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D.C. Public Schools open Sept. 3!
Look inside The Common Denominator's August 12th print edition for our annual Back-to-School section, which includes:
• A special message to parents from Superintendent Paul Vance
• The 2002-2003 D.C. Public Schools Calendar
• Information about transferring your child to a better-performing school
• Varsity football schedules for DCIAA teams
• A reminder about the District's sales tax holiday, which ends Aug. 18

Students may opt out of 15 under-performing schools

(Published August 12, 2002)


Staff Writer

As a result of congressional legislation, students at 15 under-performing D.C. Public Schools will be able to transfer to other public schools in the city effective this year.

Superintendent Paul Vance unveiled the plan on Aug. 9 at a press conference at the Board of Education headquarters.

The action, required by President Bush’s "No Child Left Behind Act," identified 15 schools from which students will be eligible to attend schools in other parts of the District: Bruce-Monroe, Fletcher-Johnson, Stanton and Wilkinson elementary schools; Evans, Johnson, Sousa and Terrell middle and junior high schools; and Anacostia, Ballou, Coolidge, Eastern, Roosevelt, M.M. Washington and H.D. Woodson senior high schools.

"We encourage parents ... to join us in this important endeavor," Vance said. He called the new plan a "sterling" opportunity to improve D.C. schools.

District I school board representative Julie Mikuta said that this will be an "exciting opportunity for us to ... focus on our low-performing schools while allowing parents choice."

Dunbar parent Mark Dixon said he hopes "that we can support this and see that it works out fine."

Fifteen elementary, seven middle and junior high, and four high schools have been designated as "receiving schools" for the affected students. Elementary school students will be bused from their home school to the receiving school, while middle, junior high and senior high school students will receive public transportation tokens to get to their receiving schools.

"We will have sufficient buses," Vance asserted.

DCPS sent out approximately 10,000 packets to eligible families informing them of their options, with a target of accepting 2,000 children into the program. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a school identified by DCPS as low-performing and must be from a low-income household as determined by participation in federal free lunch programs.

On the application, parents must list four receiving schools in order of preference. The form must be submitted in person between Aug. 12-16 to the Office of Student Services at the Logan Center, 215 G St. NW. For those who do not speak English as their first language, there are forms in Spanish, French, Chinese and Vietnamese. Interpreters are also available at the Logan Center.

However, this program has not come without some controversy. Board of Education Vice President William Lockridge said that although the board "supports the effort by the school board to comply with the law," he is against "shifting children from one school to another ... to achieve quality in education." He compared the plan to 1960s-era court-ordered busing.

And while H.D. Woodson Principal Edwin Jones said that "we look at this as an opportunity to be successful," Johnson Junior High Principal Robert Gill said, "this program will break our momentum."

Ballou Principal Art Bridges pledged that "Ballou and all of the other sending schools are coming off (the list of under-performing schools) next year."

School officials have scheduled a series of meetings for parents to learn more about the program. The meetings are listed below:

Adams ES 8/14/02 6:30 p.m.

Beers ES 8/15/02 6:00 p.m.

Benning ES 8/15/02 6:00 p.m.

Burville ES 8/15/02 6:00 p.m.

Mann ES 8/15/02 4:00 p.m.

Meyer ES 8/15/02 6:00 p.m.

Nalle ES 8/16/02 6:00 p.m.

Orr ES 8/14/02 6:00 p.m.

Oyster ES 8/15/02 6:00 p.m.

Payne ES 8/15/02 6:00 p.m.

Randle-Highlands ES 8/13/02 6:00 p.m.

Stanton ES 8/13/02 6:30 p.m.

Takoma EC 8/12/02 9:30 a.m.

Wilkinson ES 8/16/02 7:00 p.m.

Backus MS 8/15/02 6:00 p.m.

Browne JHS 8/13/02 6:30 p.m.

Deal JHS 8/16/02 4:00 p.m.

Eliot JHS 8/15/02 5:30 p.m.

Evans MS 8/16/02 4:30 p.m.

Fletcher-Johnson EC 8/15/02 7:00 p.m.

Francis JHS 8/15/02 7:00 p.m.

Garnet-Patterson MS 8/14/02 3:00 p.m.

Hardy MS 8/16/02 6:30 p.m.

Hine JHS 8/14/02 4:00 p.m.

Jefferson JHS 8/15/02 6:30 p.m.

Johnson JHS 8/13/02 6:00 p.m.

Sousa MS 8/15/02 6:00 p.m.

Stuart Hobson MS 8/14/02 5:00 p.m.

Terrell JHS 8/14/02 9:00 a.m. & 4:00 p.m.

Anacostia SHS 8/15/02 6:30 p.m.

Ballou SHS 8/14/02 5:30 p.m.

Cardozo SHS 8/15/02 6:00 p.m.

Coolidge SHS 8/15/02 5:00 p.m.

Dunbar SHS 8/15/02 6:00 p.m.

Eastern SHS 8/12/02 6:00-9:00 p.m.

8/13/02 6:00-9:00 p.m.

8/14/02 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Roosevelt SHS 8/14/02 6:00 p.m.

Spingarn SHS 8/13/02 6:00 p.m.

MM Washington SHS 8/14/02 6:30 p.m.

Wilson SHS 8/14/02 7:30 p.m.

Woodson SHS 8/14/02 5:00 p.m.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator