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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
6:30-8pm
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

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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

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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 humphreys@capitalrowing.org

Spread the word! https://www.capitalrowing.org/crcwp/now-premiering-free-summer-learn-row-program/

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CHPSPO Meets Tueday, April 19, at Stuart Hobson

CHPSPO will meet on Tuesday, April 19, at Stuart Hobson (410 D Street, NE). We will be joined by the 21st Century School Fund members who have been involved in creating on-line DCPS budget and capital improvement tools. We’ll also discuss follow up to last week’s budget hearings (Ward 6 had a terrific showing at the hearings!!!), Bike-to-School Day (May 4), and share how schools get transportation for field trips.

Hope to see you on Tuesday.

Suzanne Wells

041916 CHPSPO Agenda.docx

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Evan Yeats Testimony – DCPS Budget Hearing – April 14 2016

Testimony of Evan Yeats

Parent, J.O. Wilson Elementary

to the DC Council Committee on Education

April 14, 2016

For more information: evan.yeats (at) gmail (dot) com

 

Good evening members of the committee. My name is Evan Yeats, and I’m the parent of a pre-kindergarten student at J.O. Wilson. I’m a resident of Petworth in Ward 4, and we’re one of many out-of-boundary parents that have found a home at J.O. Wilson.

I wanted to start by thanking both the Chairman and the Mayor for working to find a system to determine when school renovations occur that is based more in data and less in politics and influence. It’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Perhaps it’s because my son’s school gets left behind in these calculations, but I can’t help but worry about four criteria that got left off the funding formulas:

ADA accessibility: you’ve heard this concern from the other two parents up here, and I can’t help but emphasize it again. We believe that all children should be able to get the quality education our children are getting, and right now, that’s not possible. Right now, we have no idea if or when that issue will be fixed and urge you to include ADA accessibility as part of your renovation formula. A school should be accessible for the whole community.

Date of last renovation: By not considering the scope of the renovation, this scoring negatively impacts schools that have been already negatively impacted by the now-abandoned phased renovation system. At J.O. Wilson, we received phase one of a three phase renovation – a phase that mainly consisted of replacing windows and the HVAC system over a portion of the building. A large portion of the building was not touched by this phase one, and the needs are clearly far greater than just new windows. Under this committee’s scoring system, we receive the same score as a school that was constructed new on the same date, while clearly our building is not in the same condition.

Health and safety concerns: while the formula used by this committee reflects the DGS “grades” assigned to the facilities, they don’t reflect real health & safety concerns of the population that are using them. The District is probably already be tracking, for liability purposes, a more useful metric – like building-related injury reports. If students and community members are being injured due to the condition of a DCPS facility, that should count in your rankings.

Equity of access to facilities: An indoor activity and play space, like a gym, is essential for elementary school children in a climate like Washington’s where a substantial portion of their recreation time is likely to be spent indoors. J.O. Wilson doesn’t have a gym, and that paired with high enrollment and high building utilization means that there is essentially no indoor recreation space. My son’s class takes indoor recess by literally running laps in the halls. In the committee’s formula, our school is the same priority as a (hypothetical) school that has a gym, an auditorium, a separate cafeteria or even a pool.

I believe, that like the parents and families at J.O. Wilson, that the Mayor and the members of this committee want to provide facilities for DCPS students that enable our children to learn and succeed. I admire the committee’s efforts to make a fairer, more transparent process for renovations. But I think that these categories need consideration, as well.

Thank you.

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Bike to School Day is May (the) 4th – save the date!

BTSD_2inch_Color

What: Bike to School Day

When: WEDNESDAY, MAY (the) 4th, 7:30 AM – 8:20 AM
(Star Wars jokes, compliments of our very own Laura Marks!)

Where: Lincoln Park (East Capitol St between 11th and 13th Streets)

Who: All our neighborhood students + friends from the National Center for Safe Routes to Schools + local and national celebrities!

Look out for details about the special activities planned!

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Sandra Moscoso Testimony – DCPS Budget Hearing – April 14 2016

Testimony by Sandra Moscoso

Education Committee DCPS Budget Oversight Hearing,

April 14, 2016

 

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

I am a member of the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization (CHPSPO), a DCPS Parent at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan and a DC Charter School Parent at BASISDC PCS.

My ask of Council given your influence over education budget are:

  • Be transparent in how decisions are made.
  • Be consistent in your support of and honor commitments made to student, families, and educators.
  • Get the most out of limited funds by supporting TRUE coordination between DC public and DC charter schools.

On transparency, while city education agencies have made great strides over the past few years around making data and policy more accessible, there is still a long way to go for the lay (or even savvy) parent to understand the rationale behind how decisions are made.

This is due to the lack of transparency and lack of consistency around how funding decisions are made. Capital funding decisions in particular.

In the absence of transparent inputs, processes, and evidence-based decision-making, there is plenty of room for lack of trust. Sadly, this is where many (if not most) of parents like me sit today.

On consistency, honor commitments our students depend on.

I think back to my daughter’s school, Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan. On April 6, 2011, I sat in the school’s multi-purpose room, along with about 100 parents, teachers, and students, as we learned about our school’s future home. The then Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization of DC Public Schools delivered a presentation of plans for the building we would be moving into August of that year. Those plans included basic repairs to get the school ready to safely accommodate our students, with plans for Phase 1 modernization in 2014.

While disappointed that we would wait 3 years for modernization, we trusted in the system and patiently waited our turn. 2014 has come and gone, and now our students (most of who will have aged out) will have to wait over a decade for a modernized building?

We ask a lot of our students (and their teachers). We ask them to sit through long days, 10-20 minutes to scarf down their lunch, and dwindling recess. We ask them to tolerate hours of skill and drill, and assessments every 6 weeks (if not more). We ask them to adjust to bouncing around schools, yo-yo access to resources, and initiatives du jour. On top of this, our students live with the pressure that if they do not perform well on standardized tests, their teachers or principal could get fired. This is the type of responsibility we put onto 3rd graders, 9 year olds.

In turn, can we really not accept the responsibility for ensuring their learning environments are adequate? We owe them modern, beautiful spaces to learn.

Finally, I recognize that resources are limited and funding is scarce. I believe that funding two public education sectors without strategic coordination between them exacerbates the issue of scarcity.

I have children in both sectors, and the problems I witness in both are quite similar. Aging facilities in need up updating, scarce resources for programming. I cannot understand how it is possible that the city is willing to open a school in the same neighborhood where a similar, up and coming but highly under-resourced school exists. I have seen first-hand how this reckless practice has hurt my children’s DCPS and Charter middle schools, as well as all of my neighborhood middle schools like Eliot-Hine, Stuart-Hobson, and Jefferson Academy.

Fund the schools here today adequately (DCPS and Charter) give them a chance to succeed, and put a hold on opening new ones or we’ll never find our way out of this cycle.

Ensuring there is true coordination between the two sectors should be at the top of EVERY councilmember’s agenda. Doing this well will mean better use of resources, and equity around how those resources are distributed.

Back to trust, if we cannot count on our elected officials to find a way to get the most out of our education sectors, I wonder whether we have the right officials in place. I am very sorry to put it this way, but the argument of “Congress gonna Congress” cannot possibly be tolerated when it comes to addressing our city’s education challenges.

I have faith in this Council, I hope that I can continue to say you have my trust.

Thank you for your time and attention.