CHPSPO Meeting Notes – September 15, 2015

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Stuart Hobson Middle School

September 15, 2015

1) Discussion about CHPSPO’s nomination to the Cross-Sector Task Force

  • Issues we think are important for the Task Force to address
    • Planning: # of seats, site selection, curriculum
    • Grade alignment (consistency around at grades are included in middle school)
    • Financial transparency
    • Long-term à amend the existing laws
    • Ways to foster stability throughout the school system
    • Ways to foster collaboration not competition
  • Discussion with people interested in serving on Task Force
    • Caryn Ernst (Capitol Hill Cluster School parent and former PTA president) and Sandra Moscoso (Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan & former LSAT Chair/BASISDC parent)
  • Voting on CHPSPO’s nomination
    • Caryn Ernst was selected to receive the CHPSPO nomination.

2) Discussion about blog, Valerie Jablow;

  • Follow the blog via email, disseminate it into your communities and reach out to Valerie to contribute posts

3) Upcoming DC Council Education Committee hearings and events. Laura Marks

  • Visit here for calendar of Education Committee hearing dates in September and October 2015 and instructions for submitting testimony
  • Public School Food and Nutrition Services Programs and School Food and Nutrition Services Contract Requirement Act of 2015 – public roundtable. Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 10:00 a.m., Hearing Room 412
  • Early Learning Quality Improvement Network Amendment Act of 2015 and Higher Education Licensure Commission Amendment Act of 2015. Thursday, October 1, 2015, 10:00 a.m., Hearing Room 412
  • Public Charter School Fiscal Transparency Amendment Act of 2015. Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 1:00 p.m., Hearing Room 120

4) CHPSPO visits to Wilson Building, Ivan Frishberg.

In process of scheduling group visits with councilmembers on education committee.

5) DCPS Library Resourcing. Peter MacPherson.

  • Proposal to advocate for adequately resourcing DCPS libraries (recommended is 20 volumes/student, which is not currently the case at many schools). Idea is to apply the $13.7 million settlement from Chartwells towards funding volumes in schools without adequate collections.
  • Surveys were distributed to CHPSPO librarians to collect information about individual school collections. Please return completed surveys to Suzanne Wells.

6) Walk-to-School Day Planning, George Blackmon

  • Wednesday, October 7, 7:30-8:30 AM @ Lincoln Park
  • Schools are encouraged to hold their own events, if the distance to/from Lincoln Park is inconvenient.
  • Speakers; draft agenda:
    • 7:30: Arrival/Snacks and American Parkour Academy demos
    • 7:45: Ward 6 CM Charles Allen welcomes everyone
      • NOTE: Charles give a shout out to Mark Toorock and Matt Caraballo from American Parkour Academy (they won’t speak, but will be leading demos on the park).
    • 7:48: Maury ES Cheerleaders perform
    • 7:53 Miriam Kenyon, director of health and physical education at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)
    • 7:56: Tommy Wells, Director of the District Department of the Environment
    • 7:59: JO Wilson ES Cheerleaders perform
    • 8:04: Fitness celebrity Gabriella Boston leads yoga stretch
    • 8:10: Charles Allen sends everyone off to school

7) American Parkour, Mark Toorock and Matt Caraballo

Next CHPSPO Meeting:  October 20, 2015

Upcoming Events

September 30 Education Committee hearing on DCPS Food & Nutrition Services Program, 10AM

September 30  DCPS State of Schools with Chancellor Henderson, Dunbar HS, 7-9 PM

October 4        Brent Fall Festival

October 7        Walk-to-School Day (register your school at

October 8        Jefferson Academy vs Stuart Hobson (6-8 PM @ Coolidge HS)

October 10      Capitol Hill Cluster School PTA Renovators Tour Fundraiser

October 17      Capitol Hill Community Foundation’s A Literary Feast (

October 21      Education Committee hearing on issues facing youth

October 24      Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan’s Haunted Harvest, 6-9PM

October 24      Maury Elementary’s Fall Festival

October 24      Tyler Elementary’s Harvest Festival, 11AM-3PM

November 8    JO Wilson’s Taste of H (


CHPSPO meeting September 15 at Stuart Hobson

Dear Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization members,

CHPSPO will meet on Tuesday, September 15, at 6:30 p.m. at Stuart Hobson, 410 E St., NE, Room 108.

We will be discussing the Cross-sector task force being organized by the Deputy Mayor for Education, and identifying one person we want to nominate to represent CHPSPO. We will also be discussing Walk-to-School Day (it looks like a bunch of our schools still need to register at, and upcoming visits to the Wilson Building.

Attached are the draft reports being prepared by OSSE to communicate the results of the PARCC test. Gwen Rubenstein at OSSE shared this current version of the report, and you should contact her, if you have additional comments.

Finally, please check out the new education blog created by CHPSPO member Valerie Jablow. Everyone is invited to contribute to this blog by writing about education issues important to you.

Hope to see you on Tuesday.

Suzanne Wells

091515 CHPSPO Agenda.docx



Join the DC education conversation with educationdc!

Join the DC education conversation!

New blog, educationdc (, by DC parent and education advocate, Valerie Jablow, “is a public platform for all issues in DC public education, including research, ideas, and movements within public education in general and in DC in particular.”

The DC community is invited to read, share, engage, and contribute.

Start by discovering where all the 4th graders have gone


CHPSPO Meeting Notes – July 21, 2015

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization

Maury Elementary

July 21, 2015

OSSE Draft Parent Reports

Gwen Rubinstein with OSSE, and Steve Cartwright, a contractor for OSSE, shared drafts of reports being designed for parents to help them understand their child’s test results under the new Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests.  Ms. Rubinstein explained the test results from school year 2014/2015 will not be available till the fall of 2015.  There were many comments about the draft report including:

  • Because it is anticipated test scores will drop under PARCC when compared with the DC CAS, some explanation about the differences in the two test results is needed;
  • The range for the test scores is between 500 and 580, and it is not clear why the scores are in this range as opposed to 0 to 80, for example;
  • It was suggested that the words describing the level of understanding, e.g., moderate understanding, be more prominent rather than performance level, e.g., Level 3, and the overall score, e.g., 556 which have little meaning to parents;
  • The term “distinguished” understanding is likely not to be understood;
  • When it says “David is growing slower than other students at the same level of prior achievement,” is this a comparison within the individual school or a system-wide comparison, or a comparison across states?
  • The term LEA is not familiar to most parents; and it isn’t clear what it means on the draft report
  • The comparisons between the overall score that is on a scale of 500 to 580 and the English Language Arts Scoring Categories (reading is out of 60 and writing is out of 40) is confusing;
  • Under the questions to ask your child’s teacher there are a series of suggestions related to what the parent can do to support the child’s learning. Equally important to know is what support is being provided by the school to help the child obtain a proficient or above level;
  • Under the section that describes what the child needs to improve his knowledge and skills, some of the language is likely not familiar to parents, e.g., “…writing prompts.”

We invited Ms. Rubinstein to come back to the September CHPSPO meeting to share the revised reports.

Faith Hubbard, State Board of Education (SBOE) Student Advocate

Ms. Hubbard explained her position is a newly legislated role that was created in the Student and Parent Empowerment Act.  While the position is within the SBOE, it is independent of the SBOE.  Ms. Hubbard sees the role as open-ended right now.  The role is designed to look out for multiple interests of families, and work to help families navigate the system.  Ms. Hubbard sees her role including being a resource for individual parents.

Ms. Hubbard described two projects she is actively working on and/or exploring:

  1. Providing parent leadership and advocacy training. This program has been successful in Connecticut (, and has worked well in other cities.
  2. Creating a website with information on the District’s school governance structure, and a broad array of education resources.

Ms. Hubbard also described how the Ward 5 Education Council operates (Ms. Hubbard was the president of the Ward 5 Education Council prior to her appointment as the Student Advocate.  The Ward 5 Education Council was established in 1985, and Ms. Hubbard got involved in the Council a few years ago.  The Ward 5 Education Council has a president, 1st VP, 2nd VP, 3rd VP, Treasurer and Secretary.

Visits to City Councilmembers at the Wilson Building

Ivan Frishberg discussed scheduling another round of visits to the Wilson building to meet with City Councilmembers.  We discussed continuing a focus on school modernizations.  There was support for scheduling the meetings in September.

Walk-to-School Day, October 7

The following people volunteered to help plan Walk-to-School Day:

  • Danica Petroshius – Lincoln Park permit
  • Suzanne Wells – Capitol Hill Community Foundation mini-grant
  • Erin Roth and George Blackmon – bag donations
  • Shahna Gooneratne – DC Water (bottles and Wendy the Water Drop)
  • Beth Bacon and Sandra Moscoso – Line up speakers
  • George has already confirmed the Maury cheerleaders will perform
  • All schools are encouraged to register at

CHPSPO Meeting – July 21 at Maury ES

CHPSPO will meet on Tuesday, July 21, at 6:30 p.m. at Maury Elementary (1250 Constitution Ave., NE).

We will be joined by Gwen Rubinstein from OSSE who will be sharing draft parent reports, and Faith Hubbard who is the new Student Advocate with the State Board of Education.

Attached is the list of the PTA presidents and each school’s CHPSPO representative. Please send me any updates you have to your school’s contacts. Thanks!

Suzanne Wells

072115 CHPSPO Agenda.docx

CHPSPO School Year 2015 2016 Representatives.docx

CHPSPO Meeting Notes – June 16, 2015

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization

Jefferson Academy

June 16, 2015

1. Public Education Reform Amendment Act (PERRA) Roundtable (June 22)

We discussed the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences Summative Evaluation of the District of Columbia’s Public Schools. This evaluation was on the Public Education Reform Amendment Act (PERAA) of 2007 that gave control of the public schools to the mayor, established the office of Chancellor of DCPS, and established the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME), the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and the State Board of Education (SBOE).

The report found significant areas of concern regarding 1) the lack of an entity that can support interagency coordinations, i.e., information sharing, collaboration and support, 2) the lack of data infrastructure that could support interagency coordination; and 3) lack of coordination between OSSE, SBOE and the DME. The report found coordination among DCPS and the charter schools “is also limited.”

Individual CHPSPO members are planning to submit written comments or testify regarding concerns with lack of accountability for the public charter schools, the need for open data, the need for a cross-sector task force that has “real teeth behind it,” and that public charter schools should be subject to FOIA requirements.

2. Ward 6 Education Town Hall meeting (June 24)

The State Board of Education was not asked to co-sponsor the Town Hall meeting that was scheduled by Councilmember Grosso.

Individuals are asked to RSVP and post topics they’d like to discuss online.

There is expected to be a discussion about the “tool” the Education Committee developed that set out criteria to determine the prioritization for school modernization funds. Concerns with the criteria dealing with enrollment were discussed. This criteria leads to investments in large, established schools, and delays investments in schools that are small, but trying to build their populations. There are significant concerns with the data that were used to populate the tool. The tool does not look at basic education specs, e.g., does the school have adequate lighting, are there science labs, are the acoustics adequate for learning, etc. Concern was expressed that there was not adequate public input into a tool that has such far reaching implications.

Topics also suggested for discussion were expansion of language immersion programs, and siting of new public charter schools.

3. Ward 6 Speaks

We discussed the Ward 6 Forum on Language Immersion that was held June 11. About 40 people attended the forum, and attendees felt the information provided by the panel on the positive impacts on student achievement was very informative. At the forum, there was discussion about the possibility

of expanding the Tyler Spanish Immersion program within the school, and prospective parent efforts to start a Mandarin Immersion program at Miner.

It was decided CHPSPO would establish a Language Immersion Committee to 1) share information among schools seeking to expand/establish language immersion programs, 2) to develop recommendations across Ward 6 regarding language immersion programs, and 3) to inform and support city-wide language immersion efforts.

The following volunteered to be members of the committee: Gimbiya Lin, Tammy Alexander, Erin Roth, and Suzanne Wells. We will seek additional members.

Next CHPSPO Meeting:  July 21, 2015

Upcoming Events

June 22 – Public Education Reform Amendment Act (PERRA), Roundtable Part II – 11am

This is the continuation of a public roundtable on the summative evaluation of public schools in the District of Columbia as required by the Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007. Copies of the National Academy of Sciences report can be found here. Contact Ade Adenariwo at by close of business Thursday, June 18 to testify.

June 24 – Education Committee Chairman David Grosso’s Ward 6 Education Town Hall together with Councilmember Charles Allen, 6:30-8:30pm, SW Library, 900 Wesley Place SW.

July 3 – 4th of July Parade, Barracks Row.  The Barracks Row 4th of July Parade falls on a Friday this year.   Contact Phil Guire  (  for more information on the parade.

July 8 – DC Council Roundtable: DGS Contracting and Procurement Practices for Constructing and Modernizing District of Columbia Public Schools, 11am, Room 500.  Contact Aukima Benjamin, staff assistant to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, at (202) 724-8062 or Persons representing organizations will have five minutes to present their testimony. Individuals will have three minutes to present their testimony.