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Wells Letter to Charter School Board Re: IGU Application PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charles Allen   
Tuesday, 02 March 2010

Below is a letter sent by Councilmember Wells to the Public Charter School Board in advance of the public hearing on the University High Public Charter School application: 

March 1, 2010

Brian W. Jones, J.D., Chair
D.C. Public Charter School Board
3333 14th Street, NW, Suite 210
Washington, D.C. 20010

Dear Chairman Jones:

I am writing the Board to express my concerns and opposition to the charter school application under your review for University High Public Charter School (University High).

I am extremely skeptical of University High’s application because of its apparent connection with the International Graduate University (IGU).  While University High representatives maintain the relationship between the proposed school and IGU is simply one of lease-holder (University High proposes to co-locate with IGU), I believe that its application demonstrates both a clear governance and managerial relationship with IGU.

This relationship is of concern because IGU has no track record of working well with the community or the city. In December 2006, IGU applied to the District’s Educational Licensure Commission (ELC) to be a licensed post-secondary degree granting educational institution in the District. After review and appeal, the ELC finalized its denial of the licensure application on December 18, 2009 noting that “IGU had failed to demonstrate a basis for licensure,” determining that IGU does not qualify and cannot demonstrate the ability to provide recognized quality educational services.

In addition, the proposed University High Board of Directors shares five members of the IGU Board of Advisors, further demonstrating the connection between the governance and management of the two institutions.

Finally, underscoring concerns about University High’s capacity to deliver high quality publicly-funded education is what appears to be significant plagiarism within the application. As has already been detailed in the media, there appears to be several examples within the charter application of plagiarism. The proposed curriculum for University High reads word-for-word the same as the curriculum description for Gonzaga College High School. Furthermore, passages of the application’s Executive Summary suggest copying from a major U.S. Department of Education report without attribution or acknowledgement. This calls into question their qualifications to run a school.

There is a clear connection between the proposed charter school and IGU, with its associated failures and denials of accreditation and licensure.  I question whether this relationship will hinder University High as it attempts to meet the accreditation status required by your Board.  I also am concerned that its application fails to meet standards expected of an organization that proposes to be entrusted with the education of our children.

Tommy Wells
Councilmember, Ward 6


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Update on University High Charter School Application PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charles Allen   
Friday, 26 February 2010

Below are a few updates on the University High Charter School application.

1. If you missed it, the Washington City Paper ran a story yesterday on the application. The Washington Post ran a story earlier this week as well. Both stories covered the alleged plagiarism and connections to the International Graduate University.

2. We also spoke with Julie Johnson, Deputy Director for the Community College of the District of Columbia. They are listed as a partner in the school’s charter application. Ms. Johnson asked to clarify that description and ensure neighbors were aware that no such partnership exists. Here is the full statement from the Community College of DC:

“The Community College of the District of Columbia (CCDC) has formed no partnership with University High Charter School and does not intend to partner with this high school in the future.   However, as part of its mission, CCDC actively pursues opportunities to collaborate with the schools, non-profits, and businesses in order to enhance educational pathways and better serve residents of the District of Columbia. 
CCDC, as part of the new University System of the District of Columbia, began operations in Fall 2009 and serves more than 3,000 students in its academic, workforce, and continuing education programs.  To learn more about CCDC, see www.udc.edu/cc.”

3. Finally, we have more details regarding the public hearing on the application. The University High Charter School will be part of Panel #5 on Tuesday, March 16th. The public comment period is expected to take place between 7:50 – 8:10 p.m. (although, it may run later based on delays earlier in the day).

PANEL #5 -- Richard Wright & University High 
Panel Presentation 7:20 – 7:30 PM
Board Questions 7:30 – 7:50 PM
Public Comment 7:50 - 8:10 PM

Witnesses can sign-up to testify up until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16th. Witnesses will be limited to two minutes each.


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 March 2010 )
Wednesday Ward 6 Blog Roundup PDF Print E-mail
Written by Daniel Conner   
Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Whats below: Capital City Diner opens; DCPS Fundraiser @ H Street Country Club; Savor Returns To The Building Museum In June; Black History Month Concert - February 28

Capital City Diner opened Tuesday - Like the soft opening this past weekend, they were packed throughout the day. See it on H Street Great Street.

DCPS Fundraiser @ H Street Country Club - Frozen Tropics reports that H Street Country Club will host a DC public schools fundraiser February 27th. The day-long event will incorporate elementary students, families, teachers and community

Savor Returns To The Building Museum In June - Savor, the American craft beer & food event, which will be held at the Building Museum on June 5th. See it on Penn Quarter Living.

Black History Month Concert: February 28 - Mt Vernon Square Neighborhood Association reports that all are welcome to attend the Annual Black History Month Concert entitled "Feel Like Goin' On" at MCC-DC this Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 3:00pm. Enjoy the sounds of our fabulous gospel and sanctuary choirs. There is no cost and tickets are not needed, however an offering will be taken.


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 February 2010 )
H Street Office Hours -- Fitness Together PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tawana Shuford   
Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Join us this Thursday morning, February 25th, 8:00 - 9:30 am, for Councilmember Wells regular H Street NE Community Office Hours. This month, we'll be at Fitness Together, 408 H Street NE. Please stop by and share your concerns with Tommy and staff.


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Miner ES Students Sing at White House PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charles Allen   
Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Congratulations to Miner Elementary School! NBC 4 story below, click on the link to watch the video.

DC Elementary Glee Club Sings for First Lady
Students meet first lady and Harry Connick Jr.

Tue, Feb 23, 2010

Call it a hot gig.

Forty students from Miner Elementary School in northeast Washington got caught up in a heat wave at the White House on Sunday. The school’s principal was notified late Friday that the students were invited to get a behind-the-scenes look at planning for the Governor’s Ball.

Once they arrived, the kids got a triple treat. They got to meet first lady Michelle Obama, who welcomed them, along with Grammy Award-winning singer/composer Harry Connick Jr., who was there to rehearse for a Sunday evening performance at the ball.

Gathered in the East Room, the kids watched Connick and his band play a rendition of “When The Saints Go Marching In.” Then, Connick pulled 10-year-old Derrick Hopkins out of the audience and gave him the microphone.

Hopkins wasn’t familiar with the words to the song, but his strong, smooth voice left quite an impression, as did the whole glee club, which performed a rousing rendition of Martha Reeves’ hit song, “Heat Wave.”

It wasn’t the glee club’s first celebrity gig. Over the years, the students have sung for a diverse audience that’s included gospel singers, the Washington Redskins, officials at the dpartments of state and education, the Attorney General’s office and D.C.’s mayor and city council, to name a few.

But singing at the White House was the club’s highlight.

“I’ve been in Washington all of my life and it was my first time in the White House,” said Martin Ford, who’s been the music teacher at Miner for the past 17 years. “It was very special for me and definitely for my students,” said Ford.

The White House visit was also a learning experience for the students. Connick told them music can get people through disaster and the darkest times. Obama told them that Connick and his band members aren't just performers, but also community leaders who aren't simply playing music and earning money.

"Even if you can sing and dance, the question is:  what do you give back?" Obama asked.


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