Meeting Notes - Ward 4 Education Alliance

Meeting Notes for May, 2016

Attending: Roosevelt, DCPS parent and social worker, Dorothy Height, Powell, West, Takoma, MacFArland, DC Council, Coolidge, Brightwood contributed later

Discussion of Standard Educational Specifications

Consultants from Brailsford & Dunlavey, Inc

They were brought on board for this project because of their long relationship with DCPS. The purpose of this meeting is to get input on the DCPS revision of the Standard Educational Specification. 

An educational specification is both a recipe and a benchmark.  It provides a menu prototype and outlines the square footage and equipment for each space. 

Tyler Specht and Kendra Chatburn made the presentation.  The team has already interviewed the DCPS central office department chairs, administration, Out of School time folks and division leaders. They will be talking to Chancellor Henderson in 2 weeks.

The power point and presentation talked about modern schools as valuing collaborative learning. They are not as quiet but rather provide many spaces for discussion and working together.  There are also suggested spaces where students teach students. 

The career and technical education spaces are flexible to accommodate different kinds of programs. They recommend spaces that are makerspaces and some dirty working spaces. 

The prototype standard ed spec will be done by August.  They will take it back out to those that contributed for a final review at that time. 

Questions:

  • With all the glass between classrooms and the hallway; could it be distracting to some students, making it hard to concentrate and think. 
  • These examples seem quite luxurious.  Would it be better to design something more practical and allow the funds to be spread further over more schools?
  • There is concern about creating a school that goes overboard on encouraging group activity and does not honor enough the quiet needed to listen, learn and think. 
  • Will schools that currently have more square footage allotted for different spaces be allowed to keep it?  In the past they sometimes knocked down all the walls in a school being modernized to make the classrooms smaller.  This seemed like a waste. 
  • How will community partners and partnerships be figured in?
  • How can you do a good job designing a building without a clear sense of the program and curriculum?
  • The current educational specifications were sometimes adhered to with so much rigidity that it hurt the program.  – Consultants stated that these would establish a range and have more flexibility.
  • Can swimming pools in high schools be made available to middle school and elementary students?  It is far easier if children learn to swim earlier

Small Group Discussion group 1:  We do not yet have the notes from group 2.

  • Create a welcoming environment
  • Make space outside to chat
  • Ensure excellent signage
  • Ensure adequate parking and provisions for pick up and drop off
  • Make sure there is less asphalt and more playground space
  • There needs to be a clearly defined entry
  • After school programming should be adequately supported
  •  Support services for special needs students should be supported (like Occupational therapy)
  • Pay attention to adjacencies
  • Room for teacher collaboration but also space where students can easily find a teacher and talk with some privacy
  • Doors should be lockable
  • We do not want a sterile environment
  • Flexible space, if there are floor to ceiling divisions they have to be sound proof, easy to operate.  We have been burned by false advertising on these dividers.   We have also been burned by architectural ideas of the past like open plan schools. 
  • Sound protection for cafeterias and multipurpose rooms/gyms is not nearly adequate.  Gym has to be used for indoor recess while lunch is going on. 
  • There have to be some windows in each space that open.  Mechanicals inevitably break down.
  • Teachers do not have easy access to communicate to parents, are there ways the building could support that better.
  • Classrooms have to be of a reasonable size to accommodate different sizes of desks depending on future needs. 
  • School Based Health centers are important
  • There should be a wider choice of career technical options at each school. 
  • How can dual language programming be better supported
  • While we need to support students who are challenged we also need adequate advanced programming. 

There needs to be an acknowledgement that the school’s main function is education. The classrooms are still the main components.   There are so many complimentary programs and extra spaces suggested that it may raise the square foot per student so high they look to cut square footage where it is fundamental. 

Communication suggestions: weekly principal coffees, robo calls, facebook and being present to talk before and after school to parents in the language they are comfortable in

Meeting Notes for April 24, 2016

April 24th, 2016 Meeting Notes - Draft

Ward 4 Education Alliance meeting at LaSalle-Bacchus Education Campus

Attending were representatives from LaSalle Backus, Brightwood, Takoma, Powell, Coolidge, Apple Tree, Council Member Todd’s office, Howard University School Based Health program, residents and community members from the Ward 4 neighborhood.

  1. Ward 4 DCPS Schools Operating Budgets:  Looking at the enrollment increases and budgets for each of the schools which can be found at http://dcpsbudget.ourdcschools.org/  it is clear that some schools gained students and lost funds per student.  We want to get a better understanding of this from each school. There are some reasons we do know:
  • The staffing is allocated by a staffing formula. This means that larger schools may have less funds per student.  One principal serves 728 students at Brightwood and far less at some of the other schools.
  • The salaries of teachers and administrators went up. This cost needed to be absorbed by the schools and may not have been fully covered by the Mayor’s cost of living increase. 
  • The LEAP initiative transferred the a professional development function to the schools, requiring the reassignment or assignment of staff to an instructional coaching position. 

We have tentatively identified the following changes in these budgets so far.  We cannot completely trace the cause but it is helpful to understand how schools responded to the budget challenges they face. 

Powell’s budget for 2016-2017 will increase $40,000 compared to the current year, but because of additional costs, Powell will lose three positions:

- 1 general education teacher (i.e., a regular classroom teacher)

- 1 Special Education Coordinator (we only have one Sp Ed Coordinator, and she is part-time, so we are losing that part-time position and those responsibilities will be taken on by AP Wilson)

- 1 English Language Learner/English as a Second Language teacher (we’ve had 13, will be dropping to 12 - I think those were the numbers, though I may be off by one)

3. Discretionary funds will also be squeezed, so instead of the 3 field trips per grade provided for the current year, only one field trip per grade is planned for next year.  

- potential POPPs fundraising target here?  Buses are $450/bus, one grade usually needs 3 buses, 4 for PK

Whittier

.5 of an Assistant Principal

.5 of a Social Worker

TWP – lost $21,000

Supplies – $10,000

 

LaSalle:

Technology inadequate

Less funds in Supplies

Lost a social worker but gained a bilingual one

For the Ward 4 Education Campuses (Preschool through 8th grade)

Challenges in funding System 44 (READ 180 to support literacy)

Challenges in sustaining PBIS a school climate infrastructure

  1. Capital Funding:

Deputy Mayor Jenny Niles is speaking at West Educational Campus during our meeting.  West testified that their modernization has been delayed year after year.  They do not have windows or walls in this open plan school. Their utilities are also in need of replacement.   They are listed near the top using the criteria assessing need of both Council Member Grosso and DCPS. They are in the capital budget for 82 million dollars but it is again delayed. 

Raymond is in a similar situation, top tier according to need but delayed. 

Coolidge is proceeding on schedule with a budget that is consecutive which is an improvement over last year.  A Community cabinet has been formed.  DCPS forwarded the members and they are included in the attachment.

Parents and a teacher resident from LaSalle and Brightwood expressed interest in being a part of the planning for Coolidge.   We will forward their contact information to DCPS.

LaSalle received a phased modernization that did not include the cafeteria or the gym.  While understanding that schools that have not received any funds should go first they would like to have things like the Auditorium curtains replaced. 

After School and Recess Issues

 

All elementary schools are required to have 120 minutes of blended literacy each day.  Some schools work their social studies and science into that curriculum.  It can be challenging.

Some of the title one schools have a full hour for lunch and recess. Others have pared that down to 45 minutes for lunch and recess. This can limit the recess time as they need to serve lunch and give the children time to eat.  In the winter coats, mittens and boots all must be put on and taken off. 

Going straight to the power hour of after school has also presented some challenges to schools with the 45 minute lunch recess.  It can mean that the children are not really getting enough of a break. 

Schools who are using a group like Playworks are pleased with the approach to the children that incorporates the importance of play into the after school program. 

As a group we look forward to hearing from each of the school community councils and to giving our feedback.  These councils are formed as part of the modernization process to give input on the planning.  Schools not undergoing a major modernization do not have a community cabinet. 

In addition this group would like to join the Dorothy Height community in understanding the best identification going forward.  Is it best for them to continue as a citywide school where families have to join the lottery or should they be a neighborhood school?  As the school directly across the street from DCPS secondary schools should they be given the right to attend MacFarland and Roosevelt?  What is their preference?  What are the options? 

Brian Pick, the DCPS Chief Academic Officer will be at our June meeting. We have not yet identified a location.  Brightwood is a possibility. 

Our May 12th meeting will be at Dorothy Heights (this has been confirmed). 

Community Meeting - Nov 2014

March Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes: power point: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/3/#search/March+meeting+notes/1539bbb2a119ecab?projector=1

Notes from the November 2015 meeting of the Ward 4 Education Alliance,

Meeting Thursday, November 12, 2015, at Powell Elementary School, 1350 Upshur St. NW

There was light attendance this month.

The primary topic of the meeting this month was food service, and Rob Jaber, Director of Food Services for DCPS and his staff were present to ask for input on DCPS food services.

He explained some of the facts surrounding the end of the Chartwells contract with DCPS.  He stated that in 2012 there was a new request for proposals for food services.

Chartwells is now in 99 DCPS kitchens, and DC Central Kitchen is in (roughly a dozen) more.

Jaber stated that in 2016 there would be a new contractor and at this point DCPS is seeking community feedback as they set requirements for a new food services contract.

FOOD OPTIONS

DCPS is interested in feedback and in discussing food, nutrition, and reducing waste.  They seek to be inclusive and want to continue conversations with the community on these subjects, though how to do so seems to be a work in progress.

Jaber stated that food is one of the last things we think about at schools and was glad to meet those who attended.

A West parent suggested that his son was very interested in food and that given the way contracting has gone to date, a Washington Post reporter should be asked to evaluate the contracting as it goes forward.

Jaber stated that in terms of contracting, DCPS intended to establish its requirements as it rolls out a request for proposals in December.  They intended to see if they could send out information ahead of the actual solicitation to potential bidders.  Jaber may not have stated how long the RFP was expected to be open.

DCPS folks brought sample menus and asked attendees to discuss. A major point raised was a request for fewer menu items that are relatively popular, executed well.    A parent stated that the food is old, and bad, and may contain hormones. DCPS indicated that almost all food is made on campus at DCPS schools, except at 4 schools.

Participants raised questions about school kitchen equipment, and how it is bought and when.  It was explained that it was part of either capital expenditures, modernizations, or through the DCPS food services budget.

Kitchens across DCPS are different and must operate as they can.  Vendors employ the staff, who are union members.  In addition, certain things work in some schools but not in others.  In some, a salad bar does not fit.  In others, something resembling a Chipotle-style food bar works, or a sandwich bar.  However, a self-service milk dispenser did not end up working.

Powell itself has new equipment in its kitchen but is expected to get new space as part of the Building D expansion upcoming at that school.

Parents expressed that there are many good cafeteria workers in the schools, and asked if they could get professional development in order to better work with young children on nutrition. 

NUTRITION

DCPS also wanted to discuss nutrition, and made a few key points, including that nothing can be fried, there are limits on how often pizza can be offered weekly and that fish is served twice a month.  There are two choices on but they are generally skim and low-fat, and whole milk is not an option.

DCPS raised whether or not parents were interested in having students be required to take all things offered at meals, or whether the schools could decide to offer only certain options, for example, to offer 3 of 5 menu options, including always vegetables or fruits.  Parents expressed that flexibility was valuable and choices should be monitored and offerings adjusted.  DCPS staff seemed to be open to flexibility in offerings.

Food waste was raised and parents mentioned that others have cited 25% as a plate waste issue. Exposure to foods and differing palates at different ages are also a concern.

Summer food programs were also discussed, and DCPS said that there are 45 feeding centers in the summer, and that they are trying to broaden the understanding that there is no need for children to be enrolled in school programs to get the meals that are offered.

FOOD FOR SALE

A parent was skeptical of offering food for sale in the schools, though another participant raised that on open campuses the cafeteria is directly competing with off campus options, as are available in Tenleytown.  DCPS said only milk is offered for sale now, and clarified that these vending options are not third party soda vending machines or the like.

Some raised the possibility that some healthy vending options could be good at different levels of schools, but at least one parent was very much against vending being available for elementary-grade students.

OTHER ISSUES

Robin Gerber was able to offer a brief update, stating that Roosevelt athletic facilities are not yet ready but what is done is impressive.

December 12, 2015 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes

Ward 4 Education Alliance Meeting- Draft Notes

December 10, 2015- Coolidge High School

Our meetings are on the second Thursday.  The January meeting will be on January 14th

Input for Parent Cabinet: Robyn Applewhite

-It has been a good experience with high caliber and dedicated people from DCPS

  • Recess: In elementary schools the length of time allotted for recess varies depending on the level of achievement of the majority of the children.  DCPS has a minimum of 20 minutes mandated in the 6 hour day. Parents of elementary age children are concerned about the effect his is having on their children.  They understand the pressure to expand instructional time. Their experience is that children have a tough time paying attention when they have not had more than a 20 minute stretch of time to play and relax.  

The Chancellor has said she will look into this. The schools consulted in ward 3 are giving their children longer for recess.  Ward 4 Ed Alliance will look at the research and write a letter. This also came up at the October meeting.  Children are going with little recess into the power hour after school which is a long stretch.  

  • How can DCPS better support Parent Groups
    • There are changing demographics which can sometimes split communities along different lines, this leads to trust and communication challenges.  Things like deciding on the content of holiday bags given to students can be difficult.  Help from skilled administrators can help. 
      • English- Spanish
      • Older residents versus newer ones
      • Racially
      • Culturally
  • There is little equity between what PTA’s can contribute to a school. For example Mann raises 400,000 dollars a year and pays for two full time teachers.  Powell raises 1200 a year. 
  • Sister Schools can support more knowledge across the city but it can also be unbalanced and paternalistic if not structured carefully.
  • Thoughts about extended instructional time –
    • Is a longer school day effective?  Some felt it is needed and has been shown to be effective. Others felt it all depended on how the time was used.  Part of school is about interacting appropriately socially, and part of learning for young children involves play.  When the school day was extended for a half hour because of lost time to snow days years ago, it was not seen as universally effective in expanding instruction.
    • For high school age youth, students have indicated they are not in favor of it. The question was asked if high school parents and teachers had been consulted.  It might look very different at the different age levels. Many high school students are at school late into the evening, participating in credit recovery, athletics, or co-curricular activities.  Many other students have family or work responsibilities. Others are not at home or at school and may benefit from expanded programming. 
  • How can we better support our DCPS neighborhood schools and stronger feeder patterns?  How can we get the work out about advocating and the Ward 4 Ed Alliance?
    • Attend the Ed Fest on December 12th
    • Neighborhood living room conversations on education and schools
    • Attending community meetings like the 16th Street Heights Association
    • Meet and Greets
    • ANC meetings – particularly Education and Library committees
    • Working with DCPS Office of Community Engagement – Cassandra
    • Council Member Todd’s office will put out the word on when our meetings are and have someone at each meeting. 
  • Future Meeting Topics
    • January – Inviting Council Member Todd prior to oversight and budget hearings on the Council
    • February 11th - an open house showcase of our Ward 4 Schools prior to the end of the lottery period.   We would introduce principals and hopefully a few students and parents.   Location to be decided.  We hope to have it at a school that is not over capacity and where it would be informative for the community to enter.

June Ward 4 Meeting with Brian Pick on Academics

Ward 4 Education Alliance Notes

June 9, 2016 Meeting at Brightwood EC

Attending:  Takoma EC, Whittier EC, Powell EC, HD Woodson, Brightwood, Roosevelt, Neighbors and Community Members

Guest Brian Pick – DCPS Deputy Chief for Teaching and Learning

Power point used to guide discussion is attached

Mr. Pick started the meeting by noting the gains 4th graders in particular have made since 2007 looking at the NAEP test scores which allows DC to be compared with other cities, not other states.

His office is in charge of the instructional approach for all students. This includes but is not limited to enrichment, assessment, early childhood and Language Acquisition. 

Currently in DC 80% of all three year olds and 90% of all four year olds are in a pre-school program.

The first thing is office set out to do was to define a common language of effective teaching. This includes what to teach and how to teach it.  Curriculum is meant to be a tool, not a straight jacket.  The change from the DC CAS test to the PARCC shows us how much improvement is needed.  25% of our students are proficient. The PARCC is only one measure but it is an important indicator. 

The current administration of DCPS has placed a priority on recruiting and selecting the teaching force they feel will be most effective and paying them well.  A DCPS teacher can earn up to 130,000 dollars after 7 years. [i] They use videos and records of previous success in the classroom to make hiring decisions and work to ensure a good placement match. According to the WTU contract, DCPS does not change automatically change the school placement of teachers, there is a process that entails mutual consent.  Mr. Pick noted that DCPS retains 92% of their highly effective teachers. As noted by others present, these teachers are not evenly distributed across the city. 

Questions about PARCC

While rigor is generally supported those familiar with the PARCC questioned how reflective it actually is of our students’ knowledge.  A high school student present noted that the AP Psychology exam was easier than the PARCC exam. There was also concern about the amount of time spent preparing for the test, this time is not teaching and learning. 

Everyone now takes the PARCC on line which involves computer literacy including keyboarding, knowing how to drag and drop and scroll.  If students are not competent in the computer skills it will show up that they do not know the content.  The computer system crashed during the exams at a number of the schools present.  Students’ material was lost and they had to re-take the test.

The computer literacy is a particular issue for the youngest children. At the high school level, the number of additional assessments which have to be given around the same time (AP, SAT) is giving rise to more concerns.  At the high school level DCPS could use the SAT as the measure they are not required to use the PARCC. 

What are students doing in Reading?

Overall they are using Tools of the Mind or Creative Curriculum.  Mr. Pick noted that it builds executive function and social emotional skills that lead to greater success in school.  DCPS also has programs that follow Montessori and Reggio Emilio.  Their overall philosophy in early childhood is doing, making and exploring. 

In Kindergarten through 2nd grade DCPS students work on decoding making sure the 44 sounds of the English language are mastered, practicing 30 minutes a day.  Overall 80% of children are able to have fluency with this approach.  An additional 15% need a double dose the foundation and the remaining 5% are assigned to a Reading Specialist often from the Metro Reading Group.  DCPS continues to work on getting this right so that all children can decode well by the end of 2nd grade. 

Students also spend 30 minutes daily on Science or Social Studies.  Examples of the units of study in Science include Extreme weather in 2nd grade and Rocks in 4th grade. 

120 minutes a day are allocated for reading.  This occurs in a rotation.  There is guided reading, independent reading, word work and work on the computer.  This is the plan in K through 5.  There is an effort to include far more nonfiction.  In kindergarten through second grade a teacher will cover 7 topics. Students go into more depth in 2nd through 5th grade covering 5 topics and in high school it is 4 topics. 

English Language Learners are either served by a 2nd teacher in the classroom or in a pull out or separate class depending on the student’s level of English mastery.

Libraries

Every school should have at least 20,000 books, each school was given $10,000 to resource classroom libraries.  DCPS wants students to have access to books and for there to be a balance between student choice and teacher choice. 

The goal is for each student to know what level they are reading at and have help in getting to the next level.  Reading A to Z is available to the public and provides options for donations.

Reading instruction includes listening, speaking and writing. Writing is a reflection of thinking.  DCPS uses there tools or assessments to determine student level – DIBLs Dynamic Indicators Basic Literacy Skills; TRC – Text Reading and Comprehension and SRI Scholastic Reading Inventory – Lexile Level.

DCPS was an early adopter of the Common Core Standards. 

How do we support struggling readers? READ 180, What Works and System 44 have proven effective.  Improving adolescent reading is tough.  90% may be motivation.  High schools would like to have a reading specialist.  This position may compete with others especially with the requirement to offer 20 electives.  What books should be in the curriculum?  There is a Student Literacy Cabinet.  The student present spoke eloquently about the multiple issues involved for her classmates at this level and the failure overall of the system to respond meaningfully.  She noted that there is so much pressure on teachers for test success that they do not have the same time and priority on building student relationships.  While there may be a student cabinet for certain topics overall students do not feel they have a voice in their education. 

Math

DCPS is aiming for higher straight forward expectations that are clear.  DCPS is adopting Eureka as the K through 12 curriculum for next year. (Later Mr. Pick noted that it is actually K-11).  It emphasizes facts and fluency first.  Mr. Pick noted that research has shown that it is important for students to be fluent and confident in their number facts so fluency is first every day followed by a lesson. The lesson is a problem or a few number problems where the class looks at different ways to solve the problem. The aim is for a deep conceptual understanding of an equation like 2/3  x ¾. Students should be able to see it in their heads.  The third part of the daily lesson would be a real world application. 

Schools will have the option to stick with Agile Minds.  Mr. Pick noted that Woodson had made this choice and would be using Agile Minds.

Secondary Grades

Overall to respond to different levels of student learning DCPS will use the same syllabus but go deeper.  The goal throughout school will be to develop student responsibility. Using Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset” approach, the hope is to have students own their education.  Examples include:

  • Strong Career Pathways
  • Limited use of Competency Based Education – taking time out of the equation particularly for Math and Foreign Language but ensuring rigor.
  • The Basecamp program currently in use at Truesdell and CHEC – a blended learning program combining computer use and teacher instruction
  • Teach to 1 Math program

In response to questions about the wide variation in student engagement and preparation, Mr. Pick stated that requiring high expectations and providing high supports is still the goal of DCPS.  This is based on the research of Ron Ferguson of Harvard.  For some in attendance, this has not worked as hoped and some students are just left behind while others may not be challenged enough. 

Secondary programs

Middle school students often use their electives for intervention or to start a foreign language.  High school students have 24 hours of course requirements and 100 hours of community service. 

Questions and Comments:

  • There continues to be concern about the punitive approach coming to school staff which leads to a fear of taking any creative risks and a lot of pressure on students and teachers.  This pressure filled environment does not support learning.  For students especially in the comprehensive high schools some do not feel their experience, from the moment they enter through the metal detectors to their departure at the end of the day is understood.  The new buildings are beautiful but we have a long way to go in supporting the high schools. At the early grades the pressure around the PARCC test in particular has also led to issues of anxiety that does not facilitate learning.

Mr. Pick agreed that the high schools do present challenges.  He offered to extend the conversation on this. 

Equity Issues

In terms of equity across schools in co-curricular programs, DCPS is working on expanding the Embassy Adoption program, participation in History Day and Global Educational opportunities including the Mini UN and foreign travel.

There are currently 4 shared Cornerstone Assignments per course that drive teacher learning and are consistent across all schools. (This is a total of 205 shared assignments K through 12.)

  • Recess: with the current time requirements there are elementary school aged children that are not even getting the inadequate 20 minute minimum recess time.  This question was posed with great respect for the challenges of fitting everything in the limited time of a school day. However the research and our common sense tells us children need a break and that the lessons learned through play are probably as important as the classroom.  This has not been on Mr. Pick’s radar up until now.

Suggestions included allowing some of the social studies and science reading to be included in the 120 minute literacy block.  There are other combinations that can happen to create more time.  Students not in title one schools have been able to allow more time for recess.  For small children getting the coats on and off and sometimes walking to an away playground takes up a lot of their time. 

  • DCPS uses Second Step and the Responsive Classroom to support teachers in relatingos the trauma and challenge that many bring to the classroom.  Responsive Classroomis a research-based approach to K-8 teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL). We believe that a high-quality education for every child is built on the foundation of a safe and joyful learning community. We provide professional development for elementary and middle schools worldwide.  Second Step is very similar. 

This was a far reaching discussion and these notes do not capture the full conversation.  Mr. Pick stayed to talk after the meeting and sent the attached power point as a reference.  The group thanked Mr. Pick for his time and for the presentation and the meeting ended at 8pm.

The Ward 4 Education Alliance will not meet in July. We will resume in August and appreciate hearing about the topics you would like to see addressed. 

Ward 4 Ed Alliance Meeting on October 8th. 2015 notes

Ward 4 Education Alliance October 8th Meeting Notes:

Thank you to Whittier Education campus for hosting us this month. Assistant Principal Johnson had everything ready. 

Attendance included representation from Whittier, Powell, Takoma, West, Coolidge, and Roosevelt as well as additional community members.

Update on Planning for Modernizatons for Ward 4

Out of School Time

Representing the Office of Out of Time Programs, Margot Berkey distributed a Parent Handbook, provided an overview and answered questions.

The program started in 2008 with sites in pre-school through high school.  With funding cuts it has shrunk to 50 schools where there are a high percentage of children on free and reduced lunch.   All but 8 of these 50 programs are free.  West is the only education campus in ward 4 where all students don’t qualify for free programming.  For those that don’t qualify at West there is a sliding fee scale with a maximum 10 dollar per day co-pay.

The basic responsibility for the program is with the local school principal and teachers.  Sites choose whether to have a nutritious supper or snack.  Schools have an academic power hour that is usually run by local school staff. 

In addition to the snack or supper and the Academic Power Hour each after school site offers enrichment through partnerships with community organizations.  These organizations bring their own funding. Some are limited by this funding in terms of whom they can serve and what they can offer. The Office of Out of School Time works to provide a good match.

A typical day might be 3:30 to 4:00 Homework Help

4:00 to 4:30 might include structured lessons, reinforcement from the school day or the use of technology

4:30 to 5pm – Supper or snack

5pm to 6pm – Enrichment

Enrollment for the limited seats in the DCPS after school program is publicized in May in 5 languages.  Seats are awarded on a first come basis.  The enrollment is done online. They understand this is not a perfect system and are working on ways to improve it especially to reach new families as they enroll PK children or new students in other grades. 

DCPS has gone with quality over quantity, working to strengthen and enrich the programming but is able to serve nearly 6,000 students. 

Discussion and Questions:

It may not be clear to the principals that they are in charge and that the sign up could be facilitated – DCPS currently communicates this to local school leadership, they will continue to do this and pay special attention to schools with new principals or those that are experiencing difficulties.

Extended Day and after school – are they blended? While they are not officially blended this seems to be working well from the perspective of the Out of School Time Office.  The programs are complimentary. 

There are no major requirements from DCPS on how to structure and operate these programs.  Each school has a different population with different needs. 

How many spots are there at the different schools and how is the number decided on?  DCPS has tried to respond to demand.  Positions at central office have been cut and funds directed to the local schools.

Barnard has gone from 162 to 414

Powell has gone from 100 to 299

Bruce Monroe has gone from 120 to 161

To date the decisions represent the judgement of the Out of School Time Office taking into account a number of factors including enrollment and demand. There is not a formal process with scoring on the criteria. 

One of the huge challenges for the Academic Power Hour is the fact that a number of elementary students have had so little recess in the school dayFor young children to only have had 15 or 20 minutes of recess is a big problem in the view of a number of those attending this meeting.  Few adults could work that kind of day.  The Academic Power Hour is from 3:30 to 4:40 to take advantage of the school’s teachers who are on site. The budget allows for one hour of extra instruction and academic support from teachers. The enrichment programs are vetted by DCPS and then partnered with individual schools.  Margot announced that with funding from OSSE in a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, Takoma Education Campus will have a partnership with Sitar Art Center and LaSalle will have a partnership with Kid Power. Folks there from Takoma were very pleased to hear this. 

175 programs have been vetted and approved to be DCPS afterschool partners. Partnerships operating in different schools include:

Kid Power

DC Scores

LAYC

Learning Tree

Play Works

LaSalle has Kid Power

Dance Place

Health Services for Children with Special Needs

The DC PAY Grant – (Physical Activity for Youth) helps to fund some school day and out of school time programs.

Input on Posted Draft School Improvement Team Process posted by DCPS

  • Folks are concerned as they look at the draft and as they look at the scope of work for the Community Cabinets. In both cases it seems like DCPS wants the members that come forward to act as communicators back to their constituencies but not as real advisors to the process. It seems like a very limited role.
  • There is concern that the message is that DCPS owns the schools instead of viewing the stakeholders as partners with expertise in some cases, local knowledge, and the commitment to help the schools work over time.  It is actually the citizens who “own” these schools.  The central administration and elected officials are representing them. 
  • The track record with communication and involvement at Roosevelt has not improved the skeptical perception parents from a number of the elementary schools feel. Decisions were made at Takoma, for example that did not take into account future gains in early childhood enrollment that the community could see and wanted considered. 
  • People would like a process where they are involved from the beginning.  The educational specification is arguably the most important document in a modernization process.  Starting community involvement after that is completed sends a message that the community is not a valued partner. 

Deputy Mayor for Education – Aurora Steinle Policy Advisor on Release of the PARCC results

The high school scores on the PARCC will be released next week both the LEA and the school level numbers for Geometry and Integrated Math II.  The other grade levels will follow in mid-November and then the individual level scores to each family in December.

While Aurora has not seen the scores, with a new test they are bound to be very different and could look much lower (although we can’t directly compare PARCC to DC CAS).  She is here at the meeting to prepare people.  From the DME’s point of view these scores are a reality check and provide an important place to improve from. 

This is the first year, next year the scores will be released over the summer and available prior to the start of school in August of 2016. 

Those present at the meeting wanted to stress that it is one measure of a student and one measure of a school.  It is not a test that has any weight for the students taking it.  There is also concern about the amount of class time used for the test and some criticism of the validity of the test this first year. 

The PARCC Consortium has heard that the test is too long. Next year the math will be shortened by one hour and the ELA by one half hour.  Aurora noted that the test has been more than adequately validated – each question has been review by 30 individuals and dozens of District teachers were involved in the assessment’s creation. 

In the feedback given to OSSE on the communication of the scores, parents noted they wanted it put in perspective. 

Those present gave Aurora times that she might come to other gatherings at different schools.

The meeting was adjourned at 8pm

Next meeting will be on November 12th at Powell Elementary School.  

Meeting Notes

December 2015 Meeting Notes

December 12, 2015 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes

Ward 4 Education Alliance Meeting- Draft Notes

December 10, 2015- Coolidge High School

Our meetings are on the second Thursday.  The January meeting will be on January 14th

Input for Parent Cabinet: Robyn Applewhite

-It has been a good experience with high caliber and dedicated people from DCPS

  • Recess: In elementary schools the length of time allotted for recess varies depending on the level of achievement of the majority of the children.  DCPS has a minimum of 20 minutes mandated in the 6 hour day. Parents of elementary age children are concerned about the effect his is having on their children.  They understand the pressure to expand instructional time. Their experience is that children have a tough time paying attention when they have not had more than a 20 minute stretch of time to play and relax.  

The Chancellor has said she will look into this. The schools consulted in ward 3 are giving their children longer for recess.  Ward 4 Ed Alliance will look at the research and write a letter. This also came up at the October meeting.  Children are going with little recess into the power hour after school which is a long stretch.  

  • How can DCPS better support Parent Groups
    • There are changing demographics which can sometimes split communities along different lines, this leads to trust and communication challenges.  Things like deciding on the content of holiday bags given to students can be difficult.  Help from skilled administrators can help. 
      • English- Spanish
      • Older residents versus newer ones
      • Racially
      • Culturally
  • There is little equity between what PTA’s can contribute to a school. For example Mann raises 400,000 dollars a year and pays for two full time teachers.  Powell raises 1200 a year. 
  • Sister Schools can support more knowledge across the city but it can also be unbalanced and paternalistic if not structured carefully.
  • Thoughts about extended instructional time –
    • Is a longer school day effective?  Some felt it is needed and has been shown to be effective. Others felt it all depended on how the time was used.  Part of school is about interacting appropriately socially, and part of learning for young children involves play.  When the school day was extended for a half hour because of lost time to snow days years ago, it was not seen as universally effective in expanding instruction.
    • For high school age youth, students have indicated they are not in favor of it. The question was asked if high school parents and teachers had been consulted.  It might look very different at the different age levels. Many high school students are at school late into the evening, participating in credit recovery, athletics, or co-curricular activities.  Many other students have family or work responsibilities. Others are not at home or at school and may benefit from expanded programming. 
  • How can we better support our DCPS neighborhood schools and stronger feeder patterns?  How can we get the work out about advocating and the Ward 4 Ed Alliance?
    • Attend the Ed Fest on December 12th
    • Neighborhood living room conversations on education and schools
    • Attending community meetings like the 16thStreet Heights Association
    • Meet and Greets
    • ANC meetings – particularly Education and Library committees
    • Working with DCPS Office of Community Engagement – Cassandra
    • Council Member Todd’s office will put out the word on when our meetings are and have someone at each meeting. 
  • Future Meeting Topics
    • January – Inviting Council Member Todd prior to oversight and budget hearings on the Council
    • February 11th - an open house showcase of our Ward 4 Schools prior to the end of the lottery period.   We would introduce principals and hopefully a few students and parents.   Location to be decided.  We hope to have it at a school that is not over capacity and where it would be informative for the community to enter.

Meeting Notes for March 12, 2016

Dear Council Member Grosso, Deputy Mayor Niles and Superintendent Kang,

The Ward 4 Education Alliance is a group of parents, staff, and community members who meet monthly to be better informed and work together constructively on the challenges facing our public school children. 

Our March meeting focused on issues of children with special needs.  We worked with the DC Student Advocate to convene a panel to offer information and support.   These families are often working with significant difficulties at home and at school. 

There were a number of problem areas addressed.  One was the mistrust engendered by the recent posting of sensitive student level data on an open internet site in early February. 

Apologies have been made.  However there has been no communication as to:

  • What recourse parents will have if the release of this information compromises them in some way?
  • What kind of training do relevant OSSE personnel receive with regard to the privacy controls on student level data?  Has the Department of Education been consulted to insure all OSSE staff receives appropriate training on data collection and protection? How did such a basic violation of HIPAA and/or FERPA take place at OSSE?
  • What is OSSE putting in place in terms of communication strategies to be able to inform parents, when they need to?  Many read this in the newspaper, others still do not know.  Will there be a protocol with robo calls, a mailing as well as contact from the local school?
  • What procedural safeguards will OSSE be adding to insure student privacy is protected?  

We are reaching out to you in an effort to emphasize that significant trust has been broken between OSSE and parents/students and we believe that there needs to be City Council and OSSE responses that address these issues and the repercussions.   We would appreciate hearing back from you on these issues as soon as possible. We would welcome your attendance at one of our monthly meetings.  Thank you.

Sincerely,  

Members of the Ward 4 Education Alliance

Contact for this subject: Nancy Smith - nss_dc@yahoo.com

June 9th Meeting

Ward 4 Education Alliance Notes June 9, 2016 Meeting at Brightwood EC Attending: Takoma EC, Whittier EC, Powell EC, HD Woodson, Brightwood, Roosevelt, Neighbors and Community Members Guest Brian Pick – DCPS Deputy Chief for Teaching and Learning Power point used to guide discussion is attached Mr. Pick started the meeting by noting the gains 4th graders in particular have made since 2007 looking at the NAEP test scores which allows DC to be compared with other cities, not other states. His office is in charge of the instructional approach for all students. This includes but is not limited to enrichment, assessment, early childhood and Language Acquisition. Currently in DC 80% of all three year olds and 90% of all four year olds are in a pre-school program. The first thing is office set out to do was to define a common language of effective teaching. This includes what to teach and how to teach it. Curriculum is meant to be a tool, not a straight jacket. The change from the DC CAS test to the PARCC shows us how much improvement is needed. 25% of our students are proficient. The PARCC is only one measure but it is an important indicator. The current administration of DCPS has placed a priority on recruiting and selecting the teaching force they feel will be most effective and paying them well. A DCPS teacher can earn up to 130,000 dollars after 7 years. They use videos and records of previous success in the classroom to make hiring decisions and work to ensure a good placement match. According to the WTU contract, DCPS does not change automatically change the school placement of teachers, there is a process that entails mutual consent. Mr. Pick noted that DCPS retains 92% of their highly effective teachers. As noted by others present, these teachers are not evenly distributed across the city. Questions about PARCC While rigor is generally supported those familiar with the PARCC questioned how reflective it actually is of our students’ knowledge. A high school student present noted that the AP Psychology exam was easier than the PARCC exam. There was also concern about the amount of time spent preparing for the test, this time is not teaching and learning. Everyone now takes the PARCC on line which involves computer literacy including keyboarding, knowing how to drag and drop and scroll. If students are not competent in the computer skills it will show up that they do not know the content. The computer system crashed during the exams at a number of the schools present. Students’ material was lost and they had to re-take the test. The computer literacy is a particular issue for the youngest children. At the high school level, the number of additional assessments which have to be given around the same time (AP, SAT) is giving rise to more concerns. At the high school level DCPS could use the SAT as the measure they are not required to use the PARCC. What are students doing in Reading? Overall they are using Tools of the Mind or Creative Curriculum. Mr. Pick noted that it builds executive function and social emotional skills that lead to greater success in school. DCPS also has programs that follow Montessori and Reggio Emilio. Their overall philosophy in early childhood is doing, making and exploring. In Kindergarten through 2nd grade DCPS students work on decoding making sure the 44 sounds of the English language are mastered, practicing 30 minutes a day. Overall 80% of children are able to have fluency with this approach. An additional 15% need a double dose the foundation and the remaining 5% are assigned to a Reading Specialist often from the Metro Reading Group. DCPS continues to work on getting this right so that all children can decode well by the end of 2nd grade. Students also spend 30 minutes daily on Science or Social Studies. Examples of the units of study in Science include Extreme weather in 2nd grade and Rocks in 4th grade. 120 minutes a day are allocated for reading. This occurs in a rotation. There is guided reading, independent reading, word work and work on the computer. This is the plan in K through 5. There is an effort to include far more nonfiction. In kindergarten through second grade a teacher will cover 7 topics. Students go into more depth in 2nd through 5th grade covering 5 topics and in high school it is 4 topics. English Language Learners are either served by a 2nd teacher in the classroom or in a pull out or separate class depending on the student’s level of English mastery. Libraries Every school should have at least 20,000 books, each school was given $10,000 to resource classroom libraries. DCPS wants students to have access to books and for there to be a balance between student choice and teacher choice. The goal is for each student to know what level they are reading at and have help in getting to the next level. Reading A to Z is available to the public and provides options for donations. Reading instruction includes listening, speaking and writing. Writing is a reflection of thinking. DCPS uses there tools or assessments to determine student level – DIBLs Dynamic Indicators Basic Literacy Skills; TRC – Text Reading and Comprehension and SRI Scholastic Reading Inventory – Lexile Level. DCPS was an early adopter of the Common Core Standards. How do we support struggling readers? READ 180, What Works and System 44 have proven effective. Improving adolescent reading is tough. 90% may be motivation. High schools would like to have a reading specialist. This position may compete with others especially with the requirement to offer 20 electives. What books should be in the curriculum? There is a Student Literacy Cabinet. The student present spoke eloquently about the multiple issues involved for her classmates at this level and the failure overall of the system to respond meaningfully. She noted that there is so much pressure on teachers for test success that they do not have the same time and priority on building student relationships. While there may be a student cabinet for certain topics overall students do not feel they have a voice in their education. Math DCPS is aiming for higher straight forward expectations that are clear. DCPS is adopting Eureka as the K through 12 curriculum for next year. (Later Mr. Pick noted that it is actually K-11). It emphasizes facts and fluency first. Mr. Pick noted that research has shown that it is important for students to be fluent and confident in their number facts so fluency is first every day followed by a lesson. The lesson is a problem or a few number problems where the class looks at different ways to solve the problem. The aim is for a deep conceptual understanding of an equation like 2/3 x ¾. Students should be able to see it in their heads. The third part of the daily lesson would be a real world application. Schools will have the option to stick with Agile Minds. Mr. Pick noted that Woodson had made this choice and would be using Agile Minds. Secondary Grades Overall to respond to different levels of student learning DCPS will use the same syllabus but go deeper. The goal throughout school will be to develop student responsibility. Using Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset” approach, the hope is to have students own their education. Examples include: • Strong Career Pathways • Limited use of Competency Based Education – taking time out of the equation particularly for Math and Foreign Language but ensuring rigor. • The Basecamp program currently in use at Truesdell and CHEC – a blended learning program combining computer use and teacher instruction • Teach to 1 Math program In response to questions about the wide variation in student engagement and preparation, Mr. Pick stated that requiring high expectations and providing high supports is still the goal of DCPS. This is based on the research of Ron Ferguson of Harvard. For some in attendance, this has not worked as hoped and some students are just left behind while others may not be challenged enough. Secondary programs Middle school students often use their electives for intervention or to start a foreign language. High school students have 24 hours of course requirements and 100 hours of community service. Questions and Comments: • There continues to be concern about the punitive approach coming to school staff which leads to a fear of taking any creative risks and a lot of pressure on students and teachers. This pressure filled environment does not support learning. For students especially in the comprehensive high schools some do not feel their experience, from the moment they enter through the metal detectors to their departure at the end of the day is understood. The new buildings are beautiful but we have a long way to go in supporting the high schools. At the early grades the pressure around the PARCC test in particular has also led to issues of anxiety that does not facilitate learning. Mr. Pick agreed that the high schools do present challenges. He offered to extend the conversation on this. Equity Issues In terms of equity across schools in co-curricular programs, DCPS is working on expanding the Embassy Adoption program, participation in History Day and Global Educational opportunities including the Mini UN and foreign travel. There are currently 4 shared Cornerstone Assignments per course that drive teacher learning and are consistent across all schools. (This is a total of 205 shared assignments K through 12.) • Recess: with the current time requirements there are elementary school aged children that are not even getting the inadequate 20 minute minimum recess time. This question was posed with great respect for the challenges of fitting everything in the limited time of a school day. However the research and our common sense tells us children need a break and that the lessons learned through play are probably as important as the classroom. This has not been on Mr. Pick’s radar up until now. Suggestions included allowing some of the social studies and science reading to be included in the 120 minute literacy block. There are other combinations that can happen to create more time. Students not in title one schools have been able to allow more time for recess. For small children getting the coats on and off and sometimes walking to an away playground takes up a lot of their time. • DCPS uses Second Step and the Responsive Classroom to support teachers in relatingos the trauma and challenge that many bring to the classroom. Responsive Classroom is a research-based approach to K-8 teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL). We believe that a high-quality education for every child is built on the foundation of a safe and joyful learning community. We provide professional development for elementary and middle schools worldwide. Second Step is very similar. This was a far reaching discussion and these notes do not capture the full conversation. Mr. Pick stayed to talk after the meeting and sent the attached power point as a reference. The group thanked Mr. Pick for his time and for the presentation and the meeting ended at 8pm. The Ward 4 Education Alliance will not meet in July. We will resume in August and appreciate hearing about the topics you would like to see addressed.

June Meeting Notes

Ward 4 Education Alliance Notes June 9, 2016 Meeting at Brightwood EC Attending: Takoma EC, Whittier EC, Powell EC, HD Woodson, Brightwood, Roosevelt, Neighbors and Community Members Guest Brian Pick – DCPS Deputy Chief for Teaching and Learning Power point used to guide discussion is attached Mr. Pick started the meeting by noting the gains 4th graders in particular have made since 2007 looking at the NAEP test scores which allows DC to be compared with other cities, not other states. His office is in charge of the instructional approach for all students. This includes but is not limited to enrichment, assessment, early childhood and Language Acquisition. Currently in DC 80% of all three year olds and 90% of all four year olds are in a pre-school program. The first thing is office set out to do was to define a common language of effective teaching. This includes what to teach and how to teach it. Curriculum is meant to be a tool, not a straight jacket. The change from the DC CAS test to the PARCC shows us how much improvement is needed. 25% of our students are proficient. The PARCC is only one measure but it is an important indicator. The current administration of DCPS has placed a priority on recruiting and selecting the teaching force they feel will be most effective and paying them well. A DCPS teacher can earn up to 130,000 dollars after 7 years. They use videos and records of previous success in the classroom to make hiring decisions and work to ensure a good placement match. According to the WTU contract, DCPS does not change automatically change the school placement of teachers, there is a process that entails mutual consent. Mr. Pick noted that DCPS retains 92% of their highly effective teachers. As noted by others present, these teachers are not evenly distributed across the city. Questions about PARCC While rigor is generally supported those familiar with the PARCC questioned how reflective it actually is of our students’ knowledge. A high school student present noted that the AP Psychology exam was easier than the PARCC exam. There was also concern about the amount of time spent preparing for the test, this time is not teaching and learning. Everyone now takes the PARCC on line which involves computer literacy including keyboarding, knowing how to drag and drop and scroll. If students are not competent in the computer skills it will show up that they do not know the content. The computer system crashed during the exams at a number of the schools present. Students’ material was lost and they had to re-take the test. The computer literacy is a particular issue for the youngest children. At the high school level, the number of additional assessments which have to be given around the same time (AP, SAT) is giving rise to more concerns. At the high school level DCPS could use the SAT as the measure they are not required to use the PARCC. What are students doing in Reading? Overall they are using Tools of the Mind or Creative Curriculum. Mr. Pick noted that it builds executive function and social emotional skills that lead to greater success in school. DCPS also has programs that follow Montessori and Reggio Emilio. Their overall philosophy in early childhood is doing, making and exploring. In Kindergarten through 2nd grade DCPS students work on decoding making sure the 44 sounds of the English language are mastered, practicing 30 minutes a day. Overall 80% of children are able to have fluency with this approach. An additional 15% need a double dose the foundation and the remaining 5% are assigned to a Reading Specialist often from the Metro Reading Group. DCPS continues to work on getting this right so that all children can decode well by the end of 2nd grade. Students also spend 30 minutes daily on Science or Social Studies. Examples of the units of study in Science include Extreme weather in 2nd grade and Rocks in 4th grade. 120 minutes a day are allocated for reading. This occurs in a rotation. There is guided reading, independent reading, word work and work on the computer. This is the plan in K through 5. There is an effort to include far more nonfiction. In kindergarten through second grade a teacher will cover 7 topics. Students go into more depth in 2nd through 5th grade covering 5 topics and in high school it is 4 topics. English Language Learners are either served by a 2nd teacher in the classroom or in a pull out or separate class depending on the student’s level of English mastery. Libraries Every school should have at least 20,000 books, each school was given $10,000 to resource classroom libraries. DCPS wants students to have access to books and for there to be a balance between student choice and teacher choice. The goal is for each student to know what level they are reading at and have help in getting to the next level. Reading A to Z is available to the public and provides options for donations. Reading instruction includes listening, speaking and writing. Writing is a reflection of thinking. DCPS uses there tools or assessments to determine student level – DIBLs Dynamic Indicators Basic Literacy Skills; TRC – Text Reading and Comprehension and SRI Scholastic Reading Inventory – Lexile Level. DCPS was an early adopter of the Common Core Standards. How do we support struggling readers? READ 180, What Works and System 44 have proven effective. Improving adolescent reading is tough. 90% may be motivation. High schools would like to have a reading specialist. This position may compete with others especially with the requirement to offer 20 electives. What books should be in the curriculum? There is a Student Literacy Cabinet. The student present spoke eloquently about the multiple issues involved for her classmates at this level and the failure overall of the system to respond meaningfully. She noted that there is so much pressure on teachers for test success that they do not have the same time and priority on building student relationships. While there may be a student cabinet for certain topics overall students do not feel they have a voice in their education. Math DCPS is aiming for higher straight forward expectations that are clear. DCPS is adopting Eureka as the K through 12 curriculum for next year. (Later Mr. Pick noted that it is actually K-11). It emphasizes facts and fluency first. Mr. Pick noted that research has shown that it is important for students to be fluent and confident in their number facts so fluency is first every day followed by a lesson. The lesson is a problem or a few number problems where the class looks at different ways to solve the problem. The aim is for a deep conceptual understanding of an equation like 2/3 x ¾. Students should be able to see it in their heads. The third part of the daily lesson would be a real world application. Schools will have the option to stick with Agile Minds. Mr. Pick noted that Woodson had made this choice and would be using Agile Minds. Secondary Grades Overall to respond to different levels of student learning DCPS will use the same syllabus but go deeper. The goal throughout school will be to develop student responsibility. Using Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset” approach, the hope is to have students own their education. Examples include: • Strong Career Pathways • Limited use of Competency Based Education – taking time out of the equation particularly for Math and Foreign Language but ensuring rigor. • The Basecamp program currently in use at Truesdell and CHEC – a blended learning program combining computer use and teacher instruction • Teach to 1 Math program In response to questions about the wide variation in student engagement and preparation, Mr. Pick stated that requiring high expectations and providing high supports is still the goal of DCPS. This is based on the research of Ron Ferguson of Harvard. For some in attendance, this has not worked as hoped and some students are just left behind while others may not be challenged enough. Secondary programs Middle school students often use their electives for intervention or to start a foreign language. High school students have 24 hours of course requirements and 100 hours of community service. Questions and Comments: • There continues to be concern about the punitive approach coming to school staff which leads to a fear of taking any creative risks and a lot of pressure on students and teachers. This pressure filled environment does not support learning. For students especially in the comprehensive high schools some do not feel their experience, from the moment they enter through the metal detectors to their departure at the end of the day is understood. The new buildings are beautiful but we have a long way to go in supporting the high schools. At the early grades the pressure around the PARCC test in particular has also led to issues of anxiety that does not facilitate learning. Mr. Pick agreed that the high schools do present challenges. He offered to extend the conversation on this. Equity Issues In terms of equity across schools in co-curricular programs, DCPS is working on expanding the Embassy Adoption program, participation in History Day and Global Educational opportunities including the Mini UN and foreign travel. There are currently 4 shared Cornerstone Assignments per course that drive teacher learning and are consistent across all schools. (This is a total of 205 shared assignments K through 12.) • Recess: with the current time requirements there are elementary school aged children that are not even getting the inadequate 20 minute minimum recess time. This question was posed with great respect for the challenges of fitting everything in the limited time of a school day. However the research and our common sense tells us children need a break and that the lessons learned through play are probably as important as the classroom. This has not been on Mr. Pick’s radar up until now. Suggestions included allowing some of the social studies and science reading to be included in the 120 minute literacy block. There are other combinations that can happen to create more time. Students not in title one schools have been able to allow more time for recess. For small children getting the coats on and off and sometimes walking to an away playground takes up a lot of their time. • DCPS uses Second Step and the Responsive Classroom to support teachers in relatingos the trauma and challenge that many bring to the classroom. Responsive Classroom is a research-based approach to K-8 teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social-emotional learning (SEL). We believe that a high-quality education for every child is built on the foundation of a safe and joyful learning community. We provide professional development for elementary and middle schools worldwide. Second Step is very similar. This was a far reaching discussion and these notes do not capture the full conversation. Mr. Pick stayed to talk after the meeting and sent the attached power point as a reference. The group thanked Mr. Pick for his time and for the presentation and the meeting ended at 8pm. The Ward 4 Education Alliance will not meet in July. We will resume in August and appreciate hearing about the topics you would like to see addressed.