September 2017 DC Public Charter School News

Serving All Students
On Discipline: We give schools the data. Then schools decide what to do with it.
Authorizer Voices: It's a Balancing Act
National Association of Charter School Authorizers

As an authorizer, we take the mandate seriously to avoid prescribing solutions to be implemented in independently managed schools. We believe schools themselves should determine the policies that work best for them, given their culture, philosophy, student populations, and other factors. We also believe, however, that a public charter school authorizer can help schools to improve by bringing concerns to light, studying them carefully and transparently, and encouraging school leaders to take action. As more students move into the city, it is our mission to ensure every student has access to a quality education. With national data suggesting that public charter schools suspend students at slightly higher rates than traditional public schools, DC’s charter sector began, in 2012, to have difficult but transparent discussions around discipline data in order to address some of the most critical issues about equity in public education. These conversations led to a reduction in the number of suspensions and best practice sharing among schools. Learn more about our approach by watching the video above and reading our white paper on discipline here.

Sustainable Futures PCS: A New School Serving At-Promise Youth

In early September, Sustainable Futures PCS (SFPCS) opened its doors to students from a variety of diverse backgrounds and life experiences. SFPCS is the first and only Competency and Project-based Alternative High School, designed for “At-Promise” youth (defined as: over aged-under credited, homeless, student with disability(ies), involved in the justice system, in foster care, pregnant and/or parenting) ages 14-22 in the nation. At SFPCS, students engage in developing The Five Pillars of a Sustainable Life: Academic Competency, Economic Stability, Physical and Mental Health, Social Connectedness, and a Future Focused Paradigm, while earning a high school diploma to be prepared for a post-secondary path of their choosing. 

People of Public Charter Schools
A Day in the Life: Breakthrough Montessori PCS
Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a Breakthrough Montessori PCS student is really like.
School Stories
The Stars are Out at Community College Preparatory Academy PCS

Photo Credit: Community College Preparatory Academy PCS

At Community College Preparatory Academy PCS (CC Prep) students are coming back to school for the fall session and staff is preparing for the third annual “Evening with the Stars” event, which celebrates students who have achieved success. One of the first "Stars" was Harry McNeil. Harry came to CC Prep two years ago because he needed to improve his skills in order to be competitive in DC's workforce. He was a high school graduate who grew up in Ward 8. During his tenure, Harry had to manage class, a bedridden wife, two kids, and a full-time job while maintaining perfect attendance. He moved two grade levels in Reading and passed the A+ Help Desk assessment with the highest scores in the history of the HOPE Project. CC Prep partners with the Hope Project, which helps prepare students for a living wage through different training programs. Harry was the first of more than 100 DC residents that CC Prep has worked with through the HOPE Project. Now, Harry works for Verizon with a salary of $64,500 and mentors new adult students at CC Prep. Adult public charter schools are changing the lives of DC residents and their children while improving the workforce profile of the city.

Hispanic Heritage Month Has Extra Meaning at Chavez Schools
The Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy infuse explorations of public policy and the importance of being an active community member throughout the curriculum. All year long and especially during Hispanic Heritage Month, the network’s mission honors its Mexican-American namesake, Cesar Chavez, who fought for the civil rights of migrant farmworkers. Each school is celebrating the month its own way. Through the wearing and interpreting of traditional clothing from families’ home countries, to assemblies featuring Latino music and dance, to trivia games about Latin American geography, students pay homage to the contributions of Hispanics in public policy and beyond.
St. Coletta PCS Teaches Functional Skills to Students

Photo Credit: St. Coletta Special Education PCS

St. Coletta Special Education Public Charter School believes that all students are worthy of a meaningful, high-quality educational experience. It is important for special education students in the District to have a place that not only takes into account their individual learning needs, but capitalizes on their talents, strengths and interests. At St. Coletta, students learn valuable functional academic and life skills using a variety of instructional methods, including theme-based teaching. Currently, St. Coletta's senior students are learning about recycling with hands-on learning opportunities. The school has partnered with DC Department of Public Works to learn more about how recycling works and how to keep the community clean. St. Coletta is proud to partner with a variety of organizations in the District to teach their students functional life skills.

Upcoming Events
October 23 - Board Meeting
The Board will hold its next monthly meeting on October 23 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss various issues related to public charter schools and to hear from the public. *The meeting will be held at DC PCSB offices (3333 14th Street NW). A meeting agenda will be available here

Watch the meeting on our website. Missed last month's meeting? Read a summary here.

*Meeting location is subject to change. 



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