Inspector General report on D.C. school lottery



OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Of?ce of the Inspector General

OIG

INVESTIGATIONS UNIT
REPORT OF INVESTIGATION (ROI)
(2016?1751 Amended)

Inspector General

POSITION,
Kaya Henderson, former Chancellor, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)

TYPE OF INVESTIGATION
Administrative

COMPLAINT

During the course of a separate inquiry, the DC. Of?ce of the Inspector General (01G)
uncovered information suggesting that Kaya Henderson, then?Chancellor, D.C. Public Schools
(DCPS), gave preferential treatment to a District government of?cial, by circumventing DCPS
regulations in order to place this District government of?cial?s child at the DCPS school of their
choosing.

SCOPE

In conducting this investigation, the OIG reviewed applicable law, regulations, and policies,
information from DCPS, to include My School DC registration information and email
exchanges. Finally, witnesses deemed relevant to this matter, as well as Chancellor Henderson,
were interviewed by the 016 and investigators from the Board of Ethics and Government
Accountability (BEGA).

OIG investigators reviewed Chancellor Henderson?s emails from December 2014 to November
20151 and while investigating, we uncovered 10 instances where individuals corresponded with
the Chancellor regarding placement outside the My School DC lottery process. The OIG
requested that My School DC provide data:2 for applicants identi?ed during the course of this
investigation.

I The review period covered the SY 201452015 My School DC lottery process, which was relevant to the alleged
misconduct. .
2 My School DC of?cials maintain My School DC lottery applications and the results of the lottery process.

717 14th Street, N.W., Washington, DC. 20005 (202) 727?2540

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaye Henderson
Page 2 of 31

BACKGROUND

In general, D.C. law requires students to attend school between the ages of 5 and 18, which
corresponds to kindergarten through grade 12.3 DCPS students attend specific schools based on
where the student?s parent or guardian lives. Pre?detennjned school assignments are called
either an ill?boundary school or feeder school.4

In some instances, a student?s parent or guardian may desire that a student attend a school that is
not an in~boundary or feeder school. Title 5 of the C. Municipal Regulations (DCMR),
Section E2106, codifies the process for parents/ guard1ans to seek out?0t; boundary transfers.

The section states in part:


2106. 2 An adult student an emancipated stu nt 01 a mino1
student's parent or guardian may apply for an out?of? 1
boundary transfe1 for any of the following 1easons

The student 3 sibling currently attends the??
requested school;


esides With1n a reasonable walking
requested school as determined 1n

The stude
distance

accordance with 2106 3; or

1 guardian prefers the Sfequested school to his or her

lie _?1ated m?bounda1y school




$111 reviewing the request for out of boundary transfers the
Chancellor shall verify stated reasons for the 1equest and
fairly administer a lottery held 1n DCPS headquarters,
"?mg preferences to students in accordance with the
530113 for their transfer requests in the same o1der as
those reasons appear in 2106.2.

?1

3 DC. Code 38-202 (Lexis current through Dec. 7, 2016).
4 Id. 3 8?221. A feeder school is one that a student has a right to attend based on a student?s current school. This
assignment only happens during the years a student moves from elementary to middle school, or from middle to
high school. A11 in?boundary school is one that a student has the right to attend based on where the student?s
parent/guardian lives. DCPS Enrollment and Lottery Handbook, Ver. 1.0 (Feb. 2015), at 5.

5 An out-ofrboundaiy school is one other than a student?s in?boundaiy school or feeder pattern school. DCPS
Enrollment and Lottery Handbook, Ver. 1.0 (Feb. 2015), at S.

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Sub ject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 3 of 31

2106.6 The Chancellor, and only the Chancellor, is
authorized to grant a discretionary transfer and set the
duration of the approval of the transfer when the
Chancellor determines that the transfer would be in the
best interests of the student, and that the transfer would
promote the overall interests of the school system.

To implement the lottery process described 1n Section E2106 5 of the DCMR uses the
My School DC lottery program. My School DC runs a single, random lottery to determine
placement for new students at all participating schools. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for
Education (DME) oversees the My School DC lottery collaboration DCPS the-:Rubhc
Charter School Board (PCSB), and participating charter schoogs f)

Families that wish to gain access to an out?of- boundary scIio oo filast apply thiopgh the My
School DC lottery program. The lottery gives families the opportunity to apply for available
seats in early childhood programs for 3- and 4?year olds, out?of? borindary DCPS schools 1n

grades 12, DCPS selective high schools, as well as participating chartEr schools.

DCPS assigns lottery preferences to students 1n an effort to match students with schools in their
neighborhoods and keep siblings together. DCPS extends the following preferences to lottery

parent preference.

While families can apply and rank up to 12 schools, the lottery will match students with no more
than 1 school. On April 1 of each year, famrhes are noti?ed by email that lottery results are
available The three possible outcomes for students are:

2. matched W1th a school not ranked first, and waitlisted at all schools ranked higher
than the matched school or
.1 not matched wrthny school, and waitlisted at all ranked schools.

re?ect the order by which students would be enrolled through the lottery, if more seats
were available lff; a space becomes available at one of the schools where a child is waitlisted,
and he onshe 1s next on the waitlist, then the school contacts the family and extends a waitlist
offer. It rs comnibn for applicants to move up the waitlist throughout the spring and summer.
Waitlists remain active until the conclusion of the school year. If a family has already enrolled a
child at a schdol and the child is offered a space off the waitlist at a different school, the
parent/gum dian may choose to withdraw the child from the current school and enroll the child at
the new school. When a parent/guardian accepts the waitlis?t offer, the child rs removed ?'om the
waitlist for that school as well as all others ranked below it.6 -

6 DCPS My School DC Lottery and Enrollment Policy Handbook, Ver. 1 (Feb. 23, 2015), at App. C.

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subj ect?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 4 of 31

Post?lottery applicants are added automatically to the bottom of schoOls? waitlists in the order
they are received and below applicants who applied and were waitlisted through the lottery. The
only exception to post?lottery applicant placement at the bottom of the waitlist is applicants that
qualify for a preference (such as in?boundary, sibling, etc.) For example, an applicant with an in?
boundary preference will secure placement ahead of an out?of? boundary applicant on the waitlist
regardless of when they applied.

During the time period relevant to this investigation DCPS used the following chart to illustrate
its waitlist order for non? d?ual language schools and programs: 8

Figure I Waitlz'st Orderfor Non?Dual Language Schools and Programs (K42)

1. Round 1: In boundary (13] with a sibling enrolled
Round 2: IB with a sibling enrolled
3. Post-Lottery: with a sibling enrolled

Round 1: la applicant with a sibling-accepted
Round 2: applicantwith a sibling?accepted
Post?Lottery: IB applicant with a sibling~accepted

7. Round 1: JB applicant (with no sibling]
8. Round 2: l3 applicant (with no sibling)
9. Post?Lottery: applicant (with no sibling)

10. Round 1: Out of boundary (DOB) applicant with a sibling enrolled
11. Round 2: DUB applicant with a sibling enrolled
12. Post~Lottery: UDB applicant with a sibling enrolled

13. Round 1: DOB applicant with a sibling accepted
14. Round 2: 003 applicant with a sibling accepted
15. Post-Lottery: DOB applicant with a sibling accepted

15. Round 1: Proximity Preference
Round 2: Proximity Preference
13. Post?Lottery: Proximity Preference

19. Round 1: 003 applicant [with no sibling)
20. Round 2: (JOB applicant (with no sibling)
21. Post-Lottery: ODE: applicant [with no sibling)

To enroll in a lottery?matched school, a family must submit required enrolhnent forms and verify
C. residency- by the lottery enrollment deadline. After the lottery enrollment deadline schools
are not obligated to enroll lottery? matched students and will offer remaining seats to students on
their waitlist?

7 8http: org/faq/faqs
8DCPS My School DC Lottery and Enrollment Policy Handbook Ver. 1 (Feb. 23, 2015) at App. C.
9 Id. at 12.

Report of Investigation: 2016-1751 Amended
Subj ect?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 5 of 31

In 2015 during the time relevant to this investigation, the My School DC lottery received 44,15 3
applications across PK3 12 grade levels for School Year 2015? 2016. Of these applicants

16, 456 were waitlisted; of those, 15,208 Were waitlisted without a preference (1 in? ?boundary
preference, sibling preference, or proximity preference).10

ALLEGATION

In that Kaya Henderson, then?Chancellor of from April 2015 to August 2015, failed to
act impartially and gave preferential treatment to certain District government officials and
members of the public when granting discretionary out-of? boundary sghool transfers outside the
My 1gchool DC lottery requirements, to wit: 5E DCMR 2106. 6, in Violation-o DPM 1800. 3
. ..

5E DCMR ?2106.6 states:

The Chancellor, and only the Chancellor, is authorized to grant a
discretionary transfer and set the duration of the approval of thE transfer
when the Chancellor determines that theatransfer would be 1n the best
interests of the student, and that the transfer would promote the over all
interests of the school system.

1800.3 (11) states:

311%

any private organization or md1v1 ual.

FINDINGS OF FACT REEATED TO THE ALLEGATION

OIG investigators identi?ed 10 instances in which Chancellor Henderson considered requests for
outnof? boundary t1ansfers in a manner inconsistent with the My School DC lottery process.

These requesis were identi?ed based on emails reviewed f01 the period between December 2014
and November 2015.13 The following sections are grouped to present facts related to her
decision on the 10 requests for out?of?boundary transfers. F01 the purposes of this ROI, other
than the former Chancellor and Dr. Nathaniel Beers, former Chief Operating Officer, DCPS,
names have been omitted to protect the minor children and individuals not accused of
wrongdoing.

10 My School DC, link to waitlist data and seats made available in lottery?, available at
last visited Ian. 23, 2017.

Kaya Henderson served as Chancellor of DCPS from November 2010 to September 2016.

12 Effective April 28, 2014, per the E-DPM Transmittal Sheet Number 216.

13 The OIG did not determine what discretionary transfers may have occurred outside of the scope of this
investigation.

Report of Investigation: 2016-1751 Amended I
Sub ject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 6 of

District Of?cial A EOM Executive Branch Appointment Rgiuest Approved

ApplicationjLottery Process: District Of?cial A applied through the My, School DC lottery on
February 2, 2015, and was subsequently waitlisted at all selected schools. Based on the My
School DC lottery application, District Of?cial A?s child did net meet either the sibling or the
proximity criteria for an out?of- boundary placement. According to the DCPS Enrollment
Boundary Information System (EBIS), District Of?cial A?s in?boundary school was Drew
Elementary School.

?21-'63!

Dist1ict Of?cial A ranked Watkins Elementary School (Watkins) as number threes-3:111 July. 2015
District Of?cial A?s child was offered a space at Watkins but did not enroll.

District Of?cial A rank-ed Capitol Hill Montessori School at Logan as number six.
My School DC application process closed, District Of??6iQ A?s child was still on the
waitlist at number 25. According to the My SchoolEDC Lottery and Enrollment Policy
Handbook, only citywide Montessori school) requires new students entering
grades 1-7 to have previous, continuous Monte??sori esp 14?"

the child p1ev1ously attended a Montessori s6hool


District Of?cial A ranked Inspired Teaching Deriionstr ation Public Charter School as number 2
In September 2015, District Of?ch A?s child was offered a space but did not emoll.

On August 13, 2015, Chancellor Henderson authorized a discretionary transfer to allow District
Of?cial A?s child to atte -





Email Correspondence I .
and Chancellor Hen 3'

On August 13, 20l5, at 2.35 PM, Chancellor Henderson emailed Dr. Nathaniel Beers,

former DCPS Chief (Operating Of?cer.15 Chancellor Henderson states:


[District Of?cial A?s child .going into the 1St grade, didn get into any
schools thi 011g]; the lottery (emphasis supplied). [District Of?cial is rsemoving
him from private school to demonstrate her support of DCPS Is there a grade
7 *slot available at Capitol Hill Montessori?

1? DCPS My-School DC Lottery and Enrollment Policy Handbook, Ver. 1 (Feb. 1, 2015), at 16.
15 Dr. Beers served as the Chief Operating Of?cer at DCPS from around July 2015 to August 2016. He le? the
District government in August 2016. I

Report of Investigation: 2016 1751 Amended
Subj ect?s Name: Kaya Henderson

Page 7 of 31
At 3:13 PM, Dr. Beers replied:
Let me go check.

Then, at 7: 25 PM that day, Dr. Beers emailed District Of?cial A, copying Chancellor
Henderson, and stating:

I am pleased to let you know that there is a space at Capitol Hill Montessori at
Logan for [District Of?cial A?s child]. I have included Principal] so
that you can connect with him and his team to get [District Of?cial A?s child]
enrolled and ready for fn st grade. Please let me know if I can help in any way

At 7: 29 PM, District Of?cial A responded to Dr. Beers andChancellor Henderson:

Thank you so much! [District Of?cial Ak'i?s, __Ehild] and I are 1ncred1bly excited
about this upcoming school year at Capitol Hill Montessori. [School principal], I
have been raving about you and [D1str""'t Off cial A?s child] can twait to meet

you.

OIG Interviews:
interviewed three 1nd1v1duals farmhar with thercircumstances underlying District Of?cial A?s
child attending a con?dennal source (C8) D1. Beers, and Chancellor Henderson.

CS explained to investigators the apphcatlon and enrollment process for the My School DC
lottery According to CS, placements made at through the My School DC lottery
process or afetcho sen __from the resulting waitlist. CS stated historically has a waitlist
of over 1 and rarely has an opening at the lower grades According to the source,
there were no available f1 st grade slots at the time District Ojj?" czal A?s child was placed at
However thE CS believed placements could be made at at the principals
request, the Chancellm s' d1sc1et1on or through an email from the Mayor CS believes that
?special? children, the children of city of?cials, did not have to go through any process to be
enrolled at the school.

Investigators interviewed Dr. Beers regarding his involvement with the enrollment process for
DCPS students. According to Dr. Beers, students attempting to gain admission to an out?of?
boundary school must enroll in the My School DC lottery process. In the lottery prOcess,
students are accepted into the school of their choice or are placed on a waitlist for the schools
identi?ed in their My School DC lottery application. Lottery results become available in March
or April. Dr. Beers explained that according, to the rules, DCPS is supposed to take the ?rst

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 8 of 31

child on the waitlist when a spot opens at a school. Dr. Beers believed there was one exception
to this rule, the ?Chancellor?s Prerogative,? where the Chancellor can place a child, outside the
lottery, in any DCPS school. Dr. Beers stated the Chancellor makes these'placements less-than
10 times per year, for reasons such as political appointees, military families living on base in the
District, or serious matters bullying). Dr. Beers stated that in November 2010, Chancellor -
Henderson made a discretionary transfer for his child who was waitlisted at a DCPS school.

Dr. Beers stated the Chancellor made a discretionary placement for District Official A. D1.
Beers advised that Chancellor Henderson sent him an email stating that District Of?cial A?s

identi?ed a placement at According to Dr. Beers, was?" .i-an over crowded

a.

school; however, it had a large waitlist

:r

Of?cial A?s child out of pr1vate school and place the child into a DCPS school?? :iChancellor
Henderson stated that when of?cials have their children 111 DCPS schools it shows trust in the
DCPS system, where there 13 a crisis of con?dence. When ?leaders? send their children to DCPS
schools instead of private schools, it makes DCPS a viable option for others. When asked by
investigators of her decision, Chancellor Henderson stated that Dist1ict Of?cial A was paying a
lot for private school,16 and added the child allegedly made the statement to District Of?cial A,

wish I could be a snake so I could shed this black?skln and be white. Chancellor Henderson

District Of?cial EOM Executlve Branch Appointment Request Approved

Application/Lottery Process District Of?cial registered 2 children in the My School DC
lottery on .March 26:2

i. .1
Emaili CorreSpondence 01G investigators identi?ed several emails related to the placement of
District .f?cml gs child in DCPS schools.

16 For SY 2014?20 15, the tuition for the private school mentioned in the interview, was over $3 0,000 per year.

Per the June 2016, District of Columbia Government Employee Listing, District Of?cial A?s salary was over

$150, 000. information about D. C. Employee salary information is available from:

f/dchr dc body employee information_jun
15_ 0

1? DCPS My School DC Lottery and Enrollment Policy Handbook, Ver. 1 (Feb. 1, 2015), at 13.

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 9 of 31 .

On July 16, 2015, at 1:15 PM, Dr. Beers wrote to District Of?cial B, stating:

I wanted to follow up with you about your child enrolling at Murch in first
grade. I have communicated with Principal to let him know that [District
Official B?s child] will be enrolling. Ihave included [the school principal] here
so that your family can connect with him and get the enrollment process started
Please let me know if theie 1s anything that I can do to help facilitate this process
for you and your family.

-I understand there IS an issue that has come up with enr Vlling your child at Murch.

As I have been told, we need to verify residency to ?nalize the process. Can you

I __Eure we have all of our paperwork 1n order for
her and school supply requiremnets yet?

OIG Interviews: 01G investigators interviewed Dr. Beers and Chancellor Henderson regarding
the placement of District O?icral 3 child. Dr. Beers stated Chancellor Henderson used her
Chancellor Henderson stated District Of?cial was moving into a particular neighborhood 1n
the and asked for 1econ1mendations. Chancellor Henderson suggested District Official
look at two particula1 schools and determine which would best meet their child?s needs; advising
that she would place the child at whatever school District Of?cial chose.

When asked why she used her discretion for District Of?cial B, Chancellor Henderson stated she
has given discretion to a lot of of?cials, commenting that in ?these jobs (referring to
positions in the District of Columbia government), we do not necessarily get paid as much as we
should, and people are working a lot.? When Chancellor Henderson granted a discretionary
transfer for District Of?cial B, District Of?cial was making well over $150,000 per year.
Chancellor Henderson was making approximately $3 00,000 per year. Chancellor Henderson

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 10 of 31

stated if she could help these government of?cials feel safe about where their children attend
school, then she should extend that courtesy. According to Chancellor Henderson, many District
agency directors requested discretionary placements (Henderson identi?ed three Speci?c
directors), and she denied those requests. I

District Of?cial DCPS School Principal Request Approved

Application/Lottery Process: District Of?cial registered through My School DC lottery on
June 18,2015, and selected School Without Walls (SWW). The student was placed 12th on the
waitlist and extended an offer on June 22,2015. On August 5,2015, PM, District

Official amended the My School DC application to eliminate SWW,replac1ng it with

on the Wilson waitlist at number 204. District Of?cial 3 child enrolled at?W1lson for SY 2015?

2016, and in December 2015, when the My School DC application process closed the student

was still being considered for placement and was ranked 187 on Wilson 3 waitlist because My

School DC was not advised of District Of?cial C?s child enrollmenpat,Wilson

On August 3,2015, Chancellor Henderson authorized a discretionary transfer to allow District

Of?cial 3 child to attend Wilson.

Email Correspondence: Investigators identi?ed several emails related to the placement of

District Of?cial .3 child schools
On July 22, 2015, at 1122 AM, District Official emailed Chancellor Henderson,
stating:

I sorry to bothenyou with a seemingly small matter, but could use your help
and advice in navrgeitmg a potential situation. .We completed the application
.?process for [School Without] Walls. .and he has been admitted. [District
Of?ciaLC 3 son] nowtl?nks he would like to go to Wilson (for football,
'4 __piimarily) I do not live in the attendance boundary for Wilson. .My son is
?iinot a behaworal problem, is a high achieving student (but lazy at times) and
though hel' is athletic, he is not a standout athlete that would draw unnecessary
attention oi" accusations of favoritism.

At this time, he is content to attend Walls but attending Wilson would be easier on
us, with time and transportation. Would it be possible for him to attend Wilson?
And if so, could you help me navigate any potential backlash? If it is too much of
a hassle, I will happily send him to Walls. That is a great choice and I have no
reservations at all about sending him there . . . .

After replying to District Of?cial on August 3?i at 8 :32 AM that she would ?check on?
the request, Chancellor Henderson forwarded District Of?cial C?s initial email to a DCPS

_Report of Investigation: 2016:1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 11 of 31

of?cial and Dr. Beers (at 12:05 PM), stating:
See below. I?m inclined to grant it. Any reasons Why I shouldn?t?

On August 3, 2015, at 1:15 PM, the DCPS of?cial responded to Chancellor Henderson
and Dr. Beers, stating:

This came to my attention Saturday and I completely agree- he should be able to
go to Wilson. The Only downside is that we haveg been so icz? on who goes to

Wilson due to them being over their em olln'zerzt.8 One -
son shouldn? make this an issue. (Emphasis supplied)


Ok. Dr. Beers, unless you see some reason lwhy we shouldn please go ahead and
grant the enrollment request. Thanks. -

On August 5,2015, at 8: 15 AM, Chan Henderson emailed District Of?cial C,

stating:

I think we?re all set.

stating:


At 8:20 AM, District Of?cial responded to Chancellor Henderson, stating:

It already has been better
Thanks Again.

OIG'In'terviews: OIG investigators interviewed Chancellor Henderson regarding the placement
of District Of?cial C?s child.

?3 During SY 1445, Wilson had 1,788 students enrolled. Data obtained from the DCPS SY 1445 Enrollment
Audit, available at
l5%20Enrollment%20Audit.xlsx. Last visited February 8, 2017.

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subj ect?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 12 of 31

Chancellor Henderson stated the child of District Official was accepted into however,
Chancellor Henderson allowed District Of?cial C?s child to attend Wilson because there were a
better selection of electives and more African?Americans at Wilson than at SWW. Chancellor
Henderson explained that when she ?rst met District Of?cial C, District Of?cial shared with
Chancellor Henderson the reason she wanted to move the child from his current high school
(outside of the District) was because he was the only African?American boyfa at the school.
Chancellor Henderson stated that if Dist11ct Of?cial 3 son was as an African-
American man then the transfer made sense, and it freed up a slot at ?the most sought after
school [in the city,] SWW. 19 Investigators showed Chancellor Henderson the emails between
her and District Of?cial and asked whether District Of?cial 3 request for her to attend
Wilson for football was a valid reason to exeicise her d1scret1onai?y Chancellor
Henderson claimed she did not recall the reason for District Of?cial __request was for football,
stating that it is a? ?no ?no to grant a discretionary placement request for athletic 1easons.

gain entry into Wilson 15 to go through a feeder? school orxreque'st the Chancellor use her
discretion.

them both as the top choice.

Chancello1 Henderson did not authorize a discretionary transfer fo1 District Of?cial D?s child to
attend Murch

1?
Email Corfespondence OIG investigators identi?ed several emails related to the placement of
District Of?c1al 8 Child Ept March:

On August at 5:07 PM, District Of?cial emailed Chancellor Henderson,
copying Chancellor Henderson?s Assistant and Chief of Staff:

19 OIG review of the student demographics at SW and Wilson for SY 2015?2016 indicate the schools were
approximately 36% and 39% Black, respectively; and approximately 50% of students enrolled at Wilson were out?
?of?boundary students. Data obtained from the DCPS SY 14?1 5 Enrollment Audit, available at obtained
Last visited February 3; 2017. For SY 201462015,
SWW had 590 students em oiled and Wilson had 1,788 students enrolled Data obtained ?om the DCPS SY 14-15
Enrolhnent Audit, available at
l1_ttp: //dcps. dc.
15%20Enrollment%20Audit. Last visited February 8,2017

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson

Page 13 of 31

I am attaching a discretionary placement request [at Murch] for your review. If
you have any questions or need additional information to deliberate this request
please feel free to contact me. Thanks for your consideration.

On August 3, 2015, at 6:19 PM, Chancellor Henderson forwarded the email to Dr. Beers:

See attached. New head of [District Agency]. Any reason why we can't
accommodate this?

For the record before this year, I did ZERO discretionary
time as Chancellor- ZERO. ..



ac??irqpents in my entire

On August 4, 2015, at 5:57 AM Dr. Beers respond??j

I will check what the enrollment situation is Given that she is already in bounds
at Deal, I suspect Shepard is her neighborhood school Lalo want to just ask you if
you want to do this one givenz, that it could turn into all the agencies directors
feeling like they should have this rightm



On August 4, 2015, at 5:57 AM Chancell ildenderspn responded:

That cool. I haven .I done it for other agency directors and I am happy saying
we can make it work at M111 ch so Shepherd is the only option. Murch IS super?
crowded.

On August 5, 2015, at 9:02 AM, Chilaficellor Hendersonresponded:

'ct Of?cial


into the situation and we have four different 5th grade classes at Murch.
class currently has 24 students which is pres sing the space that we have
available at Murch, since it has not yet undergone a modernization.
Unfortunately, I not able to place your daughter at Murch If you like, I?m
happy to have one of my placement specialists contact you to help you explore
other Options. Please let me know how else we can be helpful. Sorry that we
aren?t able to meet this particular request.

On August 12, 2015, 10:35 AM, District Official emailed Chancellor Henderson:
I have spent the past week working with your staff to identify schools that will be

a match for given her academic background and our family?s recent transition
to this new social environment. I hope that you will be able to respond favorably

Report of Investigation: 20 16? 1751 - Amended
Subj eet?s Name: Kaya Henderson

Page 14 of 31
to this request.

On August 12, 2015, 10:47 AM, Chancellor Henderson forwards District Of?cial D?s
email to Dr. Beers:

Thoughts? I?m kind of disappointed that it?s the standard list of Ward 3 schools.
If her kid is so shy, why would you send her to Lafayette?

43-.

So the class size range is from 22? 25 except at Hearst where it is 18.
either encourage Powell or offer Hearst x.

On August 13, 2015, at 3:16 PM, Dr. Beers emailed Chancellor Henderson

Did you decide what you are doing with [District Of?cial

On August 13, 2015, at 3:18 PM, ChanGellor Hendersog sponded to Dr. Beers? email:

requests .

District Ef?eial CPS Teacher Request Denied

Appli anon/Lottery Process: Distiict Of?cial submitted an application to My School DC
lottery on anuaryj 29 2015, and ranked as the ?rst choice. District Of?cial E?s child
was ranked number 182 on the waitlist.

Chancellor Henderson did not'authorize a discretionary transfer for District Of?cial E?s child to
attend

Email Corre5pondence: investigators identified several emails related to the placement of
District Of?cial E?s child at

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subj ect?s Name: Kaya Henderson

Page 15 of 31

On April 8, 2015, at 1:30 PM, the DCPS Teacher sent an email to Chancellor Henderson,
copying principal:

This fall, my daughter, will be eligible for PK3 and I would love to enroll her at
our school. Unfortunately, we are very far down the list on the lottery (#182) and
it looks like she will not get in. I would like to ask you to use your Chancellor's
preference to have her accepted to Capitol Hill Montessori. I realize that
accepting my daughter off the lottery waiting list is out of [school principal?s]
hands, which is why I am appealing to you

I am proud of our school and want my daughter to attend PK here where I am It
cannot be overstated that it also makes sense for me to focus my energies at one
school rather than two A sense of family community is nnportant at any school

i . and DCPS recognizes that by g1v1ng,51blmg\preference 1n the lottery system. It is
my experience that schools are stren?

community, too.




I truly appreciate your c9
Visit our class'sometirn

On April 22, 2015, at 12: 34 the principal emailed Chancellor Henderson,
following up on Dist11ct Official E?s request

Chancellor Henderson

Have you had an opportunity to read [District Of?cial email below? If so,
have you reached a decision?


Thank-flou for all that you do.

Principal]

On April 27, 2015, at 10:00 AM, Chancellor Henderson responded to
principal:

Principal],

.

I must say, I Was somewhat taken aback by this request and your endorsement of
it. Is there some reason that I don?t [mow about that makes you think I should

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subj ect?s Name: Kaya Henderson

Page 16 of3l

intervene in this particular case, but not in any other case of teachers or parents
who don?t get the-result they want in the lottery? How would I explain to other
teachers or to anyone why [District Official E?s] child deserves a spot over any
other parent who followed the rules that we all agreed on for enrollment in a
limited number of seats (Emphasis supplied)? What am I missing here?

On April 27, 2015, at 11:38 AM, the principal responded to Chancellor Henderson:

Chancellor Henderson,

[District Of?cial told me that she was going to email yep to' see if there was
anything you could do to get her child acceptedymto the schpohwhere she
currently works. I told her that I didn't knowzif that was posmble eithe?fi I never
gave [District Of?cial the impression that your 1esponse would be any
different than mine She told me that she would copy me on the email.

When [District Of?cial did not hear from you, she asked if I could send an
email to you to see if you had reached a decision. I was attempting chance to read her erdail because I anticipate [District Of?cial
moving and possibly If she leaves, that means that I

I am aware that [District Of?cial E?s] child has been accepted at J. O. Wilson
which 13 still 1n close proximity to where [District Of?cial currently lives and

unable to grant [District Of?cial E?s] request to use the Chancellor's

?I?l?ieferenee to place her child at Capitol Hill Montessori. If] am willing to grant

that request for [District O?i?cial I must also he will ing to grant that request to
any other DCPS teacher whose child didn?t get into the school they so desired.
Since that would totally upend the lottery system, it?s not something that I've done
before nor will I do at this point (Emphasis supplied.) As a parent whose child
didn't get into ANY of the schools we preferenced in the pre?K lottery two years.
in a row, I understand your frustration, [District Official However, I don't

Report .of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subj ect?s Name: Kaya Henderson.

Page 17 of31

think the answer to that frustration is to use my limited discretion in cases like
this.

Kaya Henderson

On April 27, 2015, at 5:20 PM, District Of?cial responded to Chancellor Henderson?s
email:
"t
Your reply to my request is reasonable and clear. I cannot ask for an exception
for myself alone simply because I am an exceptional teacher. I would also like
you to consider all of your teachers, and the untested consequences of? removmg
discretion over the lottery from the hands of 1nd1v1dual school prmcipals'.?

?down enforcement of this policy will push me and teachers like me out of
DCPS A teacher's choice of employmenj?is also her choice-1:134:5 community. In
my case, I am devoted to my Montesson commumty Ibelieve this IS part of what
makes an exceptional teacher. But I Eklso devoted to my daughter and I will


On April 27, 2015, at 9: 48 PM, Chancellor Henderson: iesponded to District Official 3
email: it? gal

transparency, and lack of access to high quality seats in the decentt alized
Itianagement? 615?" the lottery, and?xmg that is important to me (Emphasis
supplied ill know that in some schools, we could ?ll all of the empty seats with

s? Lalsodcnoyvqas a parent who didn't get any choices in the pre?K lottery
for my thatng?; pr .IOi?lty above all else was getting him into a good pre?

r3


I am clear that our policies don't necessarily meet everyone's needs. But our goal
is to be as fat) and transparent as possible (Emphasis supplied). My hope is that
you ll consider other pre- -K options Wi?iin DCPS, so that you can remain in DCPS
i .?__where you are clearly doing good work. However, if that isnt possible, I
understand

OIG Interviews: OIG investigators questioned Chancellor Henderson about the placement of
the DCPS Teacher?s child.

Report of Investigation: 2016-1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page ?18 of 31

Chancellor Henderson stated she does not approve teacher preferences because there are 4,100
teachers in she looks at the impact teacher preferences would have on the most sought?
after schools. OIG agents asked Chancellor Henderson how it?was fair to approve discretionary
placements for specific individuals and not others. Chancellor Henderson said she granted
approvals in certain circumstances and could apply discretion however she likes.

Chancellor Henderson continued, individuals did not have to like how she made discretionary
placements but she tried to do what was best. Chancellor Henderson stated no one shared with
her how discretionary placements should be made.

N-a?

Nevertheless, on August 19, 2015, Chancellor Henderson authorized transfer to
allow Citizen 1?s child to attend Horace Mann Elementary School (Mann), as if the My School
DC lottery rules had been followed.

Email Correspondence: OIG investi? denti?ed several emails related to the placement of

Henderson:

[Citizen 1]

Iram pleased to let you know that we are looking forward to enrolling your
daughtel 2nd grade at Mann Elementary. I have included [school principal]
here so that she can connect you with the correct people on her team tc get the

E?r-x

wemove iowards the first day of school on August 24th.

OIC Interviews: 01G agents interviewed Dr. Beers and Chancellor Henderson regarding the
placement of Citizen 1?s child.

According to Dr. Beers, Citizen I'had to take his children out of private school and put them in
DCPS, as it showed a trust in the DCPS system. Dr. Beers advised that Chancellor Henderson
makes the final decision regarding discretionary placements.

Chancellor Henderson stated she granted discretionary placement for [Citizen 1?s] youngest
child because she did not feel she could deny the request when his other children were already in

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson

Page 19 of 31
the school.20 Chancellor Henderson said she saw [Citizen 1?s] wife at an event and they
discussed a move back to the city. [Citizen 1] called Chancellor Henderson shortly after and
asked if his child could go to Mann. Chancellor Henderson felt that because her predecessor
placed his other children at Mann, to some extent, Chancellor Henderson felt an expectatiOn to
continue that preference for this family. Chancellor Henderson approved the discretionary
placement because she felt it looks good for the school district when an elected of?cial reaches
out about his child attending a DC public school.


was waitlisted at Maury Elementary School and 1anked 191:1g
School Goding as the third choice. Citizen 2?s child was- waitlisted at 1 Within?School
Goding and ranked 281. --

On July 24, 2015, Chancellor Henderson authorized a nansfer to allow Citizen 2?s
child to attend the D. C. public school of Citize?? 2?s choosing

Citizen 2?s child in DCPS Schools.

On July 16, 2015, at Dr. Beers emaile f?hancellor Henderson:

1 am close on [Citizen 3 but need a little more info on [Citizen 2? 3 child].
Any prefgi?ence Within the 5 or are We just looking to see where We have space
Within thoser nAlso, do you know if Van Ness is an option or not? Once I settle

I wanted to reach out to you on behalf of the Chancellor and offer you a
placement for your child at School Within?School Goding. I have included
Principal who can help you get [your child] eniolled in a Prek? 3 class. You
should work with Principal to get the em olhnent paperwork in so that we can
?assure [your child] a space in August; Please let me know if 1 can assist in any
way.

2? Based on publically available information, the children Chancellor Henderson referenced would be high-school
age at the time relevant to this investigation. It appears Chancellor Henderson was providing historical perspective.

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 20 of 31

OIG Interviews: OIG investigators questioned Chancellor Henderson about the placement of
Citizen 2?s child.

Chancellor Henderson admitted to granting ?a discretionary placement for Citizen 2? 3 child.
Citizen 2 worked for a foundation that partnered with DCPS. Chancellor Henderson stated the
first person who called her was Citizen 2? 3 mother requesting placement for her grandchild in a
DCPS school because they did not get placed at any of their school choices in the My School DC
lottery. Pre? classes are not guaranteed in the lottery and Citizen 2 motherwanted the child,
who lived in Ward Capitol Hill school. The family was originally looking at
School? Within-School (SWS). At the time DCPS was opening a school in Van Ness and gigas
trying to ?ll the new school with students. Chancellor Henderson. stated Citizen 2 End tgfeyfamily
visited Van Ness and loved it. Chancellor Henderson believed this child had a space at SWS, but
the Chancellor convinced them to attend Van Ness. OIG investigators advised Chancellor
Henderson that Citizen 2?s child was 281St on the SWS waitlist Chancellor Henderson
acknowledged that Citizen 2? 3 child was ranked fai downon the SWS waitlist but because
Citizen 2 supported District students she would havg beensinclined to giant the request for SWS
had they not chosen Van Ness. Chancellor Henderso .stated?s knew this individual was doing

?awesome things? for children in the District and if shei couldhelp with placing this child she
Would do so. Chancellor Henderson stated that putting on; child a school every once in a

candy.?

Citizen 3? Former:; Classmate of gliancellor Henderson? Request Approved


Application/Lottery 3 reglstered 1n the My School DC lottery on April 20,

2015, and ranked Lafayette Elementary School as the top choice. Citizen 3 child was 221 on

the waitlist.
.,

x51:

On July 16,1201 5%:IChance1101 Henderson authorized a discretionary transfer to allow Citizen 3 3
child to attend Lafayette Elementary School.

Kiri".
Email Corresponden cez- :g IG investigators identified several emails related to the placement of
Citizen 3 3 child:

On July 16, 2015, at 12:21 PM, Dr. Beer's emailed Chancellor Henderson:

1 am close on [Citizen 3?s child], but need a little more info on [Citizen 2?s child].
Any preference within the 5 or are we just looking to see where we have space
within those? Also, do you know if Van Ness is an option or not? Once I settle
do you want me to contact the parents or do you want me to follow up with them
on your behalf? twill-need contact info to follow up.

Report of Investigation: 2016-1751 Amended
Sub ject"s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 21 of 31

On July 16, 2015, at 4:10 PM, Dr. Beers emailed Citizen 3:

I am contacting you in reference to enrolling your son at Lafayette Elementary
. School in Pre?K. I have included [school principal] to have he1 team assist in this
process. Please work with [school principal] to get the enrollment packet 111 as
soon as possible so that we can ensure that [your child] can be part of this year"s
Pre?K class. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

OIG Interviews: OIG investigators questioned Chancellor Henderson about the placement of
Citizen 3 3 child


advising investigators that she and Citizen 3 attended graduate school to geth at Georgetown
University. According to Chancellor Henderson, the b1ggestpopu1at10n diamnn the District has
been African?American middle class families She said she recrulted Citizen 3" child to attend
DCPS schools since he was born. Chancellor Henderson believed Cltizen 3" 3 child attends
Lafayette. When investigators advised her of Citizen 3" 3 position on the waitlist, Chancellor
Henderson acknowledged that when she exerc1sed her discretion for one child another child on
the waitlist did not get into the requested scho':1


Citizen 4 Former White House; :Request Approved
Application/Lottery Process: Citizen 4 registered two 1n the My School DC lottery on
March 3, 2015; child 1 was waitlistedgt all 9 schools and child 2 was waitlisted at schools 1?,6
matched and subsequentally declined at" school choice 7. Citizen 4 ranked Mann as the 5th and

thchoice for their children. One child was: "ranked 40th on the waitlist, and the other child was
r6anl<ed 5th for a different grade at Mann. On" August 14, 2015, Dr. Beers notified Citizen 4 that
the request for a discretionary placement was granted.

On August 1231 Henderson authorized a discretionary transfer to allow Citizen
4" childrenito attend Mann where they ultimately enrolled.

Email C01 respondence investigators identified several emails related to the placement of
Citizen 4" childr en~at

On July 17, 2015, at 12:33 PM, Citizen 4 emailed Chancellor Henderson:
Hi Kaya,
Many thanks for support and pa1ticipation next week.

And on an unrelated note, I?m hoping you might have a few minutes for me to
check?in on a nonuAdministration related matter, once you return to the office.

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson

Page 22 0131

May we schedule a brief call at your convenience? This one on a non?1n gent
timeline?

On JIily' 24, 2015, Chancellor Henderson was scheduled to have a conference call with
Citizen 4. .

On July 24, 2015, at 9:16 AM, a former DCPS of?cial emailed Chafi?iellor Henderson:

Last I knew his kids went to a charter school but I an remember which one

(and neither can




Here are the class sizes for the schools [Citizen 4] 1s interested 1n. I talked with
him and they are not interested in Oysterco?ii other DL schools at this point. They
are 1eally trying to get into the Deal feeder pattern. Based on the numbers below,
1 would recommend Mann (which won ?t get them Deal) since there IS a little more
room particularly at 4th grade Let me know and I will contact the family and
Princ1pal~~

9 AM, Chancellor Henderson reaponded to Dr. Beers:

On August 14, 2015 at 9. 36 AM, D1. Beers emailed Citizen 4, copying Chancellor
ii: {Henderson
I want to connect you with [school principal] so that you can begin connect [sic]
[get your children enrolled at- Mann She does know you are out of town till
Win-[ext week. We are looking forward to them Joining us in DCPS. Please let me
know if I can help in anyway.

On August 14, 2015, at 2:10 PM, Citizen 4 responded to Dr. Beers? email:

I My family and I greatly appreciate your consideration and help with the
enrollment process. Thank you! We?re looking forward to joining the DCPS

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subj ect?vs Name: Kaya Henderson .
Page 23 of 31

community this year.
OIG Interviews: Chancellor Henderson was interviewed about the discretionary placement of
Citizen 4?s children.

Chancellor Henderson admitted she granted a. discretionary placement for Citizen 4, after they
discussed it over the phone. According to Chancellor Henderson, Citizen 4 held a position at the
White House, and when people from the White House send their children to a DCPS school, it
shows high ranking of?cials? trust in the school system, leading to the theory that it will Show
others should also trust the DCPS school system.

Citizen 5? DCPS Parent? Request Demed

Application/Lottery Process Citizen 5 registered in the My School DC lottery on
December 18, 2014, and identi?ed Brent as the 1S ch01ce and Ross as the 255., Citizen 5? 3 child
was 128 on the Brent waitlist and 154 on the Ross waitlist \On May 13, 2015 Citizen 5
petitioned Chancellor Henderson for a discretionary, ansfer for jboth schools. However, on May
13, 2015, the Principal at Ross emailed both Citizen 5? ?jj
Citizen 5? 3 request, and on May 14, 2015, the Principal at Brent emailed Citizen 5 and
Chancellor Henderson, also denying Citizen 5?s request. There is no record of a response from
Chancellor Henderson to Citizen 5 request.

"x
Chancellor Henderson did not authorize a d1sc1etionaiy transfer to allow Citizen 5? 3 child to
attend either Brent or Ross. ..

People and began my education at age 10 having not even known I had a name
and having never attended a school until immigrating to the USA. My husband is
hearing and 1s a Moroccan immigrant He is ?uent in ASL, French, Arabic,
Berber and English

[Citizen 5 ?3 child], our 3 year old daughter is ready to begin pre?school and we
would love to have her attend Brent Elementary school where there is [sic] other
Children of Deaf Adults (CODA). Given my children are able to use both signed
and spoken languages, my husband and I believe these schools would maximize

Report of Investigation: 2016?175 1 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson

Page 24 of 31

Brent.

her potential.

I am appealing to you for help so that [Citizen 5 ?5 child] can be enrolled this
coming school year. As you will find when you get to meet her, she is a very
intelligent little girl with a passion for learning. While I went on to cam my BA
at Gallaudet and MA from New York University even after being behind my
peers by 10 years, I pray my children Will have a better start to their education
than I ever had. I know you can make it happen.

I thank you in advance for your anticipated response in tliefa?innatlve

On May 13, 2015, at 4:54 PM, [Ross Principal] emailed Citizen 5 and Chancellor
Henderson: lbs}

Hello,

Thank you for your inter est in As discussed at the Open House,
all PK3 and PK4 spots are allocated v1a the online lottery run through
orgf'ii-r

At this time, I am not able to accommodate all of the in?boundary families
seeking a: PK3 spot and am running a very long wait list.

[Ross School Principal]

53.

On May?14 2015, at 7. 55 AM, Brent?s Principal responded to Citizen 5, copying
Chancellor Henderson:

Thanks for reaching out on behalf of your daughter. Unfortunately, all Early
Childhood seats at Brent have been accounted for school year 2015?2016 via the
DCPS lottery. I've cc'd my direct supervisor, so she is aware of the request, as
Well as who heads the DCPS Enrollment Team. team can point you in the
right direction in terms of trying to secure an ECE spot at another school.

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 4 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 25 of 31

01G Interviews: Chancellor Henderson was interviewed about the discretionary placement of
Citizen 5?s child. -

When asked about these requests, Chancellor Henderson said she did not recall'this case.
Chancellor Henderson said there is a large demand for Brent and DCPS previously increased
their early childhood classroom sizes. Chancellor Henderson speculated that her denial could
have been based on the fact that classroom sizes at Brent were already expanded and could not
change anymore Chancellor Henderson said she usually would call the in a situation
like this, but could not 1ecall if the principal at Brent had information beyond th5?erna1l the.
Chancellor received from Citizen 5 that may have impacted her decision. Chancelldf Hehderson
said she would have no reason to deny the request other than the pnnc1pal?s objection t?5 the
request.

to place Speci?c children 111 DCPS schools.

1137."?
274;.

Chancellor Hendei son stated she usqd?her authouty to make discrenonary placements in
situations that benefit a student Chancellm Henderson believed she had the
discretion to place any student 111 any DCPS schools According to Chancellor Henderson
discretionary placements were?; not something umque to her, as they were often made by he1
p1edecessors. Chancellor Henderson stated she made discretionary placements sparingly over
the past 6 years often in cases of rmhtary families, students that must be moved for safety

According to Chancellor Henderson in the past, District leadership did not send their children to
but that has changed. Chancellor Henderson felt she was fairly? ?judicious? in
makmg d1s01et1ona1y placements; she had only done what previous Chancellors had done, and
she felt that she did not abuse her authmity. She said she ?was proud to stand up and say she
people from the White House and government officials are sending their children to D. C. public
schools.? Chancellm Henderson also said, parents are given different levels of
credibility.? Chancellor Henderson said she helped a military family get their third child into
where the other two we1e already enrolled. Chancellor Henderson presented this
example as evidence that she ?do [es] not just use [her] discretion for high dollar individuals,
[she] use[s her] discretion fci non?high dollar people as well.?

investigators provided Chancellor Henderson a copy of the DCMR provisions relating to
out?of?boundary transfers. While reviewing 5E DCMR 2106.5 and 2106.6, Chancellor

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Snbject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 26 of 31

Henderson stated the out-of?boundary transfer process and discretionary placements were not
separate transfers. At the conclusion of the application process, the Chancellor then-has the
authority to g1 ant discretionary placements and place Children wherever he or she wants.
Chancellor Henderson said it was the responsibility of the Deputy Mayor for Education
to ensure the 13 aligned regarding out?of? boundary transfers, and there was no formal
process to request discretionary placements; some families know about it While others do not.
However OIG investigators reviewed the D. C. Code and DCMR and found no p1 that
discuss the Chancellor autho1ity to make d1501 etionary transfers other than out?of? boundaiy
transfers pursuant to SE DCMR 2106.

Chancellor Henderson said she unde1stood the appearance of 1111p1 opr1e . hen __she authorized
discretionary placements but advised that each decision was best inte-i estri?the _child.
Chancellor Henderson was unclear why her decisions regarding discretionary placements

constituted misconduct. Chancellor Henderson stated that 1 what she did was improper, then

there should be boundaries or guidelines on the discretionary placement rule, such as a written
explanation from the Chancellor. .

ANALYSIS

This investigation examined the allegationthat Kaya Henderson then?Chancellor of DCPS, from
April 2015 to August 2015, gave pre erentlalrtreatment when she auth011zed discretionary school
tr'ansfers in response to requests froniF- certain government of?cials and members of the
public. When granting these requests, CF cellorrldenderson circumvented My School DC
lotteiy system requirements 121%" Set forth 1n25E 2106. 6, in violation of District Personnel
Manual (DPM) 1800. 3 which states, ?[e]mployees shall act impartially and not give

preferential treatment to any private, Organization or individual.?


According to SE DCMR 2106. reviewing the request f01 out of boundary transfers, the
Chancellm shallrverify stated reasons for the 1equest and fairly administer a lottery held DCPS
headquarters,, givm'g?" preferences to students in accordance with the reasons for than transfer
requests in the same order as those reasons [sibling p1 eference, walking distance, or parent/0r

guardian prefe:,the reqlhe ted school] appear in 2106.2

Further, 5E states ?[t]he Chancellor, and only the Chancellor, is authorized to
grant a discretionary transfer and set the duration of the approval of the transfei when the
Chancellor determines that the transfer would be in the best interests of the student, and that the
transfer would promote the overall interests of the school system.? (Emphasis supplied.)

Collectively, the DCMR sections require a- parent seeking an out? ofuboundary transfer to first
register their child in the My School DC lottery. Through the lottery, applications are evaluated

21 Note: According to Chancellor Henderson Training Summary obtained ough PeopleSoft, she successfully
completed ?Ethics Standards DC Employees? 011 12/31/2012.

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subj ect?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 27 of 31

and the children are ranked based on the criteria enumerated in SE DCMR 2106.2. It is only

. after the lotteryprocess is completed that a parent may seek a discretionary transfer from the
Chancellor as speci?ed in SE DCMR 2106.6. In evaluating requests for discretionary transfer,
the Chancellor must determine whether the transfer would be?both in the best interest of the
student and would promote the overall interests of the school system.

The out?of?boundary transfer process does not permit the Chancellor to place children wherever
he 01 she wants, at any time. If the application and lotte1y requirements set forth 1n 5E DCl?va
2106.3 through 2106.5 are followed the Chancellor is authorized to grant a
transfer that would be in the best interests of the student and promote a rall interests of the
school system as set forth in SE DCMR 2106 6. W.

[Qa?
Requests for Transfer

This investigation reviewed 10 instances where Chancellor Henderson approved or denied
discretionary t1ansfer requests. In contention is how Chancellor Henderson applied her
discretion in approving or denying the requestsf - - as

ea? {53:
if": .me'

Chancellor Henderson granted 7 of 10 requests 3 fogD C. government of?cials (2 Mayoral
Appointees and 1 DCPS principal); and 4 for pr1vate Citizens (a former District elected of?cial,
the director of a non?pro?t organization that partii?ers with a former classmate of the
Chancellor and a White House Staffer). Chancelloi? Henderson denied three requests:- one from
a D. C. government of?cial (a Mdyoral Appointee) and two from private citizens (a teacher at
and a deaf parent wishing to enroll her student in a school that could support ASL
instruction). 3?

reglstered n1 the 1V1y School DC lottery. Chancellor Henderson ignored the lottery results and
disregarded where the children were ranked on the waitlist. For example Chancellor Henderson
acknowledged that when she granted a discretionary transfer for Citizen 3 5 child to attend
Lafayette :she understood the 220 children on the waitlist ahead of Citizen 3 5 child would be
disadvantagedtand would not gain admission to Lafayette. Further there IS no evidence that
Chancellor Henderson made a determination that the discretionary transfers were in the best
interests of the student and Would promote the interest of the overall school system.

Chancellor Henderson admitted she granted discretionary transfers based on the value she placed -
on either the requesting individual?s prominence or the individual?s contributions to the

community, and her perceived bene?t of having their children enrolled in DCPS schools. When
discussing District Of?cial A, the Chancellor explained that when officials have their children in

Report of Investigation: 2016?l751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 23 of 31

DCPS schools, it shows trust in the DCPS system, where she believes there is a crisis of
con?dence. Further, according to the Chancellor, when ?leaders? send their children to DCPS
schools instead of private schools, it makes DCPS a viable option for other families. Chancellor
Henderson also told investigators that District of?cial A was paying ?a lot? for private school,
and wanted the child moved because the child had allegedly stated, wishI could be a snake so
I could shed this black skin and be white.? However, prior to the Chancellor granting the
discretionary transfer for District Of?cial A?s child to attend (DiStrict Of?cial A?s 6th
choice in the lottery), District Of?cial A was offered and declined enrollment'at Watkins
Elementary, District Of?cial A?s 3rd choice in the lottery. In addition, investigators were advised
that there were no available lS grade slots at the time District Of?cial A child was placed in l_St
grade at This gives the appearance that Chancellor Henderson sought to giv
individuals what they wanted, rather than evaluating the reason f??i request and determining that
the transfer was in the child?s best interest and would promote the interest of the overall school
system.

?Pr: - .-
.: '1 A
#2511 :I?h
?1

District Of?cial did not meet the enrollment deadline requirements per My3 School DC lotte1y
policy. After the lottery enrollment deadline, schools?weie not obligated to enroll lottery?
matched students and will offer remaining seats to studentsiontheir waitlist. On July 16,2015,
Chancellor Henderson, through Dr. Beers, assisted District Of?cralaB with enrolling at Murch
Elementary School. This assistance continued into August 2015 name than 5 months after being

extended a waitlist offer at Mureh, Di trict Of?cial was still in the enrollment process.

11.

Chancellor Henderson stated she granted discretionary placements to ?a lot? of District of?cials
because she believed they, including herself werelnot suf?ciently compensated in accordance
with their responsibilities The investigation determined that when Chancellor Henderson
granted discretionary transfersfor/Distiict Of?cials A and B, both earned over $150, 000 ,per
year, and Chancellor Henderson" approximately $300, 000 per year. All DCPS schools are
free for District residents. Chancellor Hendei son also stated that if she could help these District
of?cials to ?feel?safe? about where their children attended school, then she should extend that

courtesy. Further "as?District residents, these individuals had guaranteed placement at an in-
boundary DCPS school? The requests f01 discretionary transfer reviewed by the OIG, did not

. l. 1

Chancellm Henderson Stated she granted a discretionary placement for District Of?cial child
at Wilson because the school offered a better selection of electives and there were more African-
Americans at Wilson than SWW. Chancellor Henderson explained that when she first met
District Of?cial C, District Of?cial shared with Chancellor Henderson the reason she wanted
to move the child from his current high school (outside of the District) was because he was the
only Afiican-American boy at the school. Chancellor Henderson stated that if Of?cial C?s son
was ?struggling as an African?American man? then the transfei made sense, and it fieed up a slot
at the most sought after school in the city, SWW. However, District Of?cial 3 stated reason
for discretionary placement, was that the child ?thinks he would like to go to Wilson (for football
primarily)? District Of?cial advised they did not live within the boundary for Wilson, and the

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subject?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 2901' 31

move ?would be easier on us for time and transportation.? OIG review of the student
demographics at SWW and Wilson for SY 2015-2016 indicated the schools were approximately
36% and 39% Black, respectively. Further, District Of?cial told Chancellor Henderson that if
the transfer ?was too much of a hassle, I will happily send him to Walls. That is a great choice
and I have no reservations at all about sending him there.? According to a DCPS of?cial?s
August 3, 2015, email, at the time District Of?cial C?s child was placed at Wilson, Wilson was

over-enrolled.

Citizen 1 did not register for the My School DC lottery, but called Chancellor Henderson and
requested a discretionary transfer for Mann. According to Chancellor ender son she granted the
discretionary placement for Citizen 1 because a previous Chancellor g1 anted a. d1scret1onary
placement for Citizen 1 3 other children for Mann, and she felt compelled?to on end the same
District when a former elected of?cial reaches out about a attending a DCPS school.
Chancellor Henderson granted a discretionary transfer for (31121261ng because she believed Citizen
2 was doing? awesome things? for children in the District. Citizen 2? was the Director of a non~
pro?t that partnered with DCPS. Chancellor Henderson stated she would have granted a transfer

Chancellor Henderson granted a discretionary tran fer for Citizen 3, who attended graduate

school with the Chancellor at Georgetown Umvers1ty ?ancellor Henderson told investigators
that she had recruited Citizen 3? "_ld to attend a DCPS?school since birth. Citizen 3 ranked
Lafayette as the top choice 1n the lottery, but was 221 on the waitlist. Chancellor Henderson
acknowledged that when she granted the?discret1onary placement for the child, she understood
that children higher on the waitlist would not get into Lafayette.

Chancellor Henderson granted a discretionary placement for Citizen 4 because Citizen 4 worked
at the White House Chancellor Henderson stated that when people from the White House send
their childre?f? to a DCPS school, it shows trust in the DCPS school system.

Chancellor Henderson stated that 1n the past, leadership did not send their children to D. C. public
schools but now they 359 EShe said she? was proud to stand up and say she, people from the
White House, and government officials are sending their children to D. C. public schools.?
Chancellor Henderson also said, parents are given different levels of credibility.?
Chancellor Henderson said she helped a military family get their third child into
where the other two were already enrolled. Chancellor Henderson presented this example as
evidence that she ?do [es] not just use [her] discretion for high dollar individuals; [she] use[s her]
discretion for non?high dollar people as well.?

Report of Investigation: 2016-175 1 Amended
Subj ect?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 30 of 31

Chancellor Denies Discretionary Transfers

Chancellor Henderson?s stated rationale for denying District-Of?cial E?s request for a
discretionary placement was that granting it to a DCPS teacher ?would totally upend the lottery
system, it?s not something that I've done before nor will I do at this point.? Chancellor
Henderson admonished District Of?cial E, ow would I explain to other teachers or to anyone
why [your] child deserves a spot over any other parent who followed the we all agreed
on for enrollment in a limited number of seats? What am I missing here?? Dihhipt Of?cial E?s
request preceded all other requests evaluated in this investigation. Chancellor
denial of District Of?cial E?s request and the basis for the denial ,?emonstrate the Chabc??br?s
knowledge of the preper administration of the My School DC lottgi?y
In regard to Citizen 5, where there was a demonstrable need for a cl?ld?f??g?e plated at a speci?c
school, Chancellor Henderson chose not to intercede oniilge child?s behal?lifgeghancellor
Henderson offered that she may not have was at eniolhnent capacity.
In comparison, Chancellor Henderson approvedga dis transfer for District Official C,

whose son wanted to play football at 1? ,ding to Chancellor Henderson

had capacity of 1500, but had 1800 students ?girdled, Chippellidifi?enderson also authorized a
discretionary transfer for District Of?cial A?s where there were no available
grade slots at the time the transfer was gradb, and there was no evidence
indicating Of?cral A?s child met the requrremequtfjt?o have prevrous, contlnuous
Montessori experience to qualifyifiggqadrnission to the sb?ool.

Chancellor Henderson denied Districtxiijiljfpicial D?s request after Dr. Beers questioned the
approval stating, do want to just ask youif you want to do this one, given that it could turn
into all of the agencyidiredtiirs feeling like have this right.? During her interview,
Chancellor Henderssavid?shiexdemed the requests of many District agency heads, and
speci?cally Agency Directors? requests for discretionary transfers.

a.

Chancellor Henderson pie?ided'iidifationale for why she denied these requests, but granted those

of otheplgisnict Of?cials.

HHJ

Chari??llor Henderson conceded she used her discretionary authority in certain circumstances
and aidi??grted that she could ?apply it however she likes.? She ?irther stated people did not have
to like howshc used her discretionary authority, but she tried to do what was best. Chancellor
Hendersoii?i'sitaggrl?fshe received no guidance on how her discretion should be utilized; however, in
multiple instances where she denied discretionary placements, she articulated the limitations on
her authority.
Chancellor Henderson acknowledged she gave preferential treatment to prominent families, and
justi?ed her decision to do so by stating that when the children of prominent people attend DCPS
schools, it shows con?dence in the school system, which she believed would foster the
con?dence of others. In every instance, however, these families, as District residents, were

Report of Investigation: 2016?1751 Amended
Subj act?s Name: Kaya Henderson
Page 31 of 31

already guaranteed enrollment to DCPS schools, just not the schools'they desired.

In analyzing these 10 instances, a clear pattern emerged demonstrating that Chancellor
Henderson afforded certain individuals preferential treatment when she authorized discretionary
out?of? boundary transfers.

CONCLUSION

Based upon a preponderance of credible evidence, when viewed from the perspective of a
reasonable person the allegation that Kaya Henderson, former Chancellgor DCPS, from Apiil
2015 to August 2015, failed to act impartially and gave preferential treatment to certam District
government of?cials and members of the public when granting etionary out? _?of boundary
school transfers, outside the My School DC lottery requlrements to Wit 5E DCMR 2106 6, in

violation of DPM 1800. 3 IS substantiated.



RECOMMENDATIONS I . .




1. Based on the above, it is recommended that this
action I
2. -
and/or seek legislative rulemaking rega1d1ng the d1scret10nary authorities for the Chancellor
when approving discretionary out?of boundary hooll transfers (to include cons1de1at10n for
Mayoral administration changes) i
DISTRIBUTION CASE NUMBER SPECIAL AGENT:

2016?175 1 (Amended) Michael E. Condor

REVIEWED BY:

Derek Savoy, Supervisory Special Agent

APPROVED BY: DATE OF

Bernadette Todd, Assistant hispector General for REPORT:

Investigations - 2/10/2017
AMENDED:
5/1 1/2017