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Written by Naomi Mitchell   
Friday, 04 January 2008

New DCPS Community Meetings Scheduled to Hear Issues with Specific Schools Proposed for Closing

The Mayor and the Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) announced an amended notice of public hearing on their proposed action to close and/or consolidate school programs and buildings through a reorganization and rightsizing plan presented to the Council and publicized before the Holidays.

On Thursday, January 17, 2008, starting at 6:00 pm every school proposed for closing will be the focus of a community meeting to be held at the neighborhood school that will be remaining open.  

In Ward 6, where three schools are proposed for consolidation, the following locations are scheduled for simultaneous community meetings:

• Bowen ES at Amidon ES -- 401 I St. SW
• Gibbs ES at Miner ES -- 601 5th St. NE
• Hines JHS at Eliot MS -- 1830 Constitution Ave, NE

There may be a few parents who will have children in two of the schools affected that will need to develop a plan for covering both meetings being held at the same time and date, but at different locations.

In addition to the planned consolidations and rightsizing, starting in the fall of 2008, current Junior High Schools (grades 7-9) become Middle Schools (grades 6-8) and High Schools become grades 9-12 throughout the city, in accord with the DCPS Master Plan. 

On December 27, 2007 at the request of ANC Commissioners, the Councilmember met with parents and community leaders in Southwest to hear their concerns about the closing of the Bowen ES.  There were many concerns and questions raised such as the rationale for choosing Bowen over Amidon, whether teachers from Bowen would accompany the students to Amidon, the future of the Boys and Girls Club at Bowen, and if the consolidation of the two schools would create crowding, resulting in less personal attention to students.

Councilmember Wells encourages Bowen parents and community leaders as well as those in the Hines and Gibbs schools’ neighborhoods to participate in these  public hearings with DCPS officials.  This is an important opportunity for the community to work with DCPS to help them understand how any parent and community considerations can be considered while supporting the DCPS goals for providing superior education for all Ward 6 children in the future.

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