DC Public Schools will meet with the Lafayette Elementary School community on Tuesday, May 11 at 6:30 pm to discuss the efforts of a community working group looking at two potential schools in the Wilson High School feeder pattern. All are welcome to attend, both to learn more and to offer their opinions. Click here for the flyer.
What is this Community Working Group?
The community working group is a collection of parents, principals, and community members to provide input to the DC Public Schools about two potential properties — a new school on the grounds of the Hardy Recreation Center in Foxhall and the Georgetown Day School Lower Campus on MacArthur Boulevard, which the city is in the process of buying. The group started meeting in mid-February and is slated to conclude in late May. The group is advisory only, and while discussing these two properties specifically, has touched broader issues of overcrowding, boundaries and feeder rights, and equity and diversity.
Why has DCPS convened a Community Working Group?
The underlying reason for the group is that schools in the Wilson High School feeder pattern are overcrowded, and the city’s projections have this problem getting significantly worse. The city’s latest projections have Wilson High School, which was originally built for 1,600 students, reaching an enrollment of over 2,800 students by 2028-29. Deal MS, with currently around 1,500 students, would reach about 1,900 students at that time. With elementary schools also overcrowded, enrollment at all elementary schools will exceed the capacity of their buildings by a collective of more than 1,300 students (the equivalent of 2 school buildings), according to the Deputy Mayor for Education.
What options are being discussed?
The group’s discussions have focused on several options for the two properties.
For the Foxhall property, the group has mostly discussed a new elementary school serving PK-5 grade, which would have a boundary that includes part of the current Stoddert, Key, and Mann elementary schools. Another option still under consideration is making the school a 3-5 grade school and pulling out the upper grades at Key ES and Stoddert ES. None of these options would have a direct impact on families in the Deal MS feeder pattern, though an additional elementary school would feed into Wilson HS.
The discussions for the MacArthur Blvd property (the former GDS lower school) have centered on three options.
- First – a new middle school. This option would pull 1-2 elementary schools currently in the Deal MS feeder pattern, and instead, have them feed into Hardy MS. Doing so would initially relieve overcrowding at Deal MS. However, this option would not reduce overcrowding at Wilson and may worsen it. DCPS has not said which elementary schools would switch.
- Second – a new high school. This option would have students who attend the current Hardy MS attend a new high school at the MacArthur Blvd property (or alternatively, at Hardy, with the middle school shifting to MacArthur). This option would relieve overcrowding at Wilson, but would not provide a solution for Deal’s overcrowding issues.
- Third – a ninth-grade academy. This option would have ninth-graders at Wilson HS attending school at the MacArthur property. This option would help relieve some of the overcrowding at Wilson, though not Deal, and some argue that there are pedagogical reasons for separating ninth-graders from other students. However, it would also present logistical (and potentially budgetary) challenges having the ninth-grade students so far from the rest of the school.
What does DCPS want at this meeting from me?
Although this community working group has representatives from schools and community groups, they also want to make sure that a broader set of people hear about the discussions and have an opportunity to provide input. As such, they are holding meetings at individual schools during April and May. DCPS will present the options discussed along with their views of the pros/cons and solicit your reactions.
DCPS is also soliciting feedback through a public survey. The survey on is now live at Community Survey on Foxhall and MacArthur Planning (in Spanish at Encuesta comunitaria sobre la planificación de Foxhall y MacArthur. The survey will be open until Wednesday, May 19, 2021. In an effort to ensure that people are aware of this process and the options being considered, DCPS will host a Community Listening Session on May 17, 2021, from 5:30-7:30 pm to hear from stakeholders on the Foxhall and MacArthur options. At this Community Listening Session, DCPS will provide a short presentation before providing time for community members to provide testimony. Please register at Foxhall and MacArthur Community Listening Session to attend this meeting or to provide testimony.
How can I learn more?
Presentations and notes from the community working group meetings are available on a DCPS website.