Dear PoP – What’s Up with the old school near Sherman Circle?

“Dear PoP,

What’s the deal with the school on Sherman Circle (Kansas & Buchanan)? I’ve lived here over two years and have never seen much of any activity at the building. It isn’t listed on DC’s school website. Recently, there’s been heavy construction activity there. This has to be one of the ugliest school buildings in the district. But, it’s on a perfect site, and the adjoining ballpark is underdeveloped, but heavily used, and could be a fantastic asset to the hood. So, what’s the scoop?”

Construction started here back in March. At that time we learned from Wayan that the school will become:

“E.L. Hayes public charter school will soon start their construction and remodeling of the Clark School [4501 7th Street, NW] in Petworth. This will soon be the home of elementary and high school classes for E. L. Hayes students in fall 2010.”

E.L. Haynes has a current school building located at 3600 Georgia Avenue, NW.

22 Comment

  • what an excellent move! And I’m not just saying that because I live around the corner and REALLY want my kid to go to EL Haynes 🙂

    • Unlike the former Clark School, EL Haynes is not a boundary school, meaning you are not guaranteed to get in even if you live across the street. They have long waiting lists every year and it is a lottery process so good luck!

  • I generally don’t like charters, as they renew teachers’ contracts every year and just aren’t the best place to work. That said, EL Haynes has an excellent reputation. I know several people who work there and the quality of teaching and learning is high. It’s not Sidwell or other top private schools; it’s good free public (charter) education. DCPS closed Clark a few years ago due to declining enrollment and I’m glad to hear the building will be put to good use.

    BTW, Clark is my polling place. I sure hope it will be open for primary voting on September 14. I’m a DC teacher will is supporting Fenty and not against Rhee.

    • You have a problem with renewing every year? I’m renewed everyday! So are most people in the work force.

    • so only the good teachers get retained? the horror!

    • I’m an at-will employee, as are most people in this country. I could get fired at any time, today at noon, perhaps. I do not live in stress or worried because I work hard and do a good job. Teachers need to do the same. Why should they be entitled to the job security I don’t have? Good teachers keep their jobs, bad teachers move on.

  • I’ve been told the polling place is moving over to McFarland Middle School on Iowa Ave.

  • How does El Haynes compare to other school in the are, i.e. Capital City?

  • Haynes is great. My kids have been there for 3 years and I’ve heard nary a serious complaint. My daughter did her first 2 years in a Ward 3 elementary and it was like going from night to day. It sounds stupid to say, but at Haynes the focus is on the kids and teaching.

    The lack of job security is part of what makes charters potentially so much better. The teachers have to perform, just like most of the rest of us. The good ones have little to worry about and the bad ones are gone, replaced by the young and ambitious who want to teach.

    Seems to work at Haynes.

    • “The lack of job security is part of what makes charters potentially so much better. The teachers have to perform, just like most of the rest of us.”

      It works at EL Haynes b/c their leadership is very kind and respectful to their teachers. The problem arises when you have principals who create hostile work environments for teachers who dare speak out or who do not follow their demands (like changing a student’s grade, etc).

      A teacher at Cesar Chavez PCS was continually harassed and eventually fired for trying to organize a union. It went to the courts and the judge found the school guilty of firing him solely on trying to organize a union and he won back pay.

      • I love the irony of Cesar Chavez smashing the union! And I love the fact that they are fighting unionization at great cost. Teachers should be professionals. That is my very point and that is why Haynes rocks. Go, Cesar Chavez, go!

  • As a nearby neighbor, I kinda wished they had turned that area into a nice mixed use development with taverns, restaurants, etc, connected underground to the tube below NH Ave. We’ve already got tons of schools that in DC that don’t seem to generate graduates, and the thought of more teenage kids in the area is troubling, but it’s good to hear from Daddy that the folk within EL Haynes aren’t a violent bunch. Neat concept to mix older kids and younger ones. We’ll see…

    The big question is what will become of the ritual latino soccer matches every weekend?

    • It is unfair to make up crazily idealistic and expensive stuff that is never going to happen and then compare the school unfavorably to it.

      “Gee, I’m conflicted about eating this lovely meal you’ve prepared. You see, when you invited me over I just figured Michel Richard was going to cook for me.”

  • Just to add my two cents–Haynes is where my boys go too–the school aspires to be very community oriented. So for neighbors who don’t have children, we hope you will come meet us and get to know us. We know some folk will be worried about a high school with teenagers and all, but the school is small and focuses heavily on responsibility and respect for others, so I think everyone will come to love (or at least not hate) having the school. I for one hope our neighbors insist that Haynes students be good community members (and also keep an eye on them).

  • I concur with conflicted. I would rather have seen a metro stop put in there.

  • Should we be demanding more of our public schools? I just see something nonsensical that Haynes can run a good school while DCPS can’t. What does Haynes do that DCPS can’t do? Should not DCPS be copying Haynes formula?

    Honestly, I think it is a money grab for a lot of these people running charter schools. If Haynes can run quality schools, then why not turn over ALL of DCPS to Haynes?

    • I think the formula is self-selection, and by definition DCPS can’t do that.

      • Well if Haynes ca be good because of self selection, then it would seem a bit unfair to judge DCPS teachers on the outcome when the inputs are bad.

        I have been watching this school reform all around the country. I remember when Rudy Crew was being wooed here. He was offered 350K/year to reform the school system. He went to Miami. Less than 4 years later, he has been run out of town. I suspect Rhee will be gone in similar fashion. It just seems that no one wants to be honest that the biggest issue is that public school inputs (students) are the determining factor in the output.

  • anybody got suggestions for waitlist jumping at Haynes? there were like 175 kids for 12 slots this year in the PS class. argh.

  • A slight amplification–the students moving into the Haynes Kansas Ave. campus next week are the PK-3 through 2nd graders. High schoolers (9th graders) will not be arriving until the second phase of construction in the fall of 2011. Many of these students will have been with the school since they were themselves 2nd graders in 2004-05.

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