D.C Public Charter School Board Meeting Minutes
3333 14th Street, NW Suite 210
Washington, DC 20010
March 18, 2013 7:30pm
Board Members in attendance: John “Skip” McKoy (Chair); Darren Woodruff (Vice Chair); EmilyBloomfield, Brian Jones, Sara Mead, Don Soifer; Scott Pearson (Ex- Officio).
Mr. McKoy called the public hearing to order at 7:38pm. PublicHearing on Proposed Board Policies: Data Management
No member of the public wished to address the board during this hearing and the public hearingwas adjourned at 7:39pm.
Board Members in attendance: John “Skip” McKoy (Chair); Darren Woodruff (Vice Chair); EmilyBloomfield, Brian Jones, Sara Mead, Don Soifer; Scott Pearson (Ex- Officio)
Mr. McKoy asked if they were any public officials that wished to be recognized. No public officials were announced.
Approval of the Agenda
Mr. Woodruff moved to approve the agenda; Ms. Bloomfield seconded the motion. The board voted 6-0 to approve the agenda.
Approval of the January 10, 2013 Board Minutes
Mr. Soifer moved to approve the minutes; Ms. Mead seconded the motion. The board voted 6-0 to approve the minutes.
Approval of the February 25, 2013 Board Minutes
Mr. Soifer moved to approve the minutes; Ms. Mead seconded the motion.
The board voted 6-0 to approve the minutes. Submission into the record of Administrative Contracts
Mr. McKoy accepted into the public record the list of charter schools’ contracts valued over $25,000.
Policy Votes: Special Education Audit Triggers
Staff Representative: Avni Patel, Equity & Fidelity Team
Ms. Patel summarized the board memorandum that requested that the board vote to accept the proposed PCSB Special Education Audit Policy. The Board had previously voted to open the proposed policy for public comment and held a public hearing on the policy. Three commentswere received.
Mr. Woodruff congratulated PCSB staff on taking the lead in developing this policy. The concerns that are often raised in the community are that charter schools are not doing everything they can to serve all students in the community, especially children with disabilities. Mr. Woodruff hopes that PCSB can aggressively get the word out on the special education triggers audit policy.
Ms. Bloomfield asked Ms. Patel to incorporate two additional items into the policy:
- Schools must demonstrate that manifestation hearings were held before expelling or suspending students for whom manifestation hearings are legally required.
- The timeliness of Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process.
Ms. Mead asked for clarification of the policy presented before the board. Ms. Mead wanted to be sure that nothing in the policy would require schools to routinely submit data to us that they do not already submit. She also wanted to clarify that this policy does not indicate any specificconsequences as a result of these triggers, only greater scrutiny.
Ms. Patel answered yes to both points of clarification.
Mr. Soifer moved to approve the policy; Mr. Woodruff seconded. The board voted 6-0 to approve the motion.
Renewal Decision: Integrated Design and Electronic Academy PCS
Staff Representative: Naomi DeVeaux, Deputy Director
IDEA PCS Representatives: David Owens, Chair of the Board of Trustees; John Goldman,Executive Director.
Ms. DeVeaux summarized the board memorandum that recommended that Integrated Design and Electronic Academy (IDEA) PCS’s charter not be renewed for another 15- year term based on the school’s failure to meet its goals and student academic achievement expectations as set forth in its charter and subsequently developed accountability plans.
PCSB staff instead recommends to the Mayor that, pursuant to the School Reform Act (“SRA”) §38-1802.12(d) (5) (B), IDEA PCS be placed on probation, subject to the terms and conditionsrecommended by PCSB.
The recommended terms of probation are:
1. The school is required to continue executing the restructuring plan as enumerated in the May 2012 report to the board.
2. The school must show progressive improvement on its Performance Management Framework (PMF) score for three years as follows:
1. SY 2012-13: IDEA must score within 1 percentage point of 40.0%
2. SY2013-14: IDEA must score within 1 percentage point of 45.0%
3. SY2014-15: IDEA PCS must score within 1 percentage point of 50.0%
If IDEA PCS does not achieve one of these targets, the probationary will end and the school will be closed at the end of the subsequent school year.
1. IDEA PCS must not commit any material violations of state and/or federal special education law during the course of the probation.
2. Throughout the probationary term, IDEA PCS must annually report on its progress in a March public hearing before the PCSB Board.
If the school meets these terms over the course of three years, the school will be eligible to apply for charter renewal in the fall of school year 2015-16, and should submit an application for renewal according to the provisions detailed in the SRA.
For the duration of IDEA PCS’ probation, the school must submit regular reports to PCSB detailing its turnaround effort, which must include results from
interim student assessments to gauge student progress towards mastery of standards and readiness for the DC-CAS.
Mr. Owens stated concerns that the PMF requirements are very high. Given IDEA PCS’s High School 2011-12 PMF score of 28.4%, he suggested that the 40% goal is a very substantial increase. No other charter high school has achieved such an increase, even among Tier 1 schools; the highest PMF increase to date is seven percentage points. Mr. Owens hopes that the targets outlined by the charter school board would be reasonable.
Mr. Owens also informed the board that the actual restructuring of the board took effect in September 2012. The conditions for restructuring were agreed to in February 2013, at which point the existing staff was still in place. At the time, Mr. Owens was chair of the restructuring team, not chair of the board. The students were being taught by the prior staff that was in a state of chaos. The job of the restructuring chair was to terminate underperforming staff; as a result two-thirds of teaching staff were terminated.
Mr. Goldman stated that he shares Ms. DeVeaux’ s confidence in IDEA PCS’s ability to meet the 40 point target. IDEA PCS’s 10th grade is testing at 54% proficient in English, a significant increase from last year’s proficiency rate in the low 40’s. Additionally, 73% of that group is reaching 60% on the English test, meaning 70% of the students are proficient. The school provides Saturday math tutoring in preparation for DC CAS, and a Spring Break Math Academy. The school’s attendance rate is over 90% and college acceptance rates are expected to be at 100%.
Mr. Woodruff asked how the parent/family community is responding to the new changes. Mr.Goldman answered that the community is very excited and the changes are being well received. The culture is very positive with a clean environment; the students are excited.
Ms. Bloomfield asked about the changes to staff retention in administration.
Mr. Goldman answered that he had recently surveyed their staff and 95% intend to return. Staff will be evaluated, and performance evaluations will be based on data and performance, including student growth. Mr. Goldman feels confident about the staff chosen to teach the students at IDEA PCS.
Ms. Bloomfield asked Mr. Goldman to speak more on the administrative staff.
Mr. Goldman answered that majority of the administrative staff has been let go. Resumes are currently been reviewed and applications have been accepted since the beginning of the year. A final review of applicants and decision making should be completed in the next six to eight weeks.
Mr. Soifer asked about the current state of student attendance.
Mr. Goldman answered that their attendance rate is at 90%.
Mr. Soifer asked for more clarification on the number of 9th graders on track to graduate during SY 2011-2012 increasing from 3% to 81%.
Mr. Goldman answered that he was not at the IDEA PCS at the time but became the executive director in August 2012. From his knowledge, the prior scheduling did not have a systematic march towards graduation. The schedule has now been revamped and 9th graders have been regrouped so students to take the classes required to be on track for graduation.
Mr. Owens says he is very confident that the goals can be achieved. Mr. Owens is concerned that the board will automatically close IDEA PCS if the goals are not met. Mr. Owens is aware that he would have to demonstrate that there has been substantial improvement to their academic performance.
Mr. Goldman spoke of his concerns that a 12-point increase is an unrealistic expectation. Mr. Pearson responded to Mr. Goldman by informing him that the PMF has only been released twice, so the history of gains is only one year. In the history of the PMF, some schools, though not high schools have seen gains larger than the 12 point target, including one with a gain of more than 20 points. It is the clear view of staff that the IDEA PCS turnaround began when the PCSB board approved the turnaround in early 2012. The IDEA PCS board had represented both at board meetings and staff meetings about the major efforts that will be undertaken immediately to improve the school’s results, including graduation rates, 9th grade on track rate, reenrollment rate, and attendance rates. There was a confidence expressed that IDEA PCS could make an immediate improvement in the PMF score; that didn’t happen. The IDEA PCS board expressed their high degree of confidence and acceptance that they would be held to the standards of the 15 year renewal process, just like any other school. Evaluating IDEA PCS like any other school would mean the school would be closed right now, rather than put on this probation. PCSB believes that IDEA PCS has had two years to improve, not one. The school missed its first year growth expectations and now has a more difficult challenge. From the 2011-12 PMF score to 40 points is approximately five points.
Mr. Owens responded to Mr. Pearson that monthly milestones were set for IDEA PCS. The milestones required an evaluation of all the teaching staff, the only responsibility was given to him to reevaluate the teaching staff and this took place between March through May timeframe. The changes that were necessary to bring the PMF scores up were changes in faculty, curriculum, board composition, school leadership; in February through June those changes were enacted. Mr.Owens said he had no authority and could not implement any of those elements with the existing staff. The actually restructuring of the school took place in the beginning of SY 2012-2013. The new staff, new board, new curriculum were in place in September 2012.
Ms. Bloomfield said in February 2012 the issues weren’t new. There had been many warnings. She understands that turnarounds are hard; the board takes a big risk but sets the terms and accepts nothing less. Ms. Bloomfield would not have agreed to this turnaround if she didn’t think IDEA PCS could get to 40 points in 2013. If Mr. Owens had said 38 points was achievable by 2013, it would have been a “No” vote. Ms. Bloomfield has confidence that IDEA PCS will achieve 40 points but it is important to stick with these goals.
Mr. Owens points out that he had no understanding that there were PMF targets set as performance measures when the turnaround was agreed to. He seeks to be able to appeal to the board if the school does not meet the 40 point target.
Mr. Pearson expressed concern that IDEA PCS might in the future challenge the probationary conditions, noting that IDEA PCS’s attorney was in the audience. He suggested that the board consider not granting IDEA PCS probation terms at all but instead denying their charter completely, based on the school’s repeated statement of intent to come back and appeal the closure if they don’t meet their targets.
Mr. Goldman responded that Attorney Steven Marcus attended the meeting at his own accord and he is a regular attendee at PCSB board meetings. Mr. Owens assured the board that IDEA PCS has no intention to litigate this matter at all or push it beyond these proceedings. Mr.Goldman is asking that the board judge their performance holistically and in context with some discretion, rather than there being an automatic decision.
Mr. Woodruff moved to accept the staff proposal to 1) not renew the charter and 2) recommend to the Mayor probationary status as proposed by staff; Ms. Mead seconded the motion. The board voted 6-0.
There was no public comment and the meeting was adjourned at 8:23 pm.