D.C. Public Charter School Board
3333 14th St, NW
Washington, DC 20010
May 21, 2012
Board Members in attendance: Mr. Brian Jones (Chair); Mr. John “Skip” McKoy; Mr. Don Soifer; Ms. Emily Bloomfield; Dr. Darren Woodruff; Ms. Sara Mead; Mr. Scott Pearson (ex-officio)
Mr. Brian Jones called the public hearing to order at 7:40pm
Hearing on Proposed Board Policies- Charter Amendment to Allow Single Campus Closures, School Oversight Fee Modifications
Mr. Brian Jones welcomed the audience for coming and introduced the agenda for the public hearing. He then asked anyone who would like to speak on the charter amendment to allow single campus closures to come to the microphone to speak. Hearing none he asked for anyone wishing to speak on the Public Charter School Board’s (PCSB) school oversight fee modifications. Hearing none again he stated that the Board in a future meeting will move to approve or deny these proposals.
Mr. Don Soifer asked when the deadline for comments is.
Ms. Audrey Williams from Staff said that it is in two days.
Public Hearing adjourned at 7:44pm
Mr. Brian Jones called the public meeting to order at 7:44pm
Acknowledgement of Public Officials
No elected officials were present.
Approval of the Agenda
Mr. Brian Jones asked for a motion to approve the agenda. Mr. Skip McKoy moved to approve the agenda and Ms. Sara Mead seconded. The motion passed unanimously
Approval of the Minutes from April 23, 2012
Mr. Brian Jones asked for a motion to approve the minutes from the last Board meeting. Mr. Don Soifer moved to approve the minutes and Mr. Skip McKoy seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Brian Jones read the contracts for May 2012 for more than $25,000 that were received by the PCSB and were read and accepted into the record.
Schools Oversight Committee- Approval of the Revised and New Accountability Plans
Ms. Rashida Kennedy from Staff introduced the revised and new accountability plans before the Board. She stated that sixteen early childhood programs are seeking to revise their plans, two new schools hoping to have their plan approved for the first time, and two adult education plan revisions. These plans are all in place until the Performance Management Framework (PMF) is under way.
Mr. Brian Jones asked for questions or comments for Ms. Rashida Kennedy. Hearing none he asked that the Board vote on the accountability plans as a slate and asked to enter the chart given to Board Members on the plans entered into the record and posted on the PCSB website.
Mr. Don Soifer moved to approve accepting the accountability plans as a slate, and Mr. Skip McKoy seconded.
Mr. Brian Jones recited the 20 charter schools up for consideration:
1). Center City
2). E.W. Stokes
4). Latin American Montessori Bilingual
5). Perry Street Preparatory
7). William E. Doar, Jr.
9). Hope Community
10). Imagine Southeast
11). Howard Road Academy
13). DC Bilingual
14). Washington Yu Ying
15). KIPP DC
16). E.L. Haynes
17). Booker T. Washington
18). LAYC Youthbuild
19). Shining Stars
20). Mundo Verde
Mr. Skip McKoy asked that staff say a little bit more about the accountability plans.
Ms. Rashida Kennedy stated that each of the plans were developed between the PCSB staff and the school’s leadership. The decisions were based on the schools performance based on previous data and on assessments that are most appropriate for that school. All decisions that were made were made on an individual basis pertaining to the school and often after months of negotiation between the staff and the school.
In terms of the two new schools there was not baseline data for them, so the schools are choosing assessments based on their hypothesis that best serves their student.
The motion passed unanimously.
Request to lift the Notice of Conditional Continuance- William E. Doar, Jr. Public Charter School for the Performing Arts (WEDJ)
Representatives- John Goldman, Executive Director; Andrew Rivers, Board Vice Chair
Ms. Charlotte Cureton and Mr. Jeremy Williams from Staff introduced WEDJ’s request to have their notice of conditional continuance lifted before the Board.
Mr. Brian Jones commended Mr. John Goldman for being present throughout this difficult time for the school and for showing persistence and commitment to WEDJ. He then congratulated him on getting the loans restructured and asked if he can speak to the governance changes.
Mr. Andrew Rivers said that one of the things the new board focused on was transparency, working cohesively, and what is best for WEDJ. He has been pleased that with the challenges they have had and that they still met the mission of the school.
Mr. Andrew Rivers continued by saying that in terms of their board, they are committed to WEDJ and that they have a wonderful individual in Mr. John Goldman who can move the school towards their goals and implement the board’s policies across the school.
He went on to say that WEDJ’s board is diverse and possesses a select group of talents with the right philosophies to move the school forward.
Mr. Brian Jones asked in light of all the challenges they have faced, what is your sense of the future for staffing and enrollment.
Mr. John Goldman said that one of the key ways to determine the perception of the school is through reenrollment. It is currently at 70% and they continue to have people sign up every day. They are more than 100 enrollees over where they were at this point last year.
In terms of staffing they are taking a look at the performance of the teachers through the new rubric that they put into place this year and they are looking for new staff and have an open competition for leadership positions.
Ms. Sara Mead said that they are pleased to see progress on governance and financial indicators. But, the schools academic performance is not as strong as they would like to see. She asked if they could speak a little bit about how recent actions have affected the school.
Mr. John Goldman said that being classified in Tier 2 under PMF is not acceptable to him, the board, school or staff. This year is the first year that they implemented benchmark testing and they will not know the results until July. They’ve signed up with achievement network and are looking for a new data manager and data coach. With the reenrollment rate being higher and not having to work with so many new students, they expect progress.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked for the approximate number of students reenrolling they are expecting.
Mr. John Goldman said they are currently exceeding their expectations. Somewhere between 460 and 500 is a reasonable expectation.
Mr. Brian Jones asked for a motion.
Dr. Darren Woodruff moved to remove the school’s conditions and Mr. Skip McKoy seconded.
The motion passed unanimously.
Schools Oversight Committee- Enrollment Ceiling Increase-
Education Strengthens Families Public Charter School (ESF)
Representatives- Christie McKay, School Leader
Mr. Richard Fowler from Staff introduced the ESF’s request to raise their enrollment ceiling before the Board.
Ms. Christie McKay said that they would be happy for the increase as they have a long waiting list and that they will fill their increase with no problem.
Ms. Sara Mead said that they are a unique school serving early childhood and adults. Can they speak to how many of those slots are for kids versus adults?
Ms. Christie McKay said that all but one slot is for adults.
Mr. Scott Pearson asked if she meant 99 slots for adults and one for children.
Ms. Christie McKay said yes.
Mr. Don Soifer moved to approve the enrollment ceiling increase and Ms. Emily Bloomfield seconded.
The motion passed unanimously.
Schools Oversight Committee- Enrollment Ceiling Increase- Hospitality High Public Charter School
Rodney McBride, Principal; Tiffany Godbout, Executive Director; Mike Cucciardo, Hospitality Coordinator
Mr. Richard Fowler from Staff introduced Hospitality’s request to raise their enrollment ceiling before the Board.
Ms. Tiffany Godbout said that they put in for an increase of 225 students over a two year period but are hoping to have that increase to 300. They are looking to move and grow year over year.
Mr. Brian Jones said that the school initially asked for an increase to 225, and that the Board is not prepared to vote on the 300 at this point, but will vote on the 225 instead.
Dr. Darren Woodruff said that he and his colleagues are concerned about quality control and maintaining the quality of the program as the school grows. What are your thoughts on what needs to be done to strengthen the program to maintain performance?
Ms. Tiffany Godbout said that they are happy to have the PMF as it allows them to see why they were in Tier 2, and that the leading indicators are their biggest challenge. Their number one cause was truancy. They have started home visits this year and are planning on expanding them. They are adding a dean of students position and an attendance person. They will start their home visits much sooner.
She went on to say that they are going to continue to strengthen their academic program and that they want to strengthen their use of data and have a fulltime data person.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked if there would be strong reasons for not wanting to see the progress made with these changes before approving the enrollment increase.
Ms. Tiffany Godbout thinks that the PMF paints a good picture but not a full picture. They are preparing students for college and careers. Their data says that of their students who go to college, 60% are graduating in 6 years. They have 66% of their alumni in hospitality.
Mr. Rodney McBride said that as the instructional leader it becomes much easier to implement and push a stronger level of achievement if it is not done incrementally.
Mr. Mike Cucciardo said that they have made strides and have completed their National Academy Foundation certification in 6 months.
Mr. Don Soifer said that he wanted to clarify between the facilities question and enrollment level.
Ms. Tiffany Godbout said that they want to know that they have a growth plan that can sustain the program. They are looking at 225 for this year and 250 for the following year. They are still in the progress of negotiating the building.
Mr. Don Soifer said that they are bringing in a new data person and a dean of students. What have you done and what are your plans?
Mr. Rodney McBride said that they have utilized scantron to see where their students are academically to develop individual academic programs. They have also taken a deeper look to make sure that their teachers can present the students with assessment and then tie it into the standards. They look at the assessment as a tool and to see if teachers presented the material in such a way that students can learn. Their focus is on mastery of the material. They want to take a deeper look and see why the students missed the question that they missed.
Mr. Don Soifer asked if a student does not meet the benchmark what happens next.
Mr. Rodney McBride that teachers would work with students after school to tutor the students who have not mastered the material. They are also looking to have students partner with other adults on campus.
Mr. Don Soifer asked if they have full confidence that they will not be stretched too thin.
Mr. Rodney McBride said yes.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked about the SPED rate. Given the number it seems like a lot and wanted to know what they are already doing.
Mr. Rodney McBride said that what he has outlined are actually SPED strategies, and that they can be applied to both SPED and non-SPED students.
Ms. Tiffany Godbout said that they have built into their budget that they will need extra staff including another full time special education person.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield said that she agrees wants to understand what certification mean for different types of certificates. What does it offer students in terms of career ladders and career opportunities?
Mr. Mike Cucciardo said that there are a number of certifications are available to their students. The various certifications mean different things to employers because they show them that they have certain experience and knowledge and can waive hospitality 101 in college and to start at higher salaries in hospitality careers. All of their certifications require an internship as well.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield moved to approve the increase in enrollment to 225 and Ms. Sara Mead seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
School Oversight Committee- Request for Enrollment Ceiling Increase- Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School
Mr. Richard Fowler introduced Washington Yu Ying’s request to raise their enrollment ceiling before the Board.
Dr. Darren Woodruff said that just out of curiosity, Yu Ying has a specific focus with Chinese and wanted to know if their students are drawing from all wards or is it more of a neighborhood school.
Ms. Sara Mead asked if this is a “grow up” to add more grades or to “grow out” to add more kids into the grades?
Mr. Richard Fowler said it was the latter.
Mr. Scott Pearson said they have a long-term plan to add a middle and high school as well.
Mr. Don Soifer moved to raise the enrollment ceiling and Ms. Emily Bloomfield seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval to Open Public Comment on Proposed Board Policies- Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Policy
Mr. Scott Pearson said that the federal government has a law, FERPA, which governs the use of education data of students that is personal to them. PCSB has never had a formal board approved policy on FERPA, but it is best practices for educational bodies to have a FERPA policy. Mr. Scott Pearson asked that the Board open public comment on the FERPA policy before them.
Lay out a model FERPA policy for charter schools to adopt or to adopt one that meets the same benchmarks by December 31, 2012.
Board would designate a FERPA contact at PCSB for charter schools
Board adopt their own FERPA policy
Mr. Brian Jones said that this is long overdue and that it is surprising to him that we have not focused on this before now. It is a practical policy and an important move to take.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield requested that we make explicit somewhere that having been in contact with Child and Family Services (CFSA), that CFSA serve as the legal guardian of children in foster care and that they have access to this data and records.
Mr. Brian Jones made clear for the record that they are approving these policies being moved to being open for public comment.
Mr. Don Soifer moved to submit the policies for open comment and Mr. Skip McKoy seconded.
The motion passed unanimously.
Proposed Board Policy- Modification to Enrollment Increase Policy
Mr. Scott Pearson said that the Board has an already existing enrollment increase policy. One of its most important criteria is that it focuses on school performance based on PDRs. Now that PCSB has a PMF, it warrants modifying the enrollment increase policy to take into account PMF.
Mr. Skip McKoy said that he is curious for the criteria for Tier 1 schools around the waitlist, but that we can wait until the public comment to speak about that.
Mr. Skip McKoy moved that we submit for public comment and Ms. Sara Mead seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Paula Travers of Bradley Consulting approached the board. She is a consultant for principals in urban settings and around special education and compliance. She discussed her extensive background in education as both a teacher and administrator. She discussed her current research on ELL learners before the Board, and then went on to speak about the products and services that she offers schools.
Max Levasseur, Vice President of Board of Governors of Washington Latin Public Charter School, said that he has a question about DCPS becoming another authorizer in the city and if PCSB has a stance.
Mr. Scott Pearson answered saying that PCSB does not object to the idea of having another authorizer in the city. Many national organizations consider it best practice to have more than one authorizer in a jurisdiction and that the PCSB does not shy to competition.
PCSB does ask if DCPS be given this authority that it meet the following:
1) Schools be truly autonomous
2) Be a high quality authorizer
3) That facilities be fairly and equitably allocated.
Ms. Sara Mead said that lacking Council action on that, PCSB is extremely eager to work with Chancellor Henderson to put students in this city in the best schools possible.
Meeting adjourned at 9:06pm