S.H.A.P.P.E. is an organization of the District of Columbia Public (DCPS) high school parent leaders, concerned educators  and principals in Washington D.C.  We have been meeting monthly since February of 1998.  We originally came together to share our frustration and grief at the level of violence in our city.  We currently work together to strategically influence policies, practices and budget decisions that impact our city’s teenagers.  

The core of our work is in our monthly meetings, our support and collaboration of the other public education advocacy groups and in our public testimony and communications.  Information on these topics can be found in the sidebar.  For other information, please contact us at dc.s.h.a.p.p.e@gmail.com 

S.H.A.P.P.E. is a group working cooperatively on: service distribution among our schools.

    .       1. Promoting an equitable standard of resource and service distribution between the schools.

·       2. Expanded educational opportunities including advanced academic classes and job training.

·       3. A comprehensive approach to safety and health in our schools.

·       4. Modernized facilities aligned with sound educational practice.

·       5. The funding necessary to achieve these goals.

S.H.A.P.P.E. facilitates partnerships between:--·        

Parents, principals and educators in the 18 senior high schools

·         Local senior high schools and the central District of Columbia Public Schools administration

·         Metropolitan Police Department, Human Services, Recreation and the local senior high schools

·         The Mayor’s office, the City Council and the local senior high schools (S.H.A.P.P.E. members)

·         Local senior high schools and other advocacy groups working for our young people.


Important Announcements

Next S.H.A.P.P.E. Meeting will be on Monday, August 29th.  We will discuss the Chancellor Selection process and the priorities expressed by the Ward Education Councils as well as the agenda items for the coming year.  

The Community Forums for the DCPS Chancellor Selection are to take place on Tuesday, August 30th at Roosevelt HS; Wednesday, September 7th at Eastern High School and Wednesday, September 14th at Savoy Elementary all from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.  

There are some important opportunities still available Globalize DC

Results for the PARCC assessment can be found here: http://osse.dc.gov/parcc/2015results

  • __________________________

    Enrollment is up for DC The un audited figures show student enrollment in both sectors increased slightly more than two percent, from 47,663 to 48,653 at DCPS, while public charter schools increased from 38,325 to 39,096.


New models for D.C. high schools

May 25 at 5:23 PM

The May 20 Metro article “3 new charter schools approved” reported on the approval of a new charter high school east of the Anacostia River. D.C. Public Schools has built two beautiful high schools there and fully modernized a third. These schools are designed to support excellent programming and include specialized spaces in science, technology, engineering and math, visual and performing arts and athletics. They represent an investment in the future. DCPS plans to open a new high school for young men of color in Ward 7. With the Public Charter School Board’s approval to open Washington Leadership Academy, Wards 7 and 8 will have 11 high schools.

The District should incorporate service learning and pilot single-sex education into existing high schools east of the river. Instead of incurring the significant capital and ongoing facilities commitments of new schools, and the further shuffling of students that follows, this could strengthen education for the more than 4,500 students in public high schools there.  

Cathy Reilly, Washington

The writer is executive director of the Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators.

  • View Eboni Rose Thompson and Cathy Reilly's response to Post Editorial on charter school/ DCPS balance below.  

Public Education Needs a Plan   Cathy Reilly and Eboni Rose Thompson

The good news is that we agree with Scott Pearson and Skip McCoy of the Public Charter School Board when they say that they do not want to follow the path of Detroit and New Orleans and become a city of all charter schools. (Wash. Post March 20) We want to retain a strong neighborhood school system "of right" along with charter options. This is the vision arrived at after months of citywide public engagement as part of the Final Recommendations on Student Assignment Policies and School Boundaries in the fall of 2014. 

The difficulty is that with the Public Charter Board, individual charter schools, and DCPS all making independent uncoordinated decisions with public dollars on the number of schools and where they are located, we are on the path to an all charter system. Our neighborhood system of schools of right is in danger in wards where there are a lot of charter schools. It is a market based competitive system with more schools opening each year and a few closing, constantly subjecting children to change and instability. It is not one of coordination and planning. 

Our tax dollars are now supporting DCPS and 60 separate charter local education agencies in over 200 school buildings. This is almost impossible to effectively oversee and incredibly inefficient. These numbers are only rising. In the fall of 2015 three new public charter schools will open with Washington Global Middle School less than 2000 feet from the DCPS Jefferson Middle School which offers a similar program. This is not an isolated example. Harmony PCS opened directly across the street from Langley Elementary, offering the same grade levels with the same academic focus. The Public Charter School Board will vote this May on whether to open 6 more charter schools along with an expansion and legally can approve up to 10 new schools each year.

DC families have enormous choice between the DCPS out of boundary and magnet schools and the 112 charter schools. Now, the task is to strengthen the DCPS neighborhood schools families have a right to attend without having to apply or enter a lottery. Families across the city want the quality, stability and predictability that only those parents who can afford to live in Ward 3 have. DCPS is responding to this demand by providing more early childhood and stronger middle school options in the neighborhood schools within each feeder pattern after years of successive closings and building transfers to the charter sector.

This is the moment for us to do the hard work involved in planning an efficient and effective system of public education with both DCPS and charters. After a loss of over 300,000 residents DC has been growing in the last 15 years due to many factors local and national. DC is overall a wealthier, safer, more family friendly place to live. Its prosperity and changing student demographics have fueled improvement and success in both sectors. After 40 years the city did adjust school boundaries with a public process that is widely respected. We can make the vision for a strong, coordinated public education system serving all of our children reality only through deliberate common planning followed by our elected officials working with the public to make the necessary required policy and then to implement it.

Cathy Reilly is the Executive Director of the Senior High Alliance of Parents and Educators and Eboni Rose Thompson is the Chair of the Ward 7 Education Council and an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Ward 7. Both of us were members of the Student Assignment Advisory Committee