Quarterly Meeting Summary
Jefferson Junior High School
801 Seventh Street, SW.
"America Goes Back to School"
Welcome and Introductions
Shay Bilchik, Vice Chair and Administrator, Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)
Shay Bilchik convened the meeting, welcoming members of the Coordinating
Council and audience. Mr. Bilchik thanked Vera White, Principal of
Jefferson Junior High School, and Arlene Ackerman, Superintendent
of D.C. Public Schools, for hosting the meeting.
Ms.Ackerman welcomed the group and stated that they are preparing
for the opening of school September 1, adding -- to applause -- that
D.C. public schools will open September 1. The schools have adopted
more challenging academic standards, have implemented principal and
teacher evaluations that tie performance to student achievement,
and have increased the number of professional days. They have also
built partnerships with the community to create a safe environment
for children at the schools and between homes and schools.
This year, the school system is developing Peaceable Schools, a
comprehensive K-12 initiative, that will require all schools to have
peer mediation plans within 2 years. During the year, junior high,
middle, and alternative schools will begin to provide wrap-around
services for young people, especially at-risk students, that include
mediation and conflict resolution. Last year, 35,000 D.C. students
took the pledge against gun violence. On October 8, all 77,000 kids
will take the pledge. The schools will continue to collaborate with
the D.C. Police Department and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in
dealing with violence. She thanked everyone for coming.
Mr. Bilchik described his own fond memories of preparing for school.
By creating a similar environment of excitement for our children
when they go back to school, he said, we can diminish their fears
about substance abuse and peer pressure. He then introduced Attorney
General Janet Reno.
The Honorable Attorney General Janet Reno, Department of Justice
Attorney General Reno commended Superintendent Ackerman for her
sense of vision and the hope she conveyed in her plan for D.C. Public
Schools. Attorney Reno also thanked Vera White for her work at Jefferson
Junior High, especially with the Challenger Learning Center. She
welcomed Judge William Byars from South Carolina, a new practitioner
member of the Coordinating Council, and Chairman William Ivey, National
Endowment for the Arts (NEA), an active supporter of the Council.
She thanked Secretary Richard Riley, Department of Education, for
participating, remarking that she remembers her own teachers fondly,
especially those who gave her confidence to become a lawyer.
Attorney General Reno said that DOJ has formed a partnership with
schools because schools understand their needs and resources better
than DOJ does. Her administration wants to work with other agencies
to help schools meet their needs and give training and technical
assistance when needed. She thanked D.C. public school teachers for
their inspiration, especially when she sees them giving up days during
their summer vacations to take conflict resolution courses. She concluded
by saying that today's meeting would focus on the positive.
"America Goes Back to School"
The Honorable Richard W. Riley, Secretary, Department of Education
Secretary Riley said that he always tells school-aged young people
that they are at the age when they make important, character-defining
decisions about their lives. He applauded Ms. White's leadership
in the Character Education Program at Jefferson Junior High School
and the new source of energy Ms. Ackerman has brought to D.C. public
schools. He said that the Department of Education is pleased to have
invested $5 million in D.C. schools to give more than 20,000 young
people summer school courses to help them master the basics.
Secretary Riley and Attorney General Reno recently held a "listening
session" at T. C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA. One of
the powerful messages they heard was that "connection" and being "connected" through
extracurricular activities and relationships with caring adults help
children stay out of trouble. Too many young people grow up alone.
Adults must slow down and reconnect with children. Thirty years of
research show that families involved in their children's education
define positive expectations for their children.
The Partnership for Family Involvement in Education program, which
began with 40 organizations and now has more than 4,000 members,
is at the heart of "America Goes Back to School" efforts. When communities
form partnerships with schools, good things happen. Because of this,
they have chosen the theme "Get Involved, Stay Involved." The Department
of Education has also published the new guide "Questions Parents
Ask About Schools."
Their back-to-school effort has three major themes:
- Making sure that all children read well by end of the third
grade, which includes getting parents to read to their children
30 minutes daily.
- Making sure that young people take tough courses to prepare
- Getting the word out that college is within reach. If students
are prepared and have taken the right courses, they can get support
to go to college -- if not four years at a university, then at
least one year of technical school or two years of community college.
Parents have the false impression that college is out of reach,
but again, Secretary Riley said, it is important that they get information
early about financial aid and require their children to take the
right courses. A recent study showed that 71 percent of low income
students who took geometry went to college.
There is more financial help now than ever before, including improved
Pell grants, work-study programs, post tax credits, new lifetime
learning tax credits, and easier ways to pay off student loans. The
Department of Education has a toll-free number to request information:
800 - USA - LEARN. There are many documents available on the topic,
which can be copublished with the Department.
When families, community organizations, and religious and educational
groups work together, children thrive. When we provide outlets for
kids' energy, Secretary Riley said, including afterschool programs,
and give them hope for their future, including college, then we can
reduce delinquency and juvenile violence.
Learning Disabilities and Juveniles in Corrections Facilities
Judith Heumann, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education
and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)
Attorney General Reno stated that children in corrections facilities
are often forgotten or recycled in the system. It is also important
to give them a strong and positive future.Twenty-eight percent of
children in corrections facilities have learning disabilities. OSERS
and OJJDP are working together to improve education and services
to these children.
Judith Heumann stated that education is a critical issue in these
facilities because many children cannot read and failed to do so
by the third grade. The time that they spend in these institutions
is an important time for teaching them to read; therefore, the two
offices will embark on a 5-year initiative to determine ways to improve
educational services to children with learning and behavior problems.
Comments on Drug-Related Issues
The Honorable Barry R. McCaffrey, Director, Office of National
Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
Donald R. Vereen, Jr., Deputy Director, ONDCP
Attorney General Reno then introduced General McCaffrey whose vision
it is, she said, to give kids their own vision of the future. General
McCaffrey thanked Reno and referred the audience to The National
Drug Control Strategy, 1998. He pointed out the office's Web site
address on the back cover, stating that this site gives information
of use to educators, including how ONDCP will use $17 million in
resources throughout the country this year.
General McCaffrey pointed out that America's schools are the safest
place for kids. They are in a supportive environment surrounded by
the greatest number of caring, educated adults. Eighty percent of
kids aged 12 - 17 have never touched illegal drugs.
But, he said, drugs are a problem for all of us. With Secretary
Donna Shalala, Department of Health and Human Services, he will release
the preliminary results from the 1997 National Household Survey on
Drug Abuse on August 21, 1998. The survey will demonstrate the statistical
correlation between drug use and the impairment of learning. Forty
percent of tenth grade students reported alcohol use one month before
the survey. Thirteen percent of eighth graders reported having tried
a drug before the survey. Drug use is not a problem of the cities,
minorities, or the emotionally ill. The highest rates of drug abuse
are found among middle income whites. General McCaffrey also cited
drug and alcohol problems among physicians and anesthesiologists.
The Federal Government has allocated $8 million to Washington, D.C.'s
drug problem, with their number one priority being prevention. Funding
for prevention under the National Drug Control Strategy has increased
33 percent in the last 3 years.
Six other efforts include:
- Project NO home page, which had 116,000 hits its first week,
with two-thirds of those hits by teenagers who spent on average
18 minutes online. This site provides correct, interesting information
about drug prevention.
- Sports programs such as the National Coachathon to educate children
about the impact of drugs on athletic ability.
- National Anti-Drug Youth Media Program, tested in Washington,
D.C. This program offers a credible message about drugs and health.
- FAST program, which assists parents in getting involved with
- Safe and Drug Free Schools.
- Experts hired to support 6,400 middle school principals in providing
drug education, a program that still has to go through Congress.
He commended public school teachers and principals for their work
with children and then introduced Donald Vereen, Jr., M.D., MPH,
Deputy Director, ONDCP.
Dr. Vereen said that data should determine what is done in schools,
not dogma. ONDCP translates that data into policy. He said today
he wanted to teach the lesson that there is no such thing as "safe
drug abuse." Kids think it is okay to do drugs once or twice a month.
His goal is to educate American youth to reject drugs because they
are risky, dangerous, and contribute to bad decisionmaking.
Drugs affect the brain, creating sensations of pleasure. Unfortunately,
youth don't know the other effects of drugs on the brain. A marijuana
toke may create immediate pleasure, but it also affects short-term
memory, which interferes with learning. A long-term, perhaps permanent,
effect on the frontal lobes of the brain is to leave the user without
motivation. In addition, when kids smoke marijuana, they are 85 times
more likely to use heroin. Kids who reject drugs, he concluded, become
adults who reject drugs.
Mr. Bilchik then asked the audience, particularly Washington, D.C.,
principals, if they had questions or suggestions. He also invited
members of the Coordinating Council to respond and make comments.
Attorney General Reno responded to a question from a CNN reporter
about afterschool programs that both summer and afterschool programs
are extremely important in a child's development. These can be in
partnership with the Federal Government, community youth centers,
or religious organizations, and should involve activities other than
sports. According to the Carnegie Foundation, children are more alone
now than at any time in history. Crime statistics show that more
crimes are committed at the end of the school day than at any other
time. Because of this, police chiefs have taken the lead in calling
for afterschool programs.
General McCaffrey added that ONDCP will collaborate with HHS and
62 civic associations such as Kiwanis, 100 Black Men, and Boys and
Girls Clubs to find ways to engage young people between the hours
of 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and on weekends.
Secretary Riley stated that the Twenty-first Century Learning Center
Program was appropriated $40 million last year, with a request of
$200 million this year. This program would fund arts, music, computers,
supervised athletics, academics, etc. They have funded 98 programs
out of 2000 applications. The number of applications submitted indicates
the need for after school programs.
Joel Ginsberg, National Partnership for Reinventing Government,
stated that his office is looking at ways the government can better
deliver services to communities. One of their projects focuses specifically
on afterschool programs in several cities.
Ann Rosewater, HHS, stated that her agency supports communities
in providing afterschool activities through child care and development
block grants. Washington, D.C. is using some these resources for
community learning centers. The District has awarded 20 grants to
community-based organizations to expand school-age childcare slots
by 400. These organizations are now supporting an A.A. program at
the University of the District of Columbia to train youth service
Jack Calhoun, practitioner member, National Crime Prevention Council
(NCPC), said that NCPC's analysis of the school shooting issue relates
to the "awesome aloneness" children experience, their depression,
anger, lack of caring adults, and "the obscene availability of firearms." Even
with this rich array of programs, every single adult must be there
for a child.
Alise Stallworth, PTA member and parent of two children at D.C.
Public Schools, one at Jefferson, said she would like to see more
funding for after school programs and parenting classes.She stated
that adults are hypocritical to preach to kids about drugs and alcohol
and then drink socially in front of them.
Examples of National and Local "America Goes Back to School" Activities
Maudine R. Cooper, President and CEO, Greater Washington Urban League,
and Chair, Emergency Transition Education Board of Trustees
Milton Little, Executive Vice President and COO, National Urban League,
Shay Bilchik then introduced Maudine Cooper and Milton Little of
the National Urban League, who discussed the Campaign for African-American
Ms. Cooper stated that her local program, the Campaign for Student
Achievement, includes all children in the city -- one of the most
diverse cities in the country. The purpose of this program is not "to
nibble around the edge of the problem" but to make a serious difference
in the lives of a substantial number of children by developing a
sustainable program having serious evaluation and measurable outcomes.
Resources are not always monetary; they can be volunteers, in-kind
services, equipment, or kind words. The campaign wants to ensure
that all the resources are present. Because schools are in place
to address academic achievement, they cannot address other issues
such as the drug problem, aftercare, and so on. This campaign will
work to improve children's social polish, navigational skills, sense
of history, and self-worth. The campaign is working with 11 partners,
including America's Promise, Creative Associates, Department of Parks
and Recreation, D.C. Public Schools, Gamma Phi Delta, Boys and Girls
Club, Reading is Fundamental, Points of Light, YMCA, and others.
At the national level, funding comes from State Farm Insurance and
Sears, Roebuck, Inc. No money will come from the D.C. Public Schools.
The campaign will focus on six schools having 3,400 students in
the Anacostia section of Washington, D.C. in an area referred to
in the campaign as the Education Empowerment Zone. "Achievement Matters" is
the campaign's theme. Their 3-year pilot project will offer evening
and Saturday programs, parental programs, library programs, and other
activities, depending on what the community wants. Evaluation will
be undertaken by the McKenzie Group because to ensure measurable
outcomes so that the program can be replicated elsewhere in the city.
In addition to partnering with the National Urban League on this
program, the Greater Washington Urban League has developed partnerships
with Federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD) and Commerce's Small Business Administration
(SBA). They will also recruit the physically challenged and senior
citizens, as well as local groups such as the Twin Readers Club,
in which members (a child paired with an adult) read to each other
on the phone.
Milton Little brought greetings from Hugh Price and Arthur Martinez,
Sears chairman, CEO, and supporter of the National Urban League for
the Campaign, who were both unable to attend. He described the Urban
League's broad goals, which are to create, support, and sustain the
community infrastructure necessary for children to grow. The League's
work is based on three premises:
- That the academic bar is raised.
- That the academic and social development of children of color
is in crisis.
- That the infrastructure that supports children is eroding.
The Urban League's role is to facilitate the work of organizations
and individuals nationwide and to engage public awareness to promote
local problem solving focused on children's social and academic development.
The League wants to convince young people that academics matter and
to create a market demand for better public schools.
Some of the Urban League's activities include Achievement Matters
month in September during which ministers will preach about the importance
of academic performance, block parties and parades to honor young
achievers, African-American recognition societies, and Hugh Price
Achievement Day. Corporate involvement includes Sears and State Farm
whose support totals $2 million for national work, media work, and
Mr. Bilchik commended the Urban League's formulation of a response
around assets rather than risk factors, as well as their cross-disciplinary
work and partnership building.
General McCaffrey mentioned the importance of community coalition
building, citing the Drug- Free Communities Support Program that
ONDCP, HHS, and DOJ began with a modest $10 million. Community coalitions
will be built from $100,000 or less and will increase from 4,000
nationwide to 14,000 in the next 5 years.
Mr. Bilchik stated to continue this meetings discussion he would
like to focus on exploring partnerships and working across disciplines
within the faith community. He then introduced Reverend Justus Reeves.
Reverend Justus Y. Reeves, Minister of Education, Shiloh
Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
Reverend Reeves, member of the Parental Partnership Involvement
for Learning steering group, discussed the role of churches as partners
in addressing the needs of children. The religious community is one
of the principal places where learning takes place. Founded in 1863,
the Shiloh Baptist Church's earliest Sunday school classes taught
men and women coming out of slavery. The church founded the Family
Life Center 20 years ago, which has been their principal outreach
to the city. It currently sponsors a math and science learning center,
youth enhancement program, adult education and job placement center,
and a child development center for 80 children up to age 5. The church
has a partnership with Seaton Elementary School. Shiloh Baptist Church
emphasizes serving the whole person -- body, mind, and spirit.
Herb Jones, Department of the Treasury, asked about the role of
the church in reducing drug abuse and violence. Reverend Reeves spoke
about the church's community-based services. Church leaders have
found that talking openly about problems and their root causes is
the best approach. The Shiloh Baptist Church is an open place where
anyone can come in and talk about anything. The ministers also walk
through the neighborhood and rarely call in police officers. Rev.
Reeves cited Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, CA, which has
physicians who work with drug addicts at the church, as an example
of a church doing excellent community work.
Attorney General Reno then asked Reverend Reeves and the audience
what they would do if they were Attorney General. Reverend Reeves
commented that, when there is an arrest, he would get everyone together
to craft an individualized plan for the child.
The floor was then open to comments and questions. Diane Powell
of the Student Intervention Support Services, D.C., noted the importance
of bringing law enforcement and education together, as well as the
importance of conflict resolution.
A senior policy analyst from the National Community Action Agency
commented that there is no incentive to coordinate services when
groups are territorial. Other questions about continuity of Federal
funding were asked by members of the audience. Mr. Bilchik stated
that they were hopeful that funding for prevention would not be cut
and hoped that funding for local communities would increase. He noted
that OJJDP would continue to share information about best practices
and additional resources.
A University of Maryland student working at National Institute of
Justice (NIJ) commented on the importance of mentoring and getting
kids' input on their needs. Attorney General Reno again mentioned
the town hall meeting she and Secretary Riley had attended and underlined
the importance of mentor training.
Helen Cooks of Sasha Bruce Youth Work, a leader in the learning
resource center there and retired D.C. public school teacher, asked
Ms. Cooper if her program involved parents and if they had considered
the fact that District children living in residences and group homes
often get lost in the cracks. Ms. Cooper stated that through a State
grant, her group can bring no-cost parenting workshops and other
services to children in group homes.
Bernadine Francis, mother of three, one of which is at Jefferson,
stated that psychological services in schools are extremely important
Mr. Jones commended Reverend Reeves and the clergy for their contributions.
Reverend Reeves offered to identify churches that work successfully
Attorney General Reno thanked the speakers and the audience, especially
the students and teachers. "Don't ever, ever give up," she said,
noting that the efforts discussed at the meeting are making a difference
for children in schools even though there is still a long way to
go. "What we've done in the last 10 years can only be multiplied
by those that care in this room," she said.
Mr. Bilchik thanked Gina E. Wood, staff director for planning the
meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
Attending Members and Designated Representatives
Coordinating Council Meeting
August 19, 1998
Vice Chair and Administrator
The Honorable William R. Byars, Jr.
Family Court of Kershaw County, South Carolina
Jack A. Calhoun
Team Leader, After School Project, Federal Support for Communities
National Partnership for Reinventing Government
John S. Gomperts
Chief of Staff
Corporation for National Service
Deputy Assistant Secretary Community Emergency Services
Department of Education
Nancy G. Guerra, Ph.D.
University of Illinois
Judith E. Heumann
Assistant Secretary of Education, Office of Special Education and
Department of Education
William J. Ivey
National Endowment for the Arts
Herbert C. Jones
Director, Project Outreach
Department of the Treasury
Michael J. Mahoney
President and CEO
John Howard Association, Chicago
The Honorable Barry R. McCaffrey
Director, Safe and Drug Free Schools Program
Department of Education
The Honorable Janet Reno
Chair and Attorney General
The Honorable Richard W. Riley
Department of Education
Counselor to the Secretary
Donald R. Vereen, Jr., M.D., M.P.H.
General Deputy Assistant Secretary
Rose W. Washington
Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth
Gina E. Wood
Director, Concentration of Federal Efforts Program
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