Board members in attendance:
Mr. Brian Jones, Board Chair, Mr. John “Skip” McKoy, Vice-Chair, Dr. Darren Woodruff, Mr. Don Soifer, Mr. Will Marshall, Ms. Emily Bloomfield, Ms. Sara Mead, Mrs. Josephine Baker (ex-officio).
Mr. Brian Jones called the meeting to order at 7:39pm
Acknowledgement of Public Officials
No elected officials present.
Approval of the Agenda
Mr. Jones presented the proposed agenda for the January meeting. The agenda was approved, moved and seconded.
Approval of the December Minutes
Mr. Brian Jones presented the December minutes for approval. Mr. Will Marshall moved the motion, and it was seconded by Mr. Skip McKoy. The motion was approved by all Board members present. The December minutes were approved.
The contracts for January 2011 for more than $25,000 were received by the PCSB and were read and accepted into the record.
School Oversight Committee-Early Childhood PMF Task Force
Mr. Brian Jones asked Ms. Marissa Mikoy of the staff and Pruitt Allorman; DC Prep, Abraham Claymon; KIPP DC, and Katherine Kennedy; Two Rivers of the Early Childhood PMF Task Force to present their recommendations.
Before presenting their recommendations, Ms. Allorman informed the Board that she was thankful for the experience of being able to work on the Task Force, and that in her opinion, the final three meetings of the Task Force were the most productive.
Ms. Kennedy then presented the Task Force’s recommendations in the areas of student progress, student achievement, attendance, and mission specific measures. The Task Force decided to break the framework out by different grade spans (preschool through kindergarten and first throughsecond grade) because student assessments are vastly different at these age spans. The Task Force also decided to choose domains from the DC Early Learning Standards as areas to measure student performance for preschool and prek and decided to use the Common Core Standards for K-2nd grade because the State Board of Education adopted them in July of 2010.
Board members thanked Task Force members for their recommendations and commended them for their work. The
Board took no action on the Task Force’s recommendations during the January meeting.
School Representatives: Rodney McBride, Principal; Michael Durso, Board President; and Tiffany Godbout, Executive Director
Ms. Charlotte Cureton from staff introduced the request to the Board, and stated that Hospitality Public Charter School (Hospitality) is in its twelfth (12) year of operation. Its mission is to provide students with an excellent educational program designed to promote success in college and the hospitality industry.
Based on the analysis of the fifth year accountability plan performance in January, 2010, Hospitality met the non-academic, governance, compliance and financial performance standards for the Charter Review. The school did not meet the academic performance standards; therefore, the school was a candidate for charter revocation. The school was subsequently issued a Notice of Conditional Continuance on January 27, 2010, which was based on the charter performance for 2004/2005 through 2008/2009.
There were six (6) conditions to be met in order for the Notice of Conditional Continuance to be lifted in a year’s time.
The PCSB review revealed that six (6) of the six (6) conditions have been addressed, making Hospitality Public Charter School a candidate for charter continuance.
Ms. Godbout remarked that Hospitality had worked very hard to meet their six conditions to lift conditional continuance. Board members commended them for rising to the challenge.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked Hospitality what they were planning on doing to keep making future progress. Mr. McBride discussed the school’s plans for extending the school day, and staff and student individual development plans to continue making progress.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield asked about the school’s continuity of leadership. Ms. Godbout responded that most of the school’s leadership team had been in place for years, and that half of them had been with the school since its founding.
Mr. Will Marshall moved to grant full continuance. The motion was seconded by Mr. Skip McKoy and was carried by the full Board.
School Oversight Committee-Request to Lift Conditional Continuance
School Representatives: Andrea Shorter, Treasurer; John Goldman, CFO; Marco McMillan, Board Chair; Robin Bramwell-Stewart, Secretary; Maia McLarney, Executive Director; and Mary Robbins, Upper School Principal
Ms. Charlotte Cureton from staff introduced the request to the Board, stating that William E. Doar, Jr. Public Charter School for the Performing Arts (WEDJ) is in its seventh (7th) year of operation and currently enrolls six hundred sixty-four (664) students on two campuses from grades Pre-Kgn to twelve (12). Based on last year’s Charter Review SY 2004/2005 through 2008/2009 performance, the 2009 analyses of WEDJ‘s accountability plan and organizational performance showed that the school did not meet the PCSB’s academic performance standards (1 of 3), the school met PCSB’s non-academic standards (3 of 4), organizational performance standards for governance (6 of 7), organizational performance standards for compliance (7 of 7), and organizational performance standards for finance (4 of 5). Based on this performance, the PCSB issued a Notice of Conditional Continuance to WEDJ on April 19, 2010.
The eight (8) conditions cited in order for the Notice of Conditional Continuance to be lifted in a year’s time are:
1. Achieve a 10% point increase in DCCAS performance on each campus and in both elementary and secondary programs.
2. Achieve 92% or above attendance each month from September through December, 2010.
3. Develop a plan to provide timely and adequate supplies and curricula material to each campus and in both the elementary and secondary programs.
4. Develop a plan of procedures, which include best practices, to ensure all graduating seniors meet OSSE standards for all mandated Carnegie Units.
5. Achieve 80% ‘adequate” (or PCSB equivalent) or above ratings on the fall, 2010 Program Development Review (PDR) for each campus. The fall PDR will separate the secondary and elementary programs ratings.
6. Submit a plan to address the seven (7) material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting and compliance as disclosed in the FY 09 Audit.
7. Submit a plan to address the seven (7) material weaknesses in internal control over major reporting federal programs as disclosed in the FY 09 Audit.
8. The PCSB Business Department will arrange a review of the school’s financial reporting, internal controls and fiscal prudence by December, 2010.
PCSB found that of the eight (8) conditions set, five (5), which were academic were not met, but that the three (3) fiscal management conditions were met. making William E. Doar, Jr. Public Charter School for the Performing Arts a candidate for charter revocation.Evidence showed that while the school did not meet the conditions for charter continuance, it failed to do so largely based on the performance of the high school. The lower school, however,has shown significant improvement on the DCCAS, in attendance and in instructional delivery.
The Board asked Mr. Jeremy Williams from staff to present a more detailed briefing into the financial situation of the school and stated that the school’s fiscal situation is adequate as of November 2010.
Ms. McLarney gave an update to the Board on the school’s statistical gains and stated that the lower school has been performing well and meeting their targets, while the upper school was not and dragging down the statistical performance of the lower school.
Mr. McMillan informed the Board that the WEDJ board voted to focus on K-8 instruction and terminate the upper school, effective August 30, 2011.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked the school’s representatives how the closing of the upper school would allow for more of a focus on the lower school. Ms. Bramwell-Stewart said that it would allow the school to return to a greater focus on the performing arts and development within the school culture.
Mr. Will Marshall asked how the school would be able to move forward financially after closing down the upper school. Mr. Goldman gave a brief overview of the school’s debts and operating costs, and discussed the situation with their creditors, and believes that the school can have their debt restructured and come to a new lease agreement with the property owner. He stated that restructuring the debt, a new lease agreement, and an increased enrollment ceiling will allow the school to address any lost revenue from terminating the upper school.
Mrs. Josephine Baker asked how the school’s focus on the performing arts would help student performance moving forward. Ms. Robbins answered that the arts program was fully integrated into the rest of the curriculum, and that the school is committed to academic growth alongside arts development. Ms. Bramwell-Stewart added that the school has various performing arts groups and touring companies, and there are certain academic requirements to be able to participate in them.
Mr. Don Soifer asked how many of the school’s seniors plan to graduate this year. Ms. Robbins answered that fifteen of the eighteen are set to graduate. The other three are struggling, but are being worked with staff to meet their graduation requirements.
Mr. Don Soifer asked what sort of timeframe the school was looking at to renegotiate with their creditors. Mr. Goldman stated that the answer depends wholly on the outcome of tonight’s Board meeting, and that they are fully prepared to go to their creditors the next day to begin renegotiating, and that they believe the creditors will renegotiate because it is in their best financial interests as well.
Mrs. Josephine Baker asked what would happen if their creditors would not renegotiate. Mr. Goldman said that then they would be forced to look for more efficiencies and make more adjustments, but that they are confident that they will be able to renegotiate with their creditors.
Ms. Sara Mead noted that the lower school’s achievement is still lacking, and wondered what, if any, issues there are around student retention. Ms. Robbins answered that their assessments and data point to continued growth, and that retention in younger grades is easier than in older grades.
Mr. Don Soifer asked how the school would adapt their education plan to the influx of new students. Ms. Robbins answered that the school would do more interviews with families to inform them about the school’s culture and expectations.
Mr. Will Marshall stated that the Board’s choice is either to revoke the school’s charter or extend conditional continuance to show that they can achieve their financial goals. Mr. Brian Jones agreed and added that it would be good to hear from the school on a monthly basis with an update on their progress in meeting their goals.
Mr. Will Marshall moved that conditional continuance be extended for four months to be reviewed again based on the school’s ability to meet their financial obligations. Dr. Woodruff seconded and the motion was carried 5-2. Ms. Mead and Ms. Bloomfield opposed.
Mr. Brian Jones opened the floor for public comment.
Mr. Robert Cane, Executive Director of FOCUS, and Ms. Naomi DeVeaux, Director of School Quality of FOCUS, came forward to discuss the Performance Management Framework (PMF).
Mr. Cane said that he had approached the Board members in a spirit of collaboration but now has learned that the PMF advisory committee is limited only to schools. He believes that the decision to exclude FOCUS is unwise since FOCUS has expertise in data, charter law, and would be able to speak on behalf of, and bring the perspective of, all charter schools.
Dr. Darren Woodruff says that there was no intention to exclude anyone, just that it is important for schools to be able to speak on their own behalf.
Mr. Skip McKoy said that it is valuable to have input from all stakeholders but took issue that all stakeholders must be present at every meeting.
Mr. Don Soifer said that he appreciates FOCUS’s contribution, but that they do not need to be present in every meeting.
Mr. Cane reiterates his request that FOCUS be included in the meetings.
Dr. Darren Woodruff says that FOCUS should have as much confidence in the Board as it wants the Board to have confidence in FOCUS, and that they should be confident that their input will be heard and considered.
Mr. Brian Jones asked the chair of the Schools Oversight Committee to work with outside stakeholders to gather their additional input for the PMF.
Mr. Brian Jones adjourned the meeting at 10:18pm