Frank Nickerson Testimony – DC Public Schools Budget Oversight Hearing – March 29, 2019

Committee on Whole and Education

Budget Oversight Hearing of the District of Columbia Public Schools

 Friday, March 29, 2019

Frank Nickerson – Member, Capitol Hill Montessori Parent Student Teacher Organization

 

Hello, I am Frank Nickerson, Ward 6 parent to a daughter in 2nd grade and attending Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan (CHML)

I am grateful to be here and have Councilmembers who listen to citizens.

Several years ago it was discovered that the Logan building, where CHML resides, wasn’t assessed for its qualities to determine if it needed a renovation. Most other schools were assessed in DC but not CHML. One of the main reasons? CHML is an educational campus. It has a primary, elementary, and middle school.

DCPS assessed elementary school buildings. It assessed middle school buildings. We didn’t fall in either category so we weren’t assessed. For years.

We brought this to the attention of the Council and with your championing us and your support, and your direction, the CHML building was assessed, put on the renovation schedule, and you have given us funding to renovate the school. We are extremely grateful.

We are working with DCPS and DGS now on the the building specs.

We have a problem.

Irony of ironies, I think we’ve been forgotten by DCPS and DGS again.

We’re an educational campus. A Montessori educational campus. We need DCPS and DGS to recognize this again. We can’t stick to only a regular elementary school building spec when we have middle school students. DCPS and DGS seem to forget that we have a middle school. They forget that the elementary school and middle school are both Montessori.

Middle school kids are bigger too. Physically bigger.  We can’t just build this on a spec for elementary school students. Bigger middle school kids need more space for their activities. They need a full-sized gym. Not just a half gym. They can’t do much with a half-gym. They need a real auditorium to put on plays, for example. Kids can’t put on plays in a gym and give up on gym class when they are putting on a play

DC has actually hired an architectural firm with Montessori school experience. That’s good. However, we still need DCPS and DGS to agree to actually build this educational space for both Montessori elementary and middle school students and with Montessori-school type specs. They want to go by elementary school specs. We need your help.

This is a serious school. When it’s done your new building is predicted to educate 495 students. I believe this is the largest Montessori school by far in the mid-Atlantic.

CHML is a regional leader. Teachers and Montessori educators actually look to CHML. Montessori educators send newly trained Montessori teachers to CHML for practice teaching.  DC can set the standard for excellent public school Montessori education. Help CHML reach new heights by doing this job right.

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 (http://capitolhillmontessorischool.org/)

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

Nov 19, (Thursday) 9:30-10:30 am and 6-7:00 pm: Stuart-Hobson Middle School Open House (http://www.capitolhillclusterschool.org/)

Nov 20, (Friday) 9:30-11:00 am: Jefferson Academy Open House http://www.jeffersontrojans.org/)

 

 

Status

CHPSPO Meeting is Tuesday, March 18 at SWS@Goding

The Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization will meet on Tuesday, March 18, at 6:30 p.m. at SWS@Goding (920 F St., NE).

I wanted to get our preliminary agenda out a little early to allow folks to prepare for the meeting. Principals were to have received their school budget allocations for the 2014/2015 school year today. At the meeting next week, we’d like to discuss the school level budgets, and how the actual school budgets match the Mayor and Chancellor’s budget proposals, e.g., to increase middle school funding. If each school could come with a brief summary of their budgets, it would be appreciated. The budget word from Maury Elementary today is that their enrollment in SY14/15 is expected to grow by 32 students, but their budget is only increasing by $101; Maury’s per student funding was $9,761 this year and is projected to drop to $9,461 next year.

We will also be discussing the applications the Public Charter School Board is considering for SY2014, and potential impacts on the Ward 6 schools (see http://www.dcpcsb.org/Start-a-Charter-School/New-Charter-School-Start-Ups.aspx?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PCSB%20News%20Releases&utm_content=Charter+School+Apps+2014). The PCSB expects to hold a public hearing in mid-April on the applications.

Finally, we hope to have a discussion on the recent reallocations of the school modernization funds.

Never a dull moment when it comes to DC education issues!

Suzanne Wells

P.S. Don’t forget to go to the Capitol Hill Cluster School Auction this Friday, March 14, at 7 p.m. at the Atlas Performing Arts Center

031814 CHPSPO Agenda.docx