On Tuesday, DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced the planned closure of 19 DC public schools. Thankfully (but not surprisingly) Hyde-Addison was not on the list. But a school just a stone’s throw from Georgetown was included: Francis-Stevens.
Francis-Stevens is a school that was formed into its current state only a few years ago. In 2008, DC closed the historic Stevens School at 21st and K St. The elementary school program it offered was shifted to the Francis Middle School at 24th and N. Since then, the combined Francis-Stevens has offered Pre-School through grade 8. After it is closed, the School Without Walls High School will get even more walls by using Francis -Stevens as a satellite campus.
But what happens to the kids at Francis-Stevens? Under the current plan, the middle-school aged kids would be moved to Hardy. The elementary-school aged kids would go to Marie Reed in Adams-Morgan.
On one level it makes sense to shift the elementary age kids to Marie Reed. It’s got a lot of capacity, and the majority of kids attending Francis-Stevens are out-of-boundary, so Marie Reed might even be closer to their home.
But what about that quarter of kids who are actually from Foggy Bottom? Should they have to option to choose a more local option than Adams Morgan? GM thinks they should. And that option should be Hyde-Addison here in Georgetown.
The number of in boundary children currently attending Francis-Stevens is only about 55 (some of whom may be in the middle school). Hyde is near capacity right now and would be strained if it had to accept these kids too. But the school is planning a new gym and library, which could also include new classrooms.
Having a larger school population would be good for the school because it means receiving more resources from DC.
There is of course the chance that the baby boom in Georgetown continues and even with the new space, there won’t be room for kids from Foggy Bottom. This has happened at Janney Elementary, where the school added a beautiful new wing, and it’s already over capacity.
Maybe the map would have to be tweaked going forward. But the reality is that if DCPS makes Foggy Bottom kids go to Marie Reed, they’re highly likely to just pull out of DCPS entirely. This is a way that we can keep them in the system and hopefully benefit Hyde as well.