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S.H.A.P.P.E. Meetings

Our meetings are generally held on the 4th Tuesday of the month.  Please see the  notes below for our previous meetings. Our September meeting will be at  CEHC on September 25th. 

S.H.A.P.P.E. Notes for the 8-28 Meeting at McKinly High School

Attending: Dunbar, Roosevelt, Ward 7 Ed Council, Woodson, McKinley, Wilson, School Without Walls, Phelps

First Weeks of School: Overall the start has been good.  The main issues appear to be ones with Air conditioning especially with it being so hot.  Folks present from Woodson, Dunbar and Phelps praised the start with their new principals.

New Chancellor SHAPPE would like to write a letter supporting the other letters that have been written as well as targeting two or three things that apply specifically to secondary schools. 

The new DCPS chancellor should have the Will to reach out on the front end; we have all been wounded by the lack of transparency and true partnership with the DCPS administration.  They have to be supportive and change the culture.  One parent noted that it is difficult to constantly hear how unhappy the DCPS principals and teachers are.  The Standing Ovation and higher salaries have not addressed a workplace that often does not trust or value most of its employees, sees them as expendable.  School Communities would like to see more autonomy or freedom and flexibility with accountability.  It was noted that former Chancellor Wilson had thought about giving more autonomy to the schools with the most struggles to give them the needed space to innovate. Others felt everyone needs more autonomy. The person should have experience with leading secondary schools. Invest in Relationships and Resources for Continued Improvement: Understand the crucial role of relationships between students and the adults in the schools, the parents and families and the community as well as address the high turnover of teachers and administrators. They will need to focus on a culture that would support stability and a shared, cooperative leadership approach.

Bard Early College Proposal: Bard College approached former Chancellor Wilson about opening a Bard Early College High School here in DC. They have them in other cities.  Mr. Wilson agreed to start the process and decided he wanted to place it in Anacostia. There were some engagement meetings with the immediate Anacostia community but not the larger community which includes the neighborhoods on Ward 7 that feed into Anacostia. With Mr. Wilson’s departure the project was in limbo. DCPS continued its research on the potential for students east of the river to have the opportunity to complete college credits while in high school at no cost with Bard.  Bard reached out to others this fall to get more support.  It came to SHAPPE and the Ward 7 Education Council as Bard reached out.  SHAPPE wrote a joint letter with Ward 7 of support for the concept but only after important questions are answered: 

Letter excerpt:

We have just learned that your administration is considering partnership between DCPS and the Bard Early College High School to be located East of the River. There has been a demand for a Banneker HS-like program East of the River for decades.  Coolidge HS in the far northwest corner of the city will open in the 2019-2020 year with an early college program where students can earn up to 60 college credits. Banneker HS will go into modernization with an expansion of its enrollment to either 560 or 700. It makes sense for DCPS to consider Bard College High School programming in Wards 7 and 8 closer to their homes. We support a full range of options for Ward 7 and 8 children while ensuring that those who are currently enrolled in schools east of the river have the resources that demonstrates the District’s commitment to equity and excellence for all. However, before this decision is made we request a meeting to discuss:

·         What are the DCPS HS opportunities for HS students east of the river?

·         What are the most pressing problems for students in HS east of the river?

·         What problems is the administration hoping to address with Bard?

·         What opportunities does Bard offer and will this address priority needs?

·         What would the District pay for Bard College HS and how will it affect other Ward 7 and 8 DCPS high schools?

While this discussion will inform your administration’s decision about Bard ECHS, this decision really should be made in the context of a DCPS vision, coherent citywide public education strategy and a comprehensive DCPS education plan.  The Capital Commitment was a start for DCPS, but without a plan, it has meant that the DME and DCPS react to crises and opportunities without the input, insight and experiences of schools and community.  The lack of comprehensive strategic planning is of particular concern and frustration for East of the River families – and Ward 7 families, in particular – as this lack of planning has caused instability in our educational landscape and deepened inequities in both opportunities and achievement.

Mr. Stover and the DC office of Family and Community Engagement offered to do a presentation on the proposal to give a fuller picture.  Those present were receptive but had a lot of questions about how this fits into a larger picture of planning and how we are going to meet the needs of most of the students who are not on track to be part of a program like this. 

Discussion

Conversation with Shawn Stover, Deputy Chief for Secondary Schools on the high schools

Some guiding thoughts and goals as we start this school year from Mr. Stover:

1-      Blur the line between college and career,

2-      No Remedial Courses in college

3-      Options for College Credit,

4-      Options for certification experience and connections to compete in the job market

a.       Get qualified people to teach, we may have to offer a differentiated pay scale to compete with the private sector in areas like engineering,

b.      Expanded use of area universities

5-      Great Paths for Kids

6-      Accountability is an outcome, not a path

7-      We need to understand what is non-negotiable and then map out areas of more flexibility

However there are areas we need to address with some urgency noted from those present:

1-      No upper level language classes in most of the comprehensive high schools besides Wilson

2-      A concentration of students who have lost trust in adults and in the process of an education

3-      PARCC scores at the secondary level that continues to reveal a huge gap.

4-      Concentrated poverty at many of our comprehensive high schools. Students attending Dunbar, for example may live at Sorsum Corda where 18% of residents went to college and 2% had degrees.

5-      Partnerships that work with a select few of engaged students; this includes internships where students might spend half the day in school and half the day at work. These opportunities go toward the more ambitious students but sometimes harm their academic standing.  They have not gone to the students that are not engaged in school.

6-      Big divide in culture at the high schools, our

Despite the tough second semester last year for the high schools it is important to note that there has been progress:   

1-      4 Opportunity Academies (STAY programs; Luke C Moore and Metropolitan) that piloted content based mastery with mixed results

2-      More kids getting 3’s on the AP test

3-      6% higher SAT scores

4-      A Verified grad rate of 68%

How to get from here to there? Ideas from our discussion, we need:

1-      To Build Capacity

2-      Agreed upon principles, core values

3-      Value, believe in and invest in our people

4-      A culture of support and respect from the top down

5-      Long term contracts, at least 3 years for the principles

6-      Stability of staff and students, acknowledgement that we care about all turnover; not just those of “highly effective” teachers.

7-      Stop doing things to people and instead do it with people

8-      A diversity and integration Impact report similar to an environmental survey prior to decisions being made on new schools or projects.  Diversity includes race, socio-economic and to some extent achievement level. Without some strong students in a class, the teacher has far more difficulty creating a norm.

9-      Metrics have to align with where you are and where you need to be and what you have control over.

10-   12 month Counselors

11-   Flexibility in budgeting, attach resources to academic level.  We do not need the term at risk

Items to address that were mentioned either at the meeting or before but not addressed yet

On the Content

·         Social Studies and Science taught for a full year in every middle school grade and school

·         Evaluation of Eureka

·         Electives – standardization at 20 regardless of school size has had unintended consequences

 

Comments on the Individual College and Career Readiness guide that gives to each student a snapshot of their GPA ( are they on track to graduate in 4 years), their SAT scores and what postsecondary options their current path will lead to as well as other important information:

-          It was very favorably received. Parents felt it was crucial that parents and students have a reality check

-          Would it be possible to also include resources on mental health available to high school students in the city?

-          Important to give both a dose of reality and the opportunities to change course.  Will counselors have time to meet with every student to have this conversation? 

-          Will it be translated for students that need that?

Here is a sample of the California document and here is a comment page you can submit. It can be filled out and emailed to Dylan.Hart-Medina@dc.gov

Facility Master Plan:

The meetings with the DME and contractors on the Master Facility plan will be the week of October 9th.  The meetings being held by PAVE this week are to get more feedback before that point.  Here is the power point and here is the form they distributed for feedback and the place to send it.   The 21CSF also printed a blog on what we might be for in the MFP. 

The 21st Century School Fund has worked on DC education master plans since 1994 and with other cities on education and facility planning. We propose that the facility planners provide options for:

·         Expanded early childhood

·         Provide PK3 classes, by right, in all Title I DCPS schools

·         Provide PK4 classes, by right, in all DCPS schools.

·         Increased equity of by-right access

·         Re-open DCPS schools to ensure there is DCPS capacity for at least 65% of the school age children in neighborhoods. For examples:

·         Re-open Thurgood Marshall Elementary for isolated Fort Lincoln neighborhood (Ward 5)

·         Re-open Winston as an application middle school (Ward 7)

·         Give charter schools feeder rights to nearby DCPS middle and high schools providing families predictable pathways and increasing the utilization of our modernized middle and high school facilities.

·         Transparency on facilities

·         Maintain information on facility conditions, utilization and spending for all charter and DCPS schools.

We are interested in other proposals for the master planners.  Please share them with us, PAVE and the DME.  info@21csf.org ; organizers@dcpave.org

 

The next meeting will be at Columbia Education Campus on September 25th – Hope to see you there.

Jack Schneider will be here to speak on January 26th – Save the Date


 

 

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