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Posted at 7:22 PM ET, 02/25/2011

Chancellor selection panel holds first meeting

By Bill Turque

The panel that will make recommendations to Mayor Vincent C. Gray on the next chancellor met for the first time Thursday night, in a five-hour session at the Reeves Center.There's only one real name in the mix at this point, and that's the woman who already has the job on an interim basis, Kaya Henderson. And if you thought the panel was going to beat the bushes looking for other options, you would be wrong.

Linda Wharton-Boyd, the mayor's communication's director, took pains to point out: "Please keep in mind that the committee is not called a search committee. It is the 'Chancellor Selection Advisory Panel' with the expressed goal to advise the mayor and give feedback on his candidates.

CityBridge Foundation president Katherine Bradley, who co-chairs the panel with UNCF CEO Michael Lomax, said there are no plans at the moment for another meeting.

"We will report back to the Mayor before deciding on a next step, and we hope to be ready to report back to the Mayor next week," she said Friday evening.

A membership list released by the mayor's office Friday reveals a carefully balanced cross section of school constituencies: teachers, union leaders, parents, students and community representatives.The big names include Washington Teachers' Union president Nathan Saunders, former D.C. school board chair Peggy Cooper Cafritz and Maurice Sykes, former DCPS deputy superintendent now head of UDC's Early Childhood Leadership Institute.

The other members and their ward of residence are:

Lorena Amaya, parent, Oyster-Adams Bilingual (Ward 7)
Rahman Branch, principal, Ballou Senior High (Ward 7)
Marilyn Tyler Brown, educator, (Ward 4)
Dwight Davis, fifth grade teacher, Wheatley Education Campus (Ward 5)
Deborah Flanagan, special education teacher, Barnard Elementary (Ward 4)
Fabian Givens, senior, Dunbar Senior High (Ward 5)
Maria Gomez, founder, Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care (Ward 1)
Kenisha Groomes-Faulk, president and PTA president, Malcolm X Elementary (Ward 8)
Hillary Harper, seventh grade math teacher, Sousa Middle School (Ward 3)
Daniel Holt, parent and PTA president, Brent Elementary (Ward 6)
David King, parent and volunteer coach, Thomas Elementary (Ward 7)
Manon Matchett, special assistant to the president and CEO, Venture Philanthropy Partners (Ward 8)
Valerie Rivers-Bethel, executive board member, Washington Teachers' Union
Elizabeth Whisnant, principal, Mann Elementary (Ward 3)
Mei J. Zheng, junior, Banneker High School (Ward 2)

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By Bill Turque  | February 25, 2011; 7:22 PM ET
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Let's see another advisory team for the mayor. This is so reassuring, as there's evidence that previous advice from teams have been quite beneficial to our newly elected Mayor. As I look at the teams make-up it is quite interesting. I would hope that transcripts are being done and will eventually become public. Right off the bat, you have a cry-baby typed principal as a team member. Is it of any assumption that any principal on this team will have any problem with their yearly contract renewal? Only time and the right selection will tell. Take it from Sulaimon, here today and gone tomorrow are not just mere words.

Posted by: mlr1960 | February 26, 2011 7:32 AM | Report abuse

A big chunk of these people are Rhee acolytes, no?

As a DCPS parent, it's pretty sad to think of 4 more years of Rhee policy, which is what we're getting in Henderson.

Oh well. Given the impending budget cuts, now is a great time to be leaving DCPS anyway.

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | February 26, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

WOW- that nut job suck up from Ballou is a real joke. He is so far up Rhee/Kaya's but I am surprise he can breath.

Linda Wharton-Boyd, the mayor's communication's director, took pains to point out: "Please keep in mind that the committee is not called a search committee. It is the 'Chancellor Selection Advisory Panel' with the expressed goal to advise the mayor and give feedback on his candidates.

So what is this--more bulls--t to fake the public?

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 26, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

So if Gray wants Henderson and Henderson wants to stay then why this charade of an advisory committee?

I actually think Henderson will resign at the end of the school year and I wouldn't be surprised if she goes to work for Rhee again along with Jason Kamras.

Saunders has Gray's ear. Teachers gave the mayor's education advisory group an earful at the WTU meeting in January about what's really been going on in DCPS over the past 3.5 years with IMPACT, etc. I can't imagine Henderson staying on and there being some real reform.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | February 26, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Urban Dweller, I hope you are right. Kamras has caused so much damage. The sooner he leaves, the better for all DCPS students.

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | February 26, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

UD -- still a voice for delay and against change? Would you like to go back to the good ole days at DCPS? (Every teacher rated highly, no terminations, no measurement, WTU execs buying luxury goods.) Read the tea leaves. Listen to parents, citizens, taxpayers, the Council, the Mayor. You don't even live in the District, do you? Once the union-inspired chaos decreases, things will get better.

Posted by: axolotl | February 26, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The good ole days are still with us. The "changes" Rhee made and her followers wish to continue will really do nothing to raise the level of education of DC students. What their changes will do is make more money for the people backing this reform. Kaya Henderson just offered a room filled with Teach for America newbies to "come on down to DC and bring your resume." During a hiring freeze. During a budget crisis. Quit making this a false argument between change and return to the old days. The argument should be about whether or not the changes of reform via Rhee and Co. (she is still part of this)is truly beneficial to DCPS or whether its real purpose is to provide great salaries and monetary benefits for Rhee and her believers. All that has really happened is the money stolen by WTU officials in the past has now gone the other way. The children are once again left behind.

Posted by: adcteacher1 | February 26, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse


Please give us a break. You sound like that old politician from New York City--War on Terror, 911, good old days, Marion Barry days, chilren first, ineffective teachers, unionistas, blah, blah, blah.

A majority spoke during the last election and you side LOST.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 26, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

to dccounselor: Thank you!

to ax: Again, your blathering is tiresome. You read far too much into my posts. Have I ever said being against change? Have I ever said I want to go back to the way things were?

I'm all for change and reform. You think that anyone against Rhee or Henderson is against change, reform and students. You couldn't be more off the mark if you tried.

How about opening your mind and realizing that there is more than one way to change and reform? Problem is, I don't think you are capable of that. You're stuck on one speed.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | February 26, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Ubandweller - that was a different mayor's group that met with the WTU.

This is a new group just set up to advise the mayor about the chancelloer and I agree - it sounds like a sham.

Posted by: efavorite | February 26, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

efav: Thanks for the clarification.

ax: Yes, I do live in the District and have for many years.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | February 26, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, UD. I like to think more of our good teachers, like you, were open to change, but that's not often apparent on these comment boards, or in other contacts.

We can't expect Mr. Gray to be much of a change agent, it seems, which is disappointing. One sign is his slow speed and another is his shocking bow to Barry-style cronyism and waste.

I truly hope that the next Chancellor (I hate this title--sounds like Germany in WWII--and would like just supt.) has what it takes. I agree the advisory panel is not inspiring, but that may be true of Mr. Gray himself.

Posted by: axolotl | February 26, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

ax: Perhaps Gray is not slow but rather intentional. I'm not happy with the events of the past week but they jury is still out on Gray for me. I gave Fenty and Rhee a chance (more than a year) before I changed my mind about them. I will give Gray a fair chance as well but I'm watching him and the rest of the council very closely.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | February 26, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Guy Brandenburg has just posted an email exchange between a Hardy teacher and Jason Kamras and the other highly ineffective administrators downtown. The opaqueness would be hilarious if it wasn't borderline malfeasance. Jason Kamras needs to move back into the classroom.

Posted by: thetensionmakesitwork | February 27, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Here's the post mentioned above

From: “Bax, Sarah (MS)” Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2010 17:12:41 -0400

To: Jason Kamras Subject: Impact


I hope the year is off to a great start for you.

I am writing concerning the IMPACT IVA score calculations. I am very frustrated with this process on a number of fronts. First, I would like to have an actual explanation of how the growth scores are calculated. As they have been explained, the process seems quite flawed in actually measuring teacher effectiveness. Further, I would like to know if teachers have any recourse in having their scores reexamined, etc.

Last year, 89% of the eighth graders at Hardy scored in the Proficient or Advanced range in Mathematics. As the sole eighth grade mathematics teacher last year, I taught almost all of the students except for a handful that were pulled for special education services. Beyond this accomplishment, I am extremely proud to report that 89% of our Black students were at that Proficient or Advanced level.

With statistics like these, I take issue with a report that scores my IVA at 3.4 (to add insult to this injury, even under your system if my students had earned just one-tenth more of a growth point, my IVA would be a 3.5 and I would be considered highly effective).

Frankly, I teach among the best of the best in DCPS– with very few of us rated highly effective. The IMPACT scoring system has had a terrific negative impact on morale at our school.


Sarah Bax


From: Kamras, Jason (MS) Sent: Tue 9/14/2010 7:50 AM To: Bax, Sarah (MS) Subject: Re: Impact

Hi Sarah,

I’m disappointed to hear how frustrated you are. Can you give me a call at 202-321-1248 to discuss?



Jason Kamras

Director, Teacher Human Capital



I really do not have the time to call to discuss my concerns. If you would forward the requested information regarding specific explanation about the growth scores calculation process I would be most obliged.

I would like specifics about the equation. Please forward my inquiry to one of your technical experts so that he or she may email me with additional information about the mathematical model.




From: Barber, Yolanda (OOC) Sent: Mon 12/20/2010 2:12 PM To: Bax, Sarah (MS)

Subject: FW: IMPACT Question

Ms. Bax,

Sorry for the barrage of emails, but I received a response concerning your question. Please read the response below. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you’d like to continue with our session on the 4th. Thanks again.


Yolanda Barber

Master Educator | Secondary Mathematics

District of Columbia Public Schools

Office of the Chancellor

Will continue in next posting

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 28, 2011 6:47 AM | Report abuse

From: Rodberg, Simon (OOC) Sent: Monday, December 20, 2010 2:05 PM

To: Barber, Yolanda (OOC); Lindy, Benjamin (DCPS); Gregory, Anna (OOC) Subject: RE: IMPACT Question

Hi Yolanda,

We will be doing more training, including full information on Ms. Bax’s question, this spring. We’d like to give a coherent, full explanation at that time rather than give piecemeal answers to questions in the meantime.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy your break.


Simon Rodberg

Manager, IMPACT Design, Office of Human Capital



I got notice a couple of weeks ago that I have jury duty on your office hours day at Hardy so I won’t be able to make the appointment. I’m sorry to miss you, but appreciate your efforts to send my concerns to the appropriate office.

The response below is obviously no help at all as it clearly indicates the Office of Human Capital is unwilling to answer my specific question regarding the calculations involved in determining my rating. I believe my only request was to have an accurate description of how the expected growth score is calculated. My question has been left unanswered since last spring. Can you imagine if a student of mine asked how his or her grade was determined and I told them I couldn’t provide a coherent explanation right now, but see me in a year?

Thanks again for your help. I look forward to meeting you in person in the future!




From: Bax, Sarah (MS) Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 11:09 AM To: Rodberg, Simon (OOC)

Cc: Henderson, Kaya (OOC) Subject: FW: Appointment #80 (from DCPS Master Educator Office Hours Signup)

Mr. Rodberg,

I am requesting a response to my inquiry below: ‘explanation of actual algorithm to determine predicted growth score’.


S. Bax


Ms. Bax,

What’s a good phone number to reach you on? I think it would be easiest to explain over the phone.

Thank you, and happy holidays.


Simon Rodberg

Manager, IMPACT Design, Office of Human Capital

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 28, 2011 6:49 AM | Report abuse

More from the Kamras and others two-step

From: Kamras, Jason (DCPS) [] Sent: Sun 12/26/2010 1:42 PM

To: Bax, Sarah (MS) Cc: Henderson, Kaya (OOC) Subject: Value-added calculation

Hi Sarah,

The Chancellor informed me that you’re looking for a more detailed explanation of how your “predicted” score is calculated. In short, we use a regression equation to determine this score. If you’d like to know more about the specifics of the equation, please let me know and I can set up a time for your to meet with our technical experts.

Happy New Year!


Jason Kamras

Chief, Office of Human Capital


On 12/27/10 12:17 PM, “Bax, Sarah (DCPS-MS)” wrote:


I have requested an explanation of the value-added calculation since September, with my initial request beginning with you (see email exchange pasted below). I would like specifics about the equation. Please forward my inquiry to one of your technical experts so that he or she may email me with additional information about the mathematical model.




On 12/27/10 12:23 PM, “Kamras, Jason (DCPS)” wrote:

My deepest apologies, Sarah. I’ll set this up as soon as I get back.

Jason Kamras

Chief, Office of Human Capital

—–Original Message—–

From: Kamras, Jason (DCPS) [] Sent: Tue 1/25/2011 11:02 PM

To: Bax, Sarah (MS) Subject: FW: Value-added calculation

Hi Sarah,

I just wanted to follow up on this. When could we get together to go over the equation?

Hope you’re well,


Jason Kamras

Chief, Office of Human Capital

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 28, 2011 6:53 AM | Report abuse

And finaly the last dance until Spring. Please not how Kamras tries to shift the attention back to the teacher who has the NERVE TO ASK FOR AN EXPLANATION IN WRITING.

On Feb 25, 2011, at 9:29 PM, “Bax, Sarah (MS)” wrote:


How do you justify evaluating people by a measure [for] which you are unable to provide explanation?



Sat, February 26, 2011 11:25:33 AM


To be clear, we can certainly explain how the value-added calculation works. However, you’ve asked for a level of detail that is best explained by our technical partner, Mathematica Policy Research. When I offered you the opportunity to sit down with them, you declined.

As I have also noted previously, the detail you seek will be available in the formal Technical Report, which is being finalized and will be posted to our website in May. I very much look forward to the release, as I think you’ll be pleased by the thoughtfulness and statistical rigor that have guided our work in this area.

Finally, let me add that our model has been vetted and approved by a Technical Advisory Board of leading academics from around the country. We take this work very seriously, which is why we have subjected it to such extensive technical scrutiny.


Jason Kamras
Chief, Office of Human Capital


To be clear, I did not decline the opportunity to speak with your technical partner. On December 27th I wrote to you, “I would like specifics about the equation. Please forward my inquiry to one of your technical experts so that he or she may email me with additional information about the mathematical model.” I never received a response to this request.

In addition, both you and Mr. Rodberg offered to provide information about the equation to me on the phone or in person, but have yet to agree to send any information in writing. You have stated, “I just wanted to follow up on this.
When could we get together to go over the equation?” Mr. Rodberg wrote, “What’s a good phone number to reach you on? I think it would be easiest to explain over the phone.”

Why not transpose the explanation you would offer verbally to an email? Please send in writing the information that you do know about how the predicted growth score is calculated. For instance, I would expect you are familiar with what variables are considered and which data sources are used to determine their value. Let me know what you would tell me if I were to meet with you.

As a former teacher, you must realize the difficulty in arranging actual face-time meetings given my teaching duties. And as a former mathematics teacher, I would imagine you could identify with my desire to have an understanding of the quantitative components of my evaluation.


Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 28, 2011 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Hate to say it so early, but I think Gray is about to start catching the wrath a lot sooner than later.

so what are they to advise on? who's supplying the candidates? or are they supplying a framework for the position or candidate? Michael Lomax is a politician. He's already been in open support of Rhee like actions in education. this is a bad sign.

Gray better remove all vestiges of Rhee in DCPS. Henderson is Rhee. Just a fried chicken eating version of her. (that's basically how she described herself.)

Posted by: simplewords999 | February 28, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Is there a vacancy or not?

Posted by: PowerandPride | February 28, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

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