Board Members in attendance: Mr. Brian Jones (chair); Mr. John “Skip” McKoy; Mr. Don Soifer; Dr. Darren Woodruff; Ms. Sara Mead
Mr. Brian Jones called the public meeting to order at 7:37pm.
Acknowledgement of Public Officials
No elected officials stood for recognition.
Approval of the Agenda
Mr. Brian Jones asked for a motion to approve the Board’s agenda for the evening. Dr. Darren Woodruff moved the motion and Ms. Sara Mead seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of the July Minutes
Mr. Brian Jones asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the July meeting. Mr. Don Soifer moved the motion and Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
The contracts for June 2011 for more than $25,000 were received by the PCSB and were read and accepted into the record.
School Oversight Committee- Request to Approve Accountability Plan- Community Academy Public Charter School
Representatives- Kent Amos, Founder and Chief Executive Officer; Sadia White, Chief Academic Officer
Ms. Kimberly Worthington from staff introduced before the Board Community Academy Public Charter School’s proposed accountability plan for the 2010-2011 school year. The academic targets for the proposed plan, which are aligned to the PMF indicators -- student progress, student achievement, leading indicators and mission specific – align with the District of Columbia Early Learning and Learning standards.
Mr. Brian Jones asked for questions or comments.
Dr. Darren Woodruff thanked the school for taking the time to work with PCSB to improve the plan.
Mr. Brian Jones also offered his thanks to the school.
Dr. Darren Woodruff moved to accept the accountability plan. Mr. Skip McKoy seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Schools Oversight Committee- Request to Operate in a New Location- Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School (LAMB)
Representatives- Cristina Encinas, Principal; Laure Fleming; Assistant Principal; Beth Handy Parent/Resident; Timothy Thomas, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5A; Marvin Owens, Pastor of Michigan Park Christian Church
Ms. Theresa Garcia from staff introduced before the Board LAMB’s request to operate a new site in the Michigan Park Christian Church at 1600 Taylor Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20017. The site is located in Ward 5 and will accommodate 80-100 preschool and prekindergarten students..
Mr. Brian Jones asked for questions or comments.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked if this is a temporary location.
Ms. Cristina Encinas answered that it is, and that they are looking for a larger location in Northwest.
Mr. Don Soifer asked Mr. Timothy Thomas if he had any thoughts.
Mr. Timothy Thomas answered that nobody in his ANC was made aware of LAMB’s move into the neighborhood until PCSB sent out a notice to ANC’s, and that Ward 5 does not need another new charter school. Mr. Timothy Thomas added that there are issues with too many students in the neighborhood currently, which leads to too many cars parking illegally in the neighborhood, and that he does not believe that it is feasible for LAMB to move into the proposed location. He also added that there are other schools in the area and that they can offer the same type of program that LAMB does, and that the space is not fit for a school.
Mr. Timothy Thomas added that there was a charter school at that same location before and that it failed. He added that with the traffic from the other schools in the neighborhood, the hospital, Howard Divinity School, and churches, the traffic situation becomes extremely problematic.
Ms. Beth Handy stated that she was told there would not be any room for open enrollment at the school until 2014.
Ms. Laure Fleming responded that she cannot speak to everything that Mr. Timothy Thomas has said, but that she takes issue that other schools in the area offer the same program. She stated that LAMB is only one of three schools in the country that offer this kind of bilingual, Montessori program. Further, the space, contrary to what Mr. Timothy Thomas argued, is appropriate for children. It has classrooms designed for kids and made to feel homey, and has a playground.
Ms. Laure Fleming continued by saying that LAMB was not aware that there would be a problem moving into the new space because other schools and programs have operated there before. She went on to say that if schools operating there previously have failed, perhaps it had more to do with the school and not the location. She added that LAMB has a track record of success and there will be open spaces at the school for students as of next year.
Mr. Brian Jones asked if there was outreach done to the community by LAMB.
Ms. Cristina Encinas responded that there are a number of residents who are happy that LAMB is moving into the neighborhood.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked if LAMB did any outreach or advertising to that neighborhood that the school would be opening.
Ms. Cristina Encinas answered that LAMB did not advertise until they had received word that they had secured the site, and then advertised to parents once they did. She also added that the school has no control over who attends since there is a lottery process for admissions.
Rev. Marvin Owens said that the relationship that his church (where the school will be housed) has with the school is through Building Hope. He added that his church wants to be responsive to the community’s needs, and that he does not want to take sides, but that he believes that Building Hope did their due diligence with vetting the school for the space, and that LAMB has a great reputation.
Rev. Martin Owens went on to add that LAMB has a sub-lease with Building Hope and that numerous schools have occupied the space.
Ms. Cristina Encinas offered to open the school more to the neighborhood and that LAMB promises to be respectful of the community and to be open to its needs.
Mr. Timothy Thomas said that the church might be excited about LAMB, but that the community is not, and that the move to this location at this time is simply not feasible. He also stated that he believes that there will not be any residents of Ward 5 attending the school.
Dr. Darren Woodruff pointed out that charter schools are all open enrollment and that he is sure that there are at least some Ward 5 students at the school, the question is whether there are available slots.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked Mr. Timothy Thomas if his concern is that once the school moves in there won’t be slots for students in the neighborhood.
Mr. Timothy Thomas said it is that and the parking situation.
Mr. Brian Jones wanted to know more about the parking situation. He said that there was a school there prior to LAMB, and wanted to know what the parking situation was like when the other school was there.
Ms. Beth Handy answered saying that drivers who come into the neighborhood block the cars of the residents who live there, and that adding another charter school only adds to these problems.
Rev. Martin Owens said that Ms. Beth Handy’s concerns are valid but that the right time to make those concerns known was before now. He added that the church has no dog in the fight, only that they want to hear from the community.
Mr. Brian Jones said that charter schools are very much part of the communities that they are located in, and that the schools need to make sure that they are good neighbors and that they reach out to the community.
Mr. Don Soifer asked about drop off and pick up procedures at the new location.
Ms. Cristina Encinas answered saying that the students at the school will be very young children and that parents will pickup and drop them off at the school. She added that since it is a new location that has not been used by them, they cannot speak to all of the logistics.
Ms. Cristina Encinas added that LAMB has a slightly different schedule than the District of Columbia Public Schools, so that there are likely not to be many conflicts with the transportation plans of the DCPS schools in the neighborhood. She also said that she would be willing to sit with the ANC and neighbors to facilitate pickup of children.
Ms Laure Fleming said that at LAMB’s current location, they have worked with the Safe Routes to School organization because they want to be respectful of the neighborhood and are concerned for the safety of the kids.
Ms. Cristina Encinas said that she would be open to sharing in the Safe Routes to School programs with other schools in the neighborhood.
Mr. Don Soifer asked if LAMB staff has street parking at the site.
Ms. Cristina Encinas answered that she is not sure.
Mr. Timothy Thomas said that he wants the school to come before the community and answer their questions.
Ms. Cristina Encinas said that she is willing to do that.
Mr. Brian Jones said that he thinks that the Board has a clear sense of the problems here and LAMB’s desire on what to do to move forward.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked when their school year starts.
Ms. Cristina Encinas said August 29.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked what happens if LAMB does not receive approval tonight.
Ms. Cristina Encinas said that she does not know. They have 80 students who would not have a place to go to school.
Ms. Sara Mead moved to approve the request. Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded.
Mr. Brian Jones asked for questions.
Mr. Skip McKoy brought up that this is a good example of why a charter school is supposed to meet with the ANC. Charter schools need to communicate with the community beforehand so that issues like this might be addressed. He went on to state that he is conflicted since LAMB is a great school, but that he feels due process is owed to the community.
Dr. Darren Woodruff said that whatever the outcome of the vote, he strongly urges LAMB to follow-up with the community and that they learn their lessons.
The motion passed unanimously.
School Oversight Committee- Request to Operate in a Temporary Location- AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School
Representatives- Russ Williams, Executive Director; Jack McCarthy, Board Chair.
Ms. Rashida Kennedy from staff introduced before the Board AppleTree’s request to operate their Lincoln Park campus at a temporary site, located at 222 8th ST NE, Washington DC 20003. This site is at the Parish of St. Monica and St. James, Capitol Hill located less than one half mile from the permanent campus. They were given Board approval in December 2009 to open the Lincoln Park site. Due to delayed construction, the building will not be ready until September 16th, thus rendering need for a temporary location. Enrolled families have been notified.
Mr. Brian Jones asked if the school has informed the ANC of their permanent move.
Mr. Russ Williams answered that they have, and that in December of 2010, the ANC agreed to no longer disapprove of their plan.
Mr. Brian Jones asked how far the temporary space is from the permanent one.
Mr. Jack McCarthy said four blocks.
Mr. Brian Jones asked for a motion.
Dr. Darren Woodruff moved to accept the request to operate in a temporary location. Mr. Don Soifer seconded. The motion passed unanimously. Mr. Skip McKoy recused himself from the vote.
School Oversight Committee- Request for Full Approval of Application to Establish a Public Charter School- Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) Career Academy
Ms. Charlotte Cureton from staff introduced before the Board LAYC’s request for full charter approval to operate a charter school in a facility at 3500 14th Street NW for the 2012-2013 school year.
Mr. Brian Jones asked for a motion.
Dr. Darren Woodruff moved to grant full approval. Mr. Skip McKoy seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
School Oversight Committee- Request for Full Approval of Application to Establish a Public Charter School- BASIS DC
Representatives- Mary Siddall, Chairman of the Committee to Bring BASIS to DC; Nick Fleege, Director of New School Development; Dave Hedgepeth, Committee to Bring BASIS to DC; Melanie Park, Committee to Bring BASIS to DC
Ms. Susan Miller from staff introduced before the board BASIS DC’s request for full charter approval to operate a charter school for the 2012-2013 school year. .
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked for someone to walk the Board through their proposed curricular alignment with DC standards.
Mr. Nick Fleege said that every year teachers audit the syllabi to make sure that they are meeting standards and that he believes that the sample syllabi meets those goals already. He further added that although the syllabi might be tweaked or altered, it will always meet standards.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked if the tweaking process happens before and after the school opens.
Mr. Nick Fleege said that yes, it is proactive and reactive and that teachers pour over the syllabi and make changes.
Ms. Sara Mead asked when teachers are hired.
Mr. Nick Fleege said that interviews for teachers begin in October and that offer letters are likely to go out in February.
Mr. Brian Jones asked if they have identified a facility but not secured one.
Mr. Nick Fleege said that they have identified a building but need to be granted the charter to be given the building.
Dr. Darren Woodruff moved for full approval. Mr. Skip McKoy seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Nick Fleege from BASIS DC thanked PCSB staff for all of their work.
Meeting adjourned at 8:37pm