It’s hard to believe that the first day of school in the District is coming up next week. You read that right. Monday, August 25th marks the beginning of another school year for our students. The new school year always makes me reflect on the state of our schools, and think about where we still need to go.
Two years ago, Francis-Stevens and Garrison Elementary School in Ward 2 were on a list of proposed schools to close. I joined with parents, teachers, neighbors and many other members of the community to object to closing these two important Ward 2 neighborhood schools. I’m proud that we were able to keep those schools open and I’m happy to report that both schools are continuing to thrive.
Francis-Stevens School, now the School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens, has seen huge enrollment growth in the last year, only highlighting the importance of keeping that school open for the neighborhood. The school community is working hard to foster that neighborhood impact and recently announced its inaugural community auction, organized by the school’s Home & School Association, which will take place on October 18. Positive school news extends to Georgetown as well, as the first phase of the expansion and modernization at Hyde-Addison is underway!
Our schools here in Ward 2 are strong and getting stronger, but there’s always more we can do to help. I’ll just highlight two opportunities for residents to get involved with the important work of enhancing our schools. This Saturday, August 23 is the D.C. Public Schools’ annual Beautification Day from 9am-1pm at schools all across the city. You can still sign up to help online at bit.ly/BDay2014.
The other opportunity for people to get involved is by joining the Ward 2 Education Network. The ‘Ed Network’ is a group of concerned parents and community members who advocate for strong Ward 2 schools, share information with fellow communities members and provide public comment on proposed education policies. You can learn about the work they are doing and their upcoming meetings by contacting the group at W2EdNetwork@gmail.com.
Education continues to be an important issue for me and I will work vigorously on the Council to continue the improvements we’ve seen in our schools. In addition to improving school quality and modernizing our facilities, I will continue to work to support school libraries, as well as art, music and physical education classes in our schools. I will also work to expand middle school seats within our ward and push to explore the feasibility of a full-scale public high school right here in Ward 2.