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April 19, 2010


DC Public Charter School Board
Board Meeting Minutes

Attendance

Board members in attendance: Mr. Brian Jones, Chair; Mr. John “Skip” McKoy, Vice-Chair; Mr. Will Marshall; Mr. Don Soifer; Dr. Darren Woodruff; Ms. Sara Mead,
Ms. Emily Bloomfield and Mrs. Josephine Baker, Ex-Officio and Secretary


The board meeting was called to order at 6:18 pm by Mr. Brian Jones.

Opening Statement
Mr. Jones introduced the Board members and thanked everyone for their support of the Board and the charter school sector.  On behalf of the D.C. Public Charter School Board and staff, Mr. Jones extended his utmost appreciation to the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School for providing meeting space and logistics for the meeting and throughout the previous years.

Approval of Agenda
Mr. Jones presented the agenda for approval.  Mr. Will Marshall moved that the agenda be accepted and approved as presented and the motion was seconded by Mr. John “Skip” McKoy.  

Approval of Meeting Minutes
The February meeting minutes were approved by all Board members present.
 
Acknowledgement of Elected Officials
Mr. Jones invited elected officials to stand and be acknowledged; there were none present.

Contracts Reviewed
Mr. Jones read into the record the nine charter contracts equal to or exceeding $25K which were reviewed by the Finance Committee.  Mr. Don Soifer made the motion to accept the report as presented.  Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously by all Board members.

Response to Parents Concerns
Cesar Chavez Public Charter School
Mr. Jones stated that this agenda item has been tabled until the May 17, 2010 Board meeting. 

SCHOOLS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

Request to Approve E-rate Plans
Friendship Public Charter School and Paul Public Charter School
Mr. Don Soifer reported that the E-rate plans for Friendship Public Charter School and Paul Public Charter School were reviewed by Mr. Soifer and Mr. Lamont Brittain, the IT Manager.  Mr. Soifer made the motion to approve the Technology Plans for both Friendship Public Charter School and Paul Public Charter School.  The motion was seconded by Mr. McKoy and carried unanimously. 
 

SCHOOL OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

Request to Operate in an Additional Site
YouthBuild Public Charter School (PCS)
School Representation Present: Ms. Christie Cunningham, Chair; Mr. Arthur Dade, Executive Director; Ms. Andrea Hinson, Principal; and Mr. Mark Jordan, Treasurer of the Board
PCSB staff member Ms. Charlotte Cureton reported that the YouthBuild Public Charter School submitted a proposal and through a competitive Request for Offers process was awarded a former DCPS facility located at 30 P. Street, N.W. beginning the 2011-2012 school year.  Ms. Cureton noted that the site would provide space to accommodate an additional 150 students.  She added that the site would have a residential component overseen by the Latin American Youth Center which is a separate entity from the YouthBuild PCS. 

The School Oversight Committee is requesting that YouthBuild PCS be granted approval to open the additional campus.  There was discussion about both the parent company LAYC and the YouthBuild occupying the space.  Mrs. Josephine Baker explained that as part of the application process to the Deputy Mayor of Education’s office, a joint proposal was submitted to the District of Columbia for the site although the lease will go to YouthBuild, which will sublet.  This arrangement was approved by the Deputy Mayor.

Mr. J-M Mayas, a private citizen, who lives on P Street, N.W., stated that he is in support of the YouthBuild PCS adding a campus at the P Street location.  Mr. Mayas voiced his concern about the residential component and thinks that his concern can be alleviated and addressed through engagement of the community and the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.
 
Mr. Jones indicated that there was opposition of the proposed occupancy of the building site and that the Board members will continue discussion and deliberations about the request. 

Truancy
National Collegiate Preparatory PCS
School Representation Present:  Ms. Regina Rodriguez-Mitchell, Co-Founder; and
Ms. Jennifer Ross, Co-Founder

PCSB staff member Dr. Robert Mayo stated that the notice was issued based on attendance and that National Collegiate Preparatory PCS will deliver its data analysis and intervention strategies to address the truancy rates.  Ms. Regina Rodriguez noted that the alert system time of a fifteen day threshold does not allow time for intervention with parents, the interview process, and collaborative before truancy referral.  She stated that as part of the analysis, the school found that they need to take a more aggressive approach in alerting the parents of the seriousness of the truancy issue and work more closely with family and children services and local authorities.  Ms. Emily Bloomfield advised that the school look at other indicators beforehand that may cause the students to fail or dropout of school. 

Truancy
IDEA PCS
School Representation Present:  Ms. Charlotte Blount-Lewis, Principal, Lt. William Dexter, Deputy Director; and Col. Norman Johnson, Director
PCSB staff member Dr. Mayo stated that the notice was issued based on attendance and that IDEA PCS will describe what has been done to address the truancy problem.  Col. Norman Johnson provided a handout that showed how the school will capture information on attendance.  He noted that there is a discrepancy between data input with the use of PowerSchool and OLAMS and that the school has retained personnel to revise the monitoring and data input process.  Col. Johnson indicated that an early intervention team and a attendance monitor have been formed to assure that appropriate action is taken related to parent calls, correspondence, meetings, communications with city agencies and authorities.  He added that training is being provided around truancy and the use of the ALERT NOW system.  The school will also make a change in its rewards program and attendance policy.

Compliance Review – Lift Notice of Deficiency
National Collegiate Preparatory PCS
School Representation Present:  Ms. Regina Rodriguez-Mitchell, Co-Founder; and
 Ms. Jennifer Ross, Co-Founder

PCSB staff member Ms. Monique Miller reported that National Collegiate Preparatory PCS was issued a Notice of Deficiency for failure to meet the requirements of the Deep Dive stage of the Compliance Review.  Ms. Miller noted that the school has addressed all conditions and that the Schools Oversight Committee is requesting that the Board lift the Notice of Deficiency.  Mr. McKoy moved that the Notice of Concern be lifted and
Mr. Will Marshall seconded the motion.  The motion was carried unanimously.

Charter Review Findings
William E. Doar Jr., (WEDJ) PCS
School Representation Present:  Ms. Julie Doar-Sinkfield, CEO, and Co-Founder;
Mr. John Goldman, Chief Financial Officer; Ms. Nadia Casseus, CAO; Ms. Mary Robbins, Co-Founder and Director of Arts and Technology

PCSB staff member Dr. Sean Coleman reported that WEDJ PCS is in its sixth year of operation and based on the charter framework analysis, the school met one of three academic standards and three of four non-academic performance standards.  Dr. Coleman noted that according to the fiscal management aspect of the review of the FY09 audit, the school’s financial solvency is a concern due to a large budget deficit.  Ms. Julie Doar-Sinkfield stated that the budget deficit is attributed to the depreciation due to improvements.  Mr. John Goldman commented that when taking in account the complete audit and depreciation, a positive operating cash flow impact is shown on the balance sheet. 

Ms. Nadia Casseus mentioned that the school has fully implemented America’s Choice curriculum, governance structure, professional development, and data management for all the campuses.  She added that the school has identified students that require tutoring and put in place safety nets to address performance issues.  Mr. Soifer voiced his concern for the need staff development.  There was discussion about the student IEP’s and the ELL population and what is being done to build academic standards.  Ms. Casseus indicated that the school has hired a fulltime ELL professional to provide instruction and create individualized lessons plans for students with special needs. 

Dr. Woodruff asked about the low DC CAS proficiency scores across the two campuses and what is being done to meet the internal performance targets.  Ms. Cassues stated that the new teachers will work closely with leadership to transition to America’s Choice model and cycle in staff training through a phased-in approach.  Mr. Marshall expressed the urgency for the school to academically increase its level of proficiency in math and reading scores.  He voiced his concern about the large debt owed to the OSSE and the need for the school to generate a positive cash flow. 

Ms. Bloomfield mentioned the concern of timely submission of documents and reporting of data.  She asked if systems where in place for collecting and disseminating information to meet compliance issues.  Ms. Mary Robbins stated that the school is using
PowerSchool with MODMS, and using DCBAS as data analysis tools.  She added that the next step is to add INFORM within the next year and show teachers how to manipulate the technology.  Mr. McKoy suggested that the school gather the data earlier in the school year to inform instruction.  Ms. Sara Mead expressed her concern about the school putting processes given that it is in its sixth year of operation.

Mr. Soifer moved that William E. Doar, Jr. PCS be granted conditional continuance for one year based on the school significantly showing quantitative improvement of the academic and non-academic standards in such areas as 1) curriculum and instruction, 2) assessment, 3) proficiency in reading and math and, 4) internal processes and fiscal management.  Mr. McKoy seconded the motion and the motion was carried unanimously.  Ms. Baker noted the importance of the school to review scores in the fall due to the stage of maturity and develop a method to evaluate scores on an ongoing basis.  She advised the school to decide what instrument to use that will give concrete student information and data to look at student progress and reverse the downward trends.  Mr. Jones stressed the seriousness of school turning around the performance levels with the next school year to avoid possible revocation of its charter.

Decisions on 2010 Charter School Applications
Mr. Jones expressed his thanks for the spirited response from members of the public, community, and individuals during the application process.  Mr. Jones stated for clarification that the meeting was not a public hearing and explained the protocol for the announcement of the application decisions.  He stated that the decision of each application was based upon processes involving review of the criteria by experts, public presentation, views of public officials, written correspondence, and a rigorous assessment by the PCSB Board and staff.

Mr. Jones gave a breakdown of the application outcomes as follows:  1) full approval,
2) approval with conditions, and 3) denial.  He explained that the decision on the applications will be presented one at a time, with a recommendation proposed by the technical review team and staff.  Afterwards, the Board may engage in a brief discussion, and a vote will be made on each application, followed by a formal vote.  Mr. Jones added that staff will provide written communication to the applicants and set up a feedback session to provide a debriefing on the Board’s decision.  He advised applicants to take advantage of the sessions to get a full understanding of the decision.

Bertha B. Williams – Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the Bertha B. Williams petition is a candidate for denial.  Ms. Mead made the motion for denial and Dr. Woodruff seconded the motion.  Being a newly elected Board member with no involvement in the application review process, Ms. Emily Bloomfield recused herself from the vote.  There being no discussion, the motion for denial passed with six votes in favor, and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

Academy for Young Minds – Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the Academy for Young Minds petition is a candidate for denial.  Mr. Marshall made the motion for denial and Mr. Soifer seconded the motion.  There being no discussion, the motion for denial passed with six votes in favor, and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

Inspired Teaching Demonstration – Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the Center for Inspired Teaching petition is a candidate for approval with conditions. 
Dr. Woodruff made the motion for conditional approval and Mr. McKoy seconded the motion. 

Dr. Woodruff questioned the management agreement and having three of the management company’s members being on the proposed having a seat on the schools proposed Board of Trustees which presents a clear conflict of interest and does not adhere to the charter agreement.  He suggested that the school show a direct relation of the lines of responsibility of the Board and its management company.  There was discussion about the proposed school’s governance structure and leadership position being problematic.  Mr. Brian Jones noted that the school would need to put in place a mechanism by which Board members are appointed to assure composition of a strong governing body that will provide oversight for all areas of operation. 

Dr. Woodruff commented that the school should consider establishing a strategic growth process to add grades each year and review the enrollment process.  Mr. McKoy asked about the preference of location for the school in Wards One, Four, or Six.  Ms. Kate Keplinger responded that the school would be centrally located to families across the city and closer to the Northwest and Northeast sector.  The motion for conditional approval passed with six votes in favor and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

Gilchrist Academy – Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the Gilchrist Academy petition is a candidate for denial.  Mr. Soifer made the motion for denial and Ms. Mead seconded the motion.  There being no discussion, the motion for denial passed with six votes in favor and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

D. C. Technology Academy – Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the D. C. Technology Academy petition is a candidate for denial.  Mr. Marshall made the motion for denial and Mr. McKoy seconded the motion.  Ms. Sara Mead abstained from the vote to avoid any conflict of interest.  There being no discussion, the motion for denial passed with five votes in favor, one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield), and one abstention (Ms. Sara Mead). 

Tribeca - Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the Tribeca petition is a candidate for denial.  Mrs. Baker emphasized that this application was given the utmost consideration and that there were a number of concerns.  One primary concern was there was no timeline for curriculum development.  The application lacked focus, clarity, and congruence in its education, business, and mission accomplishment plans.  Mr. Marshall made the motion for denial and Dr. Woodruff seconded the motion.  The motion for denial passed with six votes in favor and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

Naylor Road - Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the Naylor Road petition is a candidate for denial.  Mr. Soifer made the motion for denial and Dr. Woodruff seconded the motion.  There being no discussion, the motion for denial passed with six votes in favor and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

Mundo Verde Bilingual - Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the Mundo Verde Bilingual petition is a candidate for approval with conditions. 
Mr. Marshall stated that the application was strong although he was concerned about the aggressive approach of trying to implement many components.  He added that the school should build a cohesive curriculum and not set the bar too high and be realistic the first couple of years.  Mrs. Baker asked that the school assure that appropriate assessments are generated in correlation with the number of programs phasing in a program at a time.  Mr. McKoy asked the school to elaborate on the expeditionary learning and diverse student population.  The school responded that the school will incorporate a marketing partnership and Board involvement as a city-wide strategy to attract families.

Mr. Marshall made the motion for conditional approval and Ms. Mead seconded the motion.  There being no discussion, the motion for conditional approval passed with six votes in favor and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

Shining Start Montessori - Application Review
Mr. Brian Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the Shining Star Montessori is a candidate for denial.  Mr. Don Soifer voiced his concern about the governance structure.  There was discussion about the Board identifying clear delineation of terms of governance having no overlap of Board involvement with the school roles and oversight.  Mrs. Baker noted that the school would need to address how instruction will be delivered specifically for highly qualified staff and the execution of the NCLB Act. 

Mr. McKoy stated that the program was satisfactory and included a rich reading environment although not the best curriculum.  Further discussion was held about the need for adequately addressing the education for ELL students and students with special needs.  Assessment was also mentioned as being problematic and ineffective, whereby testing is planned during the mandatory Saturday academy.  Mr. Jones expressed his concern about the budgetary issue of salaries and non-financial resources being available to fully develop a Montessori program. 

The school responded to the concerns noting the following, 1) there will be a change in terms of governance whereas no Board members will be on the staff of the school, 2) teachers are presently certified and highly qualified in accordance to the NCLB law with a focus on mentoring of the staff, professional development and acquisition of a therapist, special education coordinator and school support team , 3) the school will provide staff development and increase teacher salaries, 4) the schools’ pre-planning budget includes funding from the Walton Foundation, and 5) the school will provide outreach to families and put services in place to cultivate parent support. 

Dr. Woodruff made the motion for conditional approval and Mr. McKoy seconded the motion.  Ms. Emily Bloomfield recused herself from the vote.  Ms. Sara Mead abstained from the vote.  The motion for denial passed with four votes in favor, two opposed and one recusalb(Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

Kuumba Learning Center - Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the Kuumba Learning Center petition is a candidate for denial.  Ms. Mead made the motion for denial and Dr. Woodruff seconded the motion.  The motion for denial passed with six votes in favor and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield).

University High - Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and PCSB staff, the University High petition is a candidate for denial.  Mr. Soifer stated that the staff spent an incredible amount of time on this review.  He noted that the Board heard from members of the community through public comment, mail, and email correspondence about concerns regarding the application and its educational mission.  He commented that after reviewing and taking into consideration all the factors, the Board took serious the characteristics described and feedback.  Mr. Jones noted that the findings of the review served as the basis for the decision.

Mrs. Baker indicated that the application delivered a number of weaknesses and lacked the curriculum component that would provide cohesive content.  Mr. McKoy made the motion for denial and Mr. Marshall seconded the motion.  The motion for denial passed with six votes in favor and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

The House Academy - Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and the PCSB staff, the petition for The House Academy is a candidate for denial.  Dr. Woodruff made the motion for denial and Ms. Mead seconded the motion.  There being no discussion, the motion for denial passed with six votes in favor and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

Richard Wright – Application Review
Mr. Jones stated that based on the findings of the technical review team and the PCSB staff, the Richard Wright petition is a candidate for approval with conditions. 
Mr. Marshall stated that the school presented a strong application and thanked the school for all the hard work.  Mr. Marshall voiced his concern about the conflict of interest posed by the present CEO of the Broken Promises Foundation, and the present members of the Foundation Board being identified in the application as administrators of the Richard Wright school.  The school responded that the Foundation will be independent with no active or overlapping roles on the school’s Board.  Mr. Soifer made the motion for conditional approval and Mr. McKoy seconded the motion.  The motion for conditional approval passed with six votes in favor and one recusal (Ms. Emily Bloomfield). 

Mr. Jones thanked all applicant groups, PCSB staff, and Board members for their involvement.  He recognized all applicants for their hard work and congratulated the applicants that accomplished the initial application process to start a public charter school.

Public Comment
Ms. Sylvia Pinkney, ANC Ward 5, spoke on behalf of the SMD 5C02 in opposition of YouthBuild Public Charter School’s request to locate at the J. F. Cooke facility at 30th and P Street.  She voiced the concerns of an at-risk population and that the community does not have the additional needed social services in place. 

Ms. Victoria Leonard, representing Councilmember Harry Thomas, stated that the residents of the Bates community are in opposition with the proposed use of the school having a residential component and noted the inappropriateness for a school to be located in the neighborhood that will serve at-risk young adults. 

Ms. Charlene McCallus, Ward 5, SMD 5AOC stated that the community is not in support of the school, adding that the school would be a deterrent to the community.  She stated that the area is under commercial development. 

There was strong opposition to YouthBuild’s proposed move from several associations such as the Dunbar Association, Capital City Civic Association, Hanover Association, and Thurston Circle.  The primary concerns were 1) the cross population and co-mingling of grades K-8 and high school in the neighborhood; 2) the influx of at-risk young adults and adjudicated students; 3) the area does not have a recreation center and; 4) safety issues due to the high crime rate in the neighborhood.

Mr. Terry Shelton, University High, thanked the Board for consideration of the application.  Mr. Shelton stated that hearing the community opposition to his application and the findings from the Board, he realized that the statistics need to be addressed about graduation rates and postsecondary education.  He expressed his support of YouthBuild operating a school serving an at-risk young adult population regardless, of where the school is located.

Ms. Baker explained that the shared facility was part of the application process to the Deputy Mayor.  Ms. Baker pointed out that the criteria for approving the location of a school is mandated by the rules and regulations of the Deputy Mayor’s office and the PCSB has no influence or right to deny a use of a school.  Mr. Jones thanked everyone for their participation and involvement. 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm.