Cross-Sector Focus Groups–Sign Up Now!

The cross-sector task force for collaboration between charters and DCPS is sponsoring focus groups around the city during eight days in February, from 6-7:30 pm each evening (dates, locations, and signups announced here).

According to a posting at my school by one of the task force members (Caryn Ernst), the focus groups will discuss a variety of issues, including “understanding and navigating public school options,” “coordinating processes on school openings and closings” and information sharing and enrollment stability.

The online announcement of the focus groups urges those interested to sign up in advance, as spaces are limited.

This, of course, begs the question of how open the task force really will be–and how much of the public it will actually see and hear, if spaces to participate in any way are limited.

Moreover, I was unable to find out where the task force will meet this year–despite the task force being compelled to have meetings open to the public.

The only information I found was that the task force will meet on the following dates (generally, the 4th Tuesday of each month, from 6-7:30 pm):

January 26, February 23, March 22, April 26, May 24, June 28, July 26, August 23, September 27

(NB: The slated date of February 23 is also the date of a focus group held at Eastern High School at the same time. It’s not clear if this activity is supposed to be an actual meeting of the task force or simply a focus group–or some combination of both.)

To be fair, the DME has outlined other methods for reaching the public, including community meetings, online survey, and participating in LEA meetings. However, none of these have (yet) been scheduled or outlined in greater detail. The DME’s cross-sector task force FAQ page noted additionally that testifying at a roundtable sponsored by the task force would also be a possibility for public engagement.

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