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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


DCPS Community Dialogues on School Facilities Planning, September 21 – September 28, 2000, 6:30–8:30 PM
Voters Approve New Smaller School Board Tied to Mayor
Council Candidate School Board Survey
DCPTA Stop the Violence Walk-a-Thon/Rally/Picnic
School Transportation Getting Cheaper
You Can Afford to Go to College Anywhere in the Country
Partnerships Can Invigorate Your School
We Did It!!! The First “Celebration of Academic Excellence in D.C. Public Schools”

DCPS Community Dialogues on School Facilities Planning
September 21 - September 28, 2000, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

All parents, residents and DCPS staff are invited to participate in the continuing discussions about which schools should be modernized, replaced, re-sized (expanded or made smaller) or discontinued. DCPS is preparing for major building improvements, but needs community input to make sure the work that is done leads to the best schools for our communities. To learn your specific Planning Area and for more information call (202)529-8898.

When Where Ward/Planning Area
Thursday, Sept. 21 Roosevelt SHS, 4301 13th Street, NW Ward 5/Planning Area H
Monday, Sept. 25 Hine JHS, 334 8th Street, SW Wards 2 & 6/Planning Area D
Monday, Sept. 25 JH Johnson JHS, 1400 Bruce Place, SE Ward 8/Planning Area A
Tuesday, Sept. 26 Brookland ES, 1150 Michigan Avenue, NE Wards 4 & 5/Planning Area E
Tuesday, Sept. 26 St. Columba's Church, 4201 Albemarle Street, NW Wards 2 & 3/Planning Area G
Wednesday, Sept. 27 Anacostia SHS, 1601 16th Street, SE Wards 6, 7 & 8/Planning Area B
Wednesday, Sept. 27 Marie Reed Learning Center, 2200 Champlain Street, NW Wards 1 & 2/Planning Area F
Thursday, Sept. 28 Woodson SHS, 5500 Eads Street, NE Wards 6 & 7/Planning Area C

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The Referendum "The School Governance Charter Amendment Act of 2000" passed in an election held on June 27. Washington D.C. will have a newly configured School Board with proscribed responsibilities. The number of School Board members will be reduced from 11 to 9 -- 5 elected and 4 appointed by the Mayor.

In the November 7th election we will select the new Board President (at-large); and four others from districts combining wards 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, and 7&8. The Mayor, with the consent of the Council, will appoint four people to the School-Board. The Board's roles are:

Establish policies; hire and evaluate and remove for cause a Superintendent who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of public schools. Establish personnel policies and guidelines for the Superintendent's hiring of principals and other personnel but does not make or approve personnel decisions or negotiate with employee organizations.

Approve an annual budget consistent with the goals and objectives established by the Board for operation of the schools. Govern the schools in accordance with laws enacted by the Council.

Like our city, the Parents United Board was divided on this issue but with no racial or economic distinctions defining our positions. All of us want high quality schools. Some felt that despite the history of ineffective school boards, the public should trust itself to elect people who can be effective with our children's schools. Others felt that we might as well try letting the Mayor be more directly responsible for schools by linking policy with funding. If we are not happy with the outcomes, we can blame the Mayor and throw him out of office.

Since Councilmembers have a role in the selection of appointed School Board members Parents United has asked candidates for Council to fill out a survey on the role of the council vis-a-vis the school system. The survey follows below.

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Many of the candidates who are running for Council seats responded to our survey. We have condensed their responses here. If you want to read the responses in their entirety, please go to this page.

1) Since the Mayor appoints four School Board members with the consent of the Council, what qualities will you look for when you approve appointed members?

Ray Avrutis. (Ward 2 Democrat): People whose children attended public schools and who hold a master's or professional degree, preferably a DC resident. Someone with their own ideas, not a mayoral functionary.

Jack Evans. (Ward 2 Democrat): Experts in finance and/or management; knowledgeable of education policy and reform; able to devote considerable time and energy; well versed in challenges of the distinct neighborhoods.

John Fanning (Ward 2 Democrat): Process should reflect community input expressed at hearings on the appointment process. The Mayor proposes an appointment process that adds people with managerial abilities, financial expertise and other qualities that may not be present among the elected members.

Pete Ross (Ward 2 Democrat): At least one child in DCPS and removal from the Board if the child leaves DCPS. At least two appointees from private companies with no business relationship with DC Government.

Renee Bowser (Ward 4 Statehood/Green): Dedicated to public service, involvement in schools as a parent or citizen. Priority to residents of Wards 7 and 8 who favor small classes and small schools, wishing to restore art, music, summer school and sports programs for all. Should be DC resident who does not do business with the school system. Must not look at schools with a business model.

Adrian Fenty (Ward 4 Democrat): Strong expertise in finance and management and a track record in education and solving the problems similar to DCPS problems. Council is not a rubber stamp for the Mayor's nominees.

Charlene Drew Jams (Ward 4 Democrat): Strategic planning; needs/outcome assessments; management with a large, complex organization; familiarity with standards of public education systems: involvement with a public school system as a parent; planning career paths for young people; use of technology in teaching and learning; . and the ability to bring external resources to assist the school system;

Kevin Chavous (Ward 7 Democrat): Appointed board members should be citizens with complementary skills and expertise who have been involved with schools. Council will confirm those who demonstrate strong commitment to children. At least two of the appointees should be from east of the river.

Gary Feenster (Ward 7 Democrat): Have a successful professional working experience with children. Academic credentials alone are not sufficient.

Robert Hunter (Ward 7 Democrat): Familiarity with public school education. Positive attitude toward sending one's own children to public school. Understanding of issues related to Public Charter Schools. Residence in D.C. I propose this composition of appointed board members -- two Black, one Hispanic, one Euro-American.

Sandy Allen (Ward 8 Democrat): School board members must put children first when making decisions about schools. Must have members from east of the river where the highest number of children are struggling in schools. They must treat parents as second only to the children.

Winifred Freeman (Ward 8 Democrat): Familiarity with educational curricula, facilities, operation and planning and budgeting -- qualities that complement those of the elected members.

Harold Brazil (At-Large Democrat): A District resident with extensive experience in education or related administrative, procurement or similar fields, with integrity, intelligence and dedication to improving our school system.

Arturo Griffiths (At-Large Statehood/Green): Opposed referendum. Recommend the following qualities: a. represent the diversity of the city, including immigrant population; b. Resident of DC, preferably with children in public schools; c. Some knowledge or experience of city's educational system; d. should represent city's geography - not all from same wards.

Carol Schwartz (At-Large Republican): While there is no prototype appointee, a sense of purpose about public education is critical. Civic dedication, community experience, experience with procurement, budgeting planning and policy formation could also be helpful.

2) What is the difference between oversight and micromanagement of the school system? What is the role of the Council with respect to public schools since some members of the School Board now have a relationship with the Council? How will you assure that the Superintendent is accountable to the School Board rather than pulled between the Mayor, Council and School Board?

Ray Avrutis (W2D): General supervision is appropriate, not supervision of a specific school. If, however, the School Board neglects appropriate questions, the Council must ask them. The Council should defer to the School Board's questions by not duplicating their questions. Council must fund schools to meet students' true needs.

Jack Evans (W2D): Residents want all elected officials to help improve schools but the Superintendent should be accountable to the School Board. The Council must examine how money is being spent and spent well and should comment on broad policy issues. Oversight over day-to-day decisions of the Superintendent is the responsibility of the School Board.

John Fanning (W2D): We need a cooperative atmosphere with a free flow of essential information leading to polices that work for children. Demands on DCPS for information should focus on student scores, programs, student attendance, dropout levels, Federal funding and apportionment. The operating budget should be clearly available and organized by function. The Mayor and Council can work together r to reach funding goals. The Council should use' its line item authority sparingly and not reverse the superintendent's policies. Neither the Council nor the School Board should micro manage the school system. Need to reduce the cost of DCPS state functions because they reduce funds available for regular programs.

Pete Ross (W2D): The Council should not micro-manage DCPS. Ross would protect the integrity and independence of the SB.

Renee Bowser (W4S/G): Council should respect the School Board and not pit appointed members against elected. Council should provide sufficient funds to repair, replace and maintain schools; cut class sizes, fund art, music, sports, creative programs and summer school for enrichment and remediation. Council and School Board should hold joint hearings to question the Supt. and professional staff.

Adrian Fenty (W4D): The newly defined roles of the School Board should reduce the tendency for the Council to micro manage because the SB and Superintendent should be able to work closely. In the past when DCPS violated due process procedures and did not resolve issues of parents, teachers or students, the Councilmember felt they had to intervene. Fenty will make sure the DCPS budget is sufficient to meet needs. Through oversight will make sure DCPS investigates parent complaints when the school does not respond so the Council does not have to intervene.

Charlene Drew Jarvis (W4D): School system oversight by the Council means holding the school system accountable for measurable outcomes. Micromanagement by the Council means telling the school system how to achieve its outcomes (e.g., specifying what standardized tests should be administered and how often they should be administered). The role of the Council consists of oversight, supporting budget requests when they are clearly articulated by the system, critically examining past spending, approving negotiated salary agreements, assuring a proper budgetary process for school construction and renovations, and examining contract performance.

Kevin Chavous (W7D): Council asks hard questions and demands solutions be found to difficult problems through their oversight. Budget must result in improvement in the classroom. Council must guard against fraud, waste and corruption by ensuring that appointments are made based on strong qualifications and that contracts are awarded fairly and competitively. I will assure strict adherence to the new roles tithe Board of Education as set out in the charter amendment just passed. This should eliminate or mostly reduce "pulls" on the superintendent.

Gary Feenster (W7D): Micro-management strips appointed managers of autonomy and authority to make decisions. Oversight holds one accountable for effective management and academic achievement. The Superintendent should report to the School Board or the Mayor with clear lines of authority. The Council works with the School Board to ensure adequate folding, and monitor that allocations and spending are appropriate.

Robert Hunter (W7D): The School Board should provide oversight, not over-manage or operate a school system. The divided School Board structure means the Superintendent is divided between the Mayor and the new School Board.

Sandy Allen (W8D): The school board, not the council or the Mayor, will hire and oversee the Superintendent. The Council will let its views be known through the annual budget process. Council needs to approve or reject the Mayor's choices for the appointed members, but there should be no other relationship with the appointees beyond that with the full board.

Winifred Freeman (W8D): Oversight is reviewing reports of activities to see to implementation of changes needed to improve operations. The Council should be a partner for positive change. The definition of Superintendent and Board roles may be causing turmoil for the Superintendent. Redefining roles and giving Board information needed to monitor, may be the solution.

Harold Brazil (At-LD): Oversight is policy guidance. Micro-management is control of the day-to-day operations (legislatures are not competent at this). The Council should look for constructive ways to work with school bard members to solve problems like procurement
and school violence. An education summit with the superintendent, Mayor and Council can ground rules.

Arturo Griffiths (At-LS/G): Only the School Board and Superintendent make decisions regarding policy and long-range planning, procurement, hiring and firing decisions, curriculum, contract and daily decisions. Anything else is micro management. Council plays an important role in defining the school system's budget. It holds hearings on how the schools are spending their money and make recommendations on ways to improve schools system. Mayor should not exercise control or influence over school board decisions.

Carol Schwartz (At-LR): The Board communicates and coordinates with the Superintendent on policy and planning and evaluates the Superintendent's implementation of policy. Board oversight does not extend to individual schools. The Board is not a court of appeals for unpopular decisions by local principals. The Council provides legislative support and fiscal oversight. DCPS must have sound financial management, stop wasteful expenditures, become more efficient and reinvest resources in the education of children. DCPS must restructure procurement and financial management so it can track spending and deliver supplies quickly, monitor programs for impoverished students to ensure that they meet their goals and maintain a special education program that meets needs and reduces over-reliance on private placements.

3) What steps would you take to see that the school system's operating budget and capital budget are adequately funded to meet students' needs for a high quality educational program? Please include comments on financing for new school construction and rehabilitation and for funding high quality occupational training/career development opportunities which do not now exist.

Ray Avrutis (W2D): Assumes the Council will increase funding for new construction, repairs, and texts. Would publicize egregious aspects of the school system by naming the "Slum School of the Month." To fund quality job training, would ask every labor union to hire 16 yr. old apprentices to work 1 or 2 days after school, on weekends and during the summer.

Jack Evans (W2D): Voted for full funding under the weighted student formula. Wants safeguards to allow small schools to continue to function without fear of being shut down. Supports financing new construction and rehabilitation and is awaiting recommendations of the School Planning Area Process to make construction decisions. Supports occupational training/career development. Supports a fiscal year starting in the summer. Working should supplement education.

John Fanning (W2D): Supports the Weighted Student Formula to guarantee equity in funding. Funds should be adjusted upward if needed to guarantee student competitiveness here and with our suburbs. Implement the highest level of applicable technology throughout schools rather than demonstration projects. Must maximize federal funding for DCPS programs. Fund schools to support small schools and Early Childhood Development programs. Will make a long term financial commitment to the Long Term Facilities Master Plan so that we can renovate and modernize schools - recommend dedicating 25% of the capital bonding authority.

Pete Ross (W2D): Would fully fund schools just as he funded the education of his five children in private schools. The Government Surplus should be used for capital expenditures to fund new schools or rehabilitate old ones, not to reduce taxes as Evans proposes. Advocates "state of the art schools" to give our teachers facilities needed to educate children well and to make it easier to attract quality teachers.

Renee Bowser (W4S/G): Council should establish a long term level of funding that is sufficient to repair, maintain and replace schools. Funding for schools is more important than arenas, convention centers and Olympic facilities. Should establish a broadly representative commission to create plans for schools that enhance learning environments. Support systematized efforts to have volunteers in schools.

Adrian Fenty (W4D): Will adhere to the Uniform Per Pupil Formula, however the Formula should be reassessed frequently to reflect the costs of strong schools. Worked on facilities planning as council staffer. Will support full-funding of the Master Facilities plan when Council approves. DCPS neglects occupational training/career development in favor of college prep. Curricula must support instruction for all including students whose careers do not require college.

Charlene Drew Jarvis (W4D): Financing for new school construction and rehabilitation and for funding high quality occupational training/career development must be budget priorities.

Kevin Chavous (W7D): I will ensure that the Uniform Per Pupil formula determines the allocation of funds to the public schools. My staff is involved in the Master Facilities Planning Process and I will use my weight to ensure that school construction and modernization will be fully funded under that plan. There has been inadequate progress in vocational and career training. I will work to ensure that all high schools provide a high technology curriculum. There should be more funding for occupational training/career development opportunities.

Robert Hunter (W7D): The loss of the students to Charter schools has a serious fiscal impact on the operating and capital budgets. The Federal Government's effort is to provide "high quality educational programs" in charter schools with students who are socially acceptable. This will force traditional public schools to become daily detention centers for the other students. Public Charter Schools have the advantage of using Industrial Revenue Bonds to finance renovations. This candidate would vote to let traditional public schools use Industrial Revenue Bonds.

Gary Feenster (W7D): I will insure that allocated funds are spent appropriately. The Superintendent must have an effective plan for alternative education including occupational and career-training opportunities.

Sandy Allen (W8D): Will continue to work to ensure funding needs of the school system are met. Must make sure all school facilities are conducive to learning and comfortable to work in. We must plan for the future. Vocational and career training have been poorly supported.

Winifred Freeman (W8D): Establish a reporting system to identify school infrastructure processes and identity weaknesses. Reestablish the architectural-engineering division to evaluate facilities for repair and replacement and to set capital priorities. Restore occupational framing and career programs in line with regional/national employment needs.

Harold Brazil (At-LD): As councilmember, Brazil supported an $87M increase in the FY2001 operating budget. Supported all capital projects. Supported SIB capital budget for schools. Offered an amendment that put proceeds from sale of DC Government real property into a trust fund for school buildings.

Arturo Griffiths (At-LS/G): Believes in zero-based budgeting which requires programs to be justified each fiscal year. Would use a MIX of financing tools to finance school construction and rehabilitation (bonds, federal resources and taxes). This is a top priority. Would develop a keg range program for occupational training such as they have in many other countries where young people can enter into apprenticeship programs and graduate with a skill such as plumbing, carpentry, etc. DC needs to develop partnerships to fiend these types of programs.

Carol Schwartz (At-LR): Seek federal grants for day care and Early Head Start and to establish a DC Teachers' Academy to improve teachers' skills. Complete a facilities plan to Snide the school system in construction and modernization of existing schools. Improve the planning and coordination phase of the DCPS budget process to ensure that the Council knows in advance what is needed. Develop DCPS incentives to hire and retain high-quality teachers. Schwartz' successful laws include signing bonuses for new teachers and low-interest home loans for teachers.

4) Our older students have such low achievement levels that will not graduate with competitive skills unless they receive additional support. What are you willing to do to help the school system raise achievement at the high school level? Would you accept differentiated diplomas so that students who do not pass requirements and tests receive a diploma that is different from the diploma for students who do pass requirements and tests?

Ray Avrutis (W2D): Would encourage black leaders to publicize the need for strong academics. Would encourage differentiated diplomas. Would encourage creating classes for students who have been held back so they can receive semi-intensive supervision and learn more.

Jack Evans (W2D): Council must fund adequately and watch how the funds are spent to raise student achievement. Differentiated diplomas are band-aids that let us pretend students are ready to graduate when they are not. We must fix dysfunctional DCPS systems that impede successful learning.

John Fanning (W2D): Would increase the Weighted Student Formula allocation for middle and high school students to provide smaller classes and five individualized support to low achieving students. Assure that course offerings and resources in our schools are competitive with those in high achieving school systems. Improve teachers' skills and educational technology. Opposes differentiated diplomas because they would lead to discrimination against students that were not well served by the school system. Expand finding for outreach to drop-out and non-graduates. Expand GED and adult education programs.

Pete Ross (W2D): Opposes differentiated diplomas. Students should be able to attend school for one more year if needed to have skills needed to attain a regular diploma.

Renee Bowser (W4S/G): Weighted student formula should weight older students more. Will encourage use of UDC as a resource for youth and education models and programs. DCPS must be funded to identify needs of students then develop programs so students are prepared to meet graduation requirements and pass tests. Student's academic problems should be identified early in their school careers so that they can be remedied. Differentiated diplomas will foster graduates fit only for unskilled jobs.

Adrian Fenty (W4D): Supports after school programs, Saturday programs, an additional year of schooling, stronger GED courses. We must teach students better, not reduce standards, lower expectations and cover it up with a devalued diploma. Differentiated diplomas would only be appropriate for special education students whose assessment says they cannot do the work required for a regular diploma.

Charlene Drew Jarvis (W4D): I do not accept differentiated diplomas as a solution to the problem of low achievement. I would support additional funds for remedial education. I would also like to see a postsecondary charter school for older students who have failed to master the high school curriculum. The school system has failed to develop occupation training/career development opportunities training/career development. However, the specialty high schools that are developing in the District (i.e., McKinley High School for technology, Dunbar for engineering, Roosevelt for hospitality, etc.) are very important and I will support funding to ensure that such programs thrive.

Kevin Chavous (W7D): Schools must maintain standards and a DCPS high school diploma must have meaning. Instead of awarding depreciated diplomas, DCPS should offer improved summer sessions and after-school assistance to those who are not working at grade level. I support a major emphasis in early childhood intervention to enable children to read, write and county by 1st grade or even kindergarten.

Gary Feenster (W7D): Not every student will be able to pass each achievement test. I will rate the success of our schools using more barometers than just test scores. If members of the Board and Superintendent work well with children will offer alternative means of education such as occupational/career training. A diploma should clearly indicate the type of school completed and that the student has met or exceeded the requirements of the school. We should not have separate diplomas based on skills or abilities.

Robert Hunter (W7D): School administration should have legislative authority to assign students to schools that meet certain achievement levels. There must be definite rules of behavior conducive to study and high achievement and that, if broken, lead to dismissal. All children cannot learn the same curriculum. Candidate would accept a differentiated curriculum and diploma only if both disciplines have a definite and conclusive dismissal policy because that would promote high achievement levels in both curriculums.

Sandy Allen (W8D): This question should be answered by the School Board, Superintendent and the new state education agency. They are important and I will work to keep them a priority for our education leaders. I support weekend and summer programs to improve student performance.

Winifred Freeman (W8D): Need to institute adult education skill requirement standards comparable to high school level. People who graduate should be sufficiently skilled to obtain a job and be upwardly mobile in it. If differentiated diplomas are introduced, individuals must be required within two years to pass tests that signify that they now have the skills of a high school diploma recipient.

Harold Brazil (At-LD): Supports smaller classes, higher pay, better teacher training and accountability for student performance. Does not support differential diplomas. Supports summer school, remedial programs, before and after school learning, cultural and enrichment programs. To improve attendance we need to improve instructional programs, make learning fun and enforce truancy laws.

Arturo Griffiths (At-LS/G): Students for whom English is a second language should not be penalized when they do not pass standardized English and Math tests. Does not support differentiated diplomas. Older students with low achievement levels require individualized types of school programs such as the program at Hell Multicultural High School.

Carol Schwartz (At-LR): We should concentrate on raising student achievement levels so there is no need for differentiated diplomas. DCPS should reward teachers and administrators who demonstrate results in raising the knowledge base of underachieving students so that they meet graduation requirements. Early intervention is crucial to raising achievement levels later. Students should not be promoted past third grade unless they can read and demonstrate adequate reasoning and math skills.

5) If you have children, do (did) your children attend D.C. Public Schools and where and for how long?

Ray Avrutis (W2D): Avrutis has no children.

Jack Evans (W2D): Evans has three year old triplets who are not school aged.

John Fanning (W2D): No children.

Pete Ross (W2D): His five children, aged 10 to 24, attend(ed) private schools.

Renee Bowser (W4S/G): Bowser has no children.

Adrian FM (W4D): Fenty has 5 month old twins. They will attend public school like Fenty and other family family members.

Charlene Drew Jarvis (W4D): Her two children attended Shepherd ES through the 6th grade.

Kevin Chavous (W7D): Chavous' children attend private parochial schools so that they can receive religious guidance.

Robert Hunter (W7D): Hunter has two children who graduated from Ballou SHS and Wilson SHS.

Gary Feenster (W7D): Feenster has three children. One son attends Jefferson JHS, two graduated from Anacostia SHS.

Sandy Allen (W8D): Allen's children attended Hendley ES, Francis JHS and Bell Vocational HS.

Winifred Freeman (W8D): Freeman's children attended Leckie, Jefferson, P.R,. Harris and graduated from Anacostia and School Without Walls.

Harold Brazil (At-LD): Brazil's children attend private schools.

Arturo Griffths (At-LS/G): Griffith's child attends a Maryland private school.

Carol Schwartz (At-LR): Schwartz' three children attended Murch ES, Deal JHS and Wilson. SHS.

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Walk-A-Thon 10 AM September 16, 2000 at Hamilton School
Rally/Picnic 12 noon - Dusk

Hamilton School 6th & Brentwood Parkway, NE
(Walkers go from Hamilton School to West Virginia Avenue and Mt. Olivet Road)
(202) 543-0333 ph; 534 4306 fax

Pre-registration is $10 adult, $5 children -- deadline September 11, 2000: Send check 'payable to DCPTA to DCPTA, Hamilton School Building, 1401 Brentwood Parkway, NE Washington, DC 20002. n site registration starts at 8 AM: cost is $15 adult $10 child. Walkers check-in by 9:00 AM Stop the Violence is Co-sponsored by DCPS, Community Impact, MPD and Sallie Mae

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Metrobus and Metrorail will get cheaper in Fall 2000. Metro is adding a $20 per month pass that will give students unlimited educationally related travel on Metrobus and Metrorail in D.C. and at Silver Spring, Capitol Heights, and future Southern Avenue and Naylor Road Metro Stations outside the city. Students must be ands 19 years of age or under 23 if disabled. The old student fare cards and bus tokens will still be available.

Students can receive the Application for Student Transit Travel from their school or the D.C. Government's Office of Mass Transit (OMIT) at 2000 14th Street 5th floor. The form is returned to the school or OMT office for processing. Parents can buy monthly passes at all five Metro outlets in the District - Metro Center, Metro Headquarters, Southeastern, Northern and Western Metrobus garages and at selected junior and senior high schools. For additional information, contact Douglas Stallworth or Nancy Green-Johnson at 671-0537.

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College is within your grasp. NOW!!! IT ISN'T TOO LATE TO APPLY FOR THIS YEAR!! The D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program for Fall 2000, Spring and Summer 2001 lets D.C. students attend state colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates.

If you are admitted to a community college, state college or university anywhere in the U.S., you can receive up to $10,000 a year so that you can attend at in-state rates. You can also receive $2,500 per year to attend private institutions in D.C., Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland, and all historically Black Colleges and Universities in D.C., Maryland or Virginia. All you have to do is apply to the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program for Fall 2000, Spring and Summer 2001 -- call D.C. Tuition Attendance Grant (202) 727-2824, or check their web site

These are the eligibility rules:

  • Graduate from a D.C. high school or have an equivalent high school diploma on or after January 1, 1998
  • Live in D.C. (be a legal resident) not less than 12 consecutive months before the start of the freshman year
  • Have begun undergraduate studies within three years of graduation or diploma (excluding time in the Armed Forces, Peace Corps, or National and Community Service Act program
  • Be enrolled or accepted at at least a half time in a degree, certificate, or other program leading to a recognized educational credential in an eligible institution
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in the eligible institution
  • Not have a B.A. or B.S. degree
  • Not owe funds under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965
  • Register with Selective Service, if required
  • Not be incarcerated when the grant is received
  • Attend or plan to attend a public or private institution eligible to receive tuition assistance grants
  • Submit an official application with required documentation for a D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant

Applications for next year' program become available January, 2001. Get ready now! The colleges and universities will not give you a break on their academic entrance requirements - open admission rules apply to state residents. Take hard high school courses and make good grades! The break we get is strictly financial.

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We want to communicate with you directly through e-mail. Please send your e-mail address to us at

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Want same ideas on ways to cultivate your school's partners? Talk with Iris Toyer of the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (202-319-1000). Her law firm partnerships brought parents information on how low income single parents can own a home, how you can balance your money. Other law firms have helped grandparents understand custody issues. If you need to find ways to bring parents into your school, try giving them the support and information they need.

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Parents United organized the first city-wide salute to academic excellence in our schools. On May 31st we honored every 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade student with a 3.0 or better cumulative CPA in a ceremony at the George Washington University Smith Center. We salute our co-hosts, the George Washington University and Presidential Classroom, and sponsor The Washington Teachers' Union/American Federation of Teachers. We thank other major financial contributors TIAA-CREF, Bell Atlantic, Citibank (a member of Citigroup), and The Washington Post. We also thank AT&T, Borders Books and music, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Fannie Mae Foundation, Riggs Bank, Independence Federal Bank, Washington Gas and Georgetown florist for their support

Courtland Milloy of the Washington Post provided the angel dust. His article, "Grades Are Up, But They May Be Let Down" helped the entire city join Superintendent Ackerman, Mayor Williams, Councilmembers Chavous and Patterson, our emcee Adimu Colon and Cedric Jennings (Ballou '95, Brown U '99) our featured speaker to embrace the idea of honoring our outstanding public school students. We are grateful that the financial support we received let this first Celebration be a festive memory for the 1130 honorees.