Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quick Hits: Dec 19

Hump day reads:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Charter board approves new language high school

Yesterday the DC Public Charter School Board voted to allow the Yu Ying Public Charter School to amend their charter to expand its enrollment all the way through 12th grade.  What makes this particular  change so interesting is that Yu-Ying will be partnering with three other existing immersion language charger schools:  Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School, Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School, and Mundo Verde Public Charter School.  Mark Lerner over at the Examiner has more:
The way this will work is that all bodies will contract with a non-profit charter management organization, the District of Columbia International School (DCI) created by the schools listed above. DCI will run the middle/high school and offer the International Baccalaureate Middle Years and Diploma Programmes. The students attending DCI would continue to be enrolled in one of the consortium schools and each school is accountable for student academic achievement. However, a pupil attending DCI would be recognized as attending DCI instead of the home school and would attend classes with pupils from the other feeder sites. All four charters will share expenses based upon the per pupil funding formula for instruction and facilities.
(Warning.  It appears as if Yu Ying's web presence has been hijacked. Their existing address takes you to an online pharmacy.)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Carey Wright a finalist for Omaha Public Schools superintendent job

Former Chief Academic Officer Carey Wright, who served under Michelle Rhee, is a finalist for the job of Superintendent of Omaha, Nebraska Public Schools.

OSSE releases first of a kind health standardized test scores.

From the Office of the State Superintendent of Education:

District of Columbia students were evaluated for baseline proficiency in health and physical education content knowledge on the 2012 District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS) and answered an average of 62% of the questions correctly, according to statewide results released today by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Washington, D.C. is the first state in the country to administer a statewide standardized health education assessment.

The test measured student’s knowledge in health-related categories including nutrition, wellness, safety skills, disease prevention, physical education and healthy decision making. Over 11,000 students from 5th Grade, 8th Grade and High School enrolled in health courses across 179 District schools were selected to take the inaugural exam in April 2012, during the regularly scheduled DC CAS testing period. Scores are statewide and represent both District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and District public charter schools.
Loads of coverage in the Post, Times (which points out that students scored much better in health than in reading or math), Gawker Media and the Huffington Post.  My favorite quote from the coverage:
“Research shows that healthier students perform better academically,” Deputy Superintendent Sandra Schlicker said.
Which leads me to ask if she's actually seen DC's math and reading scores?

DC Council task force comes out with charter recommendations

Included in the DC Council's Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Act Of 2012 legislation was the following amendment:

Sec. 4052. The District of Columbia School Reform Act of 1995, approved April 26, 01996 (110 Stat. 1321; D.C. Official Code § 38-1800.01 et seq.), is amended by adding a newsection 2214a to read as follows:
Sec. 2214a. Charter schools admissions task force.
(a) There is established a task force that shall study providing a neighborhood preference in charter school admissions for the 2013-2014 school year. The task force shall consist of:
   (1) The following 5 government officials, or their designees, the:
      (A) Chairman of the Public Charter School Board;
      (B) Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia;
      (C) State Superintendent of Education;
      (D) Deputy Mayor for Education; and
      (E) Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools; and
   (2) The following nongovernment members:
      (A) Two representatives from charter support organizations;
      (B) A representative from the education department of a national research organization;
      (C) A representative from a national charter school organization;
      (D) Two charter school leaders selected by the Public Charter School Board Chair; and
      (E) A labor representative.
(b) The task force shall:
   (1) Be chaired by the Chairman of the Public Charter School Board, or his or her designee;
   (2) Meet at an agreed to location as often as determined necessary by the Chairman of the task force;
   (3) Explore the feasibility of offering a neighborhood preference in charter school admissions for the 2013-2014 school year; and
   (4) By September 1, 2012, submit a report to the Council of its findings, which shall include:
      (A) Consideration of the various ways in which a neighborhood preference can be designed, including:
         (i) The pros and cons of a weighted lottery;
         (ii) Setting aside of a certain percentage of new seats;
         (iii) A geographically limited preference; and
         (iv) A preference based on rankings in a city-wide application process;
      (B) A definition of neighborhood for the purpose of setting boundaries in admissions;
      (C) An examination of models that are being used in other jurisdictions and evaluation of their applicability to the District; and
      (D) Recommendations based on its findings.

Well, the task force has done their work, and the findings have been released.  Here's the executive summary:

The Council of the District of Columbia’s 2013 Budget Support Act of 2012 created a task force to explore the need for neighborhood preference in DC public charter school admissions. Generally, neighborhood preference allows students who live near a charter school to have preference to attend that school over students who live further away. 
The twelve-member task force included five government officials, or their designees, from the Public Charter School Board, the Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia, the State Superintendent of Education, the Deputy Mayor for Education, and the Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools; and seven nongovernment members, including two representatives from charter support organizations, a representative from the education department of a national research organization, a representative from a national charter school organization, two charter school leaders selected by the Public Charter School Board Chair, and a labor representative. The Chair of the Public Charter School Board was specified as the task force chair in the Act. 
The task force explored the need for and feasibility of offering a neighborhood preference in charter school admissions for the 2013-14 school year. The task force considered the ways in which a neighborhood preference could be designed including:
  • The pros and cons of a weighted lottery, with preference based on neighborhood;
  • Setting aside of a certain percentage of new seats;
  • A geographically limited preference;
  • A preference based on rankings in a city-wide application process (common lottery);
  • An examination of models used in other jurisdictions and evaluation of their applicability to the
  • District; and
  • A definition of neighborhood for the purpose of setting boundaries in admissions, if necessary.
The task force met four times to evaluate neighborhood preference options and analyze related data, including enrollment data, waitlist data, a charter school leader survey, and public comment. Overall the analysis showed that the impact of neighborhood preference would not increase the number of, or access to, quality seats in DC public charter schools. In fact, the data found that there could be an adverse effect on access for students living in Wards 7 and 8, if precautions were not taken to prevent limited access to schools for Ward 7 and 8 students.  
After reviewing the available data, listening to public testimony, and discussing the implications and feasibility of a neighborhood preference system, the task force determined that charter school admissions should remain open to students across the city. The task force found no need to institute neighborhood preference for the 2013-14 school year. However, the task force does support allowing charters to voluntarily offer a time-limited preference for students in the enrollment zone of a recently closed DCPS school when a charter school would occupy that facility. In addition, the task force identified three other recommendations. One is to work to increase the number of quality seats in DC schools. The second is to make the charter school admissions process easier for families. And finally, building off the previous recommendation, charter schools should be encouraged to continue working towards creating a common lottery system for admissions, which could allow for certain choices, such as neighborhood preference. The full report details these recommendations.
The Washington Post has more.

Quick hits: Dec 17th

Take a break from holiday shopping with these links:

Friday, December 14, 2012

DCPS specialized high schools now accepting applications

UPDATE: Today's the last day to apply!

DCPS is now accepting applications to its six specialized high schools.  The six schools are:

Banneker Senior High School
School website:

Columbia Heights Education Campus
School website:

Duke Ellington School of the Arts
School website:

McKinley Technology High School
School website:

Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering High School
School website:

School Without Walls Senior High School
School website:

Applications must be submitted by no later than 5 p.m. on December 14th.  Applications can only be submitted via the online form, which can be found at:

For more information see:

Specialized High Schools - DC Public Schools, Washington, DC

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quick hits: Dec 13th

Some early morning links:

Michelle Rhee in print

Former DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee has a new book coming out soon: Radical: Fighting to Put Students First, and the reviews are starting to roll in.  The first one is...

I'll update this post as more arrive.

Chancellor Henderson Announces DCPS Public Budget Hearing - DC Public Schools, Washington, DC

On Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm, DCPS  will hold the FY 2014 Budget Hearing. The hearing will serve, as dictated by DC law, as an opportunity to solicit oral and written public input for programs and levels of support to be sought for the public schools.

The hearing will take place at the Langley Education Campus, located at 101 T Street NE. Members of the public who are interested in testifying should register by e-mailing Bryant Sewell at by no later than Monday, December 17, 2012.

DPR Offers DPR Fun Day on December 14th During DC Public Schools Professional Development Day

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announced that the second DPR Fun Day will be held on Friday, December 14, 2012.  DC Public Schools (DCPS) will close for the entire day for staff development, therefore DPR will offer DPR Fun Day, a single-day program offering fun and enriching activities (such as sports activities, arts & crafts, and more) for children ages 6 - 12 years old.  DPR strives to meet the needs of District families when the District's public schools have planned closures.

DPR Fun Day will be offered at 14 DPR sites from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Before-care will be offered from 8:00 am to 9:00 am and after-care will be offered from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  The over-arching theme for DPR Fun Day will incorporate DPR’s “Move, Grow, and Be Green” initiative, as DPR continues to plant the seeds of personal development and environmental responsibility.  
Sites offering DPR Fun Day on December 14th are as follows:
Ward 1: Columbia Heights Community Center - 1480 Girard Street, NW |  202-671-0373
Ward 2: Jelleff Recreation Center - 3265 S Street, NW |  202-462-1317
Ward 3: Chevy Chase Community Center - 5601 Connecticut Avenue, NW  |  202-282-2204
                Hardy Recreation Center - 4500 Q Street, NW  |  202-282-2190
Ward 4: Lafayette Recreation Center -5900 33rd Street  |  202-282-2206
Ward 5: Joseph H. Cole Recreation Center - 1299 Neal Street, NE  |  202-442-9262
                Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center - 1743 Lincoln Road, NE  |  202-576-5642 
Ward 6: Kennedy Recreation Center - 1401 7th Street, NW  |  202-671-4794
                Sherwood Recreation Center - 640 10th Street, NE  |  202-698-3075
                Watkins Recreation Center - 420 12th Street, NE  |  202-724-4468 
Ward 7: Deanwood Recreation Center - 1350 49th Street, NE  |  202-671-3077
                Hillcrest Recreation Center - 3100 Denver Street, SE  |  202-645-9200 
Ward 8: Bald Eagle Recreation Center - 100 Joliet Street, SE  |  202-645-3960
                Ferebee-Hope Recreation Center - 3999 8th Street, SE  |  202-645-3917
Parents are reminded that meals and snacks will not be provided during DPR Fun Day, therefore children should be sent with their lunch and snacks for the day.  As well, parents are asked to adhere to DPR policies regarding food and snacks, which are available on DPR's web site at the time of registration. 
Online pre-registration is required for all DPR Fun Day sites.  There is no Registration Fee for this program, with the exception of Lafayette Recreation Center.  There will be a $25 fee for this location, the fee is payable at time of registration.  All DPR Fun Day children registered at Lafayette will go snow tubing as a part of their Fun Day activities.  
Registration for the December 14th DPR Fun Day will open on Monday, December 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm.  All registration must be completed online, and there is no “application” in regard to enrollment.  Space fills on a first-come, first-served basis and enrollment is subject to availability.  It is recommended that parents create an online DPR account for all members of their family in our registration system prior to the registration period in order to be best prepared. Registration will close on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm. 

To Register:
  • Go to the DPR main page and click on the DPR Fun Day icon, you will be re-directed to the registration page and login with your username and password. 
  • Add the Program you would like to enroll in (DPR Fun Day) to your cart.
  •  Check out, to complete the enrollment.
* Please note that the next DPR Fun Day will be held on Friday, February 15, 2013.   
For more information on DPR Fun Day or to register - visit the DPR website and click on DPR Fun Day, or contact DPR's Seasonal Programs office at (202) 671-0372.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

PBS's Frontline to examine Rhee

In more Michelle Rhee news next month PBS's public affairs program Frontline will profile the former DCPS Chancellor and her tenure running the Districts public schools.  Frontline's blurb:
Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of Washington, DC, public schools, is one of the most admired and reviled school reformers in America. FRONTLINE was granted unprecedented access to Rhee during her tumultuous three-year tenure as she attempted to fix a broken school system. As Rhee returns to the national stage, FRONTLINE examines her legacy in Washington, DC, including her battles with the teachers’ union and her handling of a cheating scandal in the District.
The program will begin airing the week of January 8th on local PBS stations.