Why Knowledge Matters, a discussion with Dan Willingham, June 1st, 6:30PM

Why Knowledge Matters: The need for a rich curriculum, from the earliest ages

A talk by Dan Willingham, a noted cognitive scientist and professor at the University of Virginia

Wednesday, June 1
McKinley High School
151 T St. NE

How to register? The event is free, but please register so the organizers know how many people to expect.

Why attend? The Office of the State Superintendent of Education and the State Board of Education are poised to consider revisions to DC’s current accountability rules and to high school graduation standards. The question of what is fundamental to students’ education is a critical one. Teachers, parents, residents, education leaders and advocates of all kinds, come join the conversation with Dan Willingham.

Who’s sponsoring the event? Major education stakeholders in the District:  DME, SBOE, OSSE, DCPS, WTU, C4DC, CHPSPO and other Ward education councils.

Who is Dan Willingham?  Willingham writes the “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column for the American Educator magazine. Far more than most academics, he has worked to make cognitive science findings useful and understandable to teachers and schools. He is the author of Why Don’t Students Like School?, Raising Kids who Read, and When Can You Trust the Experts?

More info? Download the flyer for this event


CHPSPO Meets Tuesday, May 17, at Eliot-Hine Middle School

Dear Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization Members,

CHPSPO will meet on Tuesday, May 17, at Eliot-Hine Middle School (1830 Constitution Ave., NE). We will be joined by Ivy Ken, a member of the DC School Food Project, who will be sharing with us information about a request for an official investigation into the ethics of the current DCPS food services procurement process (see attached letter). We will also be joined by Caryn Ernst who will be seeking our input on the key issues the Cross Sector Collaboration Task Force should focus on going forward (see letter from Caryn below). We will also be discussing the efforts underway to understand the extent of lead in schools and continuing follow up to the DCPS Capital Improvement Plan.

Hope to see you on Tuesday.

Suzanne Wells

DRAFT Letter to BEGA-DC.docx
051716 CHPSPO Agenda.docx


Lights, Camera, Row! Free Summer Camp

CRC Juniors Rowing Camp Flier_Full Page_Final.png

Learn the art of rowing at Capital Rowing Club and be a part of a production and editing workshop. Each day includes water time on the Anacostia River and developing a short video as a crew.

General Information

  • Monday, June 20- Friday June 24
  • 9am-4pm
  • Ages: Rising 7th grader or 12 years old – 16 years old
  • Cost: Free
  • To register, email

Spread the word!


Chairman Grosso’s Education Budget Increases Modernization Dollars, Rejects Methodology of Mayor’s Budget But Largely Sticks to Plan

Some important changes for Ward 6 included in draft council proposal

Today, DC Council Committee on Education Chairman Grosso released his proposal and report for the education portion of the FY17 budget, including modernization funding and priorities. The Education Committee will vote on the Chairman’s proposal on Thursday, May 5. CHPSPO members involved in advocacy over the past year on these issues prepared a quick view of the draft proposal from Chairman Grosso.

As background: Over the last year there has been a sustained advocacy effort by the CHPSPO group, mostly focussed on modernizations and cross sector collaboration. Those efforts have stepped up in recent weeks in response to the Mayor’s budget proposal. Many, many parents turned out to testify, approximately 250 parents and others from across the city signed a letter asking for broad reform in the modernization process, and there has been continued dialogue with Councilmembers Grosso and Allen.

In the middle of all of this, several of our neighborhood schools have been dealing with the emergence of the lead in drinking water debacle and the failure of several agencies to prevent, respond to or communicate about this threat to kids’ health.

The combination of the budget and policy proposals from both the Education Committee and the Transportation and Environment Committee represent some true responsiveness to the school communities and some good policy making. But they also clarify just how far we have to go.

It is a particular victory that the Chairman has released a dramatically different prioritization matrix of capital projects in the schools than was proposed by DCPS.

While the Chairman’s matrix did not translate in to a significantly revised capital spending plan, it is a big qualitative step forward from the work done by DCPS and sets the stage for any new capital dollars that become available in the City. It also represents a big victory for the call for broad reform that CHPSPO has led.


Sign-on Letter to DC Council Education Committee Regarding School Modernization Funding

UPDATE 5/2/16 2:30PM: As of May 2nd, 249 people have signed onto this letter. Signers are from all Wards and represent a range of interests: parents, schools, individuals, and citywide organizations.

>> Final letter to the DC Committee on Education with 249 signatures


On April 20th, PTA and LSAT leaders and other members of the Capitol Hill Public School Parent Organization (CHPSPO) kicked off a sign-on letter to the DC Committee on Education as an effort to engage parents and school leaders in all wards to fight for a more rigorous, transparent school modernization approach for all.

The letter calls on the DC Council Education Committee to “reject the Mayor’s FY2017-FY2022 DCPS Capital Improvement Plan as it is proposed” and requests a plan with clearer rationale and accurate and transparent data. It was signed initially by 31 parent leaders and sent to Committee members on April 20 in advance of the DCPS oversight hearing on April 21.

We hope more parents, teachers, school leaders, and community members will join us.
> Read the letter and sign on here


Last year the Committee on Education wisely responded to the city’s poor track record of wasteful spending, broken school promises, and no clear plan or rationale to the Capital Improvements Plan with a data-driven approach of transparently assessing and prioritizing what we do with limited capital dollars. It wasn’t a perfect matrix, but it was a big step forward and included an opportunity for public input on the values and data underlying the approach.

The Mayor’s current Capital Improvement budget proposal responds to the need to focus on school modernization as a priority — but the Mayor’s plan as proposed does not invest in our schools with a clear vision, transparent data, or evidence of efficient spending. Nor was any public engagement or findings of the recent 21st Century School Fund historical modernization analysis part of determining the DCPS matrix used to develop the budget.

The fiscal and educational impact of this plan is so significant that we call on the City Council to use its oversight role to require more rigor from the Mayor and DCPS in the data, transparency, and criteria used to create this plan.

We ask that the Committee not allow any modernization budget to be approved until the following five specific elements are included (as detailed in the sign-on letter):

* Stabilization Plan Based on Health and Safety Needs of All Schools
* Accurate and Transparent Data
* Consistent and Relevant Method
* Incentives to Get Better Value from Project Expenditures.
* Fix All in 6: Council should commit to funding over the next 6 years every school’s modernization needs.