The District’s deputy mayor for education announced Wednesday the members of a task force that will be charged with developing policy recommendations to improve coordination between the District’s charter and traditional public schools.
The group will be co-chaired by the deputy mayor for education, Jennifer C. Niles, and former mayor Anthony A. Williams. It will be facilitated by Jim Sandman, former general counsel for D.C. Public Schools.
The 26-member task force also includes D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson; Scott Pearson, executive director of the D.C. Public Charter School Board; State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang; school leaders from traditional and charter schools; and parents, including some who took part in a similar committee that was tasked with rewriting student assignment boundaries for the District’s traditional public schools in 2014.
Charter school enrollment accounts for about 45 percent of D.C. public school students. As the independently managed schools have grown in number and enrollment, many residents have been concerned that there needs to be a greater effort to harmonize the two disjointed public school sectors, which compete for students and resources.
The new task force will be charged with developing recommendations for Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) to address a range of challenges, including improving an often-overwhelming experience for families that are trying to navigate the many public school options, promoting stability in enrollment, increasing methods for sharing information across schools, and coordinating processes for school openings, closings and facilities planning.
More than 100 people were nominated to take part in the task force. Members were selected by the deputy mayor’s office, which was looking for a variety of perspectives and experiences, including geographic and demographic diversity, representatives from charter and traditional public schools, and a mix of school leaders, parents and community members.
The group is expected to meet at 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month for two years. The first meeting is scheduled for Jan. 26.
Meetings will be open to the public, a change from an earlier decision to hold them behind closed doors, after a ruling that the plan would not comply with the District’s Open Meetings Act.
The group also plans to schedule focus groups and community meetings and develop an online survey so more people can participate and share ideas.
More information will be available on the deputy mayor for education’s website.
The complete list of task force members:
Amanda Alexander, deputy chief of elementary schools, D.C. Public Schools
Lars Beck, chief executive for Scholar Academies and D.C. Scholars Public Charter School
Rod Boggs, executive director, Washington Lawyers’ Committee
Evelyn Boyd Simmons, a Francis-Stevens school parent, Ward 2 Education Network; former member of the D.C. Student Assignment Committee
Shanita Burney, deputy chief, community engagement, D.C. Public Schools
Angela Copeland, Stuart-Hobson Middle School parent; public affairs specialist
Charlene Drew-Jarvis, graduate, D.C. Public Schools; senior adviser to KIPP DC; and former Ward 4 Council member
Caryn Ernst, Watkins Elementary School and Stuart-Hobson Middle School parent; former PTA president for the Capitol Hill Cluster School; member of the Capitol Hill Public School Parent Organization
Erika Harrell, D.C. Prep PCS parent; member of the MySchoolDC parent advisory council; member of D.C. School Reform Now; member of PCSB Parent and Alumni Leadership Council
Kaya Henderson, chancellor, D.C. Public Schools
Kemba Hendrix, Elsie Whitlow Stokes PCS parent; former public and public charter school teacher
Irene Holtzman, executive director, Friends of Choice in Urban Schools
Faith Hubbard, chief student advocate, State Board of Education; former member of the Student Assignment Committee
Hanseul Kang, state superintendent of education
Melissa Kim, chief academic officer, Secondary Schools, KIPP DC; former principal, D.C. Public Schools
Anjali Kulkarni, deputy chief, strategic school planning, D.C. Public Schools
Emily Lawson, founder and chief executive, DC Prep PCS
Bethany Little, Ben W. Murch Elementary School and BASIS PCS parent; education policy expert
Scott Pearson, executive director, D.C. Public Charter School Board
Ariana Quinones, Duke Ellington High School and Next Step PCS parent; education and human services policy consultant; former member, Student Assignment Committee
Karen Williams, state board of education member from Ward 7
Darren Woodruff, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School and Benjamin Banneker High School parent; chairman of the D.C. Public Charter School Board
Shantelle Wright, founder and chief executive of Achievement Prep Public Charter School; chair of the D.C. Association of Public Charter Schools