WARD 7 COMMUNITY CONVERSATION NOTES Saturday August 11th, 2012 Motion by Emily Washington Voted upon and unanimously

accepted by the Ward 7 Participants I move that no schools are closed in Ward 7 until a school reform plan based on a genuine analysis of student achievement by class is advanced by the Ward 7 stakeholders from every Ward Sector; place a moratorium on opening new Charter schools in Ward 7 until after the Ward 7 Peoples’ Plan for School reform is advanced.

Concerns/Issues
 Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) – Section 11-18 – must have community and parent involvement in decision-making. How does this fit into that – how are we working toward compliance? (DME explains this is not “in compliance” because there are no decisions being made, only recommendations being formed) Not enough parents here Visibility of the DME and want him hands on in the community The $ paid for the IFF (37 closing recommendations) is same as funding this convo (incorrect) 2 newest schools have not succeeded b/c $ is not put into improvement by chancellor/superintendent. $ could be put to behavior staff (budget) What was the original agenda? This wasn’t written anywhere. White Paper Submitted to Mayor’s Office (Emily Washington) – see end of notes for full text. Lack of equity Staffing Lack of resources How is quality being defined? (I.e. teacher quality, parent quality, absenteeism/truancy) Quality administration; recommendations; parental involvement Language in IFF report being used in DME communications – “quality seats” Admin need to explain the connection b/w test scores and closings What role do “enrollment” #s play in decisions? “This is not about school closures” – wrong: DME is saying one thing staff saying another Creating “separate but =” system. This is an insult of the first order School closures – as an attack on children – compromises children’s safety What about closing ‘charter’ schools? # of people on staff @ DME office and they’re not reachable A great deal of cheating @ schools; # chancellor report who tells the charter board what? Standardized test scores determined the ‘tiers’ – what was other criteria? The way we develop our community now will impact us for years to come Test scores do matter

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WARD 7 COMMUNITY CONVERSATION NOTES       Saying that “we don’t know what quality is” is insulting o DME states that there is multitude of definitions of quality – so there’s no one definition. Schools worse off now than it was before everyone fired Bullying Truancy School distance How are all the notes being compiled, shared? o DME and Public Agenda state that notes will be typed up by Public Agenda, shared with Planning Team to disseminate to Ward 7 residents Need to deal with the dynamics in Ward 7 – no comparison (in a lot of ways) Sending students to children in other wards -> not investing in our own ward Don’t need outsiders telling us what to do Need constant community involvement – when things are good and bad – need to sustain this energy Model what’s working Schools are changing principals too much Equity Resources not distributed equally Staffing not enough to handle children’s needs Some teachers are inexperienced At the end of the day it’s about resources 50-60% students on IAP, schools and staff not equipped to handle this High % of students with behavioral and psych issues Systematic neglect of residents east of the river; separate and unequal

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Suggestions/Recommendations
       Signed contract b/w teacher/school/student/principal Keep librarian in all schools (discourage TV); modern libraries and library Retain small schools to keep classes small Computer labs Require spelling, grammar Nutrition Motion to vehemently oppose school closings in Ward and moratorium on pg 77; until there is community involvement; vetting process (THIS MOTION WILL BE PUT IN A FORMAL STATEMENT TO GO TO DME, OSSE, MAYOR) Improve quality Gangs/Bullying Need to have follow-up conversation with W2, W3, W6 to find out what they’re doing that could help in W1, W4, W5, W7, W8. Councilwoman to speak directly to De’Shawn Wright Councilwoman should speak to constituents about IFF report Education plan tailored for Ward 7.

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WARD 7 COMMUNITY CONVERSATION NOTES                            Move on E Washington’s motion o Moratorium on new charter until education plan is developed (accepted by group) Change student to teacher ratio to have 2 full time teachers – Elementary 15:1, High School 20:1 No more than 25% of students on IEP: and 504’s Curriculum development is relevant to students in particular school Review and asses admin of schools Team approach Increase class tech. to engage students City conscience revisiting boundaries Observe best practices from other jurisdictions – put in place things we’re looking for in other areas Strengthen office of DC state board of education Shared space in schools Bring central office to schools buildings Develop a true assessment process for Ward 7 schools Look at top 5 countries to see curriculum develop options ANC’s – frontline; should know school districts within your districts -> which students are going to school outside the district All schools have libraries and librarian Conduct services Parent as partners (partnerships in school law) Justification of poor test scores (why are they poor) Create working definition of quality education for Ward 7 Hold chancellor accountable Create certified classrooms o Clean, clocks-working, computers, smartboards Bring back office of ombudsman and raise it to the level of OSSE Create office of parent engagement, bring to OSSE Staff Hours are ensured noon-8pm Public evaluation of mayoral school take-over (since of 5 years) Convene Ward 7 meeting w/ DME to address what has been discussed today.

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WARD 7 COMMUNITY CONVERSATION NOTES Written Comments from Participants Survey Proposed by Ward 5 COE Member, Shelagh Bocoum I created a survey to ask parents questions such as ‘what school their child attends, what they like and don’t like about that school, how far their children currently have to travel to get to their school, how they get there, and what they would do if their neighborhood school was closed.’ It also asks about various concerns parents may have about schools such as safety -- at school, en route and to and from school—and adequate before and after care and after school programs. If we could get all parents to answer this survey, such as by putting it in the backpacks, do you think that would provide useful data? Survey accessible here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CKZ3ZYM Contact Shelagh for more information: shelagh755@gmail.com

Written Submission Ward 7 Priorities   

by Principal Burke (JC Nalle ES), Principal Reddlespugger (Davis ES) and Principal Muhammad (Aiton ES)

High quality professional development for teachers in high need schools Recruit high quality and highly experienced teachers for high need schools Relevant technology tools to improve reading, writing and math instruction

Teams approach  Administration Teams o Principal o Assistant principal, o Dean of students Instructional Teams o Reaching coach, o Math coach o teacher leads Resource Support Team o Math, science, reading, art, library, phys ed Special Education Team o Special Ed coordinator, o Appropriate number of teachers and o appropriate service providers Parent Teams o Family support specialist at each school with a proven record of success in working on high needs schools o Training for parents (discipline, academic support)

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WARD 7 COMMUNITY CONVERSATION NOTES Extended Day programs are needed for all struggling schools – specialized according to student interest Food Service – Natural and organic foods for breakfast, snacks, lunch and afterschool supper Modern Facilities    Classrooms with safe and new furniture and computer equipment Restrooms that are updated, clean and safe Playgrounds: new, updated

Curriculum    ** Aligned to interim and high stakes test Transparency around testing – release of items, etc Knowing how students are scored on brief constructed responses – schools must be able to see the writing results (actual sample test) so teachers will know how to tailor their instruction

(end of submission) General Comments  Public Education and the existence of our public schools are essential to the quality of life in our community. It is illegal and unwise to even consider closing schools based on test scores or their projection thereof. Where scores are low more attention must be given to turn those schools around. Because the children deserve better and it is children not scores that should be our focus. I oppose the closing of any more schools in Ward 7. The system should focus on improving all schools rather than closing schools. (Robert T Richards, Anc 7B07)

Questions          Ideas    Reduce class sizes Keep schools open Hold all stakeholders accountable; parents, teachers, students How do you use test scores to determine school closures when the bar is being raised every year when schools haven’t met the previous years’ goals? Why is the best option for this to close schools? Why is the school administration not having planning meetings with parents, students and community because those are the people who this directly affect? What would be the criteria for school closings? How were they chosen? Can this be reserve? Are there any charter schools scheduled for closing? What are the test dates for the DC CAS? What is the measurements/metrics as “standard” to decide How were IFF Tiers developed?

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WARD 7 COMMUNITY CONVERSATION NOTES    If the IFF is basing public school closures on low test scores, schools with high population of special education students (that typically test low) need to be given special consideration before closing. Test scores should not be the single criteria for closing schools 7 Ideas for action that would make a difference (Logan Wiley) o 1. Signed contract between Principal/Teacher/School and Parents  Homework every night  No television until homework is done  One hour of reading K-6; 2 hours of reading for 7-12  One hour of math K-6; 90 minutes for 7-12  10 books to be read over the summer – books from library o 2. Keep a librarian in all schools to encourage reading and discourage watching television as a primary source of information o 3. Retain small schools to retain small classes o 4. Computer lab/typing with internet access o 5. Require spelling and grammar o 6. Diet and nutrition classes; k-6 should always have fruit and vegetable snacks o 7. Recess and PE for K-6, physical education for 7-12 All schools need well-equipped, modern libraries staffed by a librarian and time scheduled in the library weekly. Instead of school closings, the existing schools should be upgraded to acceptable standards that would enhance the learning environment, thereby improving the students’ test scores. Find out more about “what works?” Resources are needed Invest in our communities (J.C. Nalle)

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WARD 7 COMMUNITY CONVERSATION NOTES White Paper Submitted by Emily Washington The challenges to public schools in Ward 7 are numerous and complex, but they are not new, and our residents firmly assert that budgeting, staffing, and programming must take into account the numerous socioeconomic barriers confronted by our communities, where many families have been displaced from their homes and face the constant threat that their children may be displaced from their schools. Ward 7 schools must become community beacons—not only comprehensive education service providers and but hubs of neighborhood activity as well. Because of the multiple threats to stability in our neighborhoods, Ward 7 schools require public commitment to high quality programs that encourage student and parents to use their local schools for more than the 8:453:15 school day. Our fragile families need the support of all-year, round-the-clock schools to ensure maintenance of academic gain and continuous access to other supportive and enriching programs. Sustained high quality programs and staff in all areas are a priority, and resources and incentives must be provided to ensure that highly qualified, effective principals and teachers will be the norm in our communities. Culturally appropriate academic programs that are focused on accelerating rather than remediating students must be adopted and implemented across the Ward. Both the Board of Education and the Executive Branch must acknowledge what the research of Ronald Edmonds on education of the urban poor has affirmed for more than forty years: (a) “We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us; (b) We already know more than we need to know to do this; and (c) whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far.”  Lack of equity in facilities, programming, staffing, and fiscal resources: o Poor staffing, the loss of quality programs, and the defunding of building repair and maintenance: This has systematically stripped Ward 7 of students, making the children and the facilities vulnerable to take-over. o Lack of effective, experienced, and successful instructional leaders in Ward 7: A review of data on principals indicates that Ward 7 school leadership is less effective and less accountable to the school communities compared to other parts of the city and is overall ill-prepared to meet the unique challenges of Ward 7 Students. o Lack of fully qualified teachers: A review of available data on staffing indicates that generally Ward 7 schools suffer from under-qualified teachers and teachers assigned to subjects outside their areas of expertise. o Lack of positive image: After years of neglect and student transfer to West-of-the-River schools, Ward 7 schools are under-enrolled, under-resourced, and viewed as unsafe, negative environments. Communities most affected have lost confidence in the system to provide a nurturing educational experience for their children.

Many Ward 7 residents expressed concerns over the lack of equity and the erosion of basic democratic processes in allocating resources to their children’s schools and in making critical decisions about their children’s futures. Many Ward 7 children have been recruited to West-of-the-river DCPS schools and to

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WARD 7 COMMUNITY CONVERSATION NOTES Charter schools as a result of negative perceptions of safety, poor staffing and programming, and overall inequitable distribution of resources at their neighborhood schools. Parents are frustrated by poor communication between schools and home, and they feel that they are discouraged from meaningful involvement in their children’s educational development and their schools’ policy and budget decisions. Truancy and high dropout rates due to a process of student discouragement: This is especially pronounced at the middle grades (8th and 9th) as a result of the lack of coordination and the churning enrollments between DCPS and the charters and as a result of the above addressed inequity issues. There is almost no opportunity for bilingual education for students East of the River, which affect elementary and post-secondary education and career opportunities. Emily Y. Washington Ward 7 Resident/Veteran DCPS Educator

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