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February 25, 2013

D.C Public Charter School Board Meeting Minutes
3333 14th Street, NW Suite 210

Washington, DC 20010

February 25, 2013 7:30pm
                                                                                                                Public Hearing

Board Members in attendance:   Brian Jones (Chair); John “SkipMcKoy (Vice Chair); Emily Bloomfield; Sara Mead; Scott Pearson (Ex-Officio)

Mr. Jones called the public hearing to order at 7:44pm

Public  Hearing  on  Proposed  Board  Policies:  Proposed  Policy  to  determine  Special  Education Audit Triggers

 Staff Representative: Scott Pearson, Executive Director Mr. Pearson summarized the board memorandum.Judith Sandlow, Executive Director of Children’s Law Center (CLC), the largest non-profit legal services organization in the District of Columbia and the only organization devoted to  a  full spectrum of children’s legal services. Ms. Sandlow came before the board to express her strong support of the proposed memorandum on Special Education Audit Policy. She said  that  DC charters, as public schools educating a large percentage of our students, have a central role to play. Ms. Sandlow explained that suspension and expulsion doesn’t hurt the involved student, it also harms other children and negatively affects school culture. Research has found that removing students who violate school rules creates a school climate which is less conducive to learning for those students who remain in school. Schools with higher rates of suspension and expulsion have less satisfactory ratings for school climate and spend a disproportionately higher amount of time on disciplinary matters than schools that exclude fewer students.

Ms. Sandlow agrees that the policy drafted is a positive way to begin looking more closely at which schools are enrolling a particularly low number of special education students and which schools are disciplining these students more harshly than their non-special education peers.

Ellen Dault on behalf of Donald Hense, Chairman of Friendship PCS. 

Ms. Dault asked that the board considered the intent of the policy. The proposed policy does not focus on the monitoring the progress of each school but rather on the LEA’s discipline and enrollment policies and procedures and possible perceived discrimination against students with special needs. Parents do reach out to the charter school board about discrimination and malpractices; this is why each problem should be carefully examined.

Ms. Dault made the following recommendations:

1.  Clarify the intent of the proposed policy;

2.  Do not duplicate monitoring and reporting requirements under OSSE;

3.  Provide greater specificity with regard to audit triggers and other requirements; and

4.  Ensure proper treatment to specific instances of non-compliance. Lauren Baum, Law Offices of Lauren. E. Baum

Ms. Baum is in support of the changes that have taken place since Mr. Pearson came on board to PCSB. Ms. Baum shared her concern of over monitoring from OSSE. OSSE lacks good assistance to the charter school board. Ms. Baum will submit a written statement by Thursday.

Mr. Jones adjourned the public comment hearing at 7:59pm. The public hearing was adjourned at 8:00 time.

Public Meeting

Board  Members  in  attendance:  Brian  Jones  (Chair);  John  Skip McKoy  (Vice  Chair);  Emily Bloomfield; Sara Mead; Scott Pearson (Ex-Officio)

Mr. Jones asked if they are any public officials that wished to be recognized- No public officials were announced.

Approval of the Agenda

Mr. McKoy moved to approve the agenda; Ms. Mead seconded the motion. Approval of the January 28, 2013 Board Minutes

Ms. Mead moved to approve January 28, 2013 minutes. Ms. Bloomfield seconded the motion. The board voted 6-0 to approve these board minutes.

Submission into the record of Administrative Contracts

Mr.  Jones  accepted  into  the  public  record  the  list  of  charter  schools  contracts  valued  over $25,000.

Proposed Revocation of Imagine Southeast PCS/ Imagine Southeast Proposed Improvement Plan and Agreement

Staff Representative: Scott Pearson, Executive Director

Imagine Southeast Representatives: Barbara Bazon, Founder; Linda Gleckler; Michael DePass; Renee Gerber.

 

Mr. Pearson summarized the board memorandum that recommended that the board lift  the proposal to revoke the charter of Imagine Southeast  PCS.  Instead,  staff  recommends  that  the Board vote to approve the attached document: “Imagine SE Turnaround Plan and Agreement with PCSB. This document describes commitments made by Imagine SE  to a) undertake an improvement place to address its low academic performance and in compliance; b) close grades 7 and 8 at the end of this school year; and c) commit to transfer the school to a high performing operator or relinquish the charter if the school does not hit certain PMF benchmarks in SY2012- 13 and SY2013-14.

Dr. Bazron informed the board that a set of matrix has been placed to help track student performances on an ongoing basis. An addendum from the school house of finance has been to submit by Mr. Pearson, along with a turnaround plan. Discussions with other potential operators to explore the full breadth of opportunities.

Mr. McKoy moved to approve the signing of the agreement, Ms. Mead seconded the motion. The board voted 5-0 

Ms. Bloomfield moved to approve the motion not to revoke the charter of Imagine southeast; Mr. McKoy seconded. Mr. Soifer abstained from the vote to not close Imagine Southeast, consistent with his abstention from the vote to initiate the revocation process.

Charter Amendments: Howard Road Academy PCS:

Staff Representative: Monique Miller, Charter Agreement Specialist

H
oward Road PCS Representatives: LaTonya Henderson, Executive Director; Monica Ray; Latrice Hicks, Director of Accounting.

Ms. Miller summarized the board memorandum that recommended the Board approve with conditions Howard Road Academy's request to amend its mission; terminate its contract  with Mosaica Education, Inc.; and serve only prekindergarten (PK) through Kindergarten (K) students beginning in school year 2013-2014.

Ms. Mead commented that the board will help out in any way to help with the transition.

Mr. Soifer moved to approve the motion; Ms. Bloomfield seconded the motion. The board voted 5-0 to approve with conditions Howard Road PCS charter amendment.

Achievement Preparatory Academy- Charter Amendment

Staff Representative: Monique Miller, Charter Agreement Specialist

Achievement Preparatory Academy  Representative:  Shantelle  Wright,  Founder/Head  of School.

Ms. Miller summarized the board memorandum that recommended that the Board approve with conditions Achievement Prep's request to expand its charter to serve grades PK through third; adopt the PMF as its goals; establish an LEA structure with three campuses; elect to become a DCPS charter for the purposes of special education; and increase its enrollment ceiling from 315 students to 765 students.

Ms. Mead moved to approve the motion; Ms. Bloomfield seconded the motion.

Mr. McKoy abstained from the Achievement Preparatory Academy PCS charter amendment due to the relationship Fight children has with Apple Tree PCS. The board voted 4-0 to approve with conditions Achievement Prep’s charter amendment.

Charter Amendments: Achievement Preparatory Academy & Septima Clark PCS Transaction

Staff Representative: Monique Miller, Charter Agreement Specialist

Achievement Preparatory  Academy  Representative:  Shantelle  Wright,  Founder/Head  of School

Septima Clark Representative: Jake Costan, Board Chair; Stephanie Lilley; James Rianhard

Ms. Miller summarized the board memorandum that recommended that the Board approve with conditions the Septima Clark PCS merger with Achievement Prep PCS. Achievement Prep PCS would enroll Septima Clark PCS students in grades kindergarten through eighth for the 2013- 2014 school year. It would also assume certain assets to assist with the transition of the Septima Clark PCS students into the Achievement Prep PCS student body.

Ms. Wright stated that the merger is a good agreement coming at the right time.

Mr. Costan concurred with Ms. Wright’s statement and understands the need to provide parents with guaranteed fees, but parents are not obligated to enroll their children in Septima Clark PCS.

Mr. McKoy asked Ms. Wright the reason for only opening a program that serves only boys.

Ms. Wright answered that there were no particular reason for accepting all boys. The plan was to serve children, and a program was created where both boys and girls can excel. Septima Clark and Achievement Prep both serve the same population in Ward 8, one of the lowest performing underserved districts. Through their structure, care, program, education and leadership program, the boys at Achievement Prep have thrived across the board and have outperformed girls. Ms. Wright says she has found a way to reach the boys of Achievement Prep  and  with  the  right support from leadership and parents the boys from Septima Clark can join Achievement Prep and thrive.

Mr. Jones asked Ms. Wright for more clarity on what she meant by “she has found a way to reach the boys of Achievement Prep”.

Ms. Wright answered that with all children they thrive with more consistency, focus, and structure. A lot of time is spent to educate teachers how to serve students within their demographics, including social emotional issues that are unique to the population that they serve.

Mr. Jones asked for Mr. Costan to explain how Misty Holten (a parent of Septima Clark PCS) was included as a member of the board. He replied that Ms. Holten was never a member of the board and confirms what measures were taken to resolve the issue.

Mr. Costan replied that Ms. Holten was asked to join the board SY 2011-12; she did not attend a board meeting. Mr. Costan believes it was mistaken that Ms. Holten’s name kept appearing on the roster as a board member. A letter of apology was sent to Ms. Holten and a request was submitted to PCSB to correct the annual report.

Ms. Mead moves the motion to approve with conditions the merger with Achievement Prep PCS and Septima Clark PCS. Mr. Soifer seconded the motion. The board voted 5-1.

Experienced Operators Application: Rocketship

Staff Representative: Naomi DeVeaux, Deputy Director

Ro
cketship Representative: None 

Ms. DeVeaux summarized the board memorandum and informed the board of Rocketship’s intent to open elementary charter schools in traditionally underserved communities in DC. Each school projects a total enrollment of 630 students and will open serving kindergarten through fifth grade.  The Rocketship model combines traditional classroom instruction with blended learning, which enables highly individualized instruction through online adaptive technology and tutors; a parent engagement strategy that allows for advocacy on behalf of all children and their education; and a leadership development program that creates sustainable careers for highly effective educators.

Mr. Jones asked how many people Rocketship is working with in the community to help prepare their arrival.

Ms. DeVeaux answered that Jenny Niles, E.L. Haynes PCS is already on their board, and other schools are being identified to help look for facilities.

Mr. McKoy asked if every year Rocketship will apply to add an additional campus that it would have a PMF of at least 65.

Mr. Pearson explained that Rocketship will not need to apply for additional campuses provided that they do not add more than one campus a year. If Rocketship chooses to open two campuses in a year then they would need to come before the board and make a request. But, if they choose to open a campus once a year and those campuses are a Tier 1, they would automatically be granted that campus and the enrollment ceiling up to a maximum of 8.

Mr. Jones asked why Rocketship is waiting until SY 2015 to operate.

Mr. Pearson answered that the principal reason is that Rocketship does not want to open a school until they have a school leader who they feel has sufficiently enough experience to run a school. They current have a school leader in training, the school leader will come to DC a year before the school opens to build community relationships, hire teachers, and get the school established.

Mr. Soifer asked if opening a central office in year 0 will be included in their condition to open a charter.
Mr. Pearson answered that there is a condition for Rocketship to have a home office here in D.C. Mr. McKoy moved to approve the conditions of Rocketship Charter Application. Ms. Bloomfield seconded the motion. The board voted 5-1.


D
C Flex Representative: Anita Walls, Board Chair 

Ms. DeVeaux summarized the board memorandum that asked the board to deny the DC Flex charter.

Mr. McKoy asked Ms. DeVeaux to cite what evidence that she felt DC Flex lacked in systemic qualities.

Ms. DeVeaux answered that there was a lack of support of teachers by the central office. Students who were self-motivated and asked for help from their teachers were immediately assisted but the students who were not engaged did not get any support from the teachers to stay focused on their academics.

Mr. Soifer moved to approve the motion to deny the application for DC Flex. Mr.  McKoy seconded. The board voted 5-0.

Notice of Concern: Perry Street Prep PCS

Staff Representative: Timothy Harwood, Data Analyst

P
erry Street Prep Representative: Tracey Felder; Holly Cherico; Amina A. Rahim; Shadwick Jenkins; Cordelia Postell

Mr. Hardwood summarized the board memorandum, requesting that the Board issue a Notice of Concern to Perry Street Prep Public Charter School. The school has failed to submit accurate attendance data from its school information system (PowerSchool) and report it to PCSB’s Proactive data system. Following an attendance data audit, PCSB visited the campus on February 13th and asked school staff to print the daily attendance records for six students in Power School. A comparison of the school’s attendance records and what was submitted to Proactive shows significant discrepancies for each of these students. The attendance data comparison in Table 1 shows that Perry Street Prep has reported more present days and fewer tardy days and unexcused absences in Proactive than in their school information system.

Mr. McKoy asked if Perry can track past student reports and absences.

Ms. Postell answered that the student attendance binder is kept up to date. It is updated on daily basics.

M
r. McKoy asked why there was a delay collecting data.


M
s. Postell answered that the Proactive and PowerSchool have to match the data.

 Ms. Bloomfield moved to issue the notice of concern to Perry Street Prep Public Charter School. Ms. Mead seconded the motion. The board voted 6-1, with Mr. Woodruff sending in his vote via proxy.

Ms. DeVeaux summarized the board memorandum citing that schools can elect  their  PMF  as charter goals and academic achievement expectations in their charter applications which become part of the charter agreement. These goals and student achievement expectations are to last for the life of the charter, which, unless a school relinquishes its charter or has it revoked, is 15 years.

Mr. Soifer moved to approve the motion to approve this policy. Mr. McKoy seconded. The board voted 5-1.

Open for public comment: Data Management Policy

Staff Representative: Timothy Harwood, Data Analyst; Naomi DeVeaux, Deputy Director.

Mr.  Harwood  summarized  memorandum,  requesting  that  the  board  vote  to  open  the  proposed policy for public comment.

Mr. Mckoy asked Ms. DeVeaux what problem needs fixing.

Ms. DeVeaux answered that PCSB is trying to create a process where schools are managing their data, schools have accuracy.

Mr. Soifer moved to approve to be submitted into public comment. Mr. McKoy seconded. The board voted 5-0 to approve the motion.

 Election of PCSB Officers: Chairman and Vice Chair

Mr. Jones called a vote to nominate a new Chair and Vice Chair to sit on PCSB Board. Ms. Bloomfield moved to nominate John “Skip” McKoy as chair; Mr. Soifer seconded. The board voted unanimously with Darren Woodruff sending his proxy vote.

Mr. Soifer moved to nominate Darren Woodruff as Vice Chair; Ms. Mead seconded. The board voted unanimously.

 Public Comment

Tracey Felder a parent of Perry Street Prep PCS informed the board that attendance records are a big issue at Perry Street Prep and she believes that the school is in a great cautious. The board at Perry Street make themselves unavailable and they are non-responsive to the issues at hand.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:54 pm.