The Ward 8 POST
See what Ward 8 POST members Tara Brown, Catie Perkins, and Ameen Beale have to say about their experience! Watch our Ward 8 POST video here!
In 2016, the DC Council passed the Military Installation Public Charter School Amendment to allow for one charter school with a military preference in which 50% of the seats are reserved for active military families residing in DC and the additional 50% of the seats are open enrollment for all DC residents. To lift up parent voice in DC's education landscape, PAVE and FOCUS convened a collective of eight Ward 8 and military parents, to form the Ward 8 Parent Operator Selection Team (Ward 8 POST).
Together, the Ward 8 POST is working to increase the availability of great school options East of the Anacostia River, and create a new model for school selection in our city that happens in partnership with parents.
On February 15th, 2017, the Ward 8 POST released
a first-of-its-kind Request for Proposals (RFP) –created, designed, and written by parents. Interested charter school operators are invited to respond directly to the parents of the Ward 8 POST to propose how they will create a welcoming school environment where students are challenged to be their best and are prepared for life in our fast-changing global world. The eight Ward 8 POST members will review all the applications, interview top finalists, and then vote on their recommendation for the school that should apply to PCSB to have a military preference, serving both Ward 8 and military families on seven acres of land adjacent to the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.
Since being released, the Ward 8 POST has received seven inquiries regarding their RFP. The energized response from charter school operators regarding the Ward 8 POST's RFP shows that schools, community partners, and parents can work together to create and grow great schools East of the Anacostia River.

(Above) The Ward 8 POST discusses which questions to include in their RFP before its release on February 15th, 2017.
Working with everyone in this group has given me a whole new perspective –hearing and listening to the input from [everyone] is so important.”
– Sarah Baker, military parent
"There are a lot of parents that are concerned with the education their children are receiving. We may all have different experiences, but we all have the same goals."

– Reggie Workman, Ward 8 parent
"Being integrated into the starting process has given us the feeling of being empowered –instead of just being told at the back end."

– Ameen Beale, Ward 8 parent

On February 16th, PAVE hosted a panel at the first-annual DC Charter School Conference titled, “The Power and Promise of Parent Voice: Creating Connections between Families, School Leaders, and Policymakers.” The panel was facilitated by our very own Executive Director, Maya Martin, and joining us in powerful conversation about how parents can become stakeholders in DC’s education landscape were parents and DC education leaders: Regional Director at Rocketship Education, Jacque Patterson; Executive Director & Founder of Kindred, Laura Wilson Phelan; Senior Directory of Policy and Community Engagement at DC Prep, Raymond A. Weeden; and Director of Special Education Cooperative, Julie Camerata. The panelists shared their perspectives on how to build and foster parent engagement and advocacy in our city’s education policy from their lens as a leader and as a parent.

"Parents are the ones that have a voice. When they decide where their child goes to's their way of voting."
- Raymond A. Weeden

A special thank you to FOCUS for hosting the inaugural DC Charter School Conference, bringing together over 400 public charter school leaders, administrators, board members, and stakeholders to discuss the most important issues facing charter schools in DC. Throughout the event, these 400 participants worked alongside each other to inform, inspire, and connect with each other to realize stronger results in our public charter schools through a series of panel discussions –including the one hosted by PAVE that elevated the power and promise of parent voice.
Suzie Parsons,
Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair

PAVE Board Member Suzie Parsons discusses her how growing up in a military family shaped her perspective on finding quality schools

"At EW Stokes, the teachers, administrators, and parents embrace and celebrate the diverse student body and the different cultures represented in the school."

Although I am not a native Washingtonian, I have called DC home for a major portion of my life. When my husband and I moved to DC, we selected where we would live based on what we could afford and where we worked. When we started our family, the thought of finding the right school for our son was daunting. We knew we would select a school that was out-of-bounds—our neighborhood school had been shut down, and the next two closest schools were not doing well academically. To get an idea of what type of programs were available for our son, I visited over twelve DC public schools and public charter schools. For us, having him learn a second language was very important. So, we applied to schools with a second language component, as well as some with a STEM focus and others that utilize expeditionary learning.

Of the 
schools we applied to, our son was accepted to four –two charter schools and two public schools. The schools were very different –from the curriculum they used, to how they approached teaching a second language, to their school’s mission. What helped us make our decision was the school community. At EW Stokes, the teachers, administrators, and parents embrace and celebrate the diverse student body and the different cultures represented in the school. They create a safe environment where everyone is welcome.

When our second son was of school age he was admitted to the school through sibling preference. From the time our first son started at the school until now, we have watched the school take on new challenges and grow to better prepare its students to become part of the global community we live in today. That is the beauty of a charter school, being able to improve how it serves its students in a more agile way.

I first became involved with PAVE during National School Choice Week (NSCW) 2016. At NSCW, I shared my family’s story with my councilmember and spoke about how charter schools are helping to shape my sons’ educations. I was also able to listen to other charter school parents and hear their experiences.
I would like to see more collaboration between charter school families, the charter schools, and the traditional public school system, DCPS. There are so many best practices that can be shared amongst these groups that no child should be left behind.

Our new website is here for you! For up-to-date information on upcoming events and hearings, visit our new Community Events Calendar at
Reach out to us at for more information about any of the events below!

Ward 8 Parent Operator Selection Team (Ward 8 POST):

The Ward 8 POST (Parent Operator Selection Team) is a collective of parents working together to develop an RFP for a new school operator that will be located adjacent to Joint Base Anacostia Bolling. Ward 8 POST is being supported by PAVE and FOCUS DC, along with other community members, to ensure the success of a first-of-its-kind community RFP and selection process for the operator. PAVE strongly encourages parents to share their opinions in our Ward 8 POST Community Survey

If you have any questions, please contact PAVE’s Director of Community Engagement and Organizing at

DC ReEngagement Center:

The DC ReEngagement Center is a "single-door" resource for youth (ages16-24) who have dropped out of the pre-K-12 system and would are seeking an opportunity to reconnect to attain a quality education. This Center, run in part by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), offers one-on-one support and assistance to ensure that reconnect youth are matched with the best education options available.

If you or someone you know would benefit from these services, please contact the Center at (202) 671-2539 or visit them online at

DC Council Committee on Education Hearings:

In a continued effort to engage the community and stakeholders in the policymaking process, Councilmember Grosso, Chair of the Committee on Education, is holding a series of hearings throughout the year. You can find the schedule for these hearings, or sign up to testify, by following this link.

If you would like support writing your testimony, please email our Director of Community Engagement and Organizing, Raven Willoughby, at

The Office of the Student Advocate:

The Office of the Student Advocate was established by the Council of the District of Columbia to provide outreach to students, parents, families, and communities regarding public education in the District of Columbia. The Office of the Student Advocate operates a Request for Assistance line Monday through Friday from 9am-5:30pm. Contact them at 202-741-4692 for coaching, resources, and info, and visit their website here.

Keep in touch! Sign up to join the PAVE listserv here.

Do you have events and opportunities to share with the PAVE network? Email us at to add events to our March newsletter.
PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that connects, trains, and empowers charter parent leaders to give families in DC a voice and a choice in the vision for education in our city. The goal of PAVE is to create an education system in DC where parents are partners and leaders in developing a diversity of safe, nurturing, and great school options for every child in every ward and community.
Copyright © 2017 Parents Amplifying Voices in Education, All rights reserved.