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February 22, 2010
DC Public Charter School Board
Board Meeting Minutes

Attendance
Board members in attendance: Mr. Tom Nida, Chair; Mr. Brian Jones, Vice-Chair; Mr. Will Marshall, Ms. Sara Mead, Mr. Don Soifer, Mr. John “Skip” McKoy, and Ms. Josephine Baker, Ex-officio, and Secretary.
Board member excused:   Dr. Darren Woodruff
 
Mr. Tom Nida called the meeting to order at 6:15 pm.
 
Acknowledgement of Public Officials
Mr. Tom Nida invited elected officials to stand and be acknowledged.  There were none present.
 
Approval of the Agenda
Mr. Tom Nida noted the proposed agenda for the February 22, 2010 meeting.  The agenda was accepted by all Board members present.
 
Approval of January Minutes
Mr. Tom Nida presented the January 25, 2010 meeting minutes for approval.  The minutes were approved by all Board members present.
 
Contracts Reviewed
Mr. Tom Nida reported on contracts reviewed over 25,000.00 which were approved by the Finance Committee.  Ms. Sara Mead made the motion to accept the report and Mr. Don Soifer seconded the motion.  The report was accepted by all Board members present.
 
Strategic Plan Approval
PCSB staff member Ms. Tamara Lumpkin gave an overview of the 2009-2012 Strategic Plan and how it relates to customer and stakeholder engagement, internal processes, and strategic priorities.  Ms. Lumpkin commented on key areas recommended by the Board and staff in the assessment of the plan.  She summarized the strategic planning goals, outcomes, and annual activities scheduled within the three-year phase. 
 
Mr. John “Skip” McKoy moved that the Strategic Plan be approved and Ms. Sara Mead seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously by all Board members present. 

Mr. Will Marshall asked that we make the strategic plan available on the website.  The strategic plan will serve as a model representing how the Board plans to proceed in the next few years.  The suggestion was made that the schools could pattern their plans charter schools should refer to their strategic plan within their minutes.
 
Request to Operate in a New Location
Imagine Southeast Public Charter School (PCS)
School Representation Present: Mr. Michael DePass
PCSB staff member Ms. Carolyn Trice reported that Imagine Southeast PCS  which serves pre-K currently leases space from the Congress Heights United Methodist Church located at  421 Alabama Ave, S.E., and is requesting full approval of its petition to operate in a new location, at 600 Alabama Ave., S.E. as the school has submitted all relevant documents to the PCSB.  The school will initially operate out of both sites until the expected renovation completion date of December 2010.
 
The new location will provide additional space and a playground with a more suitable learning environment than the current facility.  Mr. Michael DePass of Imagine Southeast noted that the lease has been approved.  Mr. John “Skip” McKoy moved to approve the request to operate in a new location and Mr. Will Marshall seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously by all Board members present.  Once fully approved to relocate, the PCSB staff will conduct a pre-opening visit to document the site’s readiness to operate.
 
Request to Lift Notice of Conditional Continuance
Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy
School Representation Present:  Tracy Wright, Kimberly Bryant, Jeff Cooper and Irasema Salcido
PCSB staff member Jackie Boddie reported that based on Cesar Chavez’s charter review analysis, the school was issued a Notice of Conditional Continuance on January 26, 2009 because the school did not meet the academic performance standards.  Dr. Boddie stated that the school had to address all issues in order for the Notice of Conditional Continuance to be lifted within a one year time frame.  She noted that the PCSB staff reviewed the materials related to the identified issues and found that twenty-one of the twenty-six conditions have been satisfactorily addressed, while five conditions require further attention.  The Schools Committee acknowledged Cesar Chavez for its outstanding progress for AYP for all campuses.  The Schools Committee is requesting that the Notice of Conditional Continuance be lifted and Cesar Chavez be granted Full Continuance.
 
There was discussion about the remaining conditions and the need for the school to address different learning styles, demographic data, and the faculty to mirror student population. 

Ms. Salcido thanked the Board for its guidance and stated the school will take very seriously improvement of student achievement. A representative from the PTA voiced various parent concerns and frustrations about the Parkside campus’ needs to still address issues such as the adequate learning materials/books, lunch program, security, graduation credits and teacher retention.  Mr. Will Marshall asked the PTA representative if they had a chance to present their case to the school’s Board of Trustees.  The representative responded that multiple requests were made to bring the issues to the Board with no success.  Mr. Tom Nida asked that Cesar Chavez’s leadership and Board have a response to the issues brought up by the PTA representatives to the PCSB Board by March 15, 2010.
 
Ms. Sara Mead questioned the certainty that the school has reached satisfactory leadership in the school.  Mr. Jeff Cooper stated that the school has principals in place and two in the high school on an interim basis.  Mr. Tom Nida entertained a motion to action on the request. 

Mr. Don Soifer moved to lift the Notice of Continuance and Brian seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously by all Board members present
 
2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School
School Representation Present:  Mr. Jack McCarthy, Board Chair, and Mr. Russ Williams
PCSB staff member Ms. Taishya Adams reported that Apple Tree Early Learning is in its fifth year of operation and has met academic, non-academic, and organizational performance standards.  The school has attained a majority of fourth year annual academic performance targets and comes within eighty percent of their targets.  The school did not demonstrate improvement on the majority of academic targets over the two most recent years.  The school has no targets for the 3 year old program and provided no data to the PCSB regarding their academic performance.  Based on the D. C. Public Charter School Board’s (DCPCSB) Charter Review framework, Apple Tree Early Learning is not a candidate for Charter Warning. 
 
Ms. Sara Mead recused herself from the vote.  There was discussion about the school having one hundred and eighty students on three campuses and the opportunity to consolidate more sites.  Mr. Tom Nida reminded the school that the reviews will get more rigorous the next school year.  The school thanked Ms. Taishya Adams for her continued support and feedback from the board.

2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
Capital City Public Charter School (PCS)
School Representation Present:  Ms. Lauren Canig, Data and Reporting and Ms. Janine Gomez, Lower School Principal
Ms. Monique Miller reported that after nine years of operation, Capital City Public Charter School met the academic, non-academic, and organizational performance standards and is not a candidate for Charter Warning.  Ms. Lauren Canig stated that the math benchmarks were met but not the gains and commented that Pre-K through the eighth grade is doing well.
 
2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
Howard University Public Charter Middle School of Math and Science
School Representation Present:  Ms. Marie Johns, Board Chair, Ms. Sue White, CEO and Mr. John Godeaux
PCSB staff member Robert Mayo reported that Howard University Middle School of Math and Science Public Charter School serves students in grades six through eight.  The school has been in existence for five years and has a focus on preparing students for careers in math and science.  Howard University Middle School of Math and Science met the academic, non-academic, and organizational performance standards for governance, compliance, and fiscal management.  Based on the DCPCSB’s Preliminary Charter Review Framework, Howard University Middle School of Math and Science is not a candidate for Charter Warning.  The school’s Board Chair, Ms. Marie Johns thanked the Board and PCSB staff members Ms. Susan Miller and Mr. Robert Mayo for their support over the years.  She stated that the school is eager to reach the next milestone.
 
2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
Tree of Life Community Public Charter School
School Representation Present: 
PCSB staff member Ms. Taishya Adams reported that Tree of Life Community Public Charter School is in its ninth year of operation.  Tree of Life Community PCS met the academic, non-academic, organizational-compliance, organizational- governance and fiscal management performance standards and targets.  Based on the DCPCSB’s Preliminary Charter Review Framework, Tree of Life Community Public Charter School is not a candidate for charter warning. 
 
2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
YouthBuild Public Charter School
School Representation Present:  Ms. Christie Cunningham, Board Chair, Ms. Andrea Henson, Principal, and Mr. Arthur Davis, Executive Director
PCSB staff member Ms. Charlotte Cureton reported that LAYC YouthBuild Public Charter School is an alternative school in its 5th year of operation and met the academic and non-academic performance standards and targets.  Based on the DCPCSB’s Charter Review Framework analyses of accountability plan and organizational performance, the school met the academic, non-academic and organizational (governance, compliance and financial) performance standards and is not a candidate for charter warning.
 
The schools’ Board of Trustees acknowledged that the school functions under the Latin American Youth Center and extended thanks to Ms. Charlotte Cureton for her support and understanding of the school’s mission.  Mr. Will Marshall asked the reason for not having a problem with truancy.  Mr. Arthur Davis stated that the school engages the youth with programs and rewards the students.  He noted that the school leadership and staff has built a tremendous culture for the school; the students feel safe and want to come to school.
 
2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
ALTA Public Charter School
School Representation Present: Ms. Donna Potts, Board Chair, Ms. Pam Peabody, Development Officer, Ms. Carla Toliver, Head of School, and Ms. Audrey Phillips
PCSB staff member Sean Coleman reported that ALTA Public Charter School has been in existence for five years and did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP); academic and governance performance standards were also not met.  He noted that the school was issued a Notice of Deficiency and responded favorably to meet demands although the latest Performance Development Review (PDR) showed that school was still limited in performance.  The PDR also found limited or inadequate finances.  Based on the DCPCSB’s Preliminary Charter Review Framework, ALTA Public Charter School met the non-academic, compliance, and fiscal performance standards.  The school did not meet the academic and governance standard.  Therefore, the school is a candidate for charter warning.
 
Ms. Carla Toliver stated that the as the school continues to grow, the school has separated the third and fourth grade classes and put tutoring in place.  Ms. Donna Potts commented that the review does not reflect the progress that the school has made; the school did not have a baseline to measure performance as the reason for such a limited showing.  She reported that the Board is very involved and working on the limited finances and that the school has recruited people with strong arts background.  Mr. John “Skip” McKoy asked about the math problem?  Ms. Potts responded that the students were not being taught skills in isolation without separation of grades.  Mr. Will Marshall questioned the plan for reducing the large deficit, high staff and building costs.  Ms. Audrey Phillips replied that the loans will be paid off soon and that cuts have been made at the administrative level.
 
Mr. Tom Nida mentioned the potential next step of charter revocation for schools being in the charter warning status that does not raise the performance standards to an acceptable level above failing.  Mr. Don Soifer raised concerns about DCCAS, specifically when the school falls into a declining pattern for three years with low growth indicators.  He asked what steps will be taken to turn around academically.  Ms. Donna Potts stated that the school will address the need and support of students that may require special education services. Mr. Brian Jones also asked how has the board changed its support and what is the plan to address the urgent situation. 

Ms. Donna Potts reported that the school now has a complete structured Board that has allowed
the school to establish committees which improve communication and parent participation.  She stated that the school currently has a technology specialist reviewing the IT system with a focus around the academics.  Mr. Tom Nida entertained a motion to vote.  Mr. Don Soifer moved that the school be placed on charter warning and Mr. Brian Jones seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously carried by all Board members present.  Mr. Tom Nida stressed the importance of the school working on the issues to turnaround the standards that shows a different report.
 
2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
Early Childhood Academy Public Charter School
School Representation Present: Mr. Dennis Saunders, Board Chair, Ms. Wendy Edwards, Principal, and Ms. Pam Falk
PCSB staff member Ms. Taishya Adams reported that Early Childhood Academy PCS did not show improvement on the majority of academic targets over the two most recent years.  Though the school met a majority of their fourth year annual academic performance targets, only 3 out of 7 academic targets demonstrate continuous improvement over the two most recent years.  The school did not come within 80 percent of the targets missed.

Ms. Adams stated that the school did have exemplary ratings in Governance.  The most recent program development review commended the school for its school climate and instructional strategies related to students with ELL and IEP and procedures for the accurate and timely identification and evaluation of students who have special needs as well as in the area of governance, and management.  The school received an adequate rating for the majority of the indicators related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  Based on an analysis of Early Childhood Academy’s fourth year accountability plan performance, the school met the non-academic, governance, compliance, and financial performance standards for the Charter Review.  The school, however, did not meet the academic performance standards and is a candidate for charter warning. 
 
Ms. Wendy Edwards noted that the school used the Diebels tool for the second and third grade assessments, and has convened a school planning team.  Ms. Edwards stated that the school wants to pursue professional development and has received training to review data and use it effectively.  She indicated that the school is effectively integrating vocabulary into their instruction and that Ms. Frances Besler will help teachers change the focus from pre-school to full teacher-directed focus.  Ms. Edwards mentioned that the Board  Chair is fully engaged in ensuring staff is fully equipped to be able to teach while making sure that the budget can accommodate professional development. 
 
Mr. Tom Nida asked about the tracking of the trajectory of the school and Ms. Taishya Adams said that it is in the upward slope.  Mr. John “Skip” McKoy asked whether the school has competent and adequate staff.  Mr. McKoy received a positive response.  Mr. McKoy noted that the Deibles does stand out and that looking at academics they seem to be moving in the right direction.  Following a discussion about the schools ratings, the DCPCSB made no motion.
 
2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
Hope Community Public Charter School
School Representation Present:   Mr. Kevin Welch, Ms. Chole Marshall and Mr. Jimmy Kemp
PCSB staff member Ms. Carolyn Trice reported that Hope Community Public Charter School based on the DCPCSB’s fourth year Charter Review Framework analysis, the school met the academic, non-academic, and organizational (governance, compliance, and financial) performance standards.  Mr. Jimmy Kemp expressed his appreciation for the review process and complimented the new leadership.  Mr. Will Marshall asked if the school will meet the Adequate Yearly Progress.  Ms. Chloe Marshall stated that the school increased by seven points in math last year and is making gains as the school moves forward.  Ms. Sara Mead questioned the plans on improving the schools finance scores.  Mr. Kevin Welch noted that the school has taken a number of steps including changed staffing, to include someone with a background in CPA audit experience.  He indicated that the school also has improved processes and internal controls. 

Mr. Welch mentioned that management has a strong operating agreement with Imagine Schools which is looking to help them with debt relief.  Mr. Nida Tom pointed out that as Board members, the school must recognize the attachment between the school and the management company that will be a bigger issue to address next year.  Following a discussion about the schools ratings, the DCPCSB made no motion.
 
2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
Bridges Public Charter School
School Representation Present:  Ms. Amy Dunn, Ms. Alexa Kuuskraa, and Ms. Olivia Smith, Director
PCSB staff member Ms. Carolyn Trice reported that Bridges Public Charter School has attained the majority of its fourth year academic targets, meeting the third year targets proved to be a challenge as student performance declined in two of three non-baseline targets.  Based on an analysis of the fourth year accountability plan performance, Bridges PCS met the non-academic, and organizational (governance, compliance, and financial) performance standards based on the PCSB’s Charter Review Framework although the school did not meet the academic standard.  Therefore, the school is a candidate for charter warning.  There was discussion about the assessment and the discontinued use of the tool for the Performance Management Framework.  The school will review the student population since eighty percent of the students have English as a second language, testing in English only, no dual language program.

Ms. Carolyn Trice noted that Bridges has continually shown improvement over the years and that the school’s Program Development Reviews indicate that Bridges’ academic program is on an upward trajectory.  She stated that the school consistently scores proficient and exemplary on the curriculum, instruction, and assessment indicators meeting twenty of the twenty six.

Ms. Sara Mead asked about the challenge with the tool given that the school will not go on with the tool, will the school be able to continue to measure the students performance. 

Ms. Olivia Smith responded that the school think what they are doing is the right approach.

Mr. Tom Nida pointed out that the charter warning status allows people to become more focused and is intended to be a constructive step.  Mr. John “Skip” McKoy asked if this step was in place a few years ago, if the school would have this problem.  Ms. Carolyn Trice stated that the PMF would have helped the school.  Following discussion about the schools reviews, the DCPCSB was not inclined to take any action.
 
2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
Paul Public Charter School
School Representation Present:  Mr. Lee Manley, Board Chair, Ms. Danelle Singh, Academics, and Ms. Jami Dunhan
PCSB staff member Ms. Monique Miller reported that Paul Public Charter School is in its tenth year of operation and based on the Preliminary Charter Review Framework analyses its accountability plan and organizational performance, the school did not meet the one of three academic standards.  Ms. Miller stated that although the school did meet the non-academic and organizational performance standards and has demonstrated sustained aggregate growth academically on the state assessments, the school is a candidate for charter warning. 
 
Ms. Jami Dunhan noted that the school has consistently exceeded NCLB targets, made positive DCCAS scores although the school did not meet AYP in 2009 due to ELL, SPED and the change in read aloud.  She indicated that the school made various changes by using the Aco-teaching model, increased professional development, and exceeding targets in math and reading. 

Ms. Dunhan noted that the school is analyzing if this was the best assessment to use, and that fifty one percent of SPED students made growth and the performance needs would be addressed through the PMF.  Ms. Danelle Singh mentioned that the changes reflected that one hundred percent of the teacher staff is highly qualified and three are Board certified.  She pointed out that the school has a new academic team and added block scheduling.  The school is also focusing on differentiation and the use of a bridge.  The school has a Saturday program and additional lab program adding an ESL program for literacy.  Ms. Singh indicated that from a Board’s perspective, Paul is solid with strong leadership and financials.  By providing more information the school is on a more concrete ground from an organization and structure perspective. 
 
Ms. Lee Manley commented that the school, parents and community all care about the children and that the Board is a work in progress.  Mr. Don Soifer asked when the switch was made to
co-teaching.  Ms. Jamie Dunhan reported it began in the school year of 2008 and expressed that the school needs more time to evaluate the tool.  Mr. Soifer inquired about the school’s priorities.  Ms. Dunhan mentioned that the school is looking at the increased benchmarks to determine what can be done to help the students academically.  She noted that teachers will receive in-house and external training, and conduct team meetings.  She also added that every teacher has a mentor and focus on effective leadership has increased.  Following a discussion about the schools reviews, the DCPCSB did not take any action.  
 
2010 Preliminary Charter Review Analyses
Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School
School Representation Present:  Mr. Mike Roanan, Founder, Mr. Raymond Richards,
Mr. Kiershon Woods, Board Chair

PCSB staff member Sean Coleman reported that Lighthouse Public Charter School met the non-academic, compliance, and fiscal performance standards although the school did not meet the academic, and governance standards.  He stated that based on the DCPCSB’s Preliminary Charter Review Framework, the school is a candidate for charter warning.  Mr. Coleman indicated that the school failed to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress measures and eighty four percent of the targets were rated as limited or adequate with a poor financial GPA. 
Mr. Kiershon thanked Mr. Coleman for his feedback and noted that the charter review analysis was received last week, and that the school had a conversation around growth and finance with PCSB staff members Mr. Coleman and Mr. Jeremy Williams.  Mr Kiershon indicated that the school wants to focus on the big picture of the school starting as a small school in a shared space and has now relocated to a permanent space.  He stated that enrollment decreased due to the three sites relocating in the first three years.  Mr. Kiershon noted that the school has focused on all four outstanding items, improved enrollment, and that the school’s financial position is current on all debts through rescheduling of loans.  He added that the school made strides in governance and had a stable board up until last month and stated that the school needs more direction from the DC PCSB Board about organizational guidance and governance and will be attending more meetings looking for help.  Mr. Kiershon commented that he is an active member of the Board and that the Board has made significant improvement in the last few years.
Mr. John “Skip” Mckoy pointed out that the math scores have dropped tremendously and wanted to know how the school determined that they have the right staff.  Mr. Raymond Richards stated that the training is data-driven, in-house training to support teachers and student monitoring.  

Mr. Tom Nida asked if the other targets around student performance showed a decrease.  Mr. Richards indicated that there was a decrease due to a population shift in the Pre-K and 4 year olds.  Mrs. Josephine Baker voiced her concern about increasing staff and enrollment. 

Mr. Michael Roanan reported that the ratio is slightly lower than last year and with classes sizes of eighteen and nineteen.  Ms. Sara Mead asked if there were any safety and health issues the Board should be made aware of.  Mr. Michael mentioned that the school at Michigan Park had a nurse although when the school moved to Varnum Street N.E., there was not a nurse. 

After further discussion, Mr. Coleman reported that no known health code violations have been cited for the school.  Mrs. Josephine Baker questioned whether the school qualifies for a school nurse and Mr. Michael Roanan responded yes.  Mr. Will Marshall inquired about the school’s observation as to the trajectory.  Mr. Sean Coleman noted that there have been four chair persons on the Board with five changes in leadership which can be attributed to some of the down slopes and instability of the school leadership.  Mr. Michael noted that the school made the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for three years and the one year the school did not meet AYP, the school acquired seventy five percent new students.  Mr. Roanan stated that he was not in agreement with the statement of instability of the school leadership.  Will Marshall commented on the large financial loss in the first three years of operation.  Mr. Tom Nida noted that the main perspective is having a small school that is not financially viable and not necessarily stable which constitutes a perfect time to put the school on charter warning to give the school the opportunity to get on track for the next school year and that the school needs to continue the upward trend.  Ms. Sara Mead moved that Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School be issued a charter warning and Mr. Don Soifer seconded the motion.  The motion was carried and unanimously approved by all Board members present. 
 
Public Comment
Lieutenant William Dexter, Director of IDEA Public Charter School stated that the school wants to be loyal followers of the board and thanked the Board for all of its work.  He stated that the school will download the strategic plan.
 
Mr. Will Marshall commended Mr. Tom Nida for his exemplary service and expressed the Board’s honor to work with him as an unstoppable force for the good of the charter movement.
 
Dr. Ramona Edelin expressed that Mr. Tom Nida’s direction of the Board is on point and that Charter School Board Association truly appreciates what he has done for the movement. 
 
Adjournment
There being no other public comment, the meeting was adjourned at 8:45 pm.