Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mayor Fenty on the census, today

The mayor will speak today at the Census Update press conference at 11:00 am at Capitol Quarter (400 M St SE, community room).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Training opportunities in the new year

Here is a list of some professional development opportunities as we enter the new year; many are free.   Looks like there might be something for everyone.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Public policy reads to start the year off right!

Check out this list of public policy reads -- it contains reports, studies, and briefs related to health, mental health, school safety, fathers, child maltreatment, and much more.   All will help in our public policy advocacy and practice work.

Healthy schools bill hearing, February 9

The Committee on Government Operations and the Environment (CM Cheh, Ward 3, chair) and the Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Gray, At-large, chair) are holding a joint public hearing on B18-564, “Healthy Schools Act of 2009” on February 9, 2010 at 11:00 am in the JAWB's Council Chamber.   Details about the hearing, including how to register to testify, are in the hearing notice.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

From the 12/25 DC Register

Child-, youth-, family, and community-related items from the December 25, 2009 D.C. Register are:
  • OSSE has published the meeting schedule for the District of Columbia Public Charter School Credit Enhancement Fund Committee.   The first meeting is on January 21, 2010.   See the notice for the other dates, time and location.
  • Final rulemaking in contracting and procurement:   The Chief Procurement Officer of the District of Columbia has published final rules authorizing a two-step procurement process, a process that will provide the best value to the District.   The proposed rulemaking was published in May 2009; no changes were made to the rules as originally proposed.   The City Council approved the (final) rulemaking on November 24, 2009 by Resolution PR18-408.
  • Final rules on small purchase procurement:   The Chief Procurement Officer of the District of Columbia published final rules to authorize the use of small purchase procurement procedures for procurements not exceeding $100,000 for all departments, agencies, instrumentalities, and employees under the procurement authority of the Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP), including the Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the Metropolitan Police Department.   The proposed rules were published in April 2009.   No changes were made to the rulemaking as originally proposed.   The City Council approved the (final) rulemaking on November 10, 2009.
  • Final rules on UDC law school tuition and fee increases:   UDC’s Board of Trustees has published final rules revising tuition rates for students at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law as of the 2010-2011 academic year.
  • Emergency and proposed rules from UDC:   UDC has published six notices of emergency and proposed rules related to university procurement.   Public comments are being accepted; they are due within 30 days of publication.   Details about submitting comments are found on the last page of each of the six rule notices.
  • Mayor’s Order re: closings and consolidation of DC Public Schools:   Mayor's Order 2009-219, “Final Action on Closings and Consolidations of District of Columbia Public Schools”, was signed on December 14.   According to the order (in part),
    On October 6, 2009, the Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) alU10unced a proposed plan to close and/or consolidate school programs and buildings, pursuant to Title 5 (Board of Education), Section 3607 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.
    The proposed actions involve (1) closing one elementary school, Scott Montgomery Elementary, and consolidating the Scott Montgomery program with Walker-Jones Education Campus; and (2) closing the McGogney Elementary School building which does not currently house a school program, and maintaining the McGogney building in DCPS inventory pending assessment of needs for DCPS administrative or special programs space.

2010 standard mileage

The IRS announced standard mileage rates for 2010 in early December:
  • 50 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 16.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

According to the IRS, the rates are for cars, vans, pickups, and panel trucks.   Finally, the "new rates for business, medical and moving purposes are slightly lower than last year’s. The mileage rates for 2010 reflect generally lower transportation costs compared to a year ago."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

School satisfaction survey results released

DCPS has posted the results of the SY 2008-2009 stakeholder survey and highlights the citywide finding that after three years of the latest school reform efforts, "83 percent of parents, 72 percent of students and 74 percent of faculty and staff agree that their school is on the right track."   The publicly available results are more than just the citywide ones.   Thankfully, DCPS reports the results in a variety of ways:
  • District results
  • Elementary School Results Summary
  • Secondary School Results Summary
  • Individual school summaries

The latest results compare two year's of survey data, SYs 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.   Nearly 20,000 students, parents, faculty, and staff completed the stakeholder survey.   These individuals have weighed in on a number of topics, including satisfaction levels, facilities and academics.   The two purposes of the surveys are to identify areas of improvement and to use as an accountability and progress measure.

The survey results can be useful for others as well.   For example, this blog post considers school safety in Ward 1.   SWOTDC compared the citywide school safety results to those of schools located in Ward 1.   Beyond this, the survey results can help frame public policy and practice solutions now and in the future.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nonprofit news

As was expected, Maia Shanklin-Roberts is the new Executive Director of Peaceoholics Inc.   Her contact info remains the same.

WEAVE is moving during the week of December 28.   Their new address is 1422 K St NW, Washington, DC 20005.   This will be their official address as of December 28.   The main phone (202-452-9550) remains the same.

Jessica Rosenbaum is the new executive director of DC Access to Justice Commission.   Her contact info is:   575 7th St NW, Room 5047 West, Washington, DC 20004; 202-344-4441 (phone); 202-344-4697 (fax); jess [dot] rosenbaum [at] dcaccesstojustice [dot] org.

Monday, December 21, 2009

City Council recess

The City Council will be in recess from December 23, 2009 to December 31, 2009.   Naturally, the Council is closed New Year's Day.   The first day back, then, will be January 4, 2010.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Reforming CFSA - a conversation with two experts

If you missed Kojo's show on child abuse and neglect last week, you can listen online.   You will hear Olivia Golden, former CFSA director and current fellow at the Urban Institute, and Michele Booth Cole, director of Safe Shores-DC Children's Advocacy Center, discuss the challenges and realities of reforming the child welfare system.

As good as the guests were -- and they shared some incredibly useful information -- what was most compelling was the timing of the show.   As Michele pointed out, Kojo was discussing this important issue when there is not a crisis.   So take a half hour to listen in.

Adoption in DC:   125 down, 189 to go

On December 17, the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) sent to Family Court documents for the 125th adoption of 2009.

With this adoption, CFSA met its goal for adoptions in the calendar year.   In all, 514 children and youth left foster care for permanent homes through reunification, guardianship, or adoption in 2009.   The number of 2009 adoptions also represents a 23% increase in adoptions over 2008.   More information, including personal accounts of what permanence means, are in this brief report.

Even with this achievement is this sobering fact:   189 children and teens in foster care are awaiting permanency with a family.

Efforts are being made to match these kids with families.   Wednesday's Child, for example, is a partnership of the Freddie Mac Foundation and WRC-TV.   The show features young people who are waiting to be adopted.   And on December 23 at 8:00 pm, CBS will air A Home for the Holidays hosted by Faith Hill.   The show, presented by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Children's Action Network, will feature inspirational stories about foster care adoption.   Finally, CFSA's Web site has important information about adopting in DC.

Transparency in the DCPS FY 2011 budget process

If you are interested in DCPS and their budget, you have got to check out their FY 2011 budget Web page.   You will find:
  • Announcements
  • Introduction
  • Improvements for FY11
  • FY11 School Budget Process Kick-Off Meeting
  • November 23 Budget Hearing
  • Proposed FY11 Budget Process
  • Comprehensive Staffing Model
  • Engaging the Community

There are a number of positive aspects to budget development for FY 2011.   The first is this:   "The process for the FY11 budget cycle has been retooled in order to allow for maximum input from members of individual school communities."   The second is the amount of information available to stakeholders.   For example, DCPS leadership is sharing timelines, processes at meetings and on the Web.

Finally, here is the DCPS FY 2011 budget sked:

Friday, December 18, 2009

More police news

At 1:15 pm today (December 18), at the 500 block of 13th St NE, Mayor Fenty and Chief Lanier will kickoff another All Hands on Deck (AHOD).

And in other recent MPD news, the department has announced Police Blotter On Demand, "a public service initiative that will give area residents the opportunity to help the police locate fugitives from justice and provide information or tips on persons in question."   Not quite sure what to think about this except that showing pictures of missing persons and describing them is a good thing.   And I hope that juveniles don't make the lineup on the fugitives side of this public service initiative.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Revenue and the FY 2011 budget

For those who follow such mundane topics as revenue, the latest revenue estimates for FYs FY 2010 - 2014 were released yesterday by DC's CFO Natwar Gandhi.   As expected, the news was bad, with FY 2010 revenue down $17 million from the September estimate; worse, FY 2011 revenue is estimated to be $104 million less than the September estimate.

Both individual and corporate income taxes played a role in the revenue reduction.   Particularly important in DC, according to Gandhi's letter, is the real estate market.   The FY 2011 projection for real property tax revenue was reduced from September to account for the “deterioration in the D.C. real property market over the past year as well as the credit squeeze spawned by the financial crisis. . .”   Further, Gandhi expects real property to be a drag on overall revenue even as other revenues increase as we leave the recession behind us.

The revenue estimates are much more than an accounting exercise.   They are the foundation of the budget.   Sometimes maligned as bean counters (and worse), Office of the Chief Financial Officer analysts are charged with ensuring the budget is balanced.   Thus the budget instructions for the development of FY 2011 agency budget requests:

The revenue outlook for FY 2011 presents a challenge for the budget development process.   The District is expected to experience an economic recovery in FY 2011, but the effects of the recession will continue to impact the District’s revenue.   The revenue estimates for FY 2011 project minor growth, yet uncertainty is still great, and revised estimates this year may result in a net decline in revenue projections.   At the same time, one-time funding sources, including federal stimulus funds, which helped to balance the FY 2010 budget, will not be available to the same extent in FY 2011.   Agencies have already reduced Local funds budgets significantly from the start of FY 2009 to the proposed FY 2010 budget.   To meet the challenge of improving service delivery, while reducing cost, agencies will need to dig deeper to reduce contract costs, eliminate unnecessary positions, and evaluate programs.
The FY 2011 budget process will be focused on requests that support the agency’s core services and programs and identify cost savings to reach the target set by the City Administrator.   New spending must be limited to technical cost adjustments, such as an already negotiated contract escalator, and must be offset by a proposed cost saving.   Agencies will be invited to discuss new initiatives during the Budget Review Team meetings, but, due to the recent revenue declines and the potential for additional revenue drops this year, almost all new initiatives will have to be offset by other reductions.

Nothing about the budget instructions suggests that the budget proposed by Mayor Fenty in March 2010 will be draconian, that initiatives to support the most economically disadvantaged will not be funded.   Instead, the instructions explain how the current and future economic environments on the revenue side govern the process.

How the budget process and budget document play out is anyone's guess.   Agencies have submitted their requests to OCA.   Requests will be reviewed, conversations will be had between OCA and the agencies, policy priorities will be integrated, and on and on.   We should see the budget in mid-March 2010.

Amid all the unknowns, what I can tell you is that no one in the Office of the City Administrator is taking a cavalier approach to the FY 2011 budget.

MPD promotions

Some of this information -- like the transfer of 3D's George Kucik to Forensic Science Division and Dan Hickson's promotion to CID -- has been public for a week or so.   The changes are effective December 20:
  • Rodney Parks, promoted to Assistant Chief of Police, Professional Development Bureau
  • Daniel Hickson, promoted to Commander, Criminal Investigations Division (CID)
  • Jacob Kishter, promoted to Commander, 3rd District
  • Kimberly Chisley Missouri, promoted to Commander, 4th District
  • Ralph Ennis, promoted to Inspector, Office of the Chief of Police (COP)
  • Angel Medina, promoted to Inspector, 3rd District substation
  • Lewis Douglas, promoted to Captain, 5th District
  • Keith Deville, promoted to Captain, 6th District
  • Byron B. Hope, promoted to Captain, 7th District
  • Michael J. Williams, promoted to Captain, 1st District
  • Alisa Petty, promoted to Captain, 4th District
  • Nicholas Breul, promoted to Lieutenant, Communications

Child abuse topic on Kojo today

Today (December 17) at Noon, Kojo will discuss child maltreatment.   So turn on WAMU, 88.5 FM.

ANC 6A takes on youth crime and violence

ANC 6A's public safety committee will spend much of their meeting this evening (December 17) planning around youth crime and violence according to their agenda.   The meeting is from 7:00 - 9:00 pm; other meeting details are in the agenda.

Parks and rec facilities update with mayor

Join Mayor Fenty today when he makes on parks and rec modernization.   Event is December 17 at 10:30 am at Bald Eagle Recreation Center (100 Joliet St SW).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Questions about the Healthy Schools bill

The Slow Cook has taken a look at the recently introduced B18-564, "Healthy Schools Act of 2009."   Ed Bruske asks perhaps the most important question:   How much will this cost?   Oh, and what is the plan for paying for all of the elements?   I will leave it to the farm-to-school, locally-grown food, and nutritious food advocates to deal with funding related to their provisions.

I'm concerned about the other provisions, including the one that requires the establishment of minimum levels of physical education and activity for students.   The standards are detailed in the legislation; no cost there.   What I am fairly sure about, though, is that implementing the PE standards will cost somebody something.   The same is true for other provisions:

  • Each school is required to have a recycling program.
  • Schools are encouraged to have garden programs.   Will funding be provided or will schools, parent-teacher associations, the local business community have to step in to help?   And, perhaps or, will schools seek grants?   Are all schools able to take the time to write grant proposals or are other needs more pressing?

Another important set of issues revolves around how this bill comports with current law.   The proposed legislation calls for the placement of a school wellness center at every comprehensive DCPS high school by 2015.   Based on what we know about the value and use of school-based health services (see this post on the Woodson Adolescent Wellness Center), the idea is a good one.   But the city already has plans for school-based clinics.   So is "Healthy Schools Act of 2009" redundant?

Then there are the provisions that give preference in hiring school nurses certified as asthma educators and require that schools develop allergy plans and appoint an allergy coordinator.   Currently, schools in DC are operating in accordance with the "Student Access to Treatment Act of 2007."   The purpose of this legislation was to permit student with valid medical action plans to possess and administer meds to treat asthma and anaphylaxis.

Self-administration has been shown to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits, promote student participation in school activities, reduce absenteeism, and save lives.   Is the new bill redundant?   No, it is parallel and at first blush complementary.   As the new legislation goes through the process of hearings and markup, I expect these and other questions to be asked and answered so the public and elected officials fully understand what this new legislation does and how it intersects with current law.

Finally, on a practical note, B18-564 was sequentially referred first to the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment and then to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.   The Committees have tentatively agreed to a date in February for a joint hearing although the notice has not been filed.

NewsPlus with Mark Segraves - now as VOD!

If you missed Mark Segraves' new show, NewsPlus with Mark Segraves, have no fear.   The show is posted online.   The first show featured Council Chair Vincent Gray as well as leaders from Maryland and Virginia.

Recap of December 14 Shaw crime meeting

If you missed CM Mendelson's December 14 Shaw crime meeting, Borderstan has a report and links to The Other 35 Percent for a more thorough review of the meeting.

Soup to nuts school health and wellness bill introduced

CM Mary Cheh (Ward 3) and Council Chair Vincent Gray (At-large) have co-introduced B18-564, "Healthy Schools Act of 2009."   The legislation seeks to improve the whole of the school experience from a health and wellness perspective, from food to good quality air, at both DCPS and public charter schools.

Key elements of the bill include:

  • Nutritious school meals:   Central to this is the provision that requires public schools to participate in federal meal programs to the greatest extent possible.   This legislation relies on federal law and regulations for nutrition standards; schools will implement the nutritional standards over time.
  • Farm-to-school program:   This legislation seeks to increase locally-grown, locally-processed, and minimally-processed food served in schools.   This food is to be from growers engaged in sustainable practices.   Further, schools are required to teach about the economic, environmental, and nutritional benefits of fresh, local foods.
  • Physical education:   The bill requires the establishment of minimum levels of physical education and activity for students with exceptions for students with disabilities and chronic health problems.
  • Recycling:   Recycling programs at every school would be required.
  • Green building:   The District is encouraged to meet LEED certification at the Gold level or higher for new construction or significant school construction.
  • School gardens:   Schools are encouraged to establish garden programs.
  • School health programs:   This legislation would require a plan to place a school wellness center at every comprehensive DCPS high school by 2015, to give preference in hiring school nurses certified as asthma educators, and to require that schools develop allergy plans and appoint an allergy coordinator.

The DC Farm to School Network has done a terrific job listing all the farm-to-school provisions of the bill.   They have also offered some concrete ways to support the bill.   The Network is sponsoring an event on January 12, 2010 from Noon - 2:00 pm for folks to learn more about the bill, what it means for getting healthy and local food into DC's public schools, and how they will work to make sure it becomes a law.   Bring your lunch to the meeting at Friends of the Earth (1717 Massachusetts Ave NW, 6th floor).   Or, call in to 1-888-346-3659 and when prompted enter 7405#.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CFSA health screens docs

So hasty was I in getting the information correct and up about the changes made at CFSA regarding initial and placement change assessments, I neglected to share the documents!   Sorry, all.   Here is the fact sheet and here is the letter to foster parents.

DDS staff contact list

Thanks to T.J. Sutcliffe at The ARC of DC, I can share the Department on Disability Services' staff contact list.   Thanks, T.J.!

Monday, December 14, 2009

CFSA brings health screens in-house

The Child and Family Services Agency has made a practice and policy change with their initial health assessments.   Effective December 14, CFSA is opening the Healthy Horizons Assessment Center.   According to the letter to foster parents and the Healthy Horizons fact sheet, HHAC (located at 400 6th St SW) will provide two key services:
  • Pre-placement health screenings before children/youth enter out-of-home placement or change to a different out-of-home placement.   Social workers will be able to have children/youth screened at Healthy Horizons 24 hours a day 365 days a year as needed without an appointment.
  • Comprehensive health screenings for children/youth within 14 days of entering care.   These screenings will replace the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) examinations formerly required for children/youth within 30 days of entering care. Social workers and caregivers will be able to get appointments for children/youth to have the comprehensive screening at Healthy Horizons during convenient expanded hours, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm seven days a week.

In the past, CFSA had a contract with Children’s National Medical Center to provide the assessments.   CFSA believes it can provide better, more timely and more efficient services than can CNMC given the hospital’s use of THEARC and ER facilities for assessments.   Thus the change to bring the assessments in-house.   Routine care will still be provided on a Medicaid fee-for-service basis with children and youth receiving services from providers accepting Medicaid.

December 10 Chancellor's Notes

There is a lot going on these days at DCPS.   The latest Chancellor's Notes highlights some of the news including the dramatic math score improvement.

Harry Jaffe is tweeting!   Who do you follow?

If you do not yet follow Harry Jaffe (@harryjaffe;, start right now!

And to the next important Twitter issue of the day, please tell me who you think other policy and budget wonks should follow.   Send an email to secambria [AT] gmail [DOT] com.

DCPL celebrates 100% borrowing increase on December 15

Thanks to @benmerrion1 ( and @dcpl ( for sharing the awesome news that DC Public Library has had a 100% increase in borrowing since 2006.

To celebrate, according to DCPL, the first 100 library users at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (901 G St NW) on Tuesday, December 15 will receive thank you gift bags.   Items will include vouchers for an upcoming Georgetown University men’s basketball game, movie passes, and books.   The Library will open at noon.

Additional staff changes in DC gov

More changes, some older than others:
  • Carter Hewgley, former OCA health and mental health analyst, is now working for DCPS in the area of special education.   His email remains the same, carter [DOT] hewgley [AT] dc [DOT] gov.
  • Merav Bushlin (merav [DOT] bushlin [AT] dc [DOT] gov) replaces Will Singer as Budget Director in OCA.
  • Jesús Aguirre is in as interim director of the Department of Parks and Recreation.   Email him at jesus [DOT] aguirre [AT] dc [DOT] gov.
  • Ximena Hartsock moved from DPR to OCA as an analyst.   Her email remains the same.   No info on the agencies she is covering.

Homeless providers summit, December 16

Bridging Resources:   A Summit for DC Homeless Providers is brought to DC by Greater DC Cares on Wednesday, December 16, from 10:00 am - 12:30 pm.

The event will bring together emergency and transitional providers to network, hear programming on best practices, ways to coordinate services and referrals, and leave with knowledge of available resources for future reference.   According to Greater DC Cares,

In the DC area, while most emergency providers already operating at or above capacity, many transitional providers have services and space available.

The event takes place at the Fannie Mae Conference Center (4000 Wisconsin Ave NW).   Register for this free event online.   Direct questions to Danny Hosein at dhosein [AT] greaterdccares [DOT] org.

Mayor Fenty at Wilson groundbreaking, 12/15

Thanks to Petar A. Dimtchev (Ward 3 MCORS staffer) for sharing the info that the Fenty administration, along with the Ward 3 community, will attend the groundbreaking for a newly modernized Wilson Senior High School.   The mayor will be joined by OPEFM Director Allen Lew on December 15 at 10:30 am at Wilson Senior High School (3950 Chesapeake St NW).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Upcoming Council events

Upcoming City Council events include:
  • Mount Vernon Square meeting with CM Mendelson:   CM Mendelson, At-large and chair of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, is holding a community meeting to discuss crime in the Mount Vernon Square and Shaw neighborhoods on December 14, from 7:00 - 9:30 pm at the New Community Church (614 S St NW).   According to the CM's announcement, according to Life in Mount Vernon Square,
    The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss what the Council has done/can do to improve public safety in the Shaw and Mt. Vernon Square neighborhoods.   I have asked that the MPD and U.S. Attorney's office send representatives, and intend that the bulk of the meeting with me devoted to answering questions from those who attend.

    The blog suggests this meeting is the time to ask the CM about his positions on various anti-gang/crime initiatives -- such as civil gang injunctions, pre-trial detention, and anti-loitering laws -- as well as about the role that gang mediation-type groups play in reducing the violence, funding for this work and what outcomes they achieve.

  • The Performance of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration:   The Committee on Health (CM Catania, At-large, chair) is holding this public oversight roundtable on December 17 at 10:00 am.   The purpose of this roundtable is to review the performance of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration (HAHSTA) in facilitating and monitoring the delivery of HIV/AIDS services to District residents.   The roundtable is open to the public but only invited witnesses will be permitted to provide oral statements.   Public comments are encouraged in writing; details about submitting comments and the roundtable are in the hearing notice.
  • B18-337, “Procurement Efficiency Act of 2009”:   The Committee on Government Operations and the Environment (CM Cheh, Ward 3, chair) is holding a public hearing on January 11, 2010 at 11:00 am.   The bill would revise the competitive and sole source contracting processes.   Details about testifying are in the hearing notice.
  • Utility Reliability in the District of Columbia public oversight roundtable:   The Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs (CM Bowser, Ward 4, chair) is holding this roundtable on January 23 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber.   The purpose of the roundtable is to hear from residents and others about the quality of regulated utilities in the city; regulated utilities include Verizon, Washington Gas, and PEPCO.   Details about the hearing, including how to register to testify and what information the committee is most interested in hearing from residents about, is in the hearing notice.

MCORS staff listed online

This is so cool and I'm sure ya'll already know about this, but in the event not:   There is a list online of staff in the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mark Segraves on WDCW

Thanks to LLD and Mike Debonis and DCist, we know that Mark Segraves has a new TV show and that it debuted on WDCW-TV this weekend.   "News Plus With Mark Segraves" airs at 5:00 pm on Saturdays and 10:00 am on Sundays.   Have ideas about the show, guests, issues to be covered?   Post them on the Web site.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Celebrating only Ximena

The first party is December 11 for Ximena Hartsock.   "MOVING FORWARD... a Celebration for Ximena!" (also referred to as "when all else fails it's still a good time for a party!") will feature great music, dancing, and a whole lot of fun!   The event is from 6:00 - 9:00 pm at Don Juan (1660 Lamont St NW); only supporters need attend.

The toast and roast for Vinny Schiraldi is not open to the public as previously announced here.

School condom availability policy changed

The District has revised its school condom availability policy.   The new policy, dated October 2009, allows individuals other than nurses to distribute condoms.

For many, this is great news.   For example, DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a local expert on preventing teen pregnancy and STIs, believes the new condom distribution plan is an important step in keeping more young people safe.   Certainly, appropriately trained adults are essential to the success of the revised Condom Access Plan (CAP).   Brenda Rhodes Miller, DC Campaign executive director, said, "DC teens deserve the very best and that includes reliable, trustworthy adults.   Plans are only as good as the adults charged with implementation."

The Department of Health agrees and is training those who work with youth and young people themselves around condom use.   With the MidAtlantic AETC, DOH is launching the WRAP MC Program.   The program is designed to provide information, education and certification; participation in a Web-based training is training is required to participate in the program.   Webinar participants will be post-tested one week after the December 14 training.

And speaking of the training, a webinar is being held on December 14 at 4:30 pm.   Registration is required.   You must register by December 13 at 11:59 pm.

Thanks to Metro TeenAIDS for sharing this information.

Yay! The Young Women's Project is on Twitter!

Follow the Young Women's Project on Twitter! @youngwomensproj.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Did you miss the latest DPR contract hearing?

If you missed the City Council hearing on contracts, or were multi-tasking like I was early on in the hearing, check out tweets from Mike Debonis.

Will Congress finally do right by DC?

Knock on wood, the Congress may continue doing right by the District of Columbia following the conference committee's decisions this week as reported by .   Vince Gray, chair of the City Council, "welcomes" the Home Rule victories.   According to the Committees on Appropriations' December 8 press release on conference committee decisions:
  • Students win:   $111 million, $1 million more than in FY 2009, is directed to students with $35 million for college tuition support, $62 million for improvements to public and public charter schools, and $13 million to continue the school voucher program for students already enrolled in the program.
  • Individuals and families are sheltered:   An additional $17 million is directed to housing for the homeless.
  • Connecting marginalized youth:   $4 million to help youth who are disconnected from positive school or work influences.
  • "Removing Special Restrictions on the District of Columbia:   Eliminates a prohibition on the use of local tax funds for abortion, thereby putting the District in the same position as the 50 states.   Also allows the District to implement a referendum on use of marijuana for medical purposes as has been done in other states, allows use of Federal funds for needle exchange programs except in locations considered inappropriate by District authorities, and discontinues a ban on the use of funds in the bill for domestic partnership registration and benefits."

CM Tommy Wells (Ward 6) applauded and CM Michael Brown (At-large) thanked the committee for funding housing for homeless residents, stating the Housing First Program has a 96.4% retention rate.   Del. Norton also weighed in on the conference action, focusing on needle exchange and abortion provisions -- or lack thereof.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Calendar events added

Many events added to advocacy calender at the very end of the blog.   Learning and advocacy opps.   Let me know if your organization is doing something that should be on the calendar:   secambria [AT] gmail [DOT] com.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good news from Busboys & Teaching for Change Bookstore

This just out from Busboys & Poets:
We are thrilled to announce the launch of our online bookstore, Teaching for Change Bookstore at Busboys and Poets.
Teaching for Change Bookstore at Busboys and Poets online store brings the Busboys and Poets environment to the comfort of your home, office, or school.   You are one click away from browsing our lists of progressive books and having them shipped to you.   In addition to accessing our lists of progressive books, you can search and purchase almost any title in print.
Our online bookstore features upcoming author event books, bestseller lists and people's history titles.

Still need to find that something special for that someone special?

If you are still looking for that perfect gift, then this event is for you:   David Yurman and Bloomingdale's Celebrating Cable for a Cause.

Join Safe Shores-D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center, David Yurman jewelers, and Bloomies staff on December 11 from Noon to 2:00 pm for a lunch reception.   When you buy a fabulous gift for yourself or someone special, David Yurman will donate 10% of the proceeds to Safe Shores.

So plan on spending your lunch hour (or any time on Friday) at Bloomingdale's White Flint Fine Jewelry on 2 this Friday, December 11 to help a really good cause.   RSVP by December 10 to SooAnn Roberts Pisano, (202) 638-2575 ext. 115.

Social Justice Camp DC, January 15, 2010

Social Justice Camp DC is a free, participant-driven conference gathering for the creative pursuit of social justice through art, technology and collaboration.   Social Justice Camp DC is being held January 15-16, 2010 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend).    Friday's Ignite Sessions are from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Mt. Vernon Place UMC Fellowship Hall while Saturday's Camp is from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm at GWU's School of Media and Public Affairs Building.   Want to attend?   Registration is now open.

This event is inspired by unconferences such as Public Media Camp and Congress Camp; like its cousins Social Justice Camp DC will give participants the opportunity to help plan and run the event.

If you or your organization would like to get involved, send an email to SocJustCampDC [AT] gmail [DOT] com.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Green and just celebrating

Need some inspiration for green and just gift giving and celebrating this season?   Check out the free Jews United For Justice Green and Just Celebrations:   A Purchasing Guide for Washington’s Jewish Families.   Sure the guide frames the larger issues around Jewish bar mitzvahs and bris' and such.   But there is plenty for Jews and Gentiles alike in this guide.   The guide helps you and yours make in ways that are mindful of workers’ rights and environmental impact.   And the guide makes a great teaching tool for children.   To download or order your free copy, go to the JUFJ Web site.

No holds barred conversation about youth violence, December 9

The Leon Sullivan Foundation is sponsoring this "no-holds barred conversation about youth violence" on December 9 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.   The event is being held at 441 4th St NW in the old Council Chamber on the first floor.

Panelists are:

  • Dr. Marc Hill, Associate Professor, Columbia University
  • Jeff Johnson, Social Activist and Political Commentator
  • CM Yvette Alexander, Ward 7
  • Valencia Mohammed, founder Mothers of Unsolved Murders

More information from Wanda Lockridge, (202) 736-2239, or by checking out the event flier.

Final rules on special education and charters

OSSE published final rules in the December 4 edition of the DC Register regarding special education and charter schools.   Specifically, the rule clarifies charter schools’ special education responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The final rule is substantially the same as that proposed in October 2009.   It is effective December 4, 2009.

Comment period extended for student code of conduct rules

OSSE has extended the public comment period for the student code of conduct proposal, according to a notice in the December 4, 2009 DCR.   The proposed rules were published in the November 13, 2009 DCR.   The deadline for public comment is now January 12, 2010.

These proposed rules are consistent with best practices and a July 2009 letter from Arne Duncan, US ed secretary.   The proposed rules emphasize appropriate use of various techniques, notably seclusion and restraint.

Details about submitting comments are in the notice.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Updated info on City Council staffers

Here is some information about who's who of City Council staffers.   I collected this information in late October and then promptly forgot I had asked for it (sorry all on the City Council. . . no offense intended!).

Skill up staff with these free webinars

Is this a good time for staff to skill up?   Then check out this list of free webinars from Wild Apricot.

Unique and green holiday gifts ARE available!

The recycling and reclaiming building materials warehouse Community Forklift is the green dream of longtime DC advocate Jim Schulman.

New this year at CF is the Green Gift Fair, Art from Salvage, Saturday guest artisans through December, and baked goods for sale each weekend through the end of the year to make your shopping experience just a little sweeter!

Yup, you are right.   This has nothing to do with kids.   But I love Community Forklift and think this nonprofit is doing terrific work.   So check 'em out for any projects you are working on or for holiday gifts.   Conveniently located in Brentwood, MD, just over the DC line.

Friday, December 4, 2009

National town hall for students with ed secretary Duncan, December 15

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is hosting a town hall meeting with students on December 15 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm.

Live from local PBS television station WETA, Secretary Duncan will take comments and questions from students in the studio audience and others throughout the nation via telephone and e-mail   The conversation will focus on improving the quality of student’s educational experiences; their aspirations for college and future careers; contributions to civic life through volunteer service; and, critical influences on young people’s decision-making and academic choices.

Students and other community members can contribute to the conversation prior to the show online through an interactive blog.   The ed department is actively seeking student comments and will feature as many as is possible on December 15.   Viewers may also call in to the show; the telephone number is on the blog.

This event is another stop on Secretary Duncan’s national tour, “Listening and Learning:   A Conversation About Education Reform,” which is being used to gather input on the administration's education agenda, including: early childhood learning, parental responsibility, stronger academic standards, teacher quality, health and safety, workforce development, and higher education.   The secretary is talking with a broad group of education stakeholders—including students—in an open and honest conversation about federal education policy.

Thanks to Tuesday Bulletin for this information.

Good and helpful public policy reads

Have some free time and want some good and useful public policy reads?   Check these out.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mid-December forum on DC's Race to the Top application

Today the DC State Board of Education and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education announced a December 15 community forum on the District's Race to the Top application process.

Attendees will learn about DC's application, who is involved, and the timeline, all presented by Dr. Kerri Briggs, State Superintendent of Education, and Lisa Raymond, President, State Board of Education.   The forum is being held on December 15 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm at Friendship Public Charter School, Chamberlain Elementary campus (1345 Potomac Ave SE, less than one block from the Potomac Avenue Metro station).   (More information is in the invitation/notice.)

The Race to the Top (RTTT) Fund provides competitive grants to encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform.   The application requires states to document their past success and outline their plans to extend their reforms by using college- and career-ready standards and assessments, building a workforce of highly effective educators, creating educational data systems to support student achievement, and turning around their lowest-performing schools.   President Obama and ed secretary Arne Duncan announced this initiative in January; more information is available on the US Department of Education Web site.

DC Campaign selected by Catalogue for Philanthropy again!

DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy recently announced their inclusion in the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington's 2009-10 Catalogue.   Nearly 100 experts reviewed 240 applications; 68 nonprofits were selected.   The Catalogue makes it easy for donors to find creative ways to give and support the charities they like.   Visit DC Campaign's page to learn how your gift makes a difference.

Staffing changes galore

By now I'm sure you have heard that DYRS's Vinny Schiraldi is moving to NYC and that DPR has a new interim director, Jesús Aguirre, imported from DC Public Schools.   Ximena Hartsock has landed as an analyst in the Office of the City Administrator.   After oodles of speculation -- and, quite frankly, gossip -- seems that Hartsock may be ultimately headed to CYITC as director, replacing Millicent Williams who is now running the city's homeland security agency.   Not all in the world of OST are happy with this potential decision.

The City Council is not without changes; Ward 1 CM Graham was to announce Wednesday that Calvin Woodland, Jr. is promoted to Chief of Staff.   Graham will also announce that former Ward 1 neighborhood services and DOES staffer Jackie Reyes will become his director of Latino Affairs and Community Outreach.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

4D/Ward 4 crime meeting, December 3

Ward 4 CM Muriel Bowser is holding a follow-up meeting (December 3 at 7:00 pm at Powell Elementary School, 1350 Upshur St NW) with the community to discuss violent crimes in Petworth.   Chief Lanier and 4D command staff are going to be on hand to update residents.   The last meeting on the subject was October 28.

Helping budding journalists

The Coolidge Senior High School is unable to print the next issue of their student newspaper -- unless the community pitches in.   Students report they need at least $450 to print the next issue before Christmas.   Unfortunately, students don't have the money for the remaining three issues of the school year.   Any and all fundraising ideas are being collected by Ingrid Drake (ingridnatasha [AT] yahoo [DOT] com).   As a master brownie and seven layer bar maker, I offer to bake for a bake sale.

ANC 7C's new Web site

Khaliq Elhillali, ANC 7C Chair, recently announced that ANC 7C has a new Web site.   You will find past meeting minutes and the date and time of the next ANC 7C meeting, and submit community concerns and suggestions for improvements.

ANC 7C reports that this new site is just a start and encourages residents to offer ideas about ways to improve it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Calendar events added

Be sure to look at the calendar at the very bottom of the blog for new events, trainings, advocacy opportunities, etc.

DHCD public hearing, December 9

Public hearing on DC’s FY 2009 Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report:   The hearing (noticed in the November 27 DC Register) is being held on December 9 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.   The purpose of the hearing is to discuss how effective the District has been in using the $38 million awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to meet the housing and community development needs of the city and its residents.

Funding was given through four programs:   the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program; the HOME Investment Partnerships Program; the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) program; and the Housing for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.

The public comments will be part of DHCD’s and the District’s evaluation, as required by federal regulations (24 CFR 91.520).   This hearing is reserved for a discussion of the District’s FY 2009 performance.

More information about the hearing, such as how to register to testify, is in the hearing notice.

Proactive apartment inspections roundtable, 12/16

Public roundtable, “Implementation of the Proactive Inspections Program by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs”:   This December 16, 10:00 am roundtable is being held by the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs (CM Bowser, Ward 4, chair).   The purpose is to hear from the public about DCRA’s implementation of the proactive inspections program.

What is the proactive inspections program?   It is an inspection program for all 4,000 multi-unit rental properties in the District of Columbia.   All units will be inspected regardless of whether complaints have been lodged by tenants.

DCRA has additional information on their Web site.   This information includes consent forms for tenants in the event they are not present at the inspection.   The forms are available in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Amharic.   Also online is the inspection schedule for the current month and a searchable database of past inspections.

Details about how to testify are in the hearing notice.

Comment on Healthy People 2020

Every ten years, the federal government (HHS) considers the research, scientific insights, and lessons learned over the past decade and creates science-based, 10-year national objectives for promoting health and preventing disease.   The set of objectives is known as Healthy People; the forthcoming plan from the feds, then, is Healthy People 2020.

Healthy People 2020 "will reflect assessments of major risks to health and wellness, changing public health priorities, and emerging issues related to our nation's health preparedness and prevention."   (Healthy People 2020,   The kinds of areas covered in HP2020 are access to health services, adolescent health, early and middle childhood, educational and community-based programs, and injury and violence prevention.

The proposed national Healthy People 2020 objectives are online and the public is encouraged to comment.   Comments may be submitted or by emailing HP2020 [AT] hhs [DOT] gov.   Comments are due by December 31.

There are more than 40 objectives related to school and adolescent health.   The American School Health Association has pulled these objectives together in this document   Given the demonstrated value of school-based health and the District's interest in expanding offerings in schools (see this post on funding for such programs), those interested in teens should pay particular attention to these objectives.

The District presumably will update its Healthy People 2020 plan.   That said, there is no information on a process on the DOH Web site.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Council presser November 30, 10:00 am

The Council Chair will hold a pre-Legislative Meeting presser on November 30 at 10:00 am in Room 412 of the JAWB.   On the agenda are a preview of the December 1 leg session and various announcements from members of the City Council.   Questions?   Email dmccoy [AT] dccouncil [DOT] us.

Mayor Fenty on homelessness, housing and HIV/AIDS on 11/30

Mayor Fenty talks homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing at 10:30 on November 30.   He will deliver his remarks at the Department of Housing and Community Development, 1800 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE.   In the afternoon, Mayor Fenty will attend the Obama Administration's discussion on HIV/AIDS; that is at 2:30 pm.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On January 1, 2010 education in DC will change

Check out the continuing education section of the Community College of the District of Columbia Web site for the latest on the offerings beginning in January 2010.   Continuing ed is launching more than 500 online classes on January 1, 2010.   And, what is most personally and professionally gratifying is (drum roll please) is the inaugural live class "Elements of Effective Advocacy:   How to Engage District Government."   Bonnie Cain and I will be teaching.

Sign up for the CCDC email list to stay apprised of the many changes that will be made over the coming months.

Fenty's re-election site

If you've not signed up for email updates from the Fenty re-election campaign, or at least visited the Web site, you probably should.   Good opportunity to stay on top of the campaign if you are an advocate or a supporter.

Mayor to remark on DCRA inspections today

Mayor Fenty will give remarks at 3:30 pm today at a press conference where DCRA will announce proactive inspections.   The event will take place at 1626 21st Pl SE.

Funding for school-based health centers

Last week in this post I shared the value of school-based wellness centers for adolescents.   So as not to give the impression that the District does not recognize their value, I wanted to be sure to bring to your attention the recently released Notice of Funding Availability for school-based health centers.   The NOFA seeks proposals for three schools:   Ballou Senior High School, Coolidge Senior High School, and Anacostia Senior High School.

Olga Acosta Price running specialty GW health care center

Apologies for the delayed notice but congrats to Olga Acosta Price, PhD who, in early October, was appointed Director of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. The Center is sponsored by the GW School of Public Health and its Department of Prevention and Community Health.   You may remember that Dr. Price spent time at the Department of Mental Health where she launched the School Mental Health Program and nurtured its growth over six years.   More here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Council hearings noticed in 11/20 DCR

There are a number of hearing notices published in the November 20, 2009 DC Register related to children and youth:
  • B18-449, "Foster Care Youth Identity Protection Amendment Act of 2009", public hearing:   The Committee on Human Services (CM Wells, Ward 6, chair) is holding a public hearing on December 9 at 1:00 pm.   The purpose of the legislation is to discover if foster kids, prior to their emancipation, have had their identities stolen.   Details about testifying are in the hearing notice.
  • Aquatic programs in the Department of Parks and Recreation:   The Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation (CM Thomas, Ward 5, chair) is holding a public oversight hearing on December 7 at 10:00 am.   The purpose of the hearing is to consider concerns and challenges in DPR.   Details about the hearing, including how to testify, are in the hearing notice.
  • Youth Issues:   The Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Vince Gray, At-large, chair) is holding the next youth-only hearing on December 12 at 10:00 am.   Details are in the hearing notice.
  • "The Performance of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration" public oversight roundtables:   The Committee on Health (CM Catania, At-large, chair) has scheduled two hearings concerning the administration’s performance in facilitating and monitoring the delivery of HIV/AIDS services to DC residents.   The first hearing will be held on December 4, the second on December 11.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New events added to calendar - check 'em out!

New learning and advocacy events have been added to the calendar at the end of the blog.   So check them out.

Should DC enroll more childless adults in Medicaid?

That's the question on the table at the November 25 Medicaid Advisory Committee meeting at 1:30 pm.   The Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) seeks input at its regularly scheduled meeting to discuss modifying the current 1115 waiver to enroll additional childless adults in Medicaid.   Details about the meeting and more on the 1115 waiver in the notice.

Final rules in November 20 DCR

Some of the final rules published in the November 20, 2009 DC Register:
  • Authorizing some dental hygienists to administer local anesthetic:   This final rule from the Department of Health will allow dental hygienists who have been administering local anesthetic and nitrous oxide to continue to do so by applying for authorization.   These rules adopt a grandfather provision which allows those hygienists who have been administering local anesthesia or nitrous oxide during the past 2 years to continue doing so.   The rules are final upon publication.
  • Final rules regarding public parking at the MLK library:   The final rules note that no public comments were received.
  • Final rulemaking to add a new title to the DCMR on compulsory ed and school attendance:   The Office of the State Superintendent of Education-issued final rules reflect moderate revisions to clarify the proposed language while maintaining consistency with the intent of the proposed rules.   According to the rules,
    The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) recognizes the necessity for a transition period to enable a deliberative implementation of this rule and expects schools to address these requirements as expeditiously as possible to assure full compliance no later than the beginning of the school year 2010.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Will Congress give greater autonomy to DC?

The District's top elected and appointed leaders were joined by two well-regarded thought leaders on November 18 before the House of Representatives' Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia Subcommittee.   The hearing, entitled "Greater Autonomy for the Nation's Capital", was planned to hear the view of District leaders the impact of H.R. 960, the "District of Columbia Legislative Autonomy Act of 2009" and H.R. 1045, the "District of Columbia Budget Autonomy Act of 2009."

Witnesses scheduled to testify included:

  • The Honorable Adrian M. Fenty, Mayor of the District of Columbia
  • The Honorable Vincent C. Gray, Chair of the Council of the District of Columbia
  • Natwar M. Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer
  • Walter Smith, director of District of Columbia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
  • Alice M. Rivlin, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution

Prepared testimony of the witnesses as well as an on-demand video of the hearing is on the subcommittees's Web site.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Media advisory from Chairman Gray re: community college roundtable

The Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Vincent C. Gray, chair) will hold a public oversight roundtable on the "Implementation of an Independent Community College" on November 20 at 11:30 am.   Various experts in higher education and the labor market will comment on the issue at hand and make recommendations for ensuring a high quality curriculum that is appropriate to meet the needs of District residents.

According to the media advisory,

"A high quality community college is key to effectively training and preparing District of Columbia residents for jobs in their own city that too often go to people who live outside of the District," Chairman Gray said....   My colleagues and I have been incredibly supportive of the Community College of the District of Columbia, the University of the District of Columbia, and these institutions’ progress; this hearing will give us new insight into how we collectively can provide the best college education possible for our residents."

Graham announces he will seek re-election

Another candidate announces and surprise, surprise, it is current Ward 1 CM Jim Graham.   DCist covered the announcement with a smart, witty analysis.   Check out the Graham campaign Web site and learn more about the CM's accomplishments and to donate time and money.

Every school should have a wellness center

Thanks to SHAPPE's Cathy Reilly for sharing this YouTube video on the Woodson Adolescent Wellness Center.   The five minute vid provides a good overview of what services are offered and, from the students themselves, why these school-based services are so important.

While many schools in DC have access to nurses in schools, not all have a full complement of staff, facilities, and services young people, particularly adolescents, need.   Cathy and others (led by Jennifer Guste Leonard, DC Assembly on School Health Care, (202) 237-6855, are encouraging school and health advocates to advocate for Woodson-like wellness centers.   And now is the perfect time; agencies are putting their budget proposals together and the mayor will start on his priorities in February/March.

FREE youth conference, December 12

The December 12 DMVoices Youth Conference is the place to be for young people who have something to say and want to make a difference.

The Latin American Youth Center's free half-day conference is featuring:

  • Workshops on topics like youth violence, education, and segregation/gentrification (These are examples only; the agenda is being finalized.)
  • Inspirational speaker(s)
  • Free food
  • Opportunity fair featuring groups and organizations that offer youth community-based developmental, educational, leadership and/or organizing opportunities

The event is being held from 1:30 – 6:30 pm in Columbia Heights.   More information in this flier and on the LAYC Web site.

But wait - there's more!   To pull off this ambitious event for young people, volunteers (young and old alike) are needed.   There's a job for everyone.   They range from outreach, registration, note takers, and serving dinner.   Volunteers get community service hours if they need it, free dinner, and LAYC's everlasting thanks!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Emergency and final rules re: excessive surpluses of health care companies

The Commissioner of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking published final rules in the November 13 DC Register to create and adopt detailed procedures for the review of the surplus of hospital and medical services corporations and to determine whether the surplus is excessive or unreasonably large.   This notice of final rulemaking follows the publication of emergency and proposed rules published in the DC Register on July 10, 2009.

Also published in the November 13 DCR are emergency rules on the same subject.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

COW today at 10 am

Remember to watch the COW today at 10:00 am.   You can go to the JAWB, watch on tv, or check out via computer (   Take a look at the agenda which includes numerous hearing and roundtable announcements.

Make the holidays brighter for children who have been abused

Safe Shores-The D.C. Children's Advocacy Center is a nonprofit serving child victims of abuse and witnesses to violence.   Again this year they are collecting gifts for their clients as part of the Annual Holiday Assistance Drive.   If you are interested in making wishes come true, check out the flier; it has details about participating in this important holiday event.

Listen and learn from youth in foster care

Want to hear directly from young people about being in foster care?   About having parents who can't take care of you?

Then go to WNYC's "Growing Up in the System."   "In the System" is the product of the Radio Rookies®, a New York Public Radio® initiative that provides teenagers with the tools and training to create radio stories about themselves, their communities and their world.

So take a listen.   You may just learn something about why preventing child abuse and neglect is such a good thing.   Preventing maltreatment is about more than helping parents not hurt their kids.   It's about ensuring young people can achieve their promise.

Committee on Housing and Workforce Development 11/23 hearing

The Committee on Housing and Workforce Development (CM Barry, Ward 8, chair) is holding a hearing on three bills on November 23 at 11:00 am in the Council Chamber.   The three bills are:

Details about testifying are in the hearing notice.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bag giveway time change

The mayor and DDOE will give free tote bags away today at 11:45 am; this a change from an earlier blog post.

Pre-k dream not yet realized

Much to the chagrin of Council Chair Vince Gray and other members of the City Council, pre-k services have not expanded or improved as was the plan under L17-0202 (B17-537), "Pre-K for All DC Amendment Act of 2007."

By all accounts, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) took a great deal of heat for their failure to make the progress the council planned and children deserve.   Council Chair Gray kicked off the November 13 public hearing with this opening statement.   A few of the key highlights from Mr. Gray are:

  • "The Committee is deeply concerned with what appears to be a lack of collaborative and sufficient leadership in early childhood education within the Office of the State Superintendent of Education…"
  • "Prior reports from the field…indicate that many critical stakeholders have yet to even be contacted.   Most importantly, it is our understanding that since this legislation was passed, not a single new pre-k slot has opened in the community-based sector and not a single quality improvement for teacher preparation grant has been issued…"
  • "The Committee was gratified to see that the charter school community has emerged as a leader in early childhood education…"

State Superintendent of Education Kerri Briggs had this to say.   Briggs presented a background of pre-k and early childhood in the District, from that operated by the Department of Human Services to that operated by OSSE; accomplishments; challenges; and next steps.

Proposed rules re: student discipline

The State Superintendent of Education published proposed rules in the November 13 DCR regarding a new chapter in the DCMR, "Student Code of Conduct."   The latest proposal takes into consideration public comments received on the previous proposal published on February 6, 2009.

According to the notice,

The proposed rules provide state level standards for the development of student conduct at a Local Education Agency (LEA) in the District of Columbia.   The proposed rules recognize there must be a balance between individual rights and responsibilities with the rights and responsibilities of the school community.   The proposed rules give an LEA flexibility to develop a student code of conduct consistent with the state standards enunciated in Chapter A-25 of Title 5 of the DCMR.   LEAs are required to establish policies and procedures with a broad range of strategies and interventions to maximize learning time, and to minimize classroom disruption.   Consistent with best practices and a policy letter dated July 31, 2009, from the U.S. Secretary of Education to chief state education officers, these revisions also emphasize the importance of addressing the appropriate and selective use of seclusion and restraint techniques in schools.

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education will take final action on the rules no sooner than 30 days from the date of publication.   Details about commenting are on the last page of the notice.

ANC vacancy bill hearing rescheduled

The hearing for B18-324, "Advisory Neighborhood Commission Vacancy Amendment Act of 2009", has been rescheduled by the Committee on Aging and Community Affairs (CM Alexander, Ward 7, chair).   The new date and time are November 19 at 6:00 pm in Room 412 of the JAWB.   This is rescheduled from an earlier date.   Details in hearing notice.

UPDATED: Free tote bag giveaway November 16

NEW TIME (posted at 9:04 am):   Giveaway is now scheduled for 11:45 am.

Mayor Fenty will join the Department of the Environment on November 16 at 10:30 am to remark on the launch of the Anacostia River Education Campaign.   The event will take place at the corner of Anacostia Ave NE and Blaine St NE.   One feature of the event is the distribution of free tote bags for residents to use at grocery stores and other retail outlets.   The flier for the announcement and bag giveaway is here.

You may recall that the City Council passed and the mayor signed "Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009" which contains the contentious provision to charge a fee for disposable plastic bags.   Other provisions include issuing Anacostia River Commemorative License Plates and creating a fund for the clean up of the Anacostia River.   The bag fee goes into effect on January 1, 2010.

The Department of the Environment has previously announced that they will be distributing free tote bags through the end of 2009.

OCT should take a time out

The Office of Cable Television just can't help itself from using better technology.   Most times, this is good.   But when so many organizations require tech staffers (who often in nonprofits are contractors) to download and install software, an unannounced change in the way that City Council hearings can be viewed is a no-no.   At a minimum, OCT should have put an announcement about the pending change on the Web site's home page and included what the change was and when it would be implemented.

So after my mini-rant, what is the change?   There are actually three.   The first one is that users must use Microsoft Silverlight to watch live streaming content.   OCT correctly notes that the Silverlight plug-in works with Windows, Mac and Linux.   For Firefox users, no fear; you can use Silverlight in your favorite browser!   Second, users can now listen only (no video) to live streams.   And third, you can live stream on your IPhone.

One final note:   There is no mention of the change and Silverlight requirement on the City Council Web site; you can link to vids from there, too.

From the 11/13 DCR: Upcoming City Council hearings

Recently published in DC Register:
  • The Contracting Process Related to Parks and Recreation Projects (a continuation hearing):   Joint public oversight roundtable convened by CMs Kwame Brown (At-large), Mary Cheh (Ward 3), Harry Thomas, Jr. (Ward 5), and Marion Barry (Ward 8) on November 16 at 10:00 am.   Details in the hearing notice.
  • The Performance of the HIV/AIDS, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration:   Committee on Health (CM Catania, At-large, chair) is holding this public oversight roundtable on November 16 at 1:00 pm in the Council Chamber.   Details in the hearing notice.
  • Implementation of an Independent Community College in the District of Columbia:   Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Gray, chair), November 20 at 11:30 am in Room 412 of the JAWB.   The purpose of the hearing is to hear from experts on the costs and benefits of a community college and elicit recommendations about ensuring the delivery of a high quality curriculum that will meet the needs of DC residents.   More information about the hearing, including how to testify, in the hearing notice.
  • Government Contracting Reform in the District of Columbia:   Committee on Government Operations and the Environment (CM Cheh, Ward 3, chair) is holding this public oversight roundtable on December 3 at 11:30 am in Room 412 of the JAWB.   The committee is interested in hearing from the public about problems in contracting and recommendations to fix them.   Details are in the hearing notice.
  • DC Statehood and Self-Determination:   The Perspective of Local Law Students:   Special Committee on Statehood and Self-Determination (CM Michael Brown, chair), January 21, 2010, 2:00 pm at UDC.   The committee is interested in hearing from local law students.   More information in the hearing notice.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 Gift of Love Tree Initiative

The DC Housing Authority’s Office of Resident Services has just launched the 2009 Gift of Love Christmas Campaign to support families living in public and assisted housing.   If you are interested in sponsoring a child, organizing a book drive, or sorting or delivering gifts, then go to this Web site.   If you have questions or need additional information, contact Angela Lee, 535-2902 or alee [AT] dchousing [DOT] org.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Best practices models used by CFSA and Collaboratives

If you missed the release like I did about CFSA's release of best practices in case management, you can see the two documents online.   According to the release, the new practice models "make social worker-led teams the cornerstone of child welfare case management."   The in-home practice model is based on work initiated by the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council.   The out-of-home practice model released applies to CFSA alone.

More on youth promise bill hearing

At-large Council member Michael Brown has some definite opinions about youth violence, prevention, intervention, and the ways that the city can do better by residents, especially young ones.   Learn more by reading his opening remarks from the November 4 hearing on B18-367, "Youth and Young Adult Promise Act of 2009".

To watch the hearing, you can watch it on demand online.   You can follow along by taking a look at the witness list.

Susie's comments:   Not sure what to make of the skimpy witness list.   Did few testify because this is not an important issue?   If this is the case then I expect few to testify at the oversight hearings in February and March next year and at the budget hearings after that.   Any other thoughts out there?

Have you missed NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt?

If you have missed NewsTalk, you've missed some new and on-going stories of contracts, Mayor Fenty, and straight-up politics.   Gotta love the technology that lets you watch the segments after they air!   Some recent shows:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mayor Fenty on 11/11 NewsTalk

Tune in to NewsChannel 8 for NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt on November 11 at 4:00 pm to see Bruce interview Mayor Fenty.   Have a question you would like Bruce to ask or a comment for him to share with the mayor?   Send an email to newstalk [AT] news8 [DOT] net.

Updated flier for holiday gifts for foster children

A big ol' thank you is owed to the many who have already signed up to make the holidays fun and memorable this year for children who have been abused and/or neglected.   But more help is needed.   The updated flier with no deadline is here.

Challenges with Gov 2.0

Tune in to the The Kojo Nnamdi Show today for a discussion of the technical and cultural obstacles to realizing the promise of "Government 2.0."   Good timing for this show in light of the recent discussions and debates in DC government about transparency.   So listen today, November 10, at Noon to WAMU 88.5FM.

FY 2011 DCPS budget hearing

On November 6, the DCPS chancellor published a notice of a public hearing on the FY 2011 budget for DC Public Schools.   The hearing is being held on November 23.

The purpose of the hearing is to solicit comments from the public on programs and public funding levels regarding the FY 2011 budget for DPCS.   Details about the hearing, including time, location, and types of information sought are in the hearing notice.

"Preventing Child Abuse and Improving Responses to Families in Crisis"

Preventing child abuse and families in crisis was the topic of a November 5 congressional hearing.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), chair of the House Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities (a subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and Labor), convened "Preventing Child Abuse and Improving Responses to Families in Crisis" to examine best practices to prevent child abuse and neglect and ways to strengthen and improve services for families in crisis.   Materials from the hearing, and an archived webcast, are on the committee's Web site.

Taking a look at the testimony is worth the time.   The testimony from witnesses from local and national organizations, including the CDC and American Humane Association, resonates in the District.