On Tuesday morning, DC Chancellor of Schools Michelle Rhee met with parents of students at Hardy School in Georgetown. The meeting was another contentious round of a fight that has been raging for months (and perhaps years, depending on your perspective). Last December, Rhee announced her decision to transfer the principal of Hardy School, Patrick Pope, to a new arts middle school that he would help develop. This was met with anger and frustration by current Hardy parents. However, of the Georgetown parents that GM has spoke with on this issue, most have viewed it favorably.
But how favorably? According to the reports (GM’s got a job and couldn’t make it to the morning meeting) the parents objecting to the removal of Patrick Pope argued that notwithstanding the change that is supposedly going to attract local families, no in-boundary families have yet applied to attend Hardy next year. Here’s a Fox report mentioning this specific point: Continue reading →
Last Friday night, Chancellor Michelle Rhee came before the Hardy School PTA to announce significant changes to the school. As described earlier, this meeting came as a culmination of months of speculation and recriminations regarding the present and future states of the school.
The meeting was led by Hardy parent Keenan Keller. He began the meeting by setting out the ground rules of three minutes for questions and three minutes for answers. Before handing the microphone to Rhee, Keller read an email off of his phone that was sent from Hyde-Addison principal Dana Nerenberg describing her new role as principal of Hyde-Addison and Hardy. The email was apparently sent around 5:00 that night to the Hyde-Addison community. Thus before Rhee even took the microphone, the audience already knew that Patrick Pope was not going to remain as principal of Hardy School after this year.
Rhee began her remarks by stating that Hardy’s arts integration program is a model both for the city and the nation. She further stated that not withstanding any personnel changes at Hardy, the arts program will remain. She then segued into announcing that a new performing arts magnet school would be created and that Patrick Pope was offered the position to design, plan, implement and lead the new school. He will remain principal through this school year. Next year Dana Nerenberg would take over the principal function of Hardy on top of her responsibilities at Hyde-Addison. Patrick Pope would then take a year to create the new school. While implied, it was not 100% clear that he will actually be the principal of the new school when it opens in 2012. Continue reading →
Tonight at a meeting for the Hardy PTA, Chancellor Michelle Rhee announced that Patrick Pope would leave his position as principal of Hardy Middle School and become the principal of a new arts and music magnet middle school. Dana Nerenberg, principal of Hyde-Addison, will become principal of both Hyde-Addison and Hardy.
The announcement was not taken well by the Hardy PTA. With Mr. Pope sitting silently in the audience, speaker after speaker criticized Chancellor Rhee for the content and process of the decision. GM will write up a fuller account of this, but for the curious, here is a recording of the bulk of Chancellor Rhee’s Q&A session (GM’s batteries died after 80 minutes or so):
What was not caught on the tape was what happened after Rhee left. Mr. Pope gave a heart felt speech of thanks and encouragement to the audience (he did not, however, discuss the plans for the new magnet school or whether he was in fact forced out; but in not addressing those issues he appeared to be confirming the PTA’s suspicions that he was forced out and that he was not entirely excited about starting over at a new school). After Pope spoke, Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander gave a rousing speech in support of the PTA and Mr. Pope. Big quote: “We’ve got to get rid of Fenty. And Rhee. And you can quote me on that!”
Tonight at 6:00 (UPDATE: The meeting is starting at 6:30, not 6:00, however it appears that the Hardy PTA is encouraging its members to arrive at 6:00, so if getting a good seat is important to you, you might want to arrive early.) DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is scheduled to speak at the Hardy School. This is expected to be the culmination of weeks of speculation and recriminations revolving around the future of the middle school.
The story begins at least as far back as February of this year. A group of parents who send their children to Key Elementary School in the Palisades had created a group called “Life After Key”, which focuses on exploring middle school options for their children. One of those options is the local middle school, the Hardy School (which is also the middle school that Georgetown’s Hyde feeds into). Concerned about the quality of Hardy, the group arranged for a meeting with Chancellor Rhee to discuss the future of the school. The minutes of that meeting are available here.
According to these minutes, Rhee acknowledged to the group that parents are anguished over their decisions for middle school and that they wish they could view Hardy as an option for their children. Rhee stated that DCPA has a unique opportunity with Hardy since it has a newly renovated building with an excellent core group of teachers. She stated that within 3 to 4 years Hardy could be a school in high demand as “changes occur.” Continue reading →
The ANC met last night for the final time in 2009. After a year of contentious fights over topics from the Apple store to drunken alumni parades, the final meeting last night seemed a bit anti-climatic. But that’s not to say there were no interesting developments.
Fiat Neon Lux
The most exciting item on the agenda was the proposed renovation of the Georgetown theater sign. The iconic sign at 1351 Wisconsin has not lit up in many years and has slowly rusted away. The plan discussed last night would fix that.
The BID is kicking in $50,000 to restore the landmark. There’s a bit of deja vu with this since several years ago another plan was floated to renovate the sign, but never got off the ground. Let’s hope this time is different.
The sign will be repainted in its original black color and the neon lights will be their original “rose” color.
When (jokingly) asked whether this meant the theater was coming back too, the architect laughed and said he couldn’t say. (Translation: no).
GM is thrilled that this sign will be returned to its former glory. A little more clarification on what is going to happen to the building it’s attached to would be even better. Continue reading →