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Photo of 3500 R Street, NW by PoPville flickr user Jacques Arsenault

Office of the District of Columbia Auditor:

“The cost of a new Duke Ellington School for the Arts has grown from $71 million to $178 million without a comprehensive review by the D.C. Council on the location, other cost drivers, and all of the elements required for a performing arts high school, according to a new report by the D.C. Auditor.”

From ODCA’s executive summary (read the full report here):

“May 31, 2016

The Department of General Services Failed to Provide Information the DC Council Needed to Make Informed Decisions on the Scope and Cost of Modernizing the Duke Ellington School of the Arts
What ODCA Found:

 The Department of General Services (DGS) and The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) failed to provide timely information to policy makers so they could make informed decisions on the location and desired level of investment for a new performing arts high school.

 DCPS did not finalize Educational Specifications for Duke Ellington School of the Arts before DGS proposed the project for inclusion in the FY 2012 District’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) adopted by the Council.

 DGS based initial and subsequent cost estimates for Duke Ellington on significantly different projects that did not take into account the costs required for a performing arts school.

 DCPS, DGS, and the Executive Office of the Mayor were not transparent while considering alternate sites for Duke Ellington—sites that might have cost less and/or better served the needs of the student population. (more…)

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From an email:

“Saturday’s Rally for Recess in Northeast DC will feature DC Central Kitchen, local chefs, cross trainers and Playworks coaches, providing games, healthy food, demonstrations, A PlayShop training, fun toys and easy recipes. The Rally is supported by Playworks, DC Central Kitchen, the DC Department of Health, Kaiser Permanente and local food/drink donors. (more…)

From an email:

“Thought I’d share this video of parents at a DC elementary school learning for the first time that their school had a positive lead test.

It was almost 8 months after the positive lead test. J.O. Wilson [660 K St NE] had also had gone the entire previous school year without any lead tests (from 4/24/14 – 8/20/15).

This school was not on DCPS’s list of 12 schools that tested positive. Despite the positive lead test and a student being injured this school year by a sink falling off the wall at the school, DGS rated the plumbing systems in this school as “Good.”

I also think it’s important to note that this is a great and growing school with a great community and great teachers being held back by its facilities problems.”

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From gofundme:

“We are the Senior Class Student Government representatives at Bell Multicultural High School, a public school in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington D.C. This year, our graduating class has been working tremendously, in order to raise enough money to decrease the cost of our senior fees of $300/per student. This total only accounts for the each students Cap and Gown, Graduation Announcements, Yearbook, 1-Prom Ticket, Senior Class T-Shirt, and a Senior lunch. This amount is extremely expensive, considering this total does not include the Senior Trip to New Jersey and New York, currently priced at $350/per person (more…)

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Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced that ten DC Public Schools (DCPS) schools will move to an extended-year calendar in School Year 2016-2017. This announcement comes during Education Week, Mayor Bowser’s week-long effort to highlight how the District is accelerating the pace of school reform and creating pathways to the middle class for District residents.

“A pathway to the middle class starts with a great education,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our public schools have made significant gains in recent years, and I am committed to building on those gains – so that we can close the achievement gap and give all of our students a chance for success. By extending the school year in these ten schools, we will offer students the equivalent of an extra year of learning by the time they reach the 8th grade.”

The extended year includes an additional month of instruction, taking the academic school year from 180 to 200 days. There will be an additional two weeks provided for students who need extra support, and breaks in October and June to accompany the normal winter and spring breaks.

Research suggests that time away from school during the summer contributes to the achievement gap. School districts across the country that have extended the school year have seen significant gains among their student bodies.

“Students, especially our students in struggling schools, deserve the opportunity both to excel in core subjects like reading and math and to explore a wide range of interests including art, music, PE, advanced courses, library, and foreign language,” said Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public Schools.

The ten new elementary and middle schools with extended year planned for the 2016/2017 school year: (more…)

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

From DC Public Schools:

“Inclement weather announcement below! All DCPS schools will be closed tomorrow, 1/25/16.”

Update from the Mayor:

“DC gov will be closed tomorrow. Essential staff will continue the #DCDigOut. Plz stay off the road while crews work.”

Update from OPM:

“01/25 DC area Fed offices closed.Emergency & telework-ready employees follow agency policies http://www.opm.gov/status”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Phil

From a press release [3950 Chesapeake St, NW]:

“Incident at Wilson
December 1, 2015

Dear members of the Wilson High School Community,

At Wilson High School, we highly value and are committed to fostering a learning environment where students feel safe and secure. We also want to clearly communicate with parents about safety issues when they arise.

This is to alert you that at around 1:15 pm a gun was discovered in a student’s bookbag. The gun has been surrendered to police, and the student is being detained. At this time there is no immediate threat to the school. All students are safe. We will share additional details with you as appropriate.

I want to assure you that the safety of all Wilson High School students is one of our top priorities, and we remain committed to ensuring that your students are safe.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this incident or safety and security at our school, please feel free to contact me. Thank you again for your cooperation and support.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Martin

Principal, Wilson High School”