Lillian Perdomo: Candidate for the Ward 1 State Board of Education

Posted October 9, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Elections

Tags: , , ,
Lillian Perdomo, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education

Lillian Perdomo, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education

Continuing the series featuring candidates for Ward 1 State Board of Education is Lillian Perdomo. You can learn more about the candidate at her campaign Web site here or on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter at @yesforlillian

Here are the questions each candidate received along with Lillian’s answers:

Q: Which Ward 1 neighborhood do you live in?

A: I live in Mount Pleasant with my husband, David Chulick, my 16-year-old daughter, Amanda (a DCPS Ward One, Senior High School student), our dog, Oliver, and our cat, Juliet.

Q: How long have you lived in D.C.?

A: I have lived in DC for a total of 28 years; in Ward One for 16 years.

Q: Why did you decide to become a candidate for the Ward 1 Member of the State Board of Education?

A: Aside from my unshakeable belief that our students have a fundamental right to attend quality schools, my decision to run for the DC State Board of Education is driven by a strong conviction that it is morally wrong that so many of our students are not reaching their full potential. I know that Ward One students have immense potential regardless of their background. In addition, I am uniquely qualified to take on this task because of my first-hand long-term knowledge of the school system—both its strengths and weaknesses— as a parent, an educator, and as an advocate on behalf of children and their parents. I also find encouragement in knowing that the majority of us constituents are fed up with the status quo, and that we are at a turning point, for which we all must come together to do what it takes for Better Schools and Student Success.

I experienced firsthand the challenges that our communities face to be assured access to a quality education. My various perspectives include over 25 years of community organizing and advocating for DC children and families, including 9 years as an educational not-for-profit executive, five years as an educator in Ward One public schools, a parent, a PTA co-chair, and now, also, a grandparent of a Pre-K student. This past summer I coordinated the afterschool, Summer Arts Program at Bruce Monroe E. S.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish on the State Board of Education?

A: For over 25 years, through my experience in the schools, I have actively listened to a multiplicity of stakeholders, and have seen programs and strategies come and go. Unfortunately none of these initiatives has been effective in tackling our largest issue, which is the achievement gap for low income minority populations that make up 85% of our student body.

For example, the demographics of Ward One are 47% African American students and 47% Hispanic /Latino students, and according to the DC CAS there has been a drop in reading achievement of 2% for African American students and 6% for English as a Second Language students. To reach their full potential our students must be provided with the fundamental right to attend quality schools. These quality schools must possess the ability to guide our students to become successful lifelong learners through challenging, hands-on instruction that relates to the students’ life experiences. My platform is simple.   I plan to press for better schools and stronger communities with my CAN DO strategy:

Community Schools — Provide coordinated services to least-advantaged students and families.

Accountable Schools — Ensure OSSE oversight of federal and local mandates and civil rights requirements for educating high-poverty, special education and English language learner students.

Neighborhood Schools — Assure quality schools closest to where children live.

Dynamic Schools — Create ideal learning environments with more STEAM science, technology, engineering, the arts and math integration.

Opportunity Centers — Secure college and career development assistance for youth.

Q: How does your professional and/or life experience make you a good candidate for the State Board of Education, and how will it help you be a successful Member of the Board?

A: Like virtually every parent and grandparent, I want to ensure equitable access and excellent education for my family.  However, I have also lived in the world of the least advantaged, both as a student and a parent.  I know what it takes to reach and adequately serve low-income communities that often are isolated and face many challenges because I myself have faced those harsh realities in my own life. As a child in El Salvador, I faced personal, familial, and political turmoil.  In the United States, in search of freedoms not awarded in my home country, I survived loneliness, near homelessness, language and cultural barriers, sexual harassment, unpaid child labor, and having to work instead of attending school — while every day dealing with fear for my family’s safety in El Salvador. All of these dreadful experiences give me the understanding of the pain and struggles that many of our DCPS families face every day.

But I also know what it is to triumph. Despite great obstacles, I eventually graduated from high school, overcame domestic violence, and raised my child despite being a single mother in extreme poverty, all the while facing serious health issues. With the support of many good people in DC, I met these challenges and have thrived.

I also understand the importance of education. Even though I was unable to go to college right after graduating from high school in 1986, ten years later, in 1996, I graduated from college with a B.A. in Public Affairs from Trinity University in DC. Education undeniably opened the doors to becoming a life-long learner and to opportunities that my parents never had. Upon graduating, I worked as a Parent Coordinator for the Superintendent of DCPS, provided technical support, and implemented trainings for administrators, staff, and parent leaders, and spearheaded advocacy efforts to support parent involvement in education. In my position as staff member to Committee Chair Schwarz on the Committee on Local, Regional and Federal Affairs, I was responsible for: preparing the Chairperson for Committee hearings and meetings, both at the Council and in Congress; monitoring and drafting legislation; overseeing and recommending budgets for agencies; and analyzing and preparing reports at the Council of the District of Columbia. I made a special effort to ensure that I covered every hearing on education and that the Chairperson would hold a hearing on the issues. I chose to do this work because I wanted to ensure that others had access to the same opportunities I did.

Since then, I have continued to work tirelessly for the community. As a contractor in the U.S. Justice Department, I developed policy recommendations on Violence Against Women Issues. For nearly 10 years, I was a founding board member and first Executive Director of Multicultural Community Services, where I implemented language, youth development, civic engagement and parent involvement programs, for hundreds of parents and youth.  In Ward One, I led community integration, by offering interpretation services, interpreter training and coalition building. In all of these aspects of my work, involvement with DC Public Schools and breaking through the isolation of English Language Learners from the English speaking communities were at the forefront of my efforts. The schools were where I could reach both students and parents to work together to improve education as well as the quality of the lives they lived.

I became fascinated by the democratic process and have been involved in national, state and local elections since.  I have developed many valuable relationships with the public in Ward One, and with elected and appointed officials throughout DC.  Through these relationships, I will work to improve DC Public Schools, foster collaboration with those schools not under the purview of the State Board of Education, and bridge gaps so as to ensure that together we work to provide a quality education for all of our children.

Q: Is this your first bid for elected office? If not, please describe other elected positions you’ve held, briefly note your accomplishments, and describe how the community benefited by your advocacy.

A: I have been elected to the board of the DC Latino Caucus.  From there I was elected to represent the DC Latino Caucus before the DC Democratic State Committee.  Then, I won election to the Democratic State Committee as an Ex-Officio Member.  Through all these positions, I sought to help DC residents least able to help themselves. It is easier for majority groups to get their points across or to represent their issues, but I feel that I have been able to gain the respect of the members of this committees and I am able to get involved with issues that allowed communities that don’t always participate in the democratic process to have a voice and a vote.

Also, I ran unsuccessfully in 2008 for the State Board of Education position and learned many things along the way. For example, I discovered that running for office is a very demanding and time consuming endeavor, and one that I needed to invest lots of time in to be successful. I am currently not doing any consulting work, but concentrating on running a winning campaign. In early 2014, I decided that my family life and my work as a consultant would permit me to follow my passion of running to be able to promote quality education for our Ward One children in the District of Columbia.

In 2012, I was elected to represent DC at the 2014 National Democratic Convention in Charlotte NC. . In that position, I helped assure full Latino participation in the election of President Obama.

Q: Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

A: I excel at listening, and I am open minded.  These skills will be particularly valuable on the DC Board of Education — where collaboration rather than the exercise of power is essential.

E. Gail Anderson Holness: Candidate for the Ward 1 State Board of Education

Posted October 8, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Elections

Tags: , , ,
E. Gail Anderson Holness, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education (image from campaign Web site)

E. Gail Anderson Holness, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education (image from campaign Web site)

Today, our featured candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education is E. Gail Anderson Holness. You can learn more about the candidate at her campaign Web site here.

Here are the questions each candidate received along with E. Gail’s answers:

Q: Which Ward 1 neighborhood do you live in?

A: Pleasant Plains-Columbia Heights

Q: How long have you lived in D.C.?

A: Off and on for 36 years. I have lived in Ward One the majority of the time having lived in my present location over 11 years. Ali, my daughter, was born and raised in this community 26 years ago.

Q: Why did you decide to become a candidate for the Ward 1 Member of the State Board of Education?

A: I decided to become a candidate for Ward One Member of the State Board of Education based on my concern and passion for the future of our children. I have served as a substitute teacher in DCPS primarily in Ward One – Cardozo and Banneker. Several Ward One residents encouraged me to run based upon my history of advocacy and active engagement in the Ward One community.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish on the State Board of Education?

A: It is critical that our education system in the District undergo basic reform inclusive of the following:

  • Teacher evaluation - I recommend a comprehensive review of all aspects of the Master Teacher evaluation;
  • Truancy- chronic truancy creates a student who becomes chronically behind in learning;
  • Testing – While there have been some gains the DCPS system continues to have the nation’s widest achievement gaps between white and black students and white and Hispanic students according to the study which shows that poor black children in the District continue to score lower than average than their counterparts;
  • Training for life – It is imperative that our education system prepares our children for college but for those who do not want to attend college can have alternative workforce development opportunities through the UDC Community College; and,
  • Transparency and coordination – Teachers, parents, and students have complained about changes in process and procedures within the school system without properly notifying the stakeholders.

Transparency is needed in the school system and the Board of Education. As the Ward One Member of the State Board of Education, I will:

  • Advocate for the higher performance standards for teachers and students;
  • Push for services that will strengthen our schools, encourage our teachers, and inspire our students to learn and attend school;
  • Engage the entire community – parents, community organizations, and the faith community – to actively participate in the development of our school children;
  • Work with the Ward One Councilmember and the Ward One ANCs to establish a Ward One Education Committee to specially deal with issues affecting our community that may also have a positive effect on the wider DC community.  Parents, teachers, and community residents would be invited to be an integral part of the Ward One Education Committee.

Q: How does your professional and/or life experience make you a good candidate for the State Board of Education, and how will it help you be a successful Member of the Board?

A: I have served as a community and human rights activist most of my youth and all of my adult life. I have worked in the field of Education as a College Administrator, Professor, and Lecturer. My teaching career that began at Pensacola, Florida Community College and expanded to University of Alaska at Anchorage; Coppin State College Baltimore, MD; Benedict College and Allen University Columbia, SC; Howard University, and the University of the District of Columbia. At UDC, I served as Special Assistant to three UDC Presidents, hosted a TV program (10 years) UDC Forum, and was Executive Director of Student Outreach and Leadership Development.

I also served on the committee that wrote the proposal for the legislation for UDC to initiate the Community College. As a trained lawyer, I have a deep understanding of the legislative and regulatory processes and have been successful in developing good polices.

In 1989, I proposed a bill before the Board of Education to require students to wear uniforms in DCPS. During those days, students were literally killing each other over clothes and sneakers. The bill failed but was implemented in 2009.

I believe my training as a lawyer and 25 years in the Education field coupled with my community outreach efforts will contribute immensely to my success as a Member of the State Board of Education.

Q: Is this your first bid for elected office? If not, please describe other elected positions you’ve held, briefly note your accomplishments, and describe how the community benefited by your advocacy.

A: I am a three term Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for ANC 1B11. During my tenure, was elected by the Commission to serve as Secretary, Vice Chairperson, and Chairperson for ANC 1B.  I also served as Vice President of Ward One Democrats, the Mayor’s Commission for Women, and the Mayor’s Interfaith Commission.

My successes as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 1B11 include:

  1. Increased Security for LeDroit Senior Building
  2. Speed bumps on 4th Street between V and W Streets
  3. Started Saturday Empowerment Academy every third Saturday
  4. Book drive for youth in the community
  5. Collaborated with local businesses to provide incentive awards to students in Ward One DCPS who excelled academically or athletically.
  6. Advocated for more parking spaces for residents in my SMD that was provided on two streets
  7. Convened the Ward One Church and Community Summit to address Education, Parking, and Crime issues.

Q: Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

A: I am a mother, educator, community organizer, and human rights activist who believe in the inherent rights of all children, regardless of their race, creed, color, nationality, or sexual orientation. I know that all children can learn and should have the opportunity for quality schools, quality teaches, and a quality education. Ward One is one of the most diverse areas in DC and I am glad to represent all residents and live in this peaceful, comfortable, and safe environment.

David Do: Candidate for the Ward 1 State Board of Education

Posted October 7, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Elections

Tags: , , ,
David Do, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education (image provided by candidate)

David Do, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education (image provided by candidate)

To kick off our review of the Ward 1 Candidates for State Board of Education, today’s feature is David Do. You can learn more about David at his campaign Web site here.

Here are the questions each candidate received along with David’s answers:

Q: Which Ward 1 neighborhood do you live in?

A: I am a homeowner in Park View and have lived here for four years. I bought my home in the neighborhood a little over three years ago.

Q: How long have you lived in D.C.?

A: I have lived in D.C. for over five years.

Q: Why did you decide to become a candidate for the Ward 1 Member of the State Board of Education?

A: I decided to run for the Ward 1 Member of the State Board of Education because it was an opportunity to bring my background and life experience to Ward 1 students who are struggling to succeed in our schools. My parents were refugees of the Vietnam War and came to the U.S. with nothing. They were fast food workers, earning an honest living to make sure that I could have good education. This is what I want for our kids in Ward 1. I am running because of the encouragement and support of our community and neighborhood parents. The encouragement came because of my tireless work and tremendous accomplishments at Bruce Monroe at Park View Elementary, the Park View Recreation Center, and our community as a whole. I will bring the same record of accomplishment and energy for Park View to the Board of Education.

I am also running because tests like the DC CAS said I was basic or below proficient, the SAT said I should have never went to college, and my first semester of college grades put me on the verge of academic probation. But, I never let the possibility of failure hold me back. What changed in my academic career was a mentor. My introductory economics professor helped me develop my interest in economics. Once I discovered my talent and interest in economics, I exceled tremendously and graduated from college with honors and received the University’s Legacy Award. Tests should never be the end all and be all of education. We need to help our children develop their own special talents and help them learn the true meeting of education. It has worked for me and I believe it will work for our community.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish on the State Board of Education?

A: Ward 1 needs a strong advocate who understands what our children are going through. I was an English Language Learner and a daily recipient of free and reduced meals. I lived in poverty. In Ward 1, many of our children are living what I lived. They too are living in poverty. I want to bring that perspective to the board of education. I want to uplift all of our children.

I also want to bring my experience working for our local neighborhood school Bruce Monroe @ Park View Elementary to the board. We have seen tremendous improvements when different groups work together to create a collaborative and community approach to improving education. A top-down approach where collaboration was not part of the equation has not worked in the last seven years of corporate education reform. We need to take a different tack to reform. I will advocate for a more supportive and respectful process that includes all stakeholders.

Finally, I want to be a part of the Parental and Home Engagement Committee on the State Board of Education. It is a committee that I personally feel will best suit my background and experience. There is a lot of research to support the benefits of family engagement in our schools. That is why I will work within my role on the Board of Education to consider all point of views in establishing an effective and implementable plan for parental and home engagement in our schools.

Q: How does your professional and/or life experience make you a good candidate for the State Board of Education, and how will it help you be a successful Member of the Board?

A: I have worked in the Park View community for a few years. I held several events and started a block association. I have also been a consistent volunteer at Bruce Monroe @ Park View Elementary working with our teachers, community leaders, and parents to make sure our school continues its success as a great community school. That is why there are so many parents at the elementary school supporting my candidacy for the State Board of Education including Sarah Sorscher, Gabriel Sobarzo, and Jessica Sobarzo.

I have personally mentored two DC public school students throughout their high school career. They are now graduating seniors at Pennsylvania State University. I was also in charge of the Mayor’s internship initiative for the correspondence unit. I developed workshops for our interns so that they could improve their resumes, cover letters, business wardrobes, and interview skills.

Finally, I have a record of getting safety improvements for our schools including a crosswalk on Georgia Avenue between E.L. Haynes Public Charter School and the Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center. I did this so that all residents can safely cross Georgia Avenue, one of the busiest corridors in Washington D.C.

Q: Is this your first bid for elected office? If not, please describe other elected positions you’ve held, briefly note your accomplishments, and describe how the community benefited by your advocacy.

A: I have held the position of Director of Academic Affairs at the University of California, Merced, where I was one of the executives in charge of implementation of a $200,000 budget. During my tenure I introduced and implemented a bill called the Fellowship and Undergraduate Research Symposium Act. This program received initial funding of $5,000 to make sure that undergraduate students were able to present their research at conferences across the country. This program has been extremely successfully and now has an annual budget of $10,000.

Moreover, I provided resources for students who needed extra help in math, writing, chemistry, and economics. These students received free tutoring services that my office funded. I also made sure that students stayed focused on learning by providing them with meals, snacks, and other stress-relieving opportunities during final exams.

I was also an advocate for our students. I made sure that student groups received enough funding to hold major educational conferences where I helped write the grant to fund the African Black Coalition Conference. The conference received $15,000 in grant funding. I have also advocated for individual students by seeing the passage of a bill to allow students to earn a triple major if they chose.

Through my work as Director of Academic Affairs, I received a front-page story in the Merced Sun-Star praising my aspirations and work as Director of Academic Affairs. The Associate Vice Chancellor at the University of California, Merced said that I, “worked tirelessly to support student success in their academic pursuits, in their professional development, and in their self-efficacy.”

I will bring this record of achievement to the DC Board of Education.

Q: Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

A: Park View is where I call home. I bought my row house three years ago and have been active in our community for many years. I have seen Park View grow tremendously and I am glad to have played an active role in its success. Here are just some of my accomplishments in Park View.

  • Fought for safety improvements for our school-aged children including a signaled crosswalk for E.L. Haynes Public Charter School on Georgia Avenue.
  • Volunteered at Bruce Monroe at Park View for many years and have been featured on this blog multiple times.
  • Hosted crime meetings with public officials like Chief Lanier to make sure our community is safe and secure.
  • Hosted elected officials and candidates at community meet and greets in Park View to make sure our neighborhood has options when deciding who should represent them.
  • I have the support of Sarah Sorscher, who is a mother in Park View and actively participates at Bruce Monroe @ Park View Elementary. I also have the support of many other BMPV parents.

I am very excited at the prospect of representing Ward 1 and Park View as the next Ward 1 Member of the DC State Board of Education.

Know Your Candidates for the Ward 1 State Board of Education

Posted October 6, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Armed Forces Retirement Home, Elections

Tags: , ,
Bruce-Monroe @ Park View Elementary, located on Warder Street.

Bruce-Monroe @ Park View Elementary, located on Warder Street

When voters go to the polls in November, I suspect most people will be thinking primarily about the Mayoral and Council races, but there are many other races that will be on the ballot. As the future of education and our schools is high on the list of priorities, I definitely wanted people to be as informed as possible when deciding who to support for the Ward 1 State Board of Education.

This year we have five candidates for the State Board of Education. In alphabetical order, they are:

  • David Do;
  • E. Gail Anderson Holness;
  • Lillian Perdomo;
  • Laura Wilson Phelan; and,
  • Scott Simpson.

Beginning tomorrow, I’ll be posting profiles of each in the order above. I know it will be a tough decision for many. As I heard one resident say, the problem isn’t that we have no good choices, but rather, that we have several good choices. Hopefully, the forthcoming profiles will help those who are still wanting to know more about this race.

Fall Fun Fest at Soldiers’ Home Has Good Turnout

Posted October 6, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Sports leisure and entertainment

Tags: ,

2014 Fall Fun Fest(Tent and crowd at the 2014 Fall Fun Fest)

Yesterday’s Fall Fun Fest, coordinated by the Friends of the Soldiers Home and the Armed Forces Retirement Home, appeared to be well attended and all seemed to have a good time during my visit. While the beer, festivities, German music and dancing were definitely worth the visit, I particularly enjoyed going in the morning to look at the antique car show. Below are some photos showing a portion of the automobiles that visitors could see.

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You Can Start Requesting Your 2015 Visitor Park Pass

Posted October 3, 2014 by Kent
Categories: DDOT, parking

Tags: ,

Visitor Parking Pass flierAt the end of September, residents with visitor parking passes will have noticed that their 2014 passes expired at the end of the month, yet they hadn’t received their new passes. Like last year, DDOT has extended their use until December 31, 2014.

But unlike last year, if you want a new visitor parking pass for 2015, you have to go to the DDOT Web site and request a 2015 pass. According to the DDOT Web site (http://vpp.ddot.dc.gov/vpp/) eligible residents can now start pre-registering for their 2015 passes.

The August 22, 2014, DDOT press release explaining some of these changes is below:

DDOT Releases Proposed Rules to Revamp the Visitor Parking Pass Program


(Washington, DC)
 – The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today announced the publication of proposed rules that will modify the annual Visitor Parking Pass (VPP) program, and clarify the process for eligible households to receive, and use a 2015 visitor parking pass. The rules are open for a 30-day comment period, and DDOT welcomes comments on the proposed regulations.

The VPP program allows guests of District residents to park for more than two hours on residential blocks. The current 2014 passes, which would have expired on September 30, 2014, have been extended, and are valid until the end of the year. Starting January 1, 2015, DDOT proposes that the annual VPP be effective for a calendar year.

These proposed rules will require eligible households (within Wards 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F) to register either online at http://vpp.ddot.dc.gov, or by phone at (202) 671-2700 to receive an annual VPP. The revision to the program will help DDOT better manage the demands, and evaluate program needs going forward. Depending on the outcome of the comment period, DDOT anticipates opening up registration in late October 2014.

Additionally, the proposed rules clarify the privileges and restrictions of a VPP, that it provides temporary residential permit parking privileges to a vehicle, as long as that vehicle displays a valid pass on the driver’s side of the vehicle’s dashboard, and is used only within the ANC boundaries indicated on the pass.

“We appreciate that this has been a popular program in areas that use the passes,” said DDOT Acting Director Matthew Brown. “These regulations will enable us to streamline the program, expand the eligible recipients and improve the management of the program. We encourage the public to weigh in on the rules.”

To view or to comment on the proposed rules, please visit the following website: http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/NoticeHome.aspx?noticeid=5065357

Written comments may be sent to  Samuel D. Zimbabwe, Associate Director, District Department of Transportation, 55 M Street, S.E., 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20003. However, comments sent to DDOT’s Public Space Policy Office, are encouraged.

A 19th Century Capitol View from the Soldiers’ Home

Posted October 2, 2014 by Kent
Categories: History

Tags: ,

Here’s another old stereoview from the 1870s or 1880s showing the grounds of the old Soldiers’ Home grounds. Its a good companion to the stereoview posted last week. While its hard to see, the view is to the south with the Capitol Dome in the distance viewable between the trees.

Soldiers' Home Capitol vista


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