DC Public Charter School Board
Board Meeting Minutes
Board members in attendance
Mr. John “Skip” McKoy, Vice-Chair; Dr. Darren Woodruff, Mr. Will Marshall, Mr.
Don Soifer, Ms. Emily Bloomfield, Ms. Sara Mead, and Mrs. Josephine Baker, Ex-officio and Secretary
Board members excused: Mr. Brian Jones, Chair
Mr. John “Skip” McKoy called the meeting to order at 7:39 p.m.
Mr. McKoy invited elected officials to stand and be acknowledged. There were none present.
Approval of the June Minutes
Mr. McKoy presented the June meeting minutes for approval. Mr. Don Soifer moved that the minutes be approved and Mr. Will Marshall seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by all Board members present.
The contracts received for June were reviewed and accepted as submitted for the record.
Request Approval for a Charter Amendment
Maya Angelou Public Charter School
School Representation Present: Ms. Lucretia Murphy, Executive Director See Forever Foundation (SFF) & Maya Angelou Public Charter School Board Member and Mr. David Domenici, Co-Founder and Board Member of Maya Angelou Public Charter School and SFF Board Member
PCSB School Performance Officer Mrs. Charlotte Cureton stated that as a continuation of last month’s public hearing of Maya Angelou Public Charter School’s (PCS) request to amend its charter, the school is now asking for Board approval to expand the charter to include an Adult Education Center. There was discussion about the performance data over the past three years. Dr. Darren Woodruff asked what the school would consider as the target for performance to meet academic goals for the Evans Campus. Ms. Lucretia Murphy noted that although the school has not hit the target, they are aware that incremental gains need to be made to serve a higher level of students.
Mr. Domenici explained that the existing transition center operated by SFF would convert to charter status and be governed by the MAPCS Board. Mrs. Josephine Baker stressed the importance that the transition center operates under the DYRS contract as a separate school model with no chartering authority. Mrs. Baker questioned how the adult education program is financed. Ms. Murphy indicated that through a partnership with See Forever and a contractual relationship, the program will be funded by private fundraising having two separate 501(c) 3, and with See Forever having no voting rights. Dr. Marion White-Hood of Maya Angelou PCS will oversee the Adult Learning Center and additional support will be provided by the DYRS staff and charter school support staff.
Dr. Woodruff asked if there were any foreseen challenges, i.e., structural, intertwinement of middle and high school students, or disorder with the addition of the Adult Learning Center. Ms. Murphy stated no and that currently the high school campus has very little interaction with the middle school. She added that both schools have different structures and that the Adult Learning Center will offer morning and evening sessions which will minimize any disruptions. The center has approximately 120,000 square feet of space with a separate basement entrance. Mr. McKoy inquired about the urgency to combine schools with different grade levels at a time when the school’s performance is not where it should be, and if this will create any management challenges. Ms. Murphy explained that the population of older and struggling students becoming dropouts is part of the urgency including finding facilities with adequate space to house the students. She also mentioned that other resources for this population are at full capacity and the Adult Learning Center will provide another option for the students.
Mr. Soifer asked about the steps taken to address the curriculum and instruction specific to improvement of DC CAS scores. Ms. Murphy indicated that both the Evans and Shaw campuses are working with OSSE and the PCSB around the curriculum and assessments being used, and areas where gains can be shown in the PDR and Special Education component. Mr. McKoy voiced his concern about the school, stating that in the 15 months prior to opening; the PCSB staff should conduct tight monitoring of the school’s ability to manage its operations. Mr. Will Marshall moved to grant approval of the expansion due to the dire need to reach out to young adults although he cautioned taking on more. He stated that the Board will expect to see meaningful results. Ms. Sara Mead seconded the motion. The motion passed with five voting aye (four Board members present: Mr. McKoy, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Soifer, Ms. Mead, and one written proxy, Mr. Brian Jones) and two opposed (Dr. Woodruff and Ms. Emily Bloomfield).
Request to Operate in a New Location – Address Correction
Washington Yu Ying PCS
School Representation Present: None
PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Carolyn Trice presented an updated request by Washington Yu Ying PCS to correct the address approved at the May meeting for the school’s expansion. The corrected address to operate in a new location is 5171 S. Dakota Ave, N.E. instead of 501 Riggs Road N.E., Washington, D.C.
Mrs. Bloomfield moved that the request to operate at 5171 S. Dakota Ave, N.E., be approved as corrected. Mr. Soifer seconded the motion and the motion was carried unanimously by all Board members present.
Request to Operate in a New Location
Septima Clark PCS
School Representation Present: Mr. Larry Williamson, Business and Operations Manager
PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Taishya Adams stated that Septima Clark PCS is currently in the incubator stage and is continuing its planned expansion and is requesting to relocate grades Preschool through 4 in the former Birney Elementary School building located at 2501 Martin Luther King Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. Ms. Mead moved to approve the request and Mrs. Bloomfield seconded the motion. The motion was carried unanimously by all Board members present.
Approval of Technology Plans -Schools Oversight Committee
Early Childhood PCS and Elise Whitlow Stokes PCS
The two Technology Plans for Early Childhood PCS and Elsie Whitlow Stokes PCS were presented for approval. Mr. Soifer moved to approve the two Technology Plans and
Dr. Woodruff seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously by all Board members present.
Proposal to Issue Notice of Probation
Nia Community PCS
School Representation Present: None
PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Adams indicated that Nia Community PCS has failed to address concerns about finance, governance, and its education program. The Nia Community Public Charter School appears to be on the verge of insolvency due to questionable use and/or misallocation of funds two years ago. The school currently carries a net-asset deficit of approximately $550k and has struggled with cash flow management. In addition, the school needs to develop its curriculum, address governance issues, and provide adequate response to the Board’s request for information. Also, Nia Community PCS is currently in School Improvement Year I due to continued failure to meet AYP in reading.
Mr. Soifer moved to issue a Notice of Probation and Mrs. Bloomfield seconded the motion. The motion was carried by all Board members present. The school must submit a comprehensive plan for addressing the aforementioned issues no later than August 2, 2010. The Board is requesting that Nia Community PCS’s Board be invited to participate and respond at the August 2010 public meeting.
Follow-Up to Board Action for Attendance and Truancy – 3rd Quarter
PCSB School Performance Officer Ms. Cureton reported that four schools, Hospitality PCS, Hope Community PCS, Community Academy-Rand PCS campus, and Ideal-Peabody PCS, fell below the required truancy threshold. The schools will speak to the attendance issues, share any documented intervention attempts, and verify the timely legally required truancy referrals to the appropriate agencies.
School Representation Present: Dr. Deborah Knight, Principal; Ms. Sandra Carter, School Counselor; and Ms. Tiffany Godbout, Executive Director
Dr. Deborah Knight stated that after receiving the Notice of Concern from the Board, the school reviewed the data in the attendance systems, OLAMS and EduStar and found that there was a discrepancy in the entering of the data. She indicated that after updating the data, the truancy rate decreased to 17% at the end of the 3rd quarter, and 23.6% for the 4th quarter.
Dr. Knight reported that the following interventions have been put in place:
1) campaigns to promote attendance, i.e., awarding laptops; 2) assistance of a student support specialist for attendance control; 3) use of the AlertNow system; 4) weekly meetings with students who are tardy and/or have 10 or more excused absences; and
5) scheduled home visits. She stated that the school will look at starting a 9th grade academy next year.
The school has formed an Attendance Committee to work with students and parents focusing on increasing the attendance rate and developing a contractual agreement around attendance for parents to sign. The Attendance Committee will refer students with continued problems to the student support specialist. Mr. Soifer asked what will happen if the school recognizes that a truancy or attendance pattern exists. Dr. Knight outlined various intermediary steps to curtail problems and to address them when persistent. Mr. McKoy advised the school to provide updates of data to Ms. Cureton soon.
Hope Community PCS
School Representation Present: Mr. Daniel Hudspeth, Compliance Officer
Mr. Daniel Hudspeth stated the truancy problem at Hope Community PCS is attributed to the inaccurate data and that the school did not submit the data to the PCSB due to it being incorrect. He noted that in an effort to correct the truancy problem, the school has instituted the following steps: 1) hiring of a new compliance manager; 2) use of Powerschool; 3) reconciliation of tardy data; and 4) installation of the AlertNow system.
There was discussion about the school’s credibility and being accountable in submitting truancy and attendance data to the Board as required by the attendance and truancy policy. Ms. Bloomfield noted that in spite of everything, tardiness is still a problem and that moving forward the school must make every effort to adhere to the attendance and truancy policy and provide the student data to the PCSB. The school is asked to go back and report the 3rd quarter and 4th quarter data regardless of the inaccuracies.
Community Academy PCS – Rand Campus
School Representation Present: Ms. Maggie Grove, Academic Officer; Mr. M. Preston, Academic Leader
Ms. Maggie Grove reported that the 3rd quarter truancy problem at Community Academy – Rand Campus was due to inaccurate input of the data into OLAMS and monitoring. She stated that the school has taken interventions including reviewing cumulative and consecutive absences; incentives; increasing teacher awareness of truancy issues; and following up on excessive absences.
School Representation Present: Ms. Pearling Humbles, Instructional Coordinator; Mr. Lewis Jones, Dean of Students, and Dr. George Rutherford, Principal
Mr. Rutherford reported that the school has taken interventions to improve the truancy and attendance problems, such as 1) establishing an Attendance Committee to monitor patterns and trends by grade levels; 2) reviewing of previous Middle School records to put in place corrective action to counteract former behavior problems; 3) hiring a full time social worker to work with the students and parents; and 4) meeting with students and parents to intervene.
There being none, Mr. McKoy adjourned the meeting at 10:20 p.m.