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Parents United for the D.C. Public Schools
11 Dupont Circle, N.W. Room 433, Washington. D.C. 20036 (202) 518=3667; Fax (202) 319-1010

MAY 2000

The Public Schools Facilities Master Plan: Help Shape It, Don't Wait Until the Process Is Over and Then Get Angry
Chess Programs Are Successful
The FY 2001 Budget Proposal— Don’t Let the Council Shortchange Our Children: Council Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation (CELR) Cuts the Mayor’s Budget for DCPS and Charter Schools
Analysis of Council’s Changes to Mayor’s Budget Proposal
Join Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and Mayor Anthony Williams in a Salute to Our High Achievers!
Vote for Your Parent Representatives to the Local School Restructuring Team — The Team’s Plan Must Raise Academic Achievement
Conflict Over Athletic Fields — DC Needs More Space for Sports
Youth Loss and Healing Month
Vote Tuesday June 27th on a Change in the School Board
Parents United for the DC Public Schools Is Seeking an Executive Director
Do You Know How Staff Is Selected?


Your school will be renovated, rebuilt or closed by the year 2015. DON'T GET ANGRY AFTER THE PLAN IS FINISHED -- PARTICIPATE AND HELP CREATE 21st CENTURY SCHOOLS OF WHICH WE ARE ALL PROUD!!! Right now the six-year Capital Improvements Budget has $700 M for school repairs according to DCPS Facilities. They believe they need $1.5 to $2 B (billion) to give us the 21st Century schools our children deserve. And, If these community plans have the power of public support behind them, we can get these schools for our children.

The planning process has begun with the city's having been divided into eight planning areas (clusters) based on geography and proximity of school buildings (the areas are listed below). Each will have a School Planning Area Committee (SPAC). You will want to participate in the process for the schools that concern you. The schedule for the first five meetings for each cluster, and a chart showing which schools are in each cluster appear below. Find out who is representing your school on its School Planning Area Committee and tell that parent your issues. Attend the two "Community Dialogue" area-wide meetings, complete any questionnaires and participate in the small group activities. Attend as many meetings of the Planning Area Committee as you can in an unofficial capacity -- the meetings are public so no one will be turned away.

This is what has happened so far. The "Committee of 21" (it actually consists of 26 people) was selected in February by the Board of Education to design the planning process. Even the DCPS Facilities Director, Kifah Jayyousi, says the School Planning Area Committee will do the plan; his office and the consulting firm of DeJong and Associates will act as their staff giving the community the information they need to do the plan. Each SPAC Committee has a lot of people:

  • 1 teacher/staff member from each school selected by the WTU;
  • 1-2 principals selected by the administration;
  • 2-3 members "Committee of 21";
  • 1 parent from each school in the planning area selected by the LSRT and PTA (PUDC was told that the Facilities office wanted schools with active PTA to have the parent selected by the PTA.);
  • 3 middle/junior high and high school students selected by the city-wide student council;
  • 1-2 Charter School parents selected by charter schools in the Planning area;
  • 1-2 Private school parents selected by private schools in the planning area.
  • Ex-officio Members are:
    • 1 School Board member,
    • 2-3 Advisory Neighborhood Council members selected by the ANCs with schools in the area;
    • 2 Mayor's representatives including one from the Planning Office;
    • 1 City Council representative;
    • 1-2 District level educators selected by the Superintendent

The Committee of 21 members are: Frank Method, Vic Miller and Kathleen Wills from Ward 1; Jonathan Friebert, Helen Hagerty and Jerald Woody, Jr. from Ward 2; Jamie Butler and Jim Sweeney from Ward 3; Cathy Reilly and Ben Treadwell from Ward 4; Joseph Bowers, Ruth Goodwin and Paul Washington from Ward 5; Phillip Edwards, Peter May and Larry Kaufer from Ward 6; Gradis Bray, Trella Collins and William Wilson from Ward 7; and Sarah Woodhead, Bill Washburn, Mary Filardo, Hugh Allen and Samuel LaBeach - At-Large.

School Planning Area Committee (SPAC) members will receive information on current student populations in traditional public schools, general population trends and school age trends, birth and migration information, racial. ethnic information, school capacities and enrollment, out of boundary enrollment, etc. The SPAC will survey the community to learn its issues, goals for children, preferences for types of schools.

Through a series of meetings on the dates shown below, each SPAC will collect, discuss and digest information at the same time it prepares for its general public meeting -- Community Dialogue #1 -- the fourth meeting of the series. WHATEVER YOU DO, ATTEND THE COMMUNITY DIALOGUE #1 FOR YOUR PLANNING AREA. Specifics for Community Dialogue #2, (about four meetings later), are not yet firm. The full schedule of meetings through the summer is not yet complete so get in touch sometime in June with Otis Daniel of the facilities branch of DCPS (202) 576-7186 to learn when the other meetings take place.

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Here is a list of the schools by Planning Area. Find your school and attend the meetings shown in the table below.

Planning Area A Schools: Ballou SHS, Birney, Douglass, Draper, Ferebee-Hope, Green, P.R. Harris, Hart JHS, Hendley, Johnson JHS, M.L. King, Leckie, Malcolm X, McGogney, Moten, Patterson, Savoy, Simon, MC Terrell, Turner, Wilkinson.

Planning Area B Schools: Anacostia SHS, Beers, Davis, Garfield, Ketcham, Kimball, Orr, Randle Highlands, Stanton, Winston, Kramer MS, Sousa MS.

Planning Area C Schools: Aiton, Benning, Ron Brown MS, Burrville, Drew, Evans MS, Fletcher/Johnson, C.W. Harris, Houston, Kenilworth, Merritt, Kelly Miller MS, Nalle, Plummer, River Terrace, Shadd, Smothers, Thomas, H.D. Woodson SHS.

Planning Area D Schools: Amidon, Bowen, Brent, Eastern, Eliot JHS, Gibbs, Goding (Prospect), Hine JHS, Jefferson JHS, Ludlow-Taylor, Maury, Miner, Payne, Peabody, School without Walls SHS, Stuart-Hobson MS, R.H. Terrell JHS, Tyler, Van Ness, Walker-Jones, Watkins, J.O. Wilson.

Planning Area E Schools: Backus MS, Brookland, Browne JHS, Bunker Hill, Burroughs, J.F. Cook, Dunbar SHS, Emery, Hamilton, Langdon, Mamie D. Lee SE, Marshall, Moore Academy SHS, Noyes, Phelps CHS, Shaed, Slowe, Spingarn SHS, Taft SHS, M.M. Washington CHS, Webb, Wheatley, Young.

Planning Area F Schools: Adams, Bancroft, Banneker SHS, Bell MCHS, Bruce-Monroe, Cardozo, Cleveland, H.D. Cooke, Francis JHS, Gage-Eckington, Garnet-Patterson MS, Garrison, Lincoln MS, Meyer, Montgomery, Park View, Reed, Ross, Seaton, Shaw JHS, Stevens, Thomson, Tubman.

Planning Area G Schools: Deal JHS, Eaton, Ellington SHS, Hardy MS (Rosario), Hearst, Hyde, Janney, Lafayette, Key, Mann, Murch, Oyster, Stoddert, Wilson SHS.

Planning Area H Schools: Barnard, Brightwood, Clark, Coolidge SHS, LaSalle, MacFarland, Paul JHS, Powell, Raymond, Roosevelt SHS, Rudolph, Sharpe Health SE, Shepherd, Takoma, Truesdell, West, Whittier.

Below is a chart of where and when the Planning Area meetings will take place through June. There will be five (5) more meetings to be scheduled for each Planning Area in July, August and September. All the meetings are from 6 - 8 pm except for the fourth meeting (Community Dialog Meeting) for each Planning Area which will be from 6 - 8:30 pm.

A May 8, May 22, June 5, June 12, June 26 P.R. Harris EC, 4600 Livingston Rd., SE
B May 3, May 17, May 31, June 14, June 28 Anacostia SHS, 1601 16th St., SE
C May 4, May 18, June 1, June 15, June 29 H.D. Woodson SHS, 5500 Eads St., SE
D May 1, May 15, May 22, June 12, June 26 Jefferson JHS, 801 7th St., SW
E May 9, May 23, June 6, June 13, June 27 Brookland ES, 1150 Michigan Ave., NE
F May 10, May 24, June 7, June 14, June 28 Dunbar SHS, 1301 New Jersey Ave., NW
G May 2, May 16, May 30, June 13, June 27 Woodrow Wilson SHS, 3950 Chesapeake St., NE
H May 11, May 25, June 8, June 15, June 29 Takoma ES, 7010 Piney Branch Rd., NW

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Congratulations to Stanton Elementary - Winner of the team award for the Richard England Boys and Girls Club Chess Tournament!!! Chess is fun for kids to learn and it develops good analytical and critical thinking skills. If more students were involved in chess clubs in their schools the drop out rate would fall dramatically. Start a club at your school - elementary level students love it!

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Council Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation (CELR) Cuts the Mayor's Budget for DCPS and Charter Schools

Tell Our Council members What We Want Them To Do

The Council must fund the $653M DCPS budget proposed by the mayor and Superintendent of Schools and the $105 M needed by public charter schools under the Per Pupil Funding Formula - the amounts required to assure that Traditional Public Schools and Public Charter Schools are funded equally. The Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation (CELR) has proposed a $632 M budget for DCPS and $80 M for public charter schools. This will not meet the needs of our traditional students, will not fund all special education students in private placements and will not fund Public Charter Schools at the formula level. Below you will find the specific changes proposed by the CELR.

Direct your comments to the Council on those issues which affect your school and your child specifically or discuss the issues below which affect the whole system. We want the Council to:

  • Fund summer school for enrichment and for remediation. We need the Voyager program for advanced students as much as we need Summer STARS for struggling students. Since our children also need opportunities to take academic courses for credit even if they did not fail the course (as they do in other systems) we should have no cuts in summer options - we should expand them.
  • Maintain a reserve for special education tuition since DCPS is not likely to be able to bring large numbers of special education students back to DCPS from private placement this year.
  • Fund Public Charter Schools with firm funds (not "emergency funds" that the Mayor has proposed) based on the Per Pupil Funding Formula and the per pupil facilities allocation. Charter schools are entitled to it. We cannot have funds taken from traditional public schools when the Council realizes that Public Charter Schools are underfunded.

Contact all Council members at 724-8000 or by e-mail at and in writing at DC Council, #1 Judiciary Square, 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20004. Council members are: Council Chair. Linda Cropp; W1 Jim Graham; W2 Jack Evans, W3 Kathy Patterson; W4 Charlene Drew Jarvis, W5 Vincent Orange; W6 Sharon Ambrose, W7 Kevin Chavous; W8 Sandy Allen; Members at-Large Harold Brazil, David Catania, Phil Mendelson and Carol Schwartz.

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Mayor Anthony Williams submitted to the CELR a request for $653 M for traditional public schools (which is what DCPS requested and $51 M for Public Charter Schools. The CELR responded with a budget recommendation of $632 M for DCPS that the full Council will consider on May 16th. CELR's budget proposal fully funds the Per Pupil Funding Formula costs but requires that DCPS make savings in the area of special education tuition and transportation; CELR says those savings are worth $21 M.

Public Charter Schools are also underfunded in the public education budget. All charter school funds derive from the Per Pupil Funding Formula plus around $1058 per pupil to pay for the facility. (The city's capital budget pays for traditional public school facilities.) Public Charter Schools are legally entitled to their finds by the formula. Last year, several were threatened with closure because their monies were withheld or did not arrive when due, which threatens the education of public school students.


Who is accountable for improving the quality of our children's education and schools -Superintendent Ackerman, the Control Board, the Council, the Mayor? Changes in this budget directed by the Council's committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation reemphasize ways the Superintendent continues to lose the ability to direct school system policies. The Council is making education policy through its line-item authority. Some of their decisions are not helpful to students.

  • No summer academic enrichment programs for summer 2001 -- Since the Superintendent is evaluating schools by the proportion of students who rise from an achievement level to a higher level, even scores of high achievers must rise. A broad summer school program seems academically sound. The Council should leave it alone.
  • No funding for standardized tests in the fall -- The Superintendent has organized school accountability around standardized tests. In the fall they help teachers determine students' skill needs for the year, and in the spring they assess progress. Whether parents like the tests or not, this decision is an education policy that the Council should leave to the Superintendent.
  • Shift of $10 M from other formula funded services into level 4 Special Education programs by next year - Mary Levy, Parents United's School Budget Analyst and recognized authority on DCPS finding, says with only 6% administrative funding, cuts in services are the only way to save the $12 M in savings throughout the budget that are not from WSF monies. In addition, DCPS needs more time to plan for, locate and staff level 4 programs than this budget schedule allows. The $10 M savings requires bringing about 300 students back to the system.

The Mayor and Council should acknowledge their legal commitment to fund public education under the per pupil funding formula by providing firm funds rather than emergency funds. The full finding budget for the traditional public schools is an illusion as long as the Public Charter Schools and special education tuition and transportation are not fully funded. The Mayor has proposed using "emergency funds" and "tobacco funds" to fill the holes. We recommend that these uncertain monies not be tied to schools.

DCPS' budget must have sufficient funds for special education. Special education tuition and transportation services are legal rights for eligible students. They will, by law, be paid. We are afraid that DCPS will be forced to dip into general classroom funds if there are insufficient funds in those budget categories. If that happens, the effect would be that public charter students receive a higher per pupil funding level than traditional public school students.

We learned from the DCPS Budget Office and Special Education Division that DCPS's proposed budget already included funding in the school based Weighted Student Formula allocations to support the needs of 400 students in special education private placements that DCPS plans to return to our traditional public schools. The DCPS budget for special education tuition reflects the students that must remain in private placements and the new students they will identify. Given the limited availability of occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, special education teachers, counselors, etc., starting such a program for 1000 students by September is unlikely.

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Parents United, with the support of the DCPTA and Senior High Alliance of Principals, Parents and Educators will honor 9th - 12th grade students with a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA. We have asked all public schools with grades 9, 10, 11 and/or 12 to ask their top students to come and be recognized. We hope you can come and let these fine young people know how much their hard work is appreciated.

Cedric Jennings, Ballou graduate and subject of the recent book A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind will be our featured speaker.

6:30 PM, Wednesday, May 31, 2000
Eastern Senior High School Auditorium
17th and East Capitol Street, NE

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Elections for Local School Restructuring Teams (LSRT) are to be completed by May 31". The parent organizations (PTA or HSA) hold elections for the selection of four parents to participate with the principal, teachers, school staff reps and community reps in developing and implementing a plan to raise student achievement in the school. Remember, parents elect the parent representatives; the principal is not supposed to appoint parents. If an election has not been planned, talk to the current LSRT members to find out when it will take place. An election is required!

Team members should be independent and thoughtful representatives to look out for parents' interests on the LSRT. The parent organization, PTA or HSA should make sure the elected LSRT parents share information with the whole school population as well as bring parent's concerns back to the team so that those desires are reflected in the plan.

If your school 's parent organization did not advertise and hold an election to elect the four parents for the team, please call our office at (202) 518-3667.

Parents United's board consists of Co-Chairs Janice Autrey (W5) and Sheila Carr (W7); Secretaries Karalene Robbins (W5) and Wayne Proctor (W2); Treasurer Francesca Dixon (W2); and At Large Members: Brenda Artis (W6), Mary Filardo (WI), Sergio Luna (WI), John Pfefer (W6), Eluvia Sanchez (WI), Lairold Street (W4), Ron Stroman (W4), Angela Thompson Murphy (W8), and Meg Weekes (W3). The Executive Director and editor of UPDATE is Delabian L. Rice-Thurston. Financial support for the organization comes from individuals, parent organizations and foundations such as the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Woodward Foundation and others.

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Is your child on a DCPS athletic team that is having trouble getting practice time because the team can't use the field by the school? DCPS, the D.C. Department of Recreation and parents need to team up to increase the number of well maintained outdoor athletic fields in our land-locked city.

While DCPS is responsible for serving the needs of our students on its property, DC Rec's mandate is to serve all DC resident children first at no charge, resident adults on fee-paying leagues second and general users paying fees third. In the DC Rec mandate, all DC resident children are equal. Use of a field by a DC school team sometimes takes a back seat to access for community leagues.

Allen Chin, the head of DCPS Athletics and Marie Auguste of DC Rec agree that the issue is not enough fields to service thousands of DC children in leagues of all types and the many athletic programs in our public schools. DC Rec has 67 fields of which it assigns 22 to DCPS for our many teams that cannot be served on the grounds of their school. For our DCPS coaches the problem is a major headache. With the strong emphasis on expanding the number of teams for young women, we are increasing the pressure on our fields.

Do we have any solutions? DCPS and DC Rec should at least make good use of what we have. The proposal to eliminate the Ellington field that was an issue last year would have increased that pressure on fields. The issue of the Garrison Playground should now become one of how do DCPS and DC Rec work together to develop and maintain a good field for little league baseball or midget soccer. How can we put to good use the land around any schools that we close. Now that Keene Elementary is no longer a school its field that had been used for adult soccer is awash in tall grass. Our city and DCPS need a strategy to keep access to open space and fields in any strategy for disposing of school buildings.

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Throughout the Month of May, schools in the city will be working with various city agencies to help students deal with the many deaths that have occurred among our young people. A Youth Interagency Task Force on Grief, Loss and Healing has been established and will be holding programs at schools and recreation centers throughout the city. For information contact: Phyllis Anderson at 442-5885

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The School Governance Charter Amendment Act of 2000 will be voted on in a Special Election on June 27th. Voters will decide if the 11 member Board of Education should be reduced to 9 -- 4 elected in newly formed districts, 1 chair elected at-large and 4 members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council.

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Parents United for the D.C. Public Schools is seeking an Executive Director

This full-time, paid position requires an individual committed to representing all D.C. public school parents to ensure (1) that all students receive educational opportunities comparable or superior to the best school districts across the nation and (2) that all DCPS parents have a strong voice in local school and citywide educational decision making. The Director of Parents United is a key player in the DC educational community and must be able to communicate, build trust and develop effective working relationships with parents, educators, public officials, press, civic leaders and others throughout all parts of the community.

Qualified candidates must be able to clearly and effectively communicate Parents United positions in public forums and in the media. Candidates also must be knowledgeable about and able to analyze educational policy developments and legislation, possess solid administrative and grant writing skills, and be experienced in grassroots organizing. Qualified candidates must be residents of the District of Columbia and parents of a DC public school student. Resumes should be stet to Search Committee, Parents Untied, 11 Dupont Circle, NW 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20036.

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All DCPS schools are supposed to have a Personnel Committee. This committee consists of 2 teachers union designees (including the building representative), 2 people appointed by DCPS, the principal, a member of the academic planning team, and a parent of a current student in the school elected/selected by the appropriate parent organization in the school. In schools not Targeted Assistance schools the committee can be larger and must include a teacher majority.

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