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As part of an ongoing effort to visit all DC public and charter schools, DC Councilmember and Education Committee Chairman, David Catania, attended the Amidon-Bowen PTA meeting on Tuesday, October 8th.

Catania’s visit gave Amidon-Bowen parents and interested community members the opportunity to learn first-hand about a number of proposals that the Councilmember has introduced this year in an effort to improve the District’s education system. It also allowed Catania to hear directly from the school community about issues of concern to parents and students alike.

Throughout the evening, Catania emphasized his commitment to “removing the barriers between students and success” through a variety of measures, such as funding, accountability, changes to the lottery process, governance, and facilities management.

In response to Amidon-Bowen parents’ concerns about issues that affect the school’s ability to educate and serve its students most effectively, Catania offered insights into his legislative philosophy, which favors a rational, flexible approach to the needs of individual schools, to the benefit of their students.

Catania said that he believed it should be possible for DCPS to count the number of students actually enrolled at a school beyond simply the current “count day” that takes place once per year. The inflexibility of this practice has deprived Amidon-Bowen of deserved funding in the past several years when enrollment has continued to rise steadily after the official count has taken place.

Nevertheless, the challenge of allocating resources equitably among schools whose students face unequal circumstances remains one of the primary hurdles faced by Catania’s committee, and the DC education system as a whole.

Among other initiatives, Catania has introduced legislation that would re-establish the Office of the Student Advocate as of January 2014, giving families and students a dedicated resource to address their issues and needs. Catania has also proposed raising per-pupil funding for poor children and granting principals more direct control over how to spend their school’s allocated funds.

Councilmember Catania’s visit to Amidon-Bowen points to the parent and community involvement that continues to bolster the school’s success.

“I have attended over 25 PTA meetings since last Spring, and my experience at Amidon-Bowen was among the most enjoyable,” said Catania. “I was thrilled to see the energy among the parents, and I appreciated their thoughtful questions and feedback. I look forward to returning soon.”

By: Lucy Rojansky

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