gibbs School Building, Suzanne Wells

  • Deputy Mayor for Education’s office is reviewing two applications for Gibbs. One application is for three charter schools (an adult education program, Monument Academy which is a boarding school for students in the foster care system, and Washington Global which is a middle school).  The other application is for Friendship Edison to move its younger students to Gibbs, and to co-locate with two adult education programs.

Next CHPSPO Meeting:  December 16, 2014

Upcoming Events


November 17  FY15/16 DCPS Budget Hearing, Payne Elementary (

November 22  EdFEST, DC’s citywide education fair, 11:00am to 3:00pm, DC Armory.

December 2     Draft Parent Bill of Rights Public Roundtable, 6 to 8:30 pm at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library

December 4     Language Immersion in Urban Public Schools, 6 – 8 pm, MLK Library

December 4     Levine School of Music to present program for instrumental music at Tyler ES, 4PM – Encourage Music teachers to attend

December 7     MOTH School Information Night, 2 pm – 5 pm

March 7           SWS Auction


CHPSPO meeting Tuesday, October 21, at Eliot-Hine

Dear Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization members,

CHPSPO will meet on Tuesday, October 21, at 6:30 p.m. at Eliot-Hine Middle School (1830 Constitution Ave., NE). Attached is the agenda for the meeting. Also, attached is the list of the current PTA presidents/co-presidents, principals and CHPSPO representatives. Please review the list, and send me any updates. Apologies in advance for any errors on the list.

Please remind your school communities that there will be a mayoral candidates forum focused on education this Wednesday, October 22, at 7 p.m. at the Thurgood Marshall Center. Attached is a flyer about the forum.

See you on Tuesday.

Suzanne Wells

102114 CHPSPO Agenda

CHPSPO School Year 2014 2015 Representatives.docx


CHPSPO Meeting Notes – August 12, 2014

Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan, August 12, 2014

Discussion on holding a Ward 6 School Board Forum

  • Decided to hold a Ward 6 School Board Candidates Forum
  • Petitions submitted by Tom Brennan, Mark Nayden, and Joe Weedon
  • Suggested that we identify potential partners to cosponsor the forum: (VanNess parents group, NLPNA, Capitol Hill Group Ministry, Hill Rag, SESW CBCC, etc)
  • Suggested we hold the forum at (Eastern)
  • Discussed possible moderators
  • Timing (2nd-3rd week October) October 7, 14 or 16

Mayoral Candidates Forum – CHPSPO will join education and community groups across the city to sponsor this event

Discussion on holding a Ward 6 Education Summit:

  • Identify what people feel is lacking in the schools, identify how to fill those needs, and re-articulate the Ward’s commitment to schools
  • Discussed that parents have been asked multiple times what they want. People want to see action rather than another “ask” session.
  • Discussed the effort being undertaken by Companies for Causes, and the All Roads Lead to Eastern effort.
  • Discussed the importance of involving teachers more in open houses.
  • Will do a little more thinking around how CHPSPO can support the Ward 6 schools in planning for vertical integration among the feeder schools, and marketing of the schools through their websites, etc.
  • Michael Moss, Walker Jones principal, discussed “backwards education mapping” effort that Wilson High School undertook a number of years ago that brought together the Wilson feeder schools to discuss vertical integration among the schools and ensuring that elementary school students are prepared for middle school, and middle school students are prepared for high school.

Walk-to-School Day Planning – Wednesday, October 8

Next CHPSPO Meeting: September 16, 2014

Upcoming Events

August 23 Beautification Day
August 25 First Day of School
September Student Assignment & School Boundary Plan to be released
October 8 Walk-to-School Day
November 4 General Election