After yesterday's tragic events I suggested that the monthly D.C. Public Charter School Board meeting be rescheduled. But it was on with the show. Not a good call.
Apparently I was not the only one who was less than enthusiastic about the session. Only four of seven board members were in attendance. I would have liked to witness the input from the newest individuals appointed by Mayor Gray, Barbara Nophlin and Herbert Tillery, but they were absent from the evenings proceedings.
So here we were gathered at DC Scholars Public Charter School, located at the far eastern end of Washington, D.C. The main attraction for tonight was the pending approval of the Early Childhood Performance Management Framework. The policy had received 54 public comments from citizens, five from charter leaders, one form a national organization, and five from the media, in which I am listed. This is the most feedback the PCSB has probably ever received in its history.
However, either because of the stressful day many of us had experienced, the killing of 12 innocent people, or the location of the venue, almost no one except the PCSB staff was there. This was actually a blessing because, as is way too often the case, the setting did not match the professional work being done by this body.
Again, there were sound issues as only one of the available microphones seemed to work. This meant that for the audience to hear it had to be passed between the board at one table and those testifying at another, an exercise that quickly lost its appeal. There was almost no cellular access in the room, something that is worrisome to those who may need to be reached after a crisis occurs such as parents or, like me, someone who works in healthcare.
I understand that the board wants to go into the communities served by charters. However, there is something to be said for establishing routines and rituals, a crucial step to educating children which happens every year at this time in our schools. My vote is to find a location that well serves the function of holding a board meeting, preferably near metro, and stick with it. There is no sense reinventing the wheel every 30 days.
For those of you who may be interested, the Early Childhood PMF was passed after being amended to increase the weight of social-emotional learning and deciding to delay tiering for a year, among other changes. Also, for the second month in a row, the charter agreement for Friendship PCS was postponed to the next meeting. I wonder what would happen if an understanding on final contract language between the school and the board cannot be reached.