Mayor Muriel Bowser has been busy cutting ribbons this past week — new-school ribbons, especially.
DC Public School classes begin the 2019-20 academic year today, Aug. 26 — with pre-K 3 beginning Thursday, Aug. 28. Students at three elementary schools, including Georgetown’s Hyde-Addison, one middle school and one high school, will be attending fully modernized, rebuilt schools that were reopened just this week. The completed school construction projects are part of a $1.3-billion commitment to modernize 26 DCPS schools over the next six years.
The mayor, Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee and Principal Calvin Hooks presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Hyde-Addison on Aug. 21. Over 100 parents and students gathered in front of the modernistic new entrance building, which almost doubled the size of the school on its campus, located a block from Wisconsin Avenue between O and P Streets. The complete school renovation was completed on time — two years — and on budget: $50 million.
The school openings also coincided with a focus on two citywide school initiatives: “Every Day Counts” and “Slow Down.”
The “Every Day Counts” initiative, addressing student attendance concerns (“School absenteeism and student attendance is a complex issue which includes a range of student behaviors including school refusal and truancy,” according to DCPS), promotes four key messages, as follows: all children should be enrolled at school and attend on every school day; schools should monitor, communicate and implement strategies to improve regular school attendance; truanting can place a student in unsafe situations and impact on their future employability and life choices; and attendance at school is the responsibility of everyone in the community.
“Every Day Counts” provides strategies and resources for parents, caregivers and schools to improve attendance. Resources include videos and parental support meetings, interviews and conferencing. At the ribbon-cutting events at the schools, DCPS representatives gave out bright green umbrellas, buttons and other memorabilia with the “Every Day Counts” logo
On Aug. 26, Mayor Bowser also reminded motorists and riders of other vehicles of a second initiative: “Slow Down.” “School is back in session and special speed and stop rules apply near school crossings, playgrounds and campuses to use caution while driving through D.C.,” the mayor said at a Monday-morning event in Lincoln Park.
In the past 10 days, ribbon-cutting ceremonies took place not only at Hyde-Addison, but also at Maury Elementary School in Northeast and Kimball Elementary School in Southeast. Also reopened was a renovated Calvin Coolidge High School, now including Mass Media and Health Sciences Academies and, through a partnership with Trinity Washington University, an all-new Early College Academy. In addition, a new Ida B. Wells Middle School opened to students this week on the Coolidge campus in Northwest.