Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization (W6PSPO) Meeting Notes
November 19, 2019
1.Sharing PTA/PTO Best Practices – PTA/PTO Meetings Panel/Open Discussion
David Treat and Julie Muir – Miner Elementary, Elsa Faulkenberg – Tyler Elementary, Lona Valmora – Capitol Hill Cluster School
We kicked this series off with a discussion on PTO meetings. Find our notes here. We’ll continue adding to this series at https://w6pspo.org/pto-best-practices/.
2. Campaign for Lead-free water – proposed rule from EPA re; lead and copper is looking for a 60 day extension of public comment period. Asking if W6PSPO will sign-on for extension to March 13 2020 that will go to EPA and OMB. Attendees voted to sign-on
3. Discussion with the Washington Teachers Union on SY2020/21 Budget Priorities
Priority 1: Fund DC Schools.
Despite an increase in Mayor Bowser’s education budget for FY2020, 20 public schools, including 17 schools in Wards 7 and 8, saw significant budget cuts for the current school year. Overall funding for DCPS did not keep up with rising costs, leading to cuts in many schools.
- Increased Investment – Meet 2013 Adequacy Levels
In 2013, the District Government commissioned an Adequacy Study calling for per pupil expenditures of $11,628.( In November 2019, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education awarded grant to Afton Partners, LLC to conduct a study of the UPSFF.) We need to reach, if not exceed, this amount in the FY2021 budget and for the first time fully funding our schools. The proposed FY 2020 budget increased the UPSFF base by 2.2 percent, from $10,658 to $10,891 per-student.
- Closing the Opportunity Gaps – Spending of At-Risk Dollars
Achievement gaps across nearly all subgroups measured by NAEP have not changed or have grown since 2002/2003. The NAEP scores mirror results on the city’s PARCC tests. The PARCC scores show steady, albeit slow, growth across most demographic groups. However, once again, we see achievement gaps growing. Research is clear that increased spending can, when combined with other reforms, help close achievement gaps, but in DC the funds have not reached the students who are in greatest need.
- Special Education – Increased supplemental funding.
The District of Columbia continues to fail DC students with special needs. The US Department of Education labeled DC as “needs” assistance” in implementing federal requirements of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Additional funding will allow DC Public Schools to reduce special education class sizes and increase the planning time allowed for Special Education Teachers.
Priority 2. Living & Learning Conditions.
If we care about children, we have to improve all the conditions that affect them.’
- Trauma Informed Practices & Screening
When trauma goes unchecked and is sustained, it can disrupt a child’s brain development, interfering with functions children depend on in school such as memory recall, focus and impulse control. In a trauma-informed school, the adults in the school community are prepared to recognize and respond to those who have been impacted by traumatic stress. To ensure adequate staffing, we need more information on the experiences of our students and propose that the city screens every student for trauma and uses the findings to ensure adequate staffing.
Priority 3. One Set of Rules for All Schools.
Regardless of where a student attends school, she is entitled to the same rights as a student, including transparency and adherence to all local laws.