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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


This Year’s School Budget: Trouble Looming
How We Govern Our Schools Is Important
Local School Restructuring Team Rules Clarified
Special Permission Process Gives Students Access to Special Programs in DC Public Schools for 2000/01
Use Stanford 9 Results to Understand Your Child’s Academic Needs
New Computer Payroll System Failure Causes Crisis of Confidence
Music for Love and for Academic Strength
New “Voice” on the Scene
Board of Education Community Hearings
Weighted Student Formula: Fine-Tuning in Progress


NOVEMBER 16, 1999, 6:30 - 8:15 pm
HINE JHS (335 8TH ST., SE) — Parking available — metro stop Eastern Market

Testimony will be limited to three (3) minutes for each presenter. If you wish to testify contact William Ng of the Office of Policy and Planning at 442-5 181 no later than Monday, November 15, 1999. Written statements may be submitted prior to the hearing, at the hearing or within five (5) days after the hearing. Copies of written statements should be submitted to William Ng by fax to 724-1387.

This Year's School Budget: Trouble Looming

Because DCPS has more students and more special education costs than anticipated, the school system may be facing a serious deficit. The Mayor and Council funded DCPS and Public Charter Schools last June assuming last year's total overall enrollment and growth in charter school enrollment all coming at DCPS expense. But this fall's official count shows that DCPS lost about 1,125 students while charter schools gained about 3,500 students. Moreover, as a result of cutting the backlog of requests for special education evaluation the number of identified special education students has increased, both in DCPS' own programs (from 6,400 to over 7,700) and in private placements (from 1,500 to almost 2,000).

According to the Superintendent's report to the Emergency Trustees, the City Government is going to take between $22 million and $30 million out of DCPS' original local appropriation of $601 million to fund the increased charter school enrollment. This would total at least $20,000 for each student who has left the system. DCPS will receive no extra funds for the increase in special education enrollment. Results: (1) not enough money to keep schools operating at current levels of staff and pay bills that have to be paid and (2) less money per DCPS than per Public Charter School pupil. Because this move by the Council is not in accord with the legislation passed 2 years ago on how to fund schools, Parents United is discussing possible legal action with a volunteer law firm.

Do the proposed changes reflect how we want our schools run and how we want to interact with the school system to make sure our children are getting the education we want for them. The Control Board promised to return control of schools to the elected Board of Education in June, 2000. A major question for our city is what will make the school system more effective than it was when the report of the Control Board on our schools condemned their low academic level, the inability to keep buildings in compliance with the fire code and poor management leading to the creation of an appointed Board of Trustees to run the schools.

Council member Kevin Chavous says some of the problems are in the structure required by the Home Rule Charter. The Charter says the School Board runs the schools and hires a Superintendent; it does not tell the Board the limits of its authority relative to the Superintendent. Conflict is inevitable. Because the Charter provides for more school board members than most other cities, building coalitions is more difficult. The current ward-based structure means some board members don't look beyond their own ward to develop policies that are good for the system as a whole.

Chavous is offering a legislative solution in his School Governance Act of 1999 that would make the following changes:

  • Reduce the number of board members from the current eleven to nine.
  • Establish a two-tiered school board election. The top two vote getters in each ward's primary would run against each other in the general election. Everyone in the city would vote for each Ward's representative
  • Elect a ward's School Board member in the same election when the ward's Council member is elected
  • Elect the president of the Board in an at-large election for a 4 year term
  • The Board would hire, evaluate and fire the superintendent
  • The Board would develop personnel policies and guidelines for hiring principals and other personnel but not make personnel decisions or negotiate contracts
  • The Board would approve or reject the annual budget recommended by the Superintendent and assure that the Congressionally approved amount agrees with the budget
  • The Board and Superintendent would develop a memorandum of understanding every two years that establishes the general division of roles between Board policy-setting and superintendent management authority based on the advise of professional organizations and submit the MOU for Council approval

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Families and Friends of Special Children announces two meetings: Saturday, December 4 at 4:30 pm — dinner meeting on "Dyslexia — A Parent's Experience" and Thursday December 9 at 9:30 am — breakfast meeting on Transportation for Special Education Students with Mr. Al Winder, DCPS Div. of Transportation. Call Shema Yah at 529-0254 for locations.

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10:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Monday, November 29, 1999
DC Council Chambers — #1 Judiciary Square

Please call Kristy Tate at 724-8068 if you would like to get on the agenda

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There will be a parent-driven Public Forum on School Governance at Wilson SHS Chesapeake St and Nebraska Ave.
Saturday, November
13th from 10 AM -1 PM to discuss the proposed changes in the elected school board.

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DC AGENDA has established a Governance Task Force for Effective Public Education that is holding a Forum Series on governance issues. Call 223-2598 for more information. Most meetings are at Brookings located at 1775 Mass. Ave., NW- Below is the schedule:

Monday, November 8 at Brookings 6:00-8:30 PM
Monday November 15 at Brookings 6:00 - 8:30 PM
Monday, November 22 at Brookings 6:00-8:30 PM
Monday December 6 at Brookings 6:00 - 8:30 PM
Monday December 13 at Brookings 6:00 - 8:30 PM Open
Thursday December 16 at Dunbar SHS 6:00 - 8:30 PM Dunbar
Monday December 20 at Pennsylvania Ave. Baptist Church 6:00 - 8:30 PM
Tuesday, January 18, 2000 Bookings 6:00 - 8:30 PM

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After two years in limbo, the Superintendent has approved revised guidelines for Local School Restructuring Teams (LSRT) as developed by the Governance Committee on LSRTs. The LSRT is our school system's vehicle for school-based management designed to help principals, parents, teachers, students and the community collaborate to improve student achievement and school environments. Joe Carrillo, Associate Superintendent, Office of Policy and Planning is heading up the LSRT process. He can be reached at 442-5183.

Team members are the principal, four teachers, four parents, the union representative, one representative of the staff, one community person and for hi&in schools, one student and two other members, selected through a consensus of the elected members. The LSRT develops a local school management plan to raise student achievement including a comprehensive strategy for all facets of school life. The LSRT monitors and assesses the implementation of the plan and receives recommendations about the plan from parents and other interested parties.

The newly revised handbook clearly states that the LSRT advises the principal, but it is the principal who is the head of the school and directly accountable to the Superintendent for improved school performance. However, Sheila Carr, Delabian Rice-Thurston and Alieze Stallworth (DCPTA), parent members of the Governance Committee worked to develop a consensus on the Governance Committee that the handbook make it clear that: a) the principal is not to ignore the LSRT; b) all LSRT meetings must have at least one parent to have a quorum. Too often, LSRT meetings were held spontaneously without sufficient notice for parents to change their schedules and come. Now, no meeting is official unless the principal, union rep and at least one parent are present.

Parents United and the DCPTA had successfully lobbied the Governance Committee's teachers and principals to guarantee the PTA/HSA president a spot on the LSRT as the Union Rep and principal have guaranteed position. Unfortunately, the superintendent was unwilling to accord mandatory status to the PTA/HSA president because non-parents are allowed to serve as PTA presidents.

Last year, the LSRT became more than a planning group when the Superintendent gave it the responsibility for developing the school's strategy for spending its entire budget under the Weighted Student Formula (WSF). The system is offering `'training" at Backus MS focusing on the rules under which LSRTs operate. The system is planning to expand its training offerings to include the preparation of successful plans, the use of information, disaggregation of data and other substantive matters that will help parents plan for higher student performance. A training session on November 18th at Backus on the rules and an all day LSRT training is scheduled for December 4th at Eastern SHS are scheduled to take place. Contact Mr. Carrillo to learn the topics on December 4th.

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The D.C. Public Schools offer a variety of school programs you may want for your child. We present this list to encourage parents to take advantage of these options and to encourage the system to expand the offerings if programs have waiting lists. If the program you want is not in your neighborhood school, you must apply at the school for "Special Permission" to attend special DCPS programs or to the specific charter school. (Charter schools have their own application dates and processes so call!) Many programs have specific application forms. Principals will consider admitting students based on the number of spaces in the school that are not taken by in-boundary students. These are the six acceptable criteria under School Board rule 2106 for granting special permission to attend a DCPS school that is out of boundary for your home address. 1) Economic hardship; 2) Physical handicap of the student; 3) Medical reasons; 4) Psychological difficulties which impair learning; 5) Gross inconvenience to adult student or minor student's parent or guardian including disruption of family routine; 6) Neighborhood school does not offer specific curriculum or special course of study. Principals, however, do have great latitude in who they accept.

If you want to hedge your bets you will have to go to each school to pick up the transfer form because many forms are individualized. Students rejected for special permission, in general by the principal, have been admitted to schools through the special program which has its own admission policies. Unfortunately, parents have called our office shocked that their child got into the building but not the special program since that was the reason they gave for applying to the school in the first place. To remain in a school when you are out of boundary you simply reapply every year at the school you currently attend. If you have questions, call the assistant superintendent who handles that school — 442-4099 (ele) 442-5055 (jh/ms) and 442-5100 (shs). However, we are told the principal has final authority in this matter; the assistant superintendent will not overturn principal's decisions. Parents United is pleased that parents will be notified of admission by February so that DCPS can compete with private schools for students.

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Langdon (1900 Evarts St., NE)
Nalle (50th & C SE)
Watkins (12th & E SE)
Marshall (Fort Lincoln & Barney Dr. NE)
Merritt (50th & Hayes NE)

Foreign Language

Spanish — Oyster Bilingual (20th & Calvert NW)
French — J.O. Wilson (6th & K NE)

Math. Science & Technology Prototype Laboratory Schools

Amidon (4th & I St., SW)
Barnard (5th & Decatur, NW)
Beers (36th Pl. & Alabama Ave., SE)
Bunker Hill (14th & Michigan Ave., NE)
Eaton (34th & Macomb NW)
Kimball (Minnesota Ave. & Ely Pl. SE)
Murch (36th & Ellicot St., NW)
Park View (Warder & Newton St., NW)
Watkins (12th & E, SE)
PR Harris (4600 Livingston Rd., SE)


Prototype Schools for Science (total school has science focus)

Brown, Ron MS (4800 Meade St., NE)
Backus MS (South Dakota & Hamilton NE)

Other Special Junior High and Middle Schools

Science and Technology School at Jefferson JHS (8th & H SW)
Museum Magnet School at Stuart-Hobson (3rd & D SE)


Bancroft Elementary School (17th and Newton NW)
Lincoln Middle School (16th and Irving NW)
Bell Multicultural High School (3145 Hiatt Pl., NW)


Business — Ballou SHS Business, Finance and Management Technology Academy; Bell MCHS Entrepreneurship Program; Cardozo SHS Sports Management Learning Community; Coolidge SHS Business Career Preparatory House; Dunbar SHS Business and Finance Program; Spingarn SHS Technology Preparation Program; Wilson SHS Academy of Business and Finance; Woodson SHS Business and Finance Academy

College Preparatory — Banneker Academic SHS

College Preparatory Open Education — School Without Walls SHS (experiential learning and internships)

Communication — Ballou SHS Communication and Professional Studies Technology Academy; Roosevelt SHS Communication and Technology Program

Engineering — Dunbar SHS Pre-Engineering Charter School

Environmental Science — Anacostia SHS Environmental Science and Computer Technology Academy; Dunbar SHS Environmental Science/Aquaculture Program

Fine Arts — Ellington School of the Arts; Anacostia SHS Creative Arts/Fine Arts and Culinary Academy; Ballou SHS Fine Arts and Humanities Technology Academy

Health and Human Services — Eastern SHS Health and Human Services Academy SHS; MM Washington Health Occupations and Culinary Arts

Humanities — Coolidge SHS Arts and Humanities House; Cardozo SHS Fine Arts, Humanities and International Studies Learning Community; Eastern SHS Talented and Gifted Education Program; Woodson SHS Humanities Program

International Studies Program — Wilson SHS

Law, Justice and Security — Anacostia SHS Law, Justice and Security Academy; Eastern SHS Law and Legal Services Academy

Mathematics, Science and Technology — Coolidge SHS Mathematics, Science and Technology House; Wilson SHS Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy; Bell MCHS Math Engineering Science Program

Marine Science — Woodson SHS Marine Science Program

Public Service Academy — Anacostia SHS

Teaching Professions Program — Coolidge SHS

Transportation Technology Academy — Cardozo SHS

Travel and Tourism Program — Roosevelt SHS


Special Education — Special Education placement or change in placement is handled at the home school for levels 1,2, and 3. Only level 4 and above are handled at Goding School, 9th and F Sts., NE. For other problems, call 724-4800. Ballou SHS Independence Technology Academy serves high school students.

Ninth Grade Academies — Anacostia SHS Freshman Preparatory Academy; Bell MCHS Technology Preparation Program; Cardozo SHS Explorers Learning Community; Coolidge SHS Ninth Grade Success House

Alternative Education Programs — Luke Moore Academy SHS (High school diploma, corporate internships, mentoring, counseling. GED offered enrollment at your convenience; DC Academy at Hamilton (6th-12th grade troubled student, Enrollment is 100 students referred by parents and all students suspended 11 days or more. Program provides counseling and psychological support.)


Each public charter school has its own application process and time table for applying and notifying you that your child is admitted. It is up to you, the parent, to call the program and meet its deadlines.

AT-RISK STUDENTS: Maya Angelou Public Charter School — 939-9080. Associates for Renewal in Education — 483-9424. The Options Public Charter School — 675-4127. The Next Step Public Charter School — 319-2249. New Vistas Preparatory Public Charter School — 291-9620.

ARTS: Children's Studio Public Charter School — 387-5880. School for Arts In Learning (learning disabilities) — 2969100.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: The Arts and Technology Academy — 388-8716. Friendship House/Edison Partnership Chamberlain Campus — 547-5800. Friendship House/Edison Partnership Woodridge Campus — 635-6500. Ideal Academy Public Charter School — 723-6008. Meridian Public Charter School — 387-9830.

SPECIAL ACADEMIC FOCUS — SECONDARY SCHOOLS: Edison Friendship Public Charter School Blow Pierce Campus — 399-2100. Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter High School — 675-3067. The Hyde Public Charter School — 234-3124. Washington MST Public Charter High School — 488-1996. Techworld Public Charter School — 488- 4931. Integrated Design Electronic Academy — 399-4750. The SEED Public Charter School — 547-5651. SouthEast Academy of Scholastic Excellence (residential) — 561-5601.

ALL GRADES ACADEMIC FOCUS: Village Learning Center —396-7585. Community Academy Public Charter School — 234-5437. Roots Public Charter School — 882-8073.

NONTRADITIONAL HIGH SCHOOL WITH APPRENTICESHIPS: Hospitality Public Charter High School — 312-2007. Booker T. Washington Public Charter School for Technical Arts — 232-6090. Richard Milburn Public Charter Alternative High School Rabaut HUB — 829-7045. Richard Milburn Public Charter Alternative High School Carver HUB — 397-8010.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FOCUS: World Public Charter School of Washington — 783-3595. Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School — 882-2102

IMMIGRANT EDUCATION: Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School — 347-3870.

For a complete list of Charter Schools you can send us a stamped, self addressed envelope with a note saying you would like the Charter School list or contact the Public Charter School Resource Center for charter school information at 835-9011.

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The Stanford 9 test results by school appeared in the Washington Post District Weekly in October. We will offer our traditional tables that show both test results and the funding your school receives to help you develop programs that will help raise achievement at your school. In the meantime, we urge you to push your school to refine its analysis of the data so that you are tracking the performance of individual students who have been in your school for all three of the years that we have been using the Stanford 9 test. This is called a "cohort" or "matched set" analysis.

The school system has claimed improved achievement when students in the third grade one year show improved test scores over students in the third grade the previous year. Perhaps it shows how the curriculum is working. However, if we want student performance to increase over time, we need to track how individual students are doing from one year to the next. Example: if the percentage of fourth graders that are below basic and basic is higher than the percentages when the same students were in third grade, then the students are not moving forward but backward, no matter how much lower the previous fourth grade's scores were.

Your school can help teachers train each other in what works. Weighted Student Formula funds can be used to support training for teachers. We need to monitor the progress of the students who stay with the system year to year.

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Parents United's board consists of: Co-Chairs Janice Autrey (W5) and Sheila Carr (W7); Secretaries Karelene Robbins (W5) and
Wayne Proctor (W2), Treasurer Francesca Dixon (W2) and At-Large Members: Brenda Artis (W6), Mary Filardo (Wl), Sergio Luna (Wl), John Pfeiffer (W6), Eluvia Sanchez (W1), Lairold Street (W4), Ron Stroman (W4), Angela Thompson-Murphy (W8), and Meg Weekes (W3). The Executive Director and Editor of the UPDATE is Delabian L. Rice-Thurston

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When the city's payroll structure failed, hundreds of teachers were not paid or paid the wrong amount. The system became a fortress under siege. Employees who received no pay checks or incorrect ones went to headquarters for help and found themselves waiting for up to eight hours and given inconsiderate treatment from staff. Principals were reprimanded when their teachers went downtown during school hours to secure payment for the salaries they had earned.

Under the new CAPPS system, which the city adopted because the old system was not Y2K compliant, school staff have a new pay stub that does not always state one's base pay as well as pay checks that are sometimes inaccurate. Worse, an appalling number of people were not paid at all — many of them, long term employees.

Parents United would have liked to see the system develop a "Blitz Team" approach to this crisis ("Blitz Teams" were dispatched to fix fire code violations). Until kinks in the CAPPS system are worked out, frustrated people will panic because they have no reason to trust the system to resolve problems quickly.

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CHIME (Community Help in Musk Education) is recruiting qualified volunteer musicians to provide musk instruction during and after school They also train music teacher in playing and teaching with recorders and help students find affordable music instruction. Weekly lessons are now available at Bancroft, Marie Reed, Noyes and Seaton Elementary Schools. Does your school need music? Do you want to volunteer? Call Dorothy Marschak, President of CHIME and Chair of the Cultural Arts Committee of the DCPTA at (202) 232-2731 or check the CHIME website at

The DC Youth Orchestra Program b offering beginning classes in instrumental music training on Thursday Evenings 6:30-8:30 PM at Coolidge High School, 5th and Tuckerman Streets. There are scholarships available for trombone and bassoon. Call 723-1612 for more information on this program.

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District Community Voices Organized and Informed for Change in Education (DC VOICE) was begun in the Spring of 1998 when a group of teachers, parents and other community members met to explore strategies for strengthening the public voice in education reform in Washington, DC. They have developed a three-pronged plan that includes: constituency building to engage all sectors of the public, including a capacity building project with local education organizations; professional development to initiate a collaborative team-based approach to support standards-based instruction; and research to increase the accessibility of data and ensure that education reform efforts are informed by reliable studies and documentation.

DC VOICE is seeking to transform the educational landscape so that Washington, DC becomes a city where the public is organized and informed. They are offering a seminar series to help expand the learning process by engaging a large community of teachers, parents students and community activists in discussions on education reform topics of concern. On November 18, 1999 the seminar is entitled "Tools for Better Schools: Research and Data" with an introduction by Glenda Partee, Co- Director American Youth Policy Forum and a panel of local and national experts engaged in educational research followed by a participant breakout session. The location will be at 1328 Florida Ave. NW in the 3rd floor resource center. On December 8th the program is "Beyond Standards to Excellent Outcomes: Focus on Professional Development," introduction by Maurice Sykes, Senior Associate, M. Russell and Associates, with presenter Dr. Asa Hilliard, Professor of Urban Education, Georgia State University. Location to be determined later. Call DC VOICE at 986-8533 for more information. All seminars will be held from 5:30 8:30 pm and light refreshments and childcare will be provided.

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Drop-out Prevention and Academic Achievement - November 15
Special Education Transportation - November 22
Facilities Long Range Plan - November 29
Charter Schools - December 6
Parent Issues (LSRT, parental involvement, volunteer policy, uniforms) - December 13
Personnel/Payroll - December 20
All will be held at 825 N. Capitol St., in the 5th floor Board Room at 6:30 pm.

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Weighted Student Formula: Fine-Tuning in Progress

The school system's Weighted Student Formula (WSF), new this year, distributes funds on a per-pupil - basis to each school for staff, including ESL and special education, materials and supplies. LSRTs prepare the school budget as part of the. overall local school plan. The formula provides more for students who are free lunch eligible, in lower grades, special education, or ESL. The equalization process in early October changed allocations based on the official fall enrollment count. Schools lost money if they had fewer students than projected, or even if they had the same overall number but fewer in lower grades or other "extra-weight" categories, while those with higher numbers gained funding. The process was hasty and, unfortunately, disruptive.

Based on the experience of last spring's planning and this fall's implementation, the WSF Committee is considering changes to recommend to Superintendent Ackerman in the weights for different categories of students, in functions to be covered by WSF funds as opposed to centrally controlled funds, in procedures and timing, in dealing with special problems of smaller schools, and in policies related to enrollment and compliance with federal requirements. The Committee consists mostly of central office administrators and principals, but also includes two teachers, one of whom is a parent, two teachers' union officials, and Parents United's budget analyst Mary Levy. We have asked for more parent representation. Meanwhile, please let us know your concerns about what should or should not change, and we will pass them on.

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