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June 21, 2010
Board members in attendance:   Mr. Brian Jones, Board Chair, Mr. John “Skip” McKoy, Vice-Chair; Mr. Will Marshall, Dr. Darren Woodruff, Mr. Don Soifer, and Ms. Emily Bloomfield.

 

Board members excused:   Ms. Josephine Baker, Ex-officio and Secretary and Ms. Sara Mead.

 

Mr. Brian Jones called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m. for the public hearing and at 8:02 p.m. for the beginning of the regular monthly public meeting.

 

Public Hearing on Request for a Charter Amendment

Maya Angelou Public Charter School

Lucretia Murphy and David Domenci testified.   The proceedings were recorded by Beta Court Reporting.

 

Acknowledgement of Public Officials

Mr. Jones invited elected officials to stand and be acknowledged.  

 

Approval of the Agenda

Mr. Jones presented the proposed agenda for the June meeting.   The agenda was accepted as presented by all Board members present.   Mr. Will Marshall initiated the motion, and Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded the motion.   The agenda was unanimously approved by all Board members present.

 

Approval of the May Minutes

Mr. Jones presented the May minutes for approval.   A motion was posed by Mr. Don Soifer to approve the minutes and the motion was seconded by Ms. Emily Bloomfield.   The motion was carried unanimously by all Board members present.

 

Administrative Committee

The approval of contracts for May 2010 was read into the record.    

 

Schools Oversight Committee

The three Technology Plans for St. Coletta, Maya Angelou, and Center City were presented for approval.   Mr. Marshall moved to approve all three Technology Plans and Mr. McKoy seconded the motion.   The motion was passed unanimously by all Board members present.

 

Request to Add Grades and Change Curriculum

The Arts and Technology Public Charter School

School Representation Present:   Mr. Errick Greene, Principal and Ms. Marva McClure

PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Carolyn Trice reported that the Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School (PCS) is seeking to add a Pre-K 3 class and change its curriculum for Pre-K 4 to The Creative Curriculum for Preschool.  Discussion was held about the specifics of the Creative Curriculum features.   Mr. Marshall moved to approve the request by The Arts and Technology PCS to add a Pre-K 3 class and change its curriculum for Pre-K 4.  

Mr. John "Skip” McKoy seconded the motion and the motion was carried unanimously by all Board members present.

 

Request to Increase Enrollment Ceiling

Eagle Academy Public Charter School

School Representation Present: Ms. Cassandra Pinkney, Executive Director

PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Taishya Adams stated that this agenda item was tabled at the May meeting.   She reported that Eagle Academy PCS is requesting to increase its enrollment ceiling for the 2010-2011 school year to 520, and that the maximum enrollment be increased in various increments each year to a total of 630 by the 2013-2014 school year.   She noted that the school: 1) has met its enrollment projection; 2) is currently not under corrective action;

3) has demonstrated satisfactory or above average performance in the fiscal management criteria;

4) received an average rating of proficiency across all areas of the Program Development Review (PDR); 5) demonstrated that the existing Certificate of Occupancy can accommodate the expected enrollment; and 6) received accreditation from the Middle States Association.     

 

Mr. Marshall moved to approve Eagle Academy PCS's request to increase its enrollment ceiling and Mr. Soifer seconded the motion.   The motion was carried with six Board members voting aye and one recusal by Dr. Woodruff.   Dr. Woodruff’s recusal was due to his involvement with Eagle Academy PCS staff in preparing a grant proposal for the “Promise Neighborhoods” community improvement initiative.

 

Request to Increase Enrollment Ceiling

E. L. Haynes Public Charter School

School Representation Present: Mr. Jimmy Henderson, Director of Finance

PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Adams reported that E. L. Haynes PCS is requesting to increase its enrollment ceiling for the 2010-2011 school year to 603 and that the maximum enrollment be increased in various increments each year to a total of 1,018 by the 2013-2014 school year.   She indicated that the school has met the following criteria: 1) received an average rating of proficiency across all areas of the Program Development Review (PDR);

2) demonstrated that the existing Certificate of Occupancy can accommodate the expected enrollment; 3) met its enrollment projections; 4) currently not under corrective action;

 5) received satisfactory or above average performance rating in the fiscal management categories; and 6) is in the process of acquiring accreditation from the Middle States Association.   Mr. Jimmy Henderson commented that the school did receive accreditation from the Middle States Association three weeks ago.   Ms. Bloomfield moved to approve E. L. Haynes' request to increase its enrollment ceiling.   Dr. Woodruff seconded the motion and the motion was carried unanimously by all Board members present.

 

Request to Operate in a New Location

E. L. Haynes Public Charter School

School Representation Present:   Mr. Jimmy Henderson, Director of Finance

PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Adams reported that E. L. Haynes PCS is requesting to relocate grades Pre-K through 2 to a new site located at 4501 Kansas Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., for the 2010-2011 school year.   She noted that E. L. Haynes PCS is planning to eventually serve students in grades Pre-K through 12, with the Kansas Avenue site housing both the Pre-K through 2nd grade and the 9th through 12th grade.   Students in grades 3 through 8 will remain in the current facility at 3600 Georgia Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.   

 

Ms. Adams stated that the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner(s) is supportive of the relocation request and the school has secured the facility and obtained the right of entry for the first two of four renovations.   The new site is scheduled to open on August 16, 2010.  

Mr. McKoy moved to approve E. L. Haynes PCS's request to operate in a new location and Dr. Woodruff seconded the motion.   The motion was carried unanimously by all Board members present.

 

 

Request to Operate a New School in an Existing Location

KIPP DC: GROW Academy PCS

School Representation Present: Stacey Kossoy, Director of Development and Irene Holtzman

PCSB School Performance Officer Monique Miller reported that KIPP DC is requesting to operate a new school, KIPP DC: GROW Academy, at an existing location, Scott Montgomery, a DCPS school that is co-located in that facility with KIPP DC: WILL Academy.   She stated that DCPS has decided to move its students to another location and will provide KIPP DC, through a public private partnership, the first right to occupy the newly vacated space.   Negotiations are underway to amend the lease, which will allow KIPP DC to operate three schools at the Scott Montgomery site located at 421 P. Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.   KIPP DC intends to open KIPP DC: GROW, its early childhood program, in July 2010 starting with Pre-K and expand to include preschool and kindergarten by the 2011.   KIPP DC also intends to open an elementary program at the same site beginning with the first grade in July 2012.  

 

Ms. Bloomfield made a motion to approve KIPP DC's request to operate a new school at Scott Montgomery.   Dr. Woodruff seconded the motion.   The motion was carried with six Board members voting aye, and one recusal by Mr. McKoy.     Mr. McKoy recused himself due to the recent Quality Schools award given to KIPP DC by Fight for Children.   Prior to the opening of the school, the PCSB will conduct a pre-opening visit to document the site's readiness.

 

Request to Operate in a New Location

Washington Latin PCS

School Representation Present: Ms. Martha Cutts, Head of School, Mr. Mark Lerner, Chair, and Mr. Steve Pearcy, Finance Director

PCSB School Performance Officer Dr. Jackie Boddie reported that Washington Latin PCS is requesting to operate in an additional site located at 4501 - 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.   The school has a verbal agreement and is crafting a lease to rent space.   The students will benefit from having three facilities all within a seven block radius on 16th street until a permanent site has been identified.   The additional space at 4501 - 16th street will be used to house the expanded upper school with the possibility that Washington Latin could build on the property, which can accommodate the entire school population.  

 

Dr. Woodruff made a motion to approve Washington Latin's request to operate in a new location and Mr. Soifer seconded the motion.   The motion was passed unanimously by all Board members present.

 

Proposal to Revoke Charter

KAMIT Public Charter School

School Representation Present:   Mr. Ur Aua H.R. En Kamit, Board Chair, and

Ms. Cheryl Temple-Jonrniette, Executive Director

Mr. Jones explained the steps in the process for a proposal to revoke a school’s charter once a vote is passed as: 1) the Board will send a letter to the school detailing the findings; 2) the school will have fifteen days from the date of the letter to request an informal hearing; 3) the Board will have thirty days to set up a public hearing to allow the school, public officials, stakeholders and general public an opportunity to respond; and 4) following the public hearing, the Board has thirty days to render a written decision.   Mr. Jones stated that this is the start of a process that could take up to seventy-five day and not the finality.

 

Dr. Boddie reported that based on the findings of the comprehensive review of the PCSB staff and Board, KAMIT PCS is a candidate for charter revocation.   Dr. Boddie discussed the following academic and governance violations and other violations relating to children with disabilities:  

 

Failure to design and implement the educational program described in its application.  

 

Lack of sufficient books and other supplies for all students attending the school, and failure to develop and provide curriculum materials to all teachers at the school, despite the $1.7million budget reserve.

 

Failure to operate in accordance with the mission statement provided in its application.  
 

Failure to comply with all federal requirements related to educating students with special needs.  

Failure to have the charter school open to all District students tuition-free and have nonresident students pay tuition to attend at the applicable rate established by the Board of Education.

Failure to have a Board of Directors that is in compliance with the School Reform Act.  

 

Mr. EnKamit, Board Chair of KAMIT PCS, stated that he would like to respond to the above to clear up any misunderstanding of the school’s efforts and impact by providing two examples.   First, at the Sixth Annual African event sponsored by KAMIT PCS, students gave a demonstration on the island of Haiti of what they learned about wind and solar power.  
 

Mr. EnKamit stated that the school received recognition for strategies in providing best records and services concluding its tenth year.   Second, Mr. EnKamit reported that three out of the past seven years, the DC CAS results have doubled and the school has fulfilled its mission to prepare students for career and college bound opportunities.   He noted that in gathering data of the 2004 alumni, there were 24 college graduates, 14 Bachelor of Science and Arts graduates, and 5 students who received an Associate, Certificate of Completion, or an Advanced degree.   He commended a student from the French Congo who will be attending North Carolina State this fall.   Mr. EnKamit said he will provide additional information to the Board indicating further strengthening of the school’s program.                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

Mr. Marshall mentioned that in the 2007 school year, 17 BOE schools were transitioned to operate as charter schools granted by the DC Board of Education and the schools were provided with the same rigorous oversight established for existing school’s under the authority of the Public Charter School Board (PCSB).   He stated that the Board looked hard and determined that this school had poor accountability regimens and would be held to the measures and standards of the PCSB.  He noted that the school has not taken advantage of the grace period made available by the PCSB staff to correct underperformance.   Mr. Marshall moved that the Board propose revocation of the school’s charter.   Dr. Woodruff seconded the motion and the motion was carried unanimously by all Board members present.

 

Request to Relinquish Charter

Children’s Studio Public Charter School (PCS)

School Representation Present:   Ms. Marcia McDonnell, Board Chair

Ms. Marcia McDonnell provided a statement of the school’s intent to relinquish its charter.   Ms. McDonnell commented that since the informal meeting between Children Studio’s Board of Trustees (BOT) and the Public Charter School Board, she had hoped that the Board would have changed its consideration to propose revocation of its charter.   She stated that since this seems not to be the case; she will not continue under the purview of the charter and instead, operate the school as a private entity.  

 

The effective date to close the school is June 30, 2010.   Mr. Soifer moved to accept the request from Children Studio’s Board of Trustees to relinquish its charter.   Ms. Bloomfield seconded the motion and the motion was carried unanimously by all Board members present.

 

 
Request to Relinquish Charter

Academy for Learning Through the Arts (ALTA) Public Charter School (PCS)

School Representation Present:   Ms. Donna Potts, Board Chair

PCSB School Performance Officer, Dr. Sean Coleman reported that the ALTA PCS Board of Trustees voted to surrender its charter effective immediately.   Official notification confirming the actual date of relinquishment will be forthcoming.

 

Follow-up to Board Action for Attendance & Truancy – 3rd Quarter

National Collegiate Preparatory Public Charter School (PCS)

School Representation Present:   Ms. Regina Rodriguez, Co-Founder

PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Charlotte Cureton reported that National Collegiate Preparatory PCS is present to speak to the Notice of Deficiency for truancy issued last month.

Dr. Regina Rodriguez said that the school has expanded its efforts to decrease its truancy rate.   She mentioned that the school’s database management system is insufficient to provide alerts in OLAMS.   She stated that although the school was able to call parents, alert social workers, make home visits, and police safety issues, the school received little or no response from parents.  

Dr. Rodriguez said that the consecutive absences of some of the students could be explained as follows:   students attending the Job Corps, students falling off due to parents not submitting or requesting unexcused absences, and some were actually excused absences.   Dr. Rodriguez added that all of the student records were sent to the Superior Court, when required.  

 

Dr. Rodriguez noted other steps taken to improve truancy rates included referral of students to the Catholic Charities and use of Powerschool instead of EduStar.   She indicated that EduStar is not sufficient to provide charting and the monitoring of attendance.   The school will also offer Saturday Academy, making the program mandatory for at risk students.

 

Mr. Soifer recalled that in April 2010 the school’s truancy rate was discussed and the school advised that improvements would be made to the system.   He asked how the school feels at this time about its ability to avoid falling below the required truancy threshold.   Dr. Rodriguez responded that the school will begin further academic interventions, mandatory parent conferences involving a guidance person to help parents develop strategies, and invite parents to the school to monitor the child.   She added that the staff will meet regularly to monitor student attendance and truancy at the early stage in an effort to reduce repetition.   Staff will be offered character education programs, conduct detentions, and attend boot camp this summer to discuss different strategies of support.  

 

Follow-up to Board Action for Attendance & Truancy – 3rd Quarter

IDEA Public Charter School (PCS)

School Representation Present:   Col. Norman Johnson, Director, Col. William Dexter, Deputy Director, and, Charlotte Blount-Lewis, Principal

PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Cureton reported that IDEA PCS Preparatory is present to speak to the Notice of Deficiency for truancy issued last month.   Ms. Cureton noted that the 2nd quarter truancy rate was 18 percent while the 3rd quarter truancy rate was 19 percent.   Ms. Charlotte Blount-Lewis presented a packet and individual charts representing unexcused absences for 120 students throughout the school.   She stated that the data management aspect of the Alert Now system was not being properly maintained by a staff member and that the school has now changed the person on staff responsible for entering the data.   Ms. Blount-Lewis noted that after corrections were made, in most instances, the truancy improved showing a reduction for first time students.  

 

A Personal Improvement Plan (PIP) is being put in place to track returning students and patterns beginning the first day based on enrollment documentation.   The school has also developed an Early Intervention Team (EIT).   At risk students will receive outside counseling and home visits.   The EIT will document information on students with IEP’s or legal involvement.   Examples of both forms were submitted to the Board for review.  

 

Dr. Woodruff asked the school to explain the reasons for the increase in the truancy rate for the 3rd quarter.   Ms. Blount-Lewis indicated that the increase in the truancy rate was due to staff issues, the need for correction of the data, and the incorrect use of the Alert Now system.

Dr. Woodruff questioned whether the activities would help to reduce the truancy problem going forward.   The school responded that they could possibly lend more to truancy issues by looking at repetitive cycles and discovering patterns of new students from other schools.  

Ms. Blount-Lewis mentioned that the 9th grade has a higher incidence of unexcused absences for the 09/10 school year.

 

Dr. Woodruff asked if the school has any positive reinforcements in place.   The school will have an end of the year ceremony for students maintaining perfect attendance, honor roll luncheons, and other incentives such as the Junior ROTC and a merit system.   Ms. Bloomfield voiced her concern about the truancy being a bigger issue with a broader context.   Some schools show patterns of truancy due to larger populations, teen incarceration, and pregnancies.   Dr. Boddie noted that some schools are struggling with these demographics and are challenged to provide the kinds of inducements that make kids want to be at school.   She added that this will require a building of the culture inside schools to reinforce the sought after behavior.   Dr. Boddie stated that the schools will need to create small consistent incentives, enforce corrective discipline, and have a supportive group to assist students surrounded by difficult environments.

 

Follow-up to Board Action for Attendance & Truancy – 3rd Quarter

Center City Public Charter School (PCS)

School Representation Present:   Mr. Jason Lody, Principal – Shaw campus and

Mr. Wallace Henry, Principal – Congress Heights campus

PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Cureton reported that Center City PCS is present to speak about the intervention strategies the school has developed to address the Notice of Concern for truancy for the 3rd quarter.   Mr. Jason Lody, Principal of the Center City PCS Shaw campus said that after looking into the root cause of the spike in truancy, it became evident that a stack of student excuse notes had not been entered into the data management system.   He stated that measures have been put in place to facilitate school operations focusing on data collection.   He added that internal and external mechanisms are in place to input data on a daily basis instead of Friday afternoons.  

 

If the first quarter report of truancy shows rates being too high, the affected students will be required to attend summer school, referrals of excessive truancy will be reported to the Child Protective Services and notices will be sent to the Attorney General’s office.   The school will meet with the child, parents and when needed, the police.   School leaders will focus on student achievement so that these actions will not negatively impact the non-truant students.

 

Mr. Wallace Henry, Principal of the Center City PCS Congress Heights campus stated that his campus has taken the same actions as the Shaw campus and that the root cause of the truancy problem is that the data entry translated no excused absences and a total of 249 days were not entered into the system correctly.   He stated that since the correction was made the school maintains the truancy rate below the 20 percent threshold.

 

Follow-up to Board Action for Attendance & Truancy – 3rd Quarter

Howard Road Academy Public Charter School (PCS)

School Representation Present:   Ms. Nicole Garcia, Head of School; Mr. Allen Blessings, Principal, Pennsylvania Avenue campus; and Mr. Styles Simons, CAO and Building Principal

Mr. Styles Simons stated that in looking at the criteria set by PCSB, 15 or more students were entered into OLAMS as truant.   He noted that after meeting with the Principals and Head of School for each campus, he found contributing factors being incorrect reporting and input of data by the administrative staff.   Mr. Simons said that reporting changes have been made where the teachers will now collect the data and submit the correct data to the administrative staff to input.   Once the data is input into the system, the teacher is responsible for going into system and checking the data for accuracy.   The corrections lead to a decrease in the truancy rate.  

 

Follow-up to Board Action for Attendance & Truancy – 3rd Quarter

Maya Angelou Public Charter School (PCS)

School Representation Present: Ms. Lucretia Murphy, Director of Mental Health,

Mr. Clinton Brown and Dr. Quentin Graham, Director of Human Services

Dr. Quentin Graham reported that after scrubbing the data, excused absences were misreported as unexcused absences at the Shaw and Evans campuses.   He stated that there will be extensive retraining, training of new staff and restructuring of staff.   The school will hire a Director of Information Services and a Database Manager to understand and manipulate the Powerschool and OLAMS reporting systems, provide early alerts of truancy to campuses, and establish firm attendance policies.  

 

Due to the number of pregnancies of young women, the staff will work with a teen parenting program and adult learning center.   The staff will offer internal counseling services to monitor and follow the emotional well being of the students.   The school will conduct mandatory meetings with parents proactively addressing issues and expectations and offer suggestions and solutions.  

 

Public Comment

There being none, the meeting was adjourned by Mr. Jones at 10:31 p.m.