How ANCs Work with DC Public Charter Schools
The DC Public Charter School Board keeps Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) informed about the work in public charter schools through sharing information about proposed actions that impact their respective communities. ANCs are non-partisan, neighborhood bodies made up of locally-elected representatives. Each elected representative, called an ANC Commissioner, represents an area in their district, referred to as a Single Member District (SMD). SMDs are comprised of about 2,000 people, and commissioners are volunteers, who are often parents, community leaders, or concerned citizens. Across the city, there are 46 different ANCs that represent every neighborhood.
ANCs are designed to help the unique neighborhoods in each of DCs wards have their voices heard, and address concerns such as transportation, safety, zoning, historic preservation, and economic development. Several ANCs also have committees entirely dedicated to education.
ANCs are direct links between residents and the DC government. However, they do not always have a significant influence over the many complicated issues facing public education. Commissioners do their best to support the families in their area.
ANC1A, for example, has an Education, Youth and Family Committee. Former Commissioner for ANC 1A and Chair of the committee, Christine Miller, shared that one of the most valuable roles of an ANC is to be a bridge, acting as a source of information for constituents.
This includes ensuring “critical” programming and resources continue to be funded, disseminating notices about resources to critical populations, and listening to the diverse voices in their community.
“Most important [is] working to lift the voices of those in our community to make sure they are getting their needs met, not having to settle for what someone else thinks they need,” Miller said.
DC PCSB regularly works with ANCs, meeting with them regularly and alerting them of anything that may impact public charter school students in their neighborhood. DC PCSB’s policy is to notify ANCs of any proposed actions 30 days before they are discussed in a public hearing or vote.
As a whole, ANC 1A is aware of the most pressing needs the community has, which it hopes to address. This involves creating a “robust” system of mental health care for students and increasing after-school programming opportunities, Miller said. There is a special emphasis on vulnerable populations, given many of the schools it serves provide adult and special education.
To learn more about which ANC represents your school district and DC PCSB’s work with them, visit our new ANC page.