Board Members in attendance: Mr. John “Skip” McKoy, Presiding; Mr. Don Soifer; Dr. Darren Woodruff; Ms. Sara Mead; Ms. Emily Bloomfield
Mr. Skip McKoy called the public meeting to order at 7:31pm.
Acknowledgement of Public Officials
No elected officials stood for recognition.
Approval of the Agenda
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for a motion to approve the Board’s agenda for the evening. Ms. Emily Bloomfield moved the motion and Mr. Don Soifer seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of the August Minutes
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the August meeting. Ms. Emily Bloomfield moved the motion and Ms. Sara Mead seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Skip McKoy mentioned that he, Mr. Don Soifer, Ms. Audrey Williams, and Mr. Jeremy Williams from staff accepted a check for $25,000 from the Apollo Group, the owners of the University of Phoenix, to be used towards the Charter Excellence Awards.
The contracts for August 2011 for more than $25,000 were received by the PCSB and accepted into the record.
School Oversight Committee- Request to Change Special Education Status- Shining Stars Montessori Academy Public Charter School
Representatives- Dana Clark, Executive Director; Malcolm Woodland, Board Chair
Ms. Theresa Garcia from staff introduced before the Board Shining Stars’ request to change from DCPS as their special education Local Education Agency, to being their own special education LEA.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked the representatives from the school if they wanted to add anything.
Ms. Dana Clark said that the school has always planned on being their own LEA, but that it was not until they were going over their plans that they realized that they had selected DCPS as their special education provider.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for questions.
Dr. Darren Woodruff stated that many of the charter schools are already their own special education provider, so Shining Stars asking to do so as well is not startling. He added that since the funds for special education have already been allocated to DCPS, would there be an issue in the school accessing those funds?
Ms. Dana Clark said that they plan on funding the special education program themselves right now and that they have only one identified student with and IEP out of 54 in their total population.
Ms. Sara Mead asked if the school feels confident that if other students are identified with disabilities that they would be able to fund their services out of pocket?
Ms. Dana Clark said yes and that they have budgeted generously to do just that.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked for details about services they have planned to offer.
Ms. Dana Clark said that they plan to offer, but are not limited to, occupational therapy, speech, and autism services.
Dr. Darren Woodruff moved to accept the request. Mr. Don Soifer seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
School Oversight Committee- Request to Approve 2012 Application Guidelines
Ms. Jackie Scott-English from staff introduced the request to approve the 2012 Application Guidelines before the Board.
Ms. Jackie Scott-English stated that the five major changes to the Application Guidelines include added language to address virtual learning schools, an extended public hearing process of four days from the two previously used, elimination of principal interviews, implementing a processing fee of $150, and moving the elements of the mission accomplishment plan into the educational plan. Applications to start a new charter school are due by February 1, 2012.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for questions.
Dr. Darren Woodruff commended the decision to increase the public hearing from two days to four days because it would offer the District community the opportunity to have as much access to information as possible.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield asked about student discipline and how the Board could make sure that schools are compliant with federal law and mindful of civil liberties, and if there is room for that in the application process.
Ms. Jackie Scott-English said that in the portion of the application that deals with operation plans, there is a section for the school’s discipline policies, and that currently in the guidelines they address the discipline piece and there are plans to issue more guidance from OSSE on the PCSB website.
Ms. Sara Mead said that she appreciates the work of staff on this as the process and the sector continue to evolve.
Mr. Skip McKoy wanted to add his congratulations to the staff and was curious if we are requiring that a curriculum needs to be fully adopted before approval in the education plan.
Ms. Jackie Scott-English answered that the law requires a timeline for the completion of the curriculum to be fully approved. As such, PCSB includes that requirement and asks applicants to provide an outline of the curriculum.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield asked if the staff has had feedback about the information we collect as to which is the predictor of our most successful schools.
Ms. Jackie Scott-English answered that she thinks the best predictors of success are governance capacity and a strong articulation of the school’s education plan.
Mr. Don Soifer moved to approve the Guidelines. Ms. Emily Bloomfield seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
School Oversight Committee- Request to Approve the Charter Review Criteria
Ms. Jackie Scott-English from staff introduced the request to approve the Charter Review criteria before the Board.
Ms. Jackie Scott-English stated that under the proposed Charter Review criteria, a standard school will be a candidate for revocation of its charter if its Performance Management Framework performance falls into any one of the following categories:
1. Performs in Tier III for three consecutive years;
2. Performs in Tier III and shows = 5 point decrease in academic score for two consecutive years; or
3. Scores 20 percentage points or below in the most recent year.
A non-standard school will be a candidate for revocation of its charter if it fails to:
1. Attain the majority of the academic performance goals listed in its accountability plan; or come within 90% of all missed academic performance goals on its accountability plan.
2. Perform within a minimum of 90% of its accountability plan attendance targets.
3. Maintain enrollment levels sufficient to sustain the economic viability of the school.
She went on to add that any school will still be a candidate for revocation of its charter if it:
1. Has engaged in a pattern of fiscal mismanagement or in a pattern of
non-adherence to generally accepted accounting principles;
2. Is no longer economically viable; or
3. Commits a violation of applicable law, or material violation of the
conditions, terms, standards, or procedures set forth in the charter,
including violations relating to the education of children with
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for questions.
Dr. Darren Woodruff stated for the record that he wanted to thank the staff for their work in the development of the process. He added that in the development of the process PCSB has invited school leaders, the Association of Chartered Public Schools, and FOCUS for their input. He went on to say that this accountability tool is the result of all of the stakeholders taking a look at what is a fair assessment, and that staff deserves credit for that.
Ms. Sara Mead said that she does not want to send an overly reassuring message to schools that if you are not low performing for three years that you are safe.
Ms. Jackie Scott-English referred Ms. Sara Mead to page six of the charter review document that PCSB reserves the right to revoke a school’s charter.
Mr. Skip McKoy said that for example you could have a Tier 1 school that was breaking the law or not being financially well run and still be shut down.
Ms. Jackie Scott-English said absolutely.
Ms Sara Mead moved to approve the charter review criteria. Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Meeting adjourned at 7:59pm.