Will Georgetown Get a Public High School?


Might Hardy Middle School at 1819 35th St. NW become a public high school? That was a proposal put forth on Feb. 11 at the first Foxhall and MacArthur School Planning Community Working Group Meeting.

Ward 2 is the only ward in the District without a comprehensive public high school, a fact that has long been a “to be discussed sometime in the future” topic of various parent and neighborhood organizations and DC Public Schools. But as of last week, ideas have been spreading more widely — perhaps a sign that the pandemic is almost over. It is also becoming clear that the burgeoning population at Hyde-Addison, Georgetown’s public elementary school, will in a few years inevitably spill into the middle school and high school system.

“Under the working group scenario last week, Hardy would move to an about-to-be purchased property at MacArthur & Q (formerly the Georgetown Day School lower campus),” Kishan Putta, the Georgetown/Burleith advisory neighborhood commission’s schools liaison, wrote to The Georgetowner on Feb. 19. “I don’t yet have any details about what proposals are being discussed for the potential high school that would theoretically open at the current Hardy site, but I heard there were questions about playing field space. I also don’t know about the possible timeline, but am told it would likely take a few years.” 

The working group, organized by Teresa Biagioni, presented the proposal to the Hardy School Parent Teacher Organization on Feb. 18. “DCPS explained that it is a very preliminary option being discussed by the newly formed working group — and that much more input will be gathered by that group and from all communities and stakeholders before any decisions are made,” Putta wrote. “I’ve heard that this proposal was favorably received by a healthy portion of members of the working group.” 

Putta pointed out that Ward 2’s “in-boundary” high school — Wilson, at 3950 Chesapeake St. NW — is popular and increasingly overcrowded.

The planning process is still in an early stage and could result in a very different final product. But here are some of the ideas on the table. 

The city is contemplating purchasing Georgetown Day School’s lower campus on MacArthur Boulevard, which the private school no longer needs. If that deal happens, then one option would be for this campus to be converted into a new middle school.    

Another option, suggested frequently by former Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans, was to make the Duke Ellington School of the Arts into a hybrid arts and comprehensive high school, since enrollment there has been below capacity.  

“Ellington came up at the Working Group meeting, but the momentum is on the side to keep it arts-focused and not convert the dance space, arts studio, etc., into classrooms,” the DC State Board of Education’s Ward 2 representative Allister Chang told The Georgetowner. “If I remember hearing it correctly, DCPS shared it as one idea to get the discussion moving forward.” 

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