Anacostia High School

Anacostia Voices is written by Paul Penniman. In 2003, Paul founded Resources for Inner city CHildren, RICH, which provides tutoring and mentoring services to Anacostia High School and the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School-Capitol Hill.

Hi everyone,

It’s close to the beginning of school, so I thought it might be enlightening to talk to three teachers who began their math teaching careers together at Anacostia High School in 2009 but who all left either in 2012 or 2013. Jack left after four years to go to graduate school; Abe left after four years to join the HEROS program at the DC College Success Foundation; and Ryan left after three years to continue teaching, but at a charter school elsewhere in D.C.

It should be noted that these three men had largely a negative experience and left, and their thoughts reflect that. However, Anacostia High School had a very high retention rate for teachers from last school year into this school year, over 80%.

This is a transcript of my conversation with Abe, Jack, and Ryan. (more…)

Anacostia High School

Anacostia Voices is written by Paul Penniman. In 2003, Paul founded Resources for Inner city CHildren, RICH, which provides tutoring and mentoring services to Anacostia High School and the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School-Capitol Hill.

Hello again everyone,

Travis was touched by your positive comments, and, yes, there will be some editing and paring down of his magnus opus!

As you can imagine, I’ve gotten to know Travis quite well.  I’ve actually gotten to know a lot of young men and women in my neighborhood on Howard Rd quite well.  What follows is my reflection on two of the boys that I wrote about a year ago.

Before I knew it, I had semi-adopted two teenage brothers who live two blocks away.  I first knew the older boy, identified as a top math student for our MATHlete program two years ago.   He is now an eleventh grader, and his brother is now a ninth grader.  When I moved into Anacostia last winter, I knew I would be closer to my students, but I didn’t know how close.

The relationship changed from merely student-teacher when the older one kept texting me that there wasn’t any food in their house, and could they come over.  Feeding picky teenagers is a new challenge for me, as my diet ranges from the Moosewood Cookbook to the Vegetarian Epicure with a little beer or wine thrown in occasionally.  Except for the Caesar’s salad (a “black” salad, the older boy jokes), I have not been able to get them to eat vegetables. (more…)

Art Romp Anacostia:

“Anacostia Arts Center
1231 Good Hope Road, SE
August 23, 2013 5:00 pm

Anacostia Arts Center is excited to welcome “Art Romp Anacostia,” curated by renowned curator Molly Ruppert! The show features over 50 artists from all sides of the river. The event is FREE and open to the public! Opening Night is Friday, August 23 from 5-9pm. The show begins the following day, August 24th, and runs until September 15th. During this time the center will be open Tuesday-Friday from 11am-5pm and on Saturdays from 12pm-6pm.

Notorious for its lively, eclectic and tremendous shows featuring all forms of artistic expression, back for the first time since 2007, renowned curator Molly Ruppert and Anacostia Arts Center are bringing Art Romp east! In just a few weeks, Anacostia Arts Center will buzz with the work of more than 50 local artists from every side of the river. And no medium will be spared. Art Romp Anacostia will exhibit the work of numerous photographers, painters, sculptors, performers, among countless more. The opening will include live music, performances, and a cash bar.”

Ed. Note: You can see all events here and you can schedule your own event listing here.

Anacostia High School

Anacostia Voices is written by Paul Penniman. In 2003, Paul founded Resources for Inner city CHildren, RICH, which provides tutoring and mentoring services to Anacostia High School and the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School-Capitol Hill.

Hi everyone,

Thank you for all the thoughtful comments of last week. I do think that my remark about my neighbors was a little inartful. I do need to be careful how I talk about our target population in general.

This week I’d like to introduce you to Travis, who wrote a memoir for his English class in May. Travis is absolutely the type of kid you would root for–smart, curious, funny, worldly, and a great leader in any of the organizations he has joined. Anacostia does not have many clubs, but Travis has taken advantage of a number of opportunities: He is the captain of Anacostia High’s “It’s Academic” team, president of the Robotics Club, and co-captain of the football team.

The memoir covers Travis’s life through age 13 and is a little long, but it is a good window into the lives of our low-income, at-risk kids. His experiences are not unusual, but his perspective at age 17 is very unusual.

Travis will be applying to college this fall. I have nominated him for a POSSE scholarship, which provides the tuition cost for four years to one of six designated colleges–Rochester, Lafayette, Grinnell, Bucknell, Wisconsin,or Sewanee. Let’s root him on as the college application process unfolds.

As usual your comments are welcome, and again I want to try not to pretend to speak for folks who have lived longtime in Anacostia or elsewhere in Ward 8, but I will try to let my students’ stories speak for themselves.


Travis’ essay after the jump. (more…)

Hi everyone. I’m the fellow whose car was shot up and received some sympathy, shoutouts and also a little derision (“Mr Wonderbead” is my new nickname here) two weekends ago.

In 2003, I founded Resources for Inner city CHildren, RICH, which provides tutoring and mentoring services to Anacostia High School and the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School-Capitol Hill. I had been a private school teacher for nine years and then a private, for profit tutor for thirteen years when I was inspired by a speech by Irasema Salcido, the founder of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools. Our mission is to provide high-quality tutoring and mentoring services for inner city schools.

I moved to Anacostia two winters ago to be closer to my work–to be able to help our students more but also to have a (much) shorter commute. I used to live in Ward 3 to facilitate my for profit tutoring business.

The Prince has invited me to share what’s going on in Anacostia, neighborhood-wise and from our students’ perspectives. I will try to do this as well as I can, knowing full well I can not truly identify with my students and neighbors to any large degree; I am white and much wealthier than most of my neighbors. (I’m the wealthiest person most of my students have ever met, but I have to tell them when I go out to lunch, my friends pay for me.) At least I and they can describe to you how they feel about their immediate community, the community at large, and the world.

I have written on my own blog,, partly about educational challenges our students face and also the uneven playing field they have to play on.

For an introduction to our summer students–a combination of math enrichment kids and kids who have reading challenges–above is a video to the first sitdown they had with a rather charismatic partner of ours, Dr. Bruce Purnell, director of Higher Hopes.  Actually we found him through Pinpoints Theater, Pinpoints and Higher Hopes have a program called Pen or Pencil ( that’s teaching youth to commit to not giving up their seat in the classroom for a seat on a bus to the PENitentiary.

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On Sunday morning we learned that four people were shot in the 2600 Block of Stanton Rd, SE. A reader comments:

“It is the reactions and post-mortem that stand out in my mind. It’s not so much that, just after sunset Saturday night on busy Stanton Rd. on the way back from the Giant that my car, at about 20 mph, ended up in the midst of some fore-to-aft crossfire between some teenagers who can’t shoot straight. Two bullet holes decorated my rear windshield, which did a good job of absorbing a lot of the energy, shattered like Bonomo Turkish Taffy.

My reaction was shock at first, then appreciation for the windshield’s dampening the bullets. The police assigned to examine for evidence had a callous attitude. When they arrived at 1 am and started examining the contents of my car without telling me, I came out and chatted with them about the news that four people had been injured in the shootings. I expressed the hope that none of the injuries were serious. One of the officers said, “Serious to them, but not to me.” Another officer tried to incorrectly explain to me that a bullet shot from a distance would have far less momentum and not be as likely to travel far after penetrating a window. I started to explain that traveling through the air doesn’t significantly retard a bullet’s velocity, but I thought better of it. As it turned out, the heater-lined rear windshield rendered each bullet as fragments, and I wasn’t in as much danger as I could have been in front of a plain glass windshield. (more…)

FIGMENT DC at Lumen8Anacostia

June 27, 2013 7:00 pm
Honfleur Gallery
1241 Good Hope Road SE

Please join us East of the River on Thursday, June 27th during Artists’ Week of Lumen8Anacostia.

We’ll be at the Honfleur Gallery from 7-9pm. Join us to meet this year’s team, learn more about FIGMENT, and discuss how YOU can get involved!

Moreover, help us begin our summer long interactive project, “The Story of FIGMENT.” Contribute your stories and drawings and watch the story unfold as each participant adds their piece.

Artists – Submissions are now open! This is an awesome opportunity for you to come by and talk to our curatorial team about the ideas you’ve been dreaming up lately. Questions about what makes art participatory? They can help!

Team Members – We’re still looking to fill a couple of key slots. In particular, we need one more Volunteer Wrangler, and someone to help us coordinate transportation to and from the metro. We also need weekend-of team members – lots of ‘em! If you have a desire to help, please reach out and let us know!

Creative Types – We know not *everyone* considers themselves an artist, even though they should. So this category includes YOU! FIGMENT is open to everyone, and everyone has a gift to share. A smile, a game, a really cool invisible cape.”

Ed. Note: You can see all events here and you can schedule your own event listing here.


Thanks to a reader for sending these great photos of the 11th Street Bridge:

“This is from the last Navy Gate on 11th-where the path splits: down to the NY trail or up over the bridge.”


“Temp access on left, permanent on right (nice n wide) but concrete still drying.”


“Pedestrian observation decks off of 11th St Bridge – this is gonna be awesome when it’s finished!!”

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide

Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who works for the National Park Service, and lives in Mount Pleasant.

This week, I got a suggestion from my friend Greg to ride along the Anacostia river walk. He had run along the river and enjoyed it, so I decided to ride it. I managed to stay on bike trail for just about the entire ride, and for the parts that I wasn’t able to – I modified my GPS map for your benefit. I made a wrong turn and strayed into Virginia, which takes away from the directness of the route, despite the benefit of additional mileage.

I started the ride in Rock Creek Park, and followed the bike path all the way down to Haines Point. From there I did a hot lap around the point, and took my favorite path across to the Fish Market and Water Street. That’s more or less where the Anacostia river walk begins, and you are able to follow signs for the rest of the ride. The final river walk trail is still in development, so this path represents the current detour down by Buzzard point. I had never been there, and was surprised at how industrial that part of DC looks. It was kinda cool to see that part of town, and to ride by the Coast Guard Headquarters, but it’s not exactly picturesque.

Once you get to the Frederick Douglass Bridge, it’s smooth sailing across the bridge and onto the trail. Upon crossing the water, you can blast off up the trail. There were some folks playing and fishing, but it’s a lot less crowded than the trails that follow the Potomac river. The day I rode the weather was spectacular, and I was the only cyclist on the trail when I was out. I followed the trail as far as I could – there is a fantastic looking bridge over the train tracks that is blocked for the time being. The bridge looks really nice, and I am looking forward to it’s official opening. Using the magic of mapping, I went ahead and drew the path as it continues on for a while longer. I rode around to the end and found the paved path ending in a pile of trail work equipment.

Continues after the jump. (more…)

Environmental Film Festival- Rock the Boat

Environmental Film Festival: Rock the Boat:

Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
1901 Fort Place Southeast
Friday, March 22nd, 2013
6:30pm – 7:45pm | FREE!

(2011, USA, 54 min, directed by Thea Lucia Mercouffer) This fun, high-energy, and moving documentary follows the 2008 unlikely tale of a group’s 51-mile boating expedition down the notorious Los Angeles River. The waterway was channelled by the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent flooding in Los Angeles. Hoping to have the Environmental Protection Agency declare it navigable, thus gaining protection under the Clean Water act, local satirical writer George Wolfe led this group to boat down the fenced-in waterway in an absurd act of civil disobedience. Introduced by museum staff Tony Thomas.

See all of tonight’s and the week’s events here.  To add your event, click the events tab up top and then click “add an event”.  You can add concerts, museum/gallery exhibits, fundraisers, sporting events, bike rides etc. You can add anything you think will be of interest to PoPville.