Alternative to Hyde-Addison Opens Oct. 1

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Rendering of the new concept for the West Heating Plant. Courtesy Adjaye Associates.

Oct. 1 is move-in day for the newest school in Georgetown.

”We are all so excited,” Elissa Alben, a Georgetown mother of three school-aged children, told The Georgetowner on Sept. 23. The following weekend, the faculty, staff, parents and children of the new Mysa (pronounced MEE-suh) School plan to move furniture and equipment into their brand-new, one-room schoolhouse, a generous space lent to them by Halcyon Arts Lab in the old Fillmore School building on 35th Street NW, a block from Wisconsin Avenue.

Alben has a right to be happy. She has been working every day since last November to find a local replacement for Georgetown’s only public elementary school, Hyde-Addison, on P Street a block from Wisconsin Avenue. That’s because, at a tumultuous meeting on Nov. 29 with DC Public Schools officials, attended by Mayor Muriel Bowser, parents were told that Hyde-Addison’s 300-plus students would be bused to a swing school some 40 minutes away for the next two to three years, during Hyde-Addison’s reconstruction. The parents were given no choice; either let the kids be bused or go elsewhere.

But Alben was adamant. She wanted her kids to be together and not spend hours on a bus. Since the few alternative schools in the area were full or too expensive, she decided this was the opportunity to build a new and unique school experience right in Georgetown. Alben found her answer in the Myse one-room-schoolhouse system.

There is a small staff of full-time teachers and a curriculum expert, but much of the learning experience happens off-site in museums and libraries, art and yoga studios, parks and farms. Chloe Kaplan, for instance, is offering Mysa and other Georgetown primary-school students her creative writing program Amore Learning at the Georgetown Public Library once a week.

At present, there are about a dozen students. But Alben expects more as they settle into the Georgetown location. Annual tuition is $17,000, well under the tuition of other private primary schools in the area.

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