DC Public Charter School Board
Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School
1100 Harvard St., NW
Washington, DC 20009
Board Members in attendance: Mr. John “Skip” McKoy; Mr. Don Soifer; Dr. Darren Woodruff; Ms. Emily Bloomfield; Mr. Scott Pearson (ex-officio)
Mr. Skip McKoy called the public hearing to order at 6:41pm
Acknowledgement of Public Officials
No elected officials were present.
Approval of the December Minutes
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for a motion to approve the December minutes. Mr. Don Soifer moved the motion and Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of the Agenda
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for a motion to approve the agenda for the evening. Mr. Don Soifer moved the motion and Ms. Emily Bloomfield seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Skip McKoy read the contracts for January 2012 for more than $25,000 that were received by the PCSB and were read and accepted into the record.
School Oversight Committee- Charter Reviews
Mr. Skip McKoy said that the Board worked with charter schools and the charter community on the creating the Performance Management Framework (PMF) and that it proved a very fruitful experience. He added that according to the law the Board has authority to authorize and close charter schools, and that there are things that fall outside of the PMF that the PCSB can still take action on.
School Oversight Committee- Charter Review- Education Strengthens Families Public Charter School
Representatives: Christie McKay, Executive Director; June Confer, Board Chair; Lorie Preheim, Academic Dean; Karen Hertzler, Director of Development and Accountability; Lisa Luceno, Director of Early Childhood Programs.
Dr. Jackie Boddie from staff introduced ESF before the board and recommended them for charter continuance.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked the school if they had any comments.
Ms. Christie McKay said that there school, is like many charter schools, and is interested in looking for space. They are currently in a building in Ward 4 and two in Ward 1. She added that ESF has developed a succession plan and is working on a plan to recruit board members.
Ms. June Confer said that while Ms. Christie McKay has spoken about the need for more space, the school’s mission says that they are culturally sensitive to the students that come to them. So while it would be wonderful that they could be considered for a new building, they feel that they meet the needs of their students by being where they are. She added that concerning succession, they are thinking of adding two new board members and that they have just brought on a new board member who was on the board of a KIPP school in Texas.
Mr. Don Soifer said that there are a lot of things important to the PCSB Board that do not register in the PMF. It struck him that in the spring of 2009 ESF had a PDR and again in 2011, and that the results showed that they improved remarkably. He asked what happened between then and now to account for the success.
Ms. June Confer said that through the structuring of their board as committees, there has been active involvement by board members and that they have been supportive of staff when they have brought them information. She added that when the staff feels supported with what they have been asked to do, they will do better and when the board knows what is going on they will ask more informed questions.
Ms. Lori Preheim said that there is an emphasis on retention and academic development and that assists in a strong academic environment for students.
Ms. Lisa Luceno said that they have seen positive improvements in the preschool in staff and space.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for a motion to approve. Mr. Don Soifer moved the motion and Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
School Oversight Committee- Charter Review- Howard Road Academy Public Charter School
Representatives: Dr. Marva Tutt, Chief Academic Officer; Dr. Nicole Garcia, Head of School; Dr. Latrice Hicks, Director of Accountability; Chrystal Jones, Board Member; Mr. Allen Blessing, Head of School.
Ms. Theresa Garcia from staff introduced the matter before the Board and recommended them as a candidate for charter continuance.
Mr. Skip McKoy said that reviewing the report several issues pop up, including the school’s low reenrollment rate, high teacher attrition rate and academic performance.
Dr. Marva Tutt says that in her professional opinion, decline was due to a low academic focus and lack of clear standards as well as low teacher and low leader expectations. She said that new vision is poorly articulated to staff and that routines cannot be learned before new policies are put into place. She added that rurnaround efforts include realignment of the school’s three campuses.
Dr. Marva Tutt went on to say that the school will have focus on STEM and that they will focus on new textbook adoption. They will also be working to align with the common core standards.
Dr. Darren Woodruff congratulated them on their summary of improvements. He went on to say that in his experience it is usually a struggle on the Board’s end to even have a struggling school acknowledge that they are struggling let alone addressing them. He asked when these changes will start.
Dr. Marva Tutt said that the change starts now and that it will be fully implemented in the 2012-2013 school year.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked if this has been shared with PCSB staff.
Dr. Marva Tutt said that she can share it with Ms. Theresa Garcia.
Mr. Don Soifer asked if they could speak to the terms of their contract with the charter management organization Mosaica.
Ms. Chrystal Jones said that Mosaica is the management company that runs the day to day operations of the school.
Mr. Don Soifer asked if she can speak to the satisfaction of that contract.
Ms. Chrystal Jones said that it is Howard Road’s desire to self manage. As much as Mosaica has taught them, they would rather take the money they use to pay them to use it on children.
Mr. Don Soifer asked if they have a timeframe on turning management over back to them.
Ms. Chrystal Jones said that they have signed a new two-year contract with Mosaica and hope to begin the transition in a year. They want to self manage, but they will not do anything that would jeopardize the students.
Mr. Don Soifer asked if they could speak on the teacher attrition rate.
Dr. Marva Tutt said that the attrition has been across the board and that they are working on having teachers in hard to staff areas and to provide them with stipends as well as to recruit teachers who are fresh out of college.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked about the factors that have lead to the high attrition rate.
Dr. Marva Tutt said that she feels that is a lack of communication and that some teachers feel like they are spinning their wheels.
Mr. Don Soifer asked about moving the 8th grade campus to MLK campus and whether or not there was any space for it.
Dr. Marva Tutt said yes there is and that currently the space is too small for both 7th and 8th grade.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield asked Dr. Marva Tutt if she was employed by Mosaica or with Howard Road.
Dr. Marva Tutt said that she was interviewed by Mosaica, but that she works for Howard Road.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield asked about turnover of students.
Dr. Marva Tutt said that they want to move forward on a communications plan with parents to create a two-way street of communication and that they want to provide incentives to keep parents in place. Incentives like the STEM program.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield asked about their main campus being in Tier 3. She said that if they are in this ranking two years in a row it puts them in a problematic situation. Do they have any response?
Dr. Marva Tutt said that she converted a charter school in Augusta, GA that was in danger of shut down and believes that she can turn Howard Road around as well.
Mr. Skip McKoy said to Ms. Chrystal Jones the school has had five leaders in five years. He asked what makes them think that now they are on the right path.
Ms. Chrystal Jones answered that change needs to be gradual. She said that she she believes in Howard Road Academy and that she has a student there now and graduated another student from there who is currently an honors student.
Dr. Darren Woodruff encouraged them to keep in close contact with their performance officer.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for a motion.
Dr. Darren Woodruff moved to grant continuance and Mr. Don Soifer seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
School Oversight Committee- Charter Review- Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School (LAMB)
Representatives: Barrie Lynn Tapia, Board Chair; Diane Cottman, Executive Director; Cristina Encinas, Principal; Laure Fleming, Assistant Principal; Dick Ertzinger, Chief Financial Officer.
Ms. Theresa Garcia from staff introduced the matter before the Board and recommended charter continuance, but added that LAMB has some compliance issues that need to be addressed. They are operating grades 4 and 5 outside of their charter.
Ms. Barrie Lynn Tapia said that LAMB operates a surplus and would not need additional funds to meet the changes made in the charter request to be in compliance with their charter.
Ms. Dianne Cottman said that PCSB staff has not yet seen the amendment they are drafting to bring LAMB into compliance and that they need to resubmit it.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked when they first learned that they were not in compliance with their charter.
Ms. Diane Cottman said they learned of it in October. She said that her school blew it and that they thought that their contract was only through third grade and that they thought that they could make adjustments through the life of their contract. She said that she wants to do anything they can to remain in compliance.
Dr. Darren Woodruff said that we should have caught it earlier ourselves, congratulated them on their high score on the PMF, and asked what their secret is.
Ms. Diane Cottman said they hired Ms. Laure Fleming their new assistant principal.
Ms. Laure Fleming said that she thinks it is important to say that it is the natural progression of education as montessorians. They have also increased the professionalism and expertise of their teachers.
Mr. Don Soifer said that when last they spoke they were transitioning to a new campus and how that is going.
Ms Cristina Encinas said that they are doing ok. They have had an open house with the neighborhood, but because it snowed, it was a no-show.
Mr. Skip McKoy added his congratulations on their academic performance. He said that he has two points. His first is that staff reviews all school charters to make sure that all schools are in compliance. Second, in asking for a vote, the only vote they can have is to table this tonight until there is a new charter.
The Board agreed to table the vote.
School Oversight Committee- Charter Review-Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy Public Charter School
Representatives: Linda McKay, Executive Director; Jubria Lewis, Principal; Jean-Basile Nguetta, Language/ELL Coordinator; Jamie Wyche, SPED Coordinator; Valerie Smith, Board Chair
Ms. Carolyn Trice from staff introduced the matter before the Board and recommended the school as a candidate for charter continuance.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked if they could address the accreditation of the upper grades and the reading and math performance.
Ms. Linda McKay said that they are going to apply to the American Academy for Liberal Education for their upper grade accreditation. The reason for the wait is because of a lack of facility.
Principal Jubria Lewis said that they use the Metropolitan 8 assessment to measure reading, math, science and social science. Being an open enrollment school they take in some students who are testing two or three grade levels behind. They target this with Saturday academies and differentiated instruction. Administration wanted to make sure that teachers know how to gleam info from the Metropolitan 8 to design lessons.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked if their 60% target is too high of a goal.
Ms. Linda McKay said that it is not and that they are still pondering why they missed their targets. They cannot give a good sound reason as to why their test scores did not meet their expectations. She suspects that independent variables such as novice teachers and new administrators had something to do with it.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked if they feel they need even more restructuring than they have described.
Ms. Linda McKay said that they feel that they are on an upswing, evaluated their curriculum, taken the school improvement process seriously, and looked at teacher quality and professional development. She added that they were remiss in not doing enough in monitoring. They have also implemented block scheduling. All students have art, music, and physical education. Fifth graders also take Spanish and Latin.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked them to stay in close contact.
Mr. Don Soifer asked them about the support the school provides for instructors besides professional development.
Ms. Linda McKay said that there are collaboration meetings and that in the past they have had expert teachers come back and provide feedback to teachers.
Principal Jubria Lewis said that they are using the book Visible Learning to drive teacher performance. This includes using immediate feedback of teachers from coaching and observation within the classroom, also adding that currently 80% of staff are in a masters or doctorate program.
Mr. Don Soifer said that there is a gap in his information in if they have a safe and orderly learning environment.
Ms. Linda McKay said that they have a loving, safe and orderly environment.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for a motion.
Mr. Don Soifer moved to grant continuance and Ms. Emily Bloomfield seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
School Oversight Committee- Charter Review- Perry Street Preparatory Academy Public Charter School
Representatives: Shadwick Jenkins, Head of School; William Artise, High School Principal; Horace Franklin, Elementary School Principal; Chante Ford, Director of Special Education; Eileen Harrington, Board Member.
Ms. Charlotte Cureton from staff introduced the matter before the Board and recommended them as a candidate for charter continuance. She stated that since Perry Street Prep converted from Hyde PCS, they cannot use Hyde’s accreditation, so they must begin the process of accreditation again, which they have done. While the PCSB staff recommends for continuance there are some areas of concern. When the school submitted the charter amendment to dissolve Hyde, the amendment included language on academic excellence, but their PDR showed them that they do not rate exemplary.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked the school to speak about their achievement.
Mr. Shadwick Jenkins said that after their PDR they created a comprehensive action plan for the board to review. He stated that they want to attribute their turnover rate in part towards their move to a new location. There is now a focus on daily meetings among teachers to come up with best practices to take back to classrooms.
Mr. Shadwick Jenkins added that another idea that they have put in place is an electronic program to provide feedback to staff and that develops individual professional development. They also have a new teacher orientation program.
Mr. Shadwick Jenkins went on to say that he also wants teachers to be able to talk to him so that they can be a part of the planning process, to grow them, and to help in moving instruction. This helps them to also feel valued and to improve morale. He said that as for curriculum they have conferred with their board and made sure that they have pacing, resources, standards and assessments. They have also embedded into their structure an intervention bloc.
Mr. Horace Franklin said that there has been equipment failure and trouble uploading information and that they have moved to a laptop based system where teachers can upload their information and have had extensive training in how to use this.
Mr. Horace Franklin said that they try to meet their kids where they are. They are also looking at the attendance piece and working with parents to let them know that kids need to come to school and to address tardiness. They also bring parents in once a month and have a principal’s coffee every other week.
Mr. Shadwick Jenkins said that they are focusing on using data to drive instruction.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield asked if they can speak to the recent turnover in administration, and said that last time the school was before the Board there was division as to the direction of the school and if that is having any sort of impact on the implementation of their mission.
Ms. Eileen Harrington said that they had a succession plan in place and that they learned this year that their principal did not plan on staying on next year. Similarly they extended the contract of their head of school for a year and had Mr. Jenkins train with him a year. They had a plan in place and the reason they executed it sooner was because of the PDR and because they think there were areas that deserved more attention but were not given it.
Mr. Shadwick Jenkins said that in terms of the division in the school community, there are a lot of parents who are giving them an opportunity to prove themselves and if they do not see results they will pull their kids out. There are some teachers who left Hyde who are looking to come back because they like what they are seeing.
Ms. Eileen Harrington said that they also took to heart the feedback that PCSB Board gave to their board. Their board of trustees are more significantly engaged with the parent community. This is the first year that she can remember not receiving angry emails from board members.
Dr. Darren Woodruff said that there are not many schools of a single campus that span preschool to twelfth grade. He asked if they have a sense of their areas of strength relative to grade levels or if having so many grade levels is disadvantageous.
Ms. Eileen Harrington said that one of their strengths is to take high performers in lower grades and offer them more challenging classes in the upper grade. There are also older role models to the younger kids which is strength.
Mr. Horace Franklin said that they have an aftercare program where two high school students work.
Mr. Skip McKoy said that he thinks that there is a lot to be encouraged about by their school. Even though they are now going to vote on continuance, the school cannot rest. He asked for a motion.
Mr. Don Soifer moved to grant charter continuance and Ms. Emily Bloomfield seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Scott Pearson said that the recommends that since the school missed all of their targets on their lower school accountability plan that the Board reassess the school this time next year.
The Board agreed.
School Oversight Committee- Charter Review- Roots Public Charter School
Representatives: Gilda Sherrod-Ali, Board Chair; Winifred Wright, Director of Program Compliance; Bernida Thompson, Founding Principal; Roseanna Nwaogu, Chief Financial Officer.
Ms. Susan Miller from staff introduced the matter before the Board and recommended that they be granted charter continuance. She did add however there are concerns that the school has not enrolled SPED students since 2008-2009. Due to that, the Board will conduct an intensive SPED compliance review and report back six months.
Mr. Skip McKoy said that there are several things that he would like the school to respond to. These are the missed targets in the accountability plan, curriculum plan and the IEP concern.
Ms. Bernida Thompson said that the accountability plan was for preschool-2nd grade. The preschool and prek did magnificently well. They had targets that were met in September because they stay with the teacher for more than one year. So when the spring came around and they again met the target, but that brought their score down because it showed them not making progress even though they were all meeting the target. So this year they have more targets.
For first and second graders they wrote the targets for the SRA mastery tests but the school tested students on Plato tests at the end of the year.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked again about the IEP issue.
Ms. Winifred Wright said that the issue is misleading. They have had students in the past with IEPs. They’ve tested students in the past and had the results come back that they were not eligible for an IEP. She added that DCPS is their LEA for SPED.
It appears that they just threw out one of their students, but the student transferred out and the other had their parent stop the testing.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked how many students they have enrolled.
Ms. Winifred Wright said 120 students.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked if they could confirm that since 2009 they have only had five students with an IEP.
Ms. Winifred Wright answered yes.
Mr. Skip McKoy said that seems low.
Ms. Winifred Wright said more than 5 have been tested even though only five have been identified to have an IEP.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked is staff trained in testing this.
Ms. Winifred Wright said they have a contract in place for a special education teacher so that they can service the student if need be.
Ms. Sherrod-Ali said that they have an instructor and do not like to label students and that they have an inclusive system. Roots has a curriculum that is not for everyone but that they welcome anyone to come in.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked if the open space model or curriculum serves to dissuade parents from enrolling.
Ms. Winifred Wright said that is a possibility and that they have had a parents in the past feel that the school did not meet their needs because of their classroom model.
Dr. Darren Woodruff asked if anything in their application asks about disability.
Ms. Winifred Wright answered no.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield said that it is germane for all charter schools because representation of students with disabilities in schools is a core concern for the Board and that it is something we need to be mindful of.
Mr. Scott Pearson added that PCSB should revisit this when the review is complete in September or October.
Mr. Skip McKoy wanted to reiterate how important it is to the whole charter community that we be seen as an accessible community.
Mr. Don Soifer moved for continuance and Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
School Oversight Committee- Charter Review- St. Coletta Special Education Public Charter School
Representatives: Beth Pierce, Board Chair; Janice Corazza, Principal; Donna O’Meara, Director of Admissions.
Mr. Clarence Parks from staff introduced the matter before the Board and noted that because of their SPED population, St. Coletta has their own PMF. Mr. Clarence Parks recommended them for charter continuance.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked the school if they would like to respond.
Ms. Janice Corazza thanked the Board for their support.
Ms. Beth Pierce said that they will work on creating their own succession plan even if that includes outside help from a consultant. As to oversight of management, the board has high expectations and the management has generally met those expectations.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked to what they account for their high performance.
Ms. Janice Corazza said that it has to do with the vision of the school and increased parent engagement and critiques. There has also been extensive staff development though it can use more focus. She added that there is also a high expectation from staff.
Mr. Don Soifer said that too often when we talk about SPED about compliance and quantity and not about quality. Your school is widely considered exemplary. Can you speak to the correlation of IEP goals and academic goals?
Ms. Janice Corazza said that they do not correlate. The IEP goals are very different. They should not be correlated.
Mr. Scott Pearson said that on the issue of the financials, the money paid for DC students enrolled at St. Coletta is transferred to an entity that then disburses the funds to amongst other places into other jurisdictions.
Ms. Beth Pierce said that the charter money goes to St.Coletta of Greater Washington and that those funds go to the school. The funds that come in are directed towards the school.
Mr. Scott Pearson said that the entire organization is audited but that there is not an audit of just the use of DC funds.
Ms. Janice Corazza said that there are two audits.
Mr. Scott Pearson asked that there be an audit on the separation of funds.
Mr. Skip McKoy asked for a motion.
Mr. Don Soifer moved to grant continuance and Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
School Oversight Committee- Charter Review- Washington Latin Public Charter School
Representatives: Mark Lerner, Board President; Martha Cutts, Head of School; Diana Smith, Chief Academic Officer.
Dr. Jackie Boddie from staff introduced the matter before the Board and recommended them as a candidate for charter continuance.
Mr. Skip McKoy referred to the 2009-2010 PDR on establishing a curriculum and it appears that they have made progress on that as well as on IEPs.
Ms. Martha Cutts said that the school has worked hard on so many fronts the last four years that it is amazing to see where they have come. In terms of the financial status of the school they have paid off all of their debt. The school is debt free and has a cash reserve.
She went on to say that when she arrived four years ago they outsourced everything. Now they only outsource psychiatric evaluations and have a full range of services. They have 32 students with IEPs. There are students who are continually being evaluated.
Ms. Diana Smith thanked Dr. Jackie Boddie for her support and to those who designed the PMF. It has been refreshing to be part of a sane and simple accountability system.
She added that to fix their curriculum problem they have aligned it to DC standards and now the Common Core standards. This work has included most of the faculty so it has not been top down and why they think it will be lasting.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield commended them on the special education front and the transition in improving their program and their offering. And that this is an example of what other schools should be doing. She asked about their search for a facility.
Ms. Martha Cutts said finding the facility is the last of their major goals.
Mr. Mark Lerner said that part of the improvement was to put them in a better place to find a facility. The school frankly could not pay its bills when he began in 2009. They have put in strong financial controls and have had two excellent audits in the last two years. They have engaged the services of Building Hope and have engaged with them for a year.
Ms. Martha Cutts said the goal is to be in a new place in the 2013-2014 school year.
Mr. Don Soifer said that he wanted to add his congratulations and wanted to make a request that given their excellence that they track their high school seniors after they graduate.
Mr. Don Soifer moved to grant continuance and Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Skip McKoy moved to adjourn the meeting.
Ms. Emily Bloomfield moved the motion and Dr. Darren Woodruff seconded.
Meeting adjourned at 9:34pm.