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January 25, 2010
DC Public Charter School Board
Board Meeting Minutes
Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School
11th and Harvard Streets, NW


Attendance
Board Members in attendance: Mr. Tom Nida, Mr. Brian Jones, Mr. Will Marshall, Dr. Darren Woodruff, Mr. John “Skip” McKoy, Ms. Sara Mead, Mr. Don Soifer

Meeting Called to order at 6:15 p.m.

Acknowledgement of Public Officials
Mr. Tom Nida invited elected officials to stand and be acknowledged. There were none present.

Approval of the Agenda
Dr. Darren Woodruff moved that the agenda be approved and Mr. Brian Jones seconded the motion. The agenda was accepted by all Board members.

Approval of December 21, 2009 Meeting Minutes
Mr. Tom Nida presented the December 21, 2009 meeting minutes for approval. Dr. Darren Woodruff moved that the minutes be approved and Ms. Sara Mead seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by all Board members.

Contracts Reviewed
Mr. Tom Nida reported on contracts reviewed over $25,000.00 which were approved by the Finance Committee. Mr. Brian Jones made the motion to accept the report. The motion was seconded by Mr. Will Marshall. The report was accepted by all Board members.

School Oversight Committee
Requests to Approve Technology Plans
PCSB staff member Mr. Lamont Brittain presented information about the technology plans of Next Step Public Charter School and Washington Latin Public Charter School. According to Mr. Lamont Brittain, both technology plans met criteria for approval.

Mr. Don Soifer moved that the technology plans of Next Step Public Charter School and Washington Latin Public Charter School be approved. Mr. Brian Jones seconded the motion and the motion was passed by all Board members. There was no further discussion.

Proposal to Lift Notice of Deficiency – Notice of Deficiency

The agenda item regarding the Academy for Learning Through the Arts (ALTA) Public Charter School was deferred until next month’s meeting.

Proposal to Lift Notices of Deficiency – Compliance
Children’s Studio, Howard University Science and Math Middle, and Ideal Academy – North Capitol Street Campus Public Charter Schools
School Representation Present: None Present

PCSB staff member Ms. Monique Miller stated that the PCSB launched its new accountability system, the Performance Management Framework (PMF) on September 1, 2009 with the implementation of a content management platform called the Authorizers’ Oversight Information System (AOIS). The purpose of the AOIS application is to make the process of sending, receiving, filing, tracking, and reviewing electronic versions of reporting requirements more efficient for the PCSB and charter school operators.

As a part of the non-academic component of the PMF, schools are now required to upload fourteen (14) documents that address thirty (30) compliance indicators in AOIS by September 1st of each year to ensure compliance with major state and federal regulations. An “Initial Screen” of these documents was conducted and 43 schools/campuses failed this stage of the compliance review. These schools were issued a Notice of Concern during the September board meeting and advanced to the “Triage” stage of the review process. In addition, schools that scored 69% or below during the Initial Screen were issued a Notice of Deficiency and were scheduled to receive a Deep Dive Compliance Review.

Schools were required to address outstanding compliance issues by October 13th. Those schools that failed to address outstanding issues excluding the submission of a Basic Business License and a detailed inventory list were issued a Notice of Deficiency.

Ms. Monique Miller stated that Children’s Studio Public Charter School, Howard University Public Charter Middle School for Math and Science, and Ideal Academy Public Charter School – North Capitol Street Campus addressed the outstanding compliance issues. Based on the guidelines in the framework, these schools are candidates to have their Notice of Deficiency lifted.

Mr. Skip McKoy moved that the schools have their Notice of Deficiency lifted.
Mr. Will Marshall seconded the motion and the motion was passed by all Board members.

Proposal to Issue Notice of Deficiency – Compliance
National Collegiate PCHS
School Representation Present: None Present

PCSB staff member Ms. Monique Miller stated that the PCSB launched its new accountability system, the Performance Management Framework (PMF) on September 1, 2009 with the implementation of a content management platform called the Authorizer’s Oversight Information System (AOIS).

National Collegiate Public Charter High School opened as a new charter school LEA in September 14, 2009 and was granted additional time to submit evidence to address compliance indicators because of its new school status and its unfamiliarity with the PCSB’s processes. However, the school has failed to submit the required documents during the Initial Screen and Triage stage of the PMF Compliance Review in the additional time given. The school has continued to submit documents, but there are still outstanding items which include inventory, certification of staff member to give medication, school emergency response plan.

National Collegiate Public Charter School failed to address outstanding issues during the Initial Screen and Triage stage of the compliance review process and is a candidate for a Notice of Deficiency.

Mr. Will Marshall asked Ms. Monique Miller what the deep dive process entails.
Ms. Monique Miller stated that the initial screen process allows schools to submit documentation via AOIS and that the deep dive review entails is an extensive review done on sight at the school. Other matters that can only be looked at on sight will also be done at this time. It is much more intensive than other types of reviews. Review could take 1 hour up to 4 hours. If a school is not prepared, these types of reviews tend to take longer.

Mr. Will Marshal expressed disappointment that no one was present from National Collegiate Public Charter High School to explain why they weren’t able to meet their deadlines. Mr. Will Marshal also stated that the school is facing a whole other level of hassle that could have been avoided.

Ms. Sara Mead moved that National Collegiate Public Charter High School be given a Notice of Deficiency. Mr. Brian Jones seconded the motion and the motion was passed by all Board members.

Proposal to Lift Notice of Conditional Continuance of Charter
Maya Angelou PCS
School Representation Present: Ms. Lucretia Murphy: Executive Director, Mr. David Dimmench: Co-Founder

PCSB staff members Ms. Charlotte Cureton and Ms. Jacqueline Scott-English presented. information about Maya Angelou Public Charter School. Maya Angelou Public Charter School (Maya) is in its twelfth (12th) year of operation. The Shaw campus has been open for twelve (12) years and the Evans campus has been open for six (6) years.

The school was issued a Notice of Conditional Continuance on January 26, 2009, which was based on the Fifth Year Charter Review for 2003/2004 through 2007/2008. According to the Fifth Year Review Framework, Maya met the non-academic and organizational performance standards for the fifth year charter review, but failed to meet the academic standards outlined in the framework. Conditions related to the school’s academic issues were cited in the Notice of Conditional Continuance.

Maya submitted relevant documentation on November 5, 2009 in response to the cited conditions. As such, Maya was to satisfy certain conditions in order to have the Notice lifted.

PCSB staff reviewed the materials related to the identified issues and have found the documentation provided satisfactorily addresses conditions for continuance. In addition PCSB staff visited the Maya Evans Campus and found that the school is actively addressing the concerns stated in the Notice of Conditional Continuance issued in January, 2009. The Program Development Review (December 8-10, 2009) at Maya Shaw Campus revealed growth in Curriculum/Standards, Instruction, Assessment, School Climate and Governance and Management.

As Maya Angelou Public Charter School has satisfied all conditions set forth in the Notice of Conditional Continuance, the Notice of Continuance should be lifted and full continuance should be granted to the Maya Angelou Public Charter School.

Maya Angelou Public Charter School met non-academic standards but did not meet all academic standards. The PCSB staff reviewed the materials and school actively addressed concerns outlined in their Program Development Review. School should be granted full continuance. The schools supported the recommendation.

Discussion between the school representatives and the PCSB then took place. Ms. Jacqueline Scott-English stated that the purpose of conditional continuance is to take time to improve internal structures. Maya Angelou Public Charter School has hired a new principal and made internal changes for the betterment of the school.

Mr. Tom Nida asked school staff members to speak on what they did to improve. Mr. David Dimmench explained that when school came before the board a year ago, they were disappointed with the outcome, but resolved to do better. The board of the school works closely with the school’s Executive Director. The board continues to look very closely at the school’s data.

Ms. Lucretia Murphy stated that the school looked strategically at what they could do to improve:

  • They made sure that they were aligning assessment results with interventions for students below grade level, 
  • Took measures to address students that are accelerated learners, 
  • Developed protocol for professional development and as a result, started to see results in teacher capacity and student engagement.

Ms. Sara Mead asked what the school found useful and what actions/communications from the PCSB helped you to improve.


Ms. Lucretia Murphy stated that they received good communication from PCSB staff and detailed information on what school could expect to receive at each step. Expectations from PCSB staff were clearly stated to the school.

Mr. Don Soifer moved that Maya Angelou Public Charter School be granted full continuance of its charter. Mr. Skip McKoy seconded and the motion was passed by all Board members.

2010 Charter Review Analysis
The Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School
School Staff Present: Mr. Jonathan Hill – Chair, Mr. Errick Greene – Head of School

PCSB staff member Ms. Carolyn Trice stated that the Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School has been in existence for eleven years and has completed a 2nd cycle of charter review. Arts and Technology Public Charter School met the academic, non-academic and organizational performance standards for governance, compliance, and fiscal management. Based on the Charter Review framework, Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School is not a candidate for charter revocation.

Discussion between the school representatives and the PCSB then took place. Mr. Tom Nida asked the school representatives how this 5th year review process differs from the last one the school went through? Mr. Tom Nida also asked what the board has done in the interim. Mr. Jonathan Hill stated that the school has had challenges with academic performance and safety problems in their neighborhood (there have been recent shootings in the community where the school resides). According to Mr. Jonathan Hill, Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School has been hyper-focused on the issue of improving the school’s academics and working on the issue of making AYP.

Mr. Errick Green stated that the school’s board has been very hands-on in their articulation of expectations of the school. In the schools 2nd 5-year cycle, the school has been very reflective in whom they are and how they can best meet needs of their students and continue to improve. According to Mr. Errick Green, they see areas of success and see areas where the school still needs some growth. Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School has been doing internal reviews and taking corrective measures such as such as mid-year course additions. The school has also invested time and energy into teacher professional development to strengthen programs for all students that have needs.

Dr. Darren Woodruff asked Mr. Errick Greene if the school is having success in finding skilled teachers, or does the school have to invest a lot in professional development?

Mr. Errick Greene responded that there is teacher turnover every year because teaching at the school is such a demanding job. School has had a sharp focus on building skills of teachers necessary to be successful. The school continues to make efforts to build the skills of staff that remain and develop staff that is coming on board.

Mr. Skip McKoy asked Mr. Errick Green if the school has had a chance to look at why they didn’t make AYP last year.

Mr. Errick Greene stated that yes, they have looked carefully at why they didn’t make AYP last year. The school tested 30-35 more students than the previous year and didn’t look very carefully at the larger number of students tested in advance. There were at least two classrooms where the performance of the students in those classes pulled the scores of the whole school down. Moving forward, more measures will be put in place to prepare all students and put a deep intervention program in place. Many students come to the school with very high needs and they were not addressed previously.

Mr. Don Soifer asked what can be expected as far as improvement of academic performance if granted continuance.

Mr. Errick Greene stated that it is always the aim/effort every year for the school to meet all academic expectations including AYP. The school is focused on continued growth and not only meeting but exceeding expectations. The school is definitely focused on making AYP.

According to Mr. Errick Greene, evaluations are made for teachers to see needs and growth measures. Consultants are also utilized to help teachers. Arts and Technology teachers and staff also have peer visits to high performing schools to see specific actions like co-teaching and differentiated learning.

Mr. Brian Jones stated that he had the pleasure to visit the school recently and recognizes the challenges of the school’s physical environment. He was impressed to see that the school has good relationship with the local police district and commends the school for their improvement efforts.

Dr. Darren Woodruff moved that Arts and Technology Public Charter School receive full charter continuance. Mr. Skip McKoy seconded the motion and the motion was passed by all Board members.

2010 Charter Review Analysis
D. C. Bilingual Public Charter School
School Representation Present: Ms. Jillian Brown: Treasurer, Ms. Gretchen Ellsworth: Chair, Ms. Wanda Perez: Principal, Parent Representative

Dr. Sean Colman presented information about this school. DC Bilingual Public Charter School is in its 6th year of operation. The school met 2 of 3 academic performance standards and 4 of 4 non-academic performance standards. DC Bilingual demonstrated functioning or exemplary performance in 7 of 7 governance categories, there are no areas of concerns regarding compliance, and there is a solid fiscal management process in place. While the school did not make AYP, it did gain 30 points in math and gained 13 points in reading. Dr. Sean Colman presented a side-by-side comparison of their current scores with past scores to the PCSB members. Charter continuance is proposed for the school.

Discussion between the school representatives and the PCSB then took place. Ms. Gretchen Ellsworth explained that bilingual programs have a long learning trajectory for when schools see marked improvements to student performance. The academic performance targets for D.C. Bilingual are now catching up to governance targets. The school has tried to increase prevention measures for students that have exhibited the need for more help.

Ms. Wanda Perez stated that the school is extremely encouraged by their recent improvements but are by no means satisfied. The school leadership wants to ensure that all students are academically successful and will not be satisfied until every student is academically proficient. They are continuing to work with parents because they recognize that parent engagement is very important. Ms. Wanda Perez also stated that she appreciates the continued support of the PCSB staff.

Ms. Sara Mead asked what the school will do to sustain and increase academic progress. Ms. Wanda Perez explained that they planned to sustain and increase academic success through multiple vehicles such as working very closely with teachers in a professional learning community structure and examining test data to guide instructional strategy.

The school also plans to:

  • Create an intervention team to ensure that the school is meeting the needs of every type of learner. 
  • Put a code of conduct in place for students to understand what it takes to be successful and what it means to be a leader. Students are expected to take the mission of school very seriously.
  • Look at the school curriculum and what classes are being taught in Spanish. For example, science classes are actually taught in Spanish.


Mr. Brian Jones asked about was how the school’s experience working with the PCSB during the time that the school was placed in charter warning?

Ms. Wanda Perez stated that it was good to have the same reviewers as last year because they were able to do a comparison from the previous year. Ms. Wanda Perez found it helpful that all of the reviewers were extremely knowledgeable about the school.

Dr. Darren Woodruff moved that D.C. Bilingual Public Charter School receive full charter continuance. Mr. Skip McKoy seconded the motion and the motion was passed by all Board members.

2010 Charter Review Analysis
E. L. Haynes Public Charter School
School Representation Present: Mr. Guy Cecil: Board Chair, Ms. Jenny Niles: Head of School/Founder, Mr. Eric Westendorf: Principal, Ms. Michelle Molitor: Principal

PCSB staff members Ms. Taishya Adams and Ms. Jacqueline Scott-English presented information about E.L. Haynes Public Charter School. E.L. Haynes Public Charter School is in its 6th year of operation. The school did not meet all of the academic standards of review and as a result, is a candidate for revocation.

Discussion between the school representatives and the PCSB then took place. Ms. Jenny Niles stated that she thinks the school should be granted full continuance. In the school’s 6th year, the school has seen a lot of growth in the DC CAS test. She pointed out that E.L. Haynes Public Charter School is one of the highest performing schools on the DC CAS in Washington, D.C. Many subsets of students at the school have seen marked gains on the DC CAS. Ms. Jenny Niles also presented data on the school that showed that E.L. Haynes Public Charter School has had a high change in reading scores. Last year was the first time that the school did not make AYP. A subset of students; students with IEP’s in reading were the subset that didn’t make AYP. Ms. Jenny Niles recognized that students were not prepped for the ‘Read-aloud accommodation.’

Mr. Eric Westendorf stated that the school adopted the Terra Nova exam before the DC CAS went into affect to track student progress. The school felt that there was a strong correlation between results of both tests. Last year was the first year that results from both tests didn’t track. Some hypotheses for this occurrence were student test fatigue, confusion over a new format, and students’ possibly missing a section of the test. The school invited a representative from the company that makes the test to come and examine the school. The original tests were destroyed as they typically are after 60 days, but the company thinks that there was some type of technical error that is responsible. Going forward, the school plans to make sure that anything that would distract students is removed from the testing environment when students are tested in the future.

Ms. Michelle Molitor stated that giving diagnostic tests is a useful tool but, that teachers are also still looking carefully at individual students.

Ms. Jenny Niles: stated that the school doesn’t want to make excuses for their performance, but wants the PCSB to see that missing the targets are an indication of flaws of the program. Ms. Jenny Niles believes that E.L. Haynes Public Charter School warrants full approval.

Ms. Sara Mead asked Ms. Jenny Niles how the missed growth plan target is informing future decisions.

Ms. Jenny Niles stated that the school didn’t estimate how new students coming in are already behind would affect the school’s program.

Ms. Sara Mead asked what the difference in perception was of receiving conditional approval versus full approval. Ms. Jenny Niles stated that the school has seen such great gains, and that as a result, would like to keep moving forward. The school believes that receiving conditional approval would require extra work that isn’t necessary.

Mr. Will Marshall stated that he was very surprised to see this school to have been proposed for revocation asked school representatives if they will continue to have subsets not making AYP.

Ms. Jenny Niles stated that the school will use Terra Nova test going forward to ensure that data is tracking as expected and that the school is not willing to keep students in special education just to make AYP.

Dr. Darren Woodruff asked Ms. Jenny Niles if it’s true that the school doubled their early childhood grades.

Ms. Jenny Niles explained that the school grew a lot in early childhood grade levels and thinks that the school is on the right track to eventually meet targets. Levels of achievement seem to improve the longer students are at the school.

Eric Westendorf: We need to quickly see where students are academically to help fill in the gaps from the first day. School doing things such as implementing diagnostic testing when new students start. Working with a non-profit called the Achievement Network to give students practice assessments so they are accustomed to taking exams. Results are analyzed so teachers can implement intervention preventions.

Ms. Jenny Niles stated that “I want us to be held accountable to the highest standards possible. The science of accountability of performance and schools has been changes over the past 15 years. We are really working hard and being attentive, system is not perfect but is getting better. The PMF should really help schools in the future.”

Mr. Tom Nida stated that he did not think under any circumstances that the school is a candidate for revocation, but don’t want to ignore what has been done in the past. It has to be considered that a target was set with no previous benchmarks in place. Mr. Tom Nida went on to say that the PCSB should focus on schools that really need the label of conditional approval.

Ms. Jacqueline Scott-English stated that PCSB staff doesn’t see that the school is a candidate for conditional continuance; there aren’t any large flaws in the program.

Mr. Will Marshall moved that E.L. Haynes Public Charter School receive full charter continuance. Mr. Brian Jones seconded the motion and the motion was passed by all Board members.

Ms. Jacqueline Scott-English then suggests that the board goes back to the school for a Program Development Review to see their progress.

2010 Charter Review Analysis
Hospitality Public Charter High School
School Representation Present: Mr. Mike Durso: Board Chair, Ms. Debra Knight: Principal, Ms. Tiffany Godbout: Executive Director

PCSB staff member Charlotte Cureton presented information about the school. Hospitality Public Charter School which focuses on the hospitality industry is in its 11th year of operation. The school met one of three academic performance standards and four of four non-academic performance standards. Overall, the school has performed well in the fields of governance, compliance and fiscal management. New leadership has had a positive impact on the school and evidence has already been noted. Based on the Charter Review Framework analyses of Hospitality‘s accountability plan and organizational performance, the school is a candidate for charter revocation.

Discussion between the school representatives and the PCSB then took place. Ms. Debra Knight stated that she believes that the school has put several interventions in place. Ms. Debra Knight goes on to say that the school is committed to work to ensure that all students are achieving academically. Hospitality has extended school day for 9th and 10th grade students. All 9th and 10th grade students are also being tested in the beginning of the school year which was not done in the past. With test data received, students that need extra help are being assigned to the extended day program.

According to Ms. Debra Knight, Hospitality Public Charter School now looks at other instructional models to see what has worked for other schools. This helps the school get a clear picture of where students are is very important to help them improve. Hospitality has also hired full-time Title I Reading and Math specialists. The school is being deliberate in establishing a culture of data and now has an assessment plan and a data team. An interim assessment (the DC BAS) is given to students and teachers now have weekly meetings with teachers about the data. All faculty and staff serve on the academic support team.

Mr. Mike Durso said that public schools do not always do a good job of tracking graduates and that Hospitality has recently hired a person to keep track of this. Mr. Mike Durso recognizes that continuity of staff is extremely important and that the school has settled into a better rhythm with school’s staff members.

According to Ms. Tiffany Godbout, Hospitality is now working on a five pronged strategic plan to hire teachers which includes:

  • Training teachers more in integrating hospitality themes into the entire curriculum to meld the two worlds better. 
  • Working to improve technology to better prepare students after graduation. 
  • Trying to focus on preparing students to succeed when they go to college. The school also plans to have partnerships with 10 colleges and universities. 
  • Working on a growth model. The school is working to test students when they first start school.


Discussion between the school representatives and the PCSB then took place.
Mr. Don Soifer asked what the school is doing to improve to improve academic performance.

Ms. Debra Knight stated that the school is ensuring that the extended day program is aligned with the normal school day standards. This program is meant to allow students’ additional time with the extra support. Ms. Debra Knight said it has been a challenge to bring parents on board with the extended day program, but that the school is continuing to have dialogue with both students and their parents about the need for the program.

Ms. Tiffany Godbout said they are working to be as responsive as possible to what the data is telling them and also being responsive to recommendations from the PCSB.

Mr. Mike Durso stated that Hospitality Public Charter School is applying for accreditation through the Middle States Association and school visits from the Middle States Association are scheduled for May 2010.

Mr. Will Marshall moved that Hospitality Public Charter School receive conditional charter continuance. Mr. Brian Jones seconded the motion and the motion was passed by all Board members. The conditions will be created by PCSB staff members. Mr. Tom Nida stated that school accreditation should be one of the conditions that the school has to meet.

Ms. Charlotte Cureton reiterated that Hospitality Public Charter School has raised the bar considerably, but one of the areas that the school needs to concentrate on improving is revising their curriculum.

2010 Charter Review Analysis
Meridian Public Charter School
School Representatives Present: Staff: Mr. Calvin Hooks Director of Academic Compliance, Mr. Ronald Ridker: Board Chair, Ms. Robinette Breedlove: Principal, Mr. Vincent Blount: Assistant Principal

PCSB staff member, Ms. Carolyn Trice presented information on the school. Meridian Public Charter School opened in 1999. The school met academic standards. The school is in year one of restructuring and made AYP though safe harbor. Met average and above average functioning for governance. Meridian is not a candidate for charter revocation.

Discussion between the school representatives and the PCSB then took place. Mr. Ronald Ridker stated that the school is still looking for a facility which has been a challenge.

Ms. Sara Mead asked what the school has done as a result of being in restructuring.
Mr. Calvin Hooks stated that the school now requires that each staff member receive extra hours of professional development. Ms. Robinette Breedlove also stated that parent involvement has been very important and the school is working to make sure parents are engaged. Parent engagement has always been a part of the school’s mission, but has recently become a focus.

Mr. Tom Nida moved that Meridian Public Charter School receive full charter continuance. Mr. Brian Jones seconded the motion and the motion was passed by all Board members.

2010 Charter Review Analysis
Two Rivers Public Charter School
School Representatives Present: Ms. Becky Skinner: President of the Board, Ms. Jessica Wodatch: Founder and Principal

PCSB staff member Ms. Taishya Adams presented information about Two Rivers Public Charter School. Two Rivers Public Charter School opened in September 2004 and is in its sixth year of operation. The school currently serves 367 students in preschool through 7th grade. Two Rivers uses Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, an educational model that emphasizes interactive, hands-on, project-based learning. Based on the Charter Review Framework analyses of Two Rivers PCS’ accountability plan and organizational performance, the school met the PCSB’s academic, non-academic and organizational performance standards. Therefore, the school is a candidate for charter continuance.

A brief discussion between the school representatives and the PCSB then took place. Ms. Jessica Wodatch then stated that she was thrilled that the school continues to make progress, but there is still a lot of work to do. The school is now working on getting accreditation.

Mr. Brian Jones moved that Two Rivers Public Charter School receive full charter continuance. Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded the motion and the motion was passed by all Board members.

Public Comment
There was no public comment.

Adjournment
Mr. Tom Nida adjourned the meeting at 8:52 pm.