Memo to the  State BOE on ESSA - we are still collecting signatures - contact Cathy Reilly at dc.shappe@gmail.com if you would like to sign on.  The vote is tomorrow evening March 22nd.  The majority of public comment at the State Board meetings urged OSSE to do better and for the BOE to urge them to take the time to get a better instrument. We feel it is important to go on record as requesting a more thoughtful, fair approach to evaluating our schools.  

To: The DC State Board of Education

Date: March 22, 2017

RE: Vote on the ESSA Accountability Framework for the District of Columbia


We as parents, educators and advocates believe OSSE and the Board can do better with the District submission to the federal government for the Every Student Succeeds Act.  We believe the heavy emphasis on testing in just two subjects in NCLB and continued here with ESSA in DC has actually denied our most at risk students in elementary and middle school the benefits of a full education including social studies, world language, science and the arts, in fact making them less prepared for citizenship and college and career.  The current draft with a summative single metric star rating is unfairly biased toward schools serving students who arrive already scoring high.  Transparency and accessibility for parents would be enhanced by more information on a dashboard.  By narrowing the indicators to test scores, attendance and re-enrollment we are missing an important opportunity to include discipline data and indicators of the learning environment which are vital to the success of our young people. 

 We have always supported the dis-aggregation of data and the protection of the civil rights of all of our students especially the most vulnerable.  We do not feel this instrument yet protects those rights or ensures an equitable education.  In fact it risks further labeling these young people and their schools as failures. It is not a strength based system. The schools serving the fewest at risk students stand to score the highest.     

 We support the Board of Education’s consensus recommendations and urge the Board to withhold your support until a full education metric is included and a stronger more urgent commitment is made for a high school growth metric and a school environment metric.  


Scott Abbott- Ward 4

Director of Social Studies in DCPS

President Elect of the Middle States Council for Social Studies


--Bonnie Beers – Ward 1

Special Education Teacher at Ivymount School in Md and in DCPS/Ivymount partnership at Francis Stevens

--Patricia Braun

Key Elementary School

--Allyson Criner Brown- Ward 7

Teaching for Change


--DC Language Immersion Project

--Andrea DelVecchio

Past PTA President Oyster-Adams School

--Brian Doyle- Ward 3

Ward 3 - Wilson Feeder Education Network

--Caryn Ernst- Ward 6

DCPS Parent

Member of the Cross Sector Task Force


--Laura Fuchs- Ward 5

DCPS Teacher in Ward 7

Ward 7 Education Council


--David Gessert

LSAT Lafayette Elementary School


--Valerie Jablow – Ward 6

Publisher Educationdc.net

DCPS Parent

Emily Kallaur
LSAT Co-Chair, Murch Elementary School


--Mary Levy – Ward 2

Education Budget Analysist and Civil Rights Attorney


--Sarah Livingston – Ward 6

Education Advocate


--Dorothy Marshak

Founder and President of CHIME

--Deborah Menkhart- Ward 4

Exec. Director of Teaching for Change

--Melody Molinoff

‎LSAT Chair Eaton Elementary School

--Cathy Reilly- Ward 4

Exec. Director of the Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators

--Becky Reina – Ward 1

Ward 1 Ed Council

DCPS Parent


--Beth Sewell- Ward 4

Special Education Teacher HD Woodson

Ward 4 Resident and Parent


--Robert Sewell- Ward 4

Parent and Resident


--Mark Simon – Ward 1

Ed Policy Analyst affiliated with the Economic Policy Institute


--Elizabeth Stuart – Ward  3

Past PTA President, Hearst Elementary School

--Eboni-Rose Thompson

Chair, Ward 7 Education Council

Member, Fort Dupont Civic Association

Former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, 7F02

 --Ward 1 Education Collaborative



-- Ward 7 Education Council

Ward 4 Education Alliance

Ward 5 Education Council

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization


Nancy Smith – Ward 4

Takoma EC grandparent

Ward 4 Ed. Council


PennBranch CCA

Dr. Marla Dean – Ward 7

Education Chair


Ken Forsberg

Ward 4

Powell Bilingual Elementary School parent and LSAT member


Joshua Hertzberg- Ward 4

West EC Parent


Michael L. Chambers, II – Ward 7

Community Member

Suzanne Wells- Ward 6

Founder, Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization

Eliot-Hine Middle School PTO Secretary

Eliot-Hine Middle School LSAT


Melissa Loughlin

Stoddert ES Parent


Monica Brokenborough- Ward 8

Washington Teachers' Union Teacher Leader


Nzinga Tull -- Ward 7


Board Co-Chair, Teaching for Change

Exec Cmte, Ward 7 Education Council

Leigh Dingerson- Ward 1

Parent of DCPS graduates

Education Policy Consultant 

Anne Fitzpatrick – Ward 5

Resident, DCPS parent


Chris Sondreal




Ayanna Smith

Ward 7

Anne Beers ES PTO Communications Secretary


Kashawna Watson- Ward 5

Ward 5 Education Council



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

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 

·       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

The next SHAPPE meeting will be on Tuesday, March 28th from 6 to 8pm.   

The State Board of Education held a hearing on March 15th on the Every Student Succeeds Act DC Office of the State Superintendent's draft submission. They are to vote on it on March 22nd.  See the side panel for copies of excellent testimony and more detail.  

Fiscal Year Initial School Budgets can be viewed here http://dcpsdatacenter.com/fy18_initial.html

Here are some important talking points on the ESSA proposal

Every Student Succeeds Act  C4DC Talking Points for Testimony on Feb. 15th or March 15th before State Board of Education or at your Ward meeting

We applaud this language in the ESSA regulations.  Above all the accountability plan must be fair, it must make it possible for school populations to succeed and it must reward improvement. 

“The bipartisan law and the ESSA regulations give states and districts the opportunity to move beyond No Child Left Behind’s reliance on a limited range of metrics and punitive “pass/fail labels for schools and use their planning and accountability processes to reimagine and redefine what a high quality education should mean for their students.” “ To that end the final regulations use multiple measures of school success reinforcing that all students deserve a high quality and well-rounded education that will prepare them for success. “*

Talking points for the OSSE Ward Specific Meetings and for the Testimony before the State Board of Education:

·         We are very pleased that our elected state board will have to vote on and approve these regulations prior to them being submitted to the Dept. of Ed. There are two dates one in April and one in September.  If it needs to be delayed to Sept. to be right, we support the Sept. date

·         We want a model that incentivizes growth and improvement in offering our students a well -rounded education.  That means multiple measures.

·         To that end we would like to see a drastic reduction in the 80% weight on the PARCC assessment for elementary and middle grades.  We support 50%. 

·         We want to see a growth measure introduced for high schools.  Waiting until September would allow for the time needed to study the spring scores and align the metric between 8th and 10th grade

·         There are two academic measures.  One measures growth and one the performance of their students.  We recommend an inverse weighting system.  Schools showing high growth but with a distance to get to high performance should be acknowledged not punished.   We would like to see the achievement progression for high schools from the Sept. draft that rewarded moving students from below basic to basic etc. 

·         Learning from the shortcomings of NCLB we want interventions that invest and build on strength, not destroy. 

·         We want to see growth measured by the same student’s progress, not the 5th grade one year against the 5th grade the previous year. 

·         We would like to see School Environment or school quality indicators include multiple measures that may include attendance and re-enrollment but might also look at stability measures like high teacher turnover. 

·         DC could give a school 5% for implementing a strong school climate survey until the necessary work is done to include one as part of the evaluation. 

·         We want to see schools rewarded for serving ELL and Special Education students with fair tools and measures

·         ESSA is more flexible.  The current draft looks too much like the previous NCLB edition.   We want it to be a living document where we learn what the cost and benefits of our plan are through a yearly audit and analysis and make adjustments – it has to be transparent; school communities have to be involved. 

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

Coalition for DC Public Schools and Communities