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Photo from Roosevelt HS renovation via Department of General Services

From an email:

“Good Morning Neighbors,

Last night I attended the meeting at McFarland regarding Roosevelt’s delayed opening. They delays didn’t surprise me, but what shocked me to no end was what I heard about the current conditions at McFarland for Roosevelt students.

Our teens are being taught in an environment that no one should be expected to learn in, or teach in. According to the parents, students and staff present, the bathrooms don’t work, nor does the HVAC, there are not ample facilities for the athletics teams, and most shocking there is a rat infestation bad enough that the students have named the rats – Bigboy and Hunchback. I wrote an article about it that goes into more detail this morning that you can read here if you are so inclined.

In the meantime, I have also written to Mayor Bowser, Councilman Todd and Chancellor Henderson, imploring one simple thing: if you’re going to keep these kids in the McFarland building for another year, make the building habitable.

There is no reason these problems can’t be addressed over the summer, and our children deserve that. Please take a minute to lend your voice to this! I don’t have a current Roosevelt student, and I’m not sure at this point if my children will go there or not – it’s not about me or MY kids. We all, as a community, have a duty to ensure EVERY child receives a wonderful, quality education in a safe environment. It doesn’t matter if they are your children or not. There is power in numbers and we must use our power to help these kids.

I am asking you to reach out to the Mayor, the Council, DCPS, the media (if you have contacts) and anyone else that can help. Below is the letter I sent. Feel free to use it in part or whole or as a reference. I have zero pride of authorship here. I just want to see these kids treated right.

Thanks in advance, and please spread the word.

Lisa Jackson”

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“Dear PoPville,

I’ve noticed that E.L. Haynes, a charter school, is locking their playground on evenings and weekends.This doesn’t seem right to me. Powell Elementary and Roosevelt High keep their facilities open on the weekends. I don’t have kids but I am a tax payer and I like the idea of neighborhood kids being able to play at playground in their neighborhood. Does E.L. Haynes have the right to refuse access to their playground on evenings and weekends?”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

From a press release:

“Mayor Muriel Bowser announced today the results of My School DC, the District’s common lottery system for D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and nearly all public charter schools in its second year of operation. This process allows families to use a single online application. My School DC received 20,349 applications from families interested in attending one of over 200 DCPS or public charter schools for the 2015-16 school year, an increase of more than 3,000 applications over last year. The common lottery then maximized the number of students matched to a school they want to attend.

Families used the lottery to apply to charter schools and all DCPS early childhood, out-of-boundary and specialized high schools, eliminating barriers and streamlining the process. Of the 20,349 applications received, 14,592 students were matched at the time of the lottery – a 72 percent match rate. The overall match rate rose by one percent even with the rise in applications from last year. Of these matched students, 85 percent were offered a seat at one of their top three school choices. PK3 and 9th grades had the highest number of applications and match rates of 87% and 80%, respectively. Additional students will be offered spots from waitlists over the spring and summer. (more…)

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Upshur and Rock Creek Church Rd, NW

From Congresswoman Elanor Holmes Norton’s office:

“In December, Norton met with AFHR and requested that AFRH submit its notification of the lease to Congress, as required by law, by the start of January so that CMI could sign the lease this month and open in time for the start of the school year. Norton helped secure $15 million for D.C. Public Charter Schools in the fiscal year 2015 appropriations bill.

“The partnership between CMI and AFRH is not only innovative but increasingly necessary in a city where land is scarce and the unoccupied space is often on federal land,” Norton said. “We appreciate how hard CMI and AFRH have worked together so that hundreds of students will have the opportunity to learn and grow in an excellent charter school surrounded by green space.”

“The Creative Minds International Public Charter School community is enthusiastic about our upcoming move this August to the historic Sherman Building, on the beautiful grounds of the AFRH campus,” Abedin said. “We look forward to growing a long-term partnership with AFRH, and are grateful for this wonderful opportunity.”

“This new space will be a big improvement to the learning environment of the 250 students that will attend Creative Minds this fall,” Pearson said. “It is particularly exciting that they will be in a facility close to where so many of our nation’s retired veterans live.”

“We are very pleased that Creative Minds International Public Charter School will be opening in the fall of 2015,” McManus said. “This will be a wonderful partnership for many years to come, and this partnership will assist AFRH in continuing to grow ties with the Washington, D.C. community.”

The school will lease 32,000 sq. ft. of space for 16 classrooms at AFRH in its North Sherman and Annex buildings. Beginning this fall, 250 CMI students will attend classes at the AFRH campus.”

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100 N Street, NW

From DPR:

“Today, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announced new community hours at the Dunbar Aquatic Facility (101 N Street, NW) starting Monday, January 5, 2015.

The new hours for public use are as follows: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 am to 8 am and 5 pm to 9 pm; and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm. Previously the facility only offered Saturday and Sunday community swim hours.

Permits and classes will be available starting in Spring 2015.

Please refer to DPR’s Aquatics website page regarding the District’s pool procedures and policies.”

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From an email:

“My School DC is excited to bring you EdFEST, DC’s only citywide public school fair! Come and explore the city’s many public school options (PK3-12) for your child. Representatives from more than 180 DC public schools (DCPS) and DC public charter schools will showcase their programs. With the launch of the My School DC application on December 15, 2014 for the 2015-16 school year, EdFEST is the perfect opportunity to ask questions about schools and their related services and programs from those who know first-hand. EdFEST also will have recreational activities for all so bring the whole family! Admission and parking are free.

Saturday, November 22, 2014, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at DC Armory, 2001 East Capitol St SE. To learn more go to: www.myschooldc.org | FB: My School DC | Twitter: @MySchoolDC | #EdFEST”

From a press release:

“District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson released the following statement highlighting inaccuracies in Petula Dvorak column in today’s Washington Post. DCPS is hopeful Avery will return to her school very soon:

The recent Washington Post column by Petula Dvorak titled In D.C., a 13-year-old piano prodigy is treated as a truant instead of a star student,” is inaccurate and misleading in its portrayal of the District of Columbia Public Schools’ (DCPS) truancy protocols, as well as what happened with the family and DCPS. We are disappointed Ms. Dvorak chose to present a false representation of DCPS’ response about this child’s circumstances rather than taking the time to collect the relevant facts. We believe it is important to set the record straight:

· DCPS excused Avery’s absences for international travel last year after conversations with the family and her school, which was confirmed with Avery’s parents by Andrea Allen, Director of Attendance and Support Services in DCPS’ Office of Youth Engagement. Her attendance summary from last year reflects the “authorized school activity” excuse code for her performance–related absences.

· DCPS did not make a referral to a truancy officer, Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) nor any government agency for intervention, since we had clear information regarding the circumstances of these absences. The family was never at risk for truancy prosecution.

· No DCPS student is ever labeled or identified as a “truant” on a transcript, report card, or academic record.

· While DCPS has universal truancy policies in place, we work diligently to recognize unique situations.

It seems that in this matter, while DCPS was working with the family to excuse the student’s absences, the automatic letter that is generated when a student reaches ten unexcused absences was sent. After a conversation with the Office of Youth Engagement, the family was told to disregard the letter. We also confirmed by phone for the parents that no CFSA referral had been completed, nor would this escalate any further. We believed our communication with the family as recently as August 25 clarified that Avery’s absences had been excused. We were surprised to learn that this is the reason why Avery was voluntarily withdrawn from her school. We sincerely apologize for any confusion that the cross-communication might have conveyed. (more…)