Photo by Dave DeSandro.
Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:
Monday was the beginning of the out of boundary lottery process for DC public schools. This is the process by which students who don’t want to attend their designated local school can get a slot at another school.
As discussed here before, for several decades Hyde has been a school mostly filled with students from other neighborhoods. This started to change over the past decade as more Georgetowners decided to send their children to the local school. This has, in turn, reduced the number of slots available to students from other neighborhoods trying to attend Hyde.
One thing parents new to the system might not realize is that even children in the neighborhood have to apply through the lottery for a slot in the pre-Kindergarten program. They are not guaranteed a slot. They do, however, get priority in the lottery. And last year there was such a groundswell of interest from neighborhood parents for the pre-K program that all the slots went to neighborhood kids. Some neighborhood kids didn’t even get a slot in the lottery, but all neighborhood kids that wanted a pre-K slot eventually got one off the waitlist. Continue reading
UPDATE: GM is an idiot. He wrote this article looking at last year’s budgets. He’s now updated the article with the right numbers.
Late last week, DCPS released proposed budgets for each school, including Georgetown’s Hyde-Addison Elementary and Hardy Middle School.
For Hyde, DCPS proposes to set aside
$2,615,100$3,092,942. The budget predicts an enrollment of 260315. If those numbers hold up, that would mean $10,058.07 $9,819 per student. The enrollment numbers, however, don’t seem quite right to GM. For instance, the budget projects a Pre-K enrollment of 40. But as of right now, next year Hyde is only offering one Pre-K class of 20. Additionally, Hyde’s current Kindergarten class is 58, but the budget only calls for a first grade class of 42.
Setting aside that confusion, Hyde’s per student budget compares well to other sought after NW elementary schools. Here’s their per student budget allocations (with last year’s numbers struck out):
Part of the reason Hyde has such a high per student budget compared with these other schools is that it’s smaller than all of those schools. Also note that the per pupil budget didn’t not move in a uniform direction from last year across these schools; some went up, some down, and Murch is almost exactly the same.
As for Hardy, DCPS is proposing
$4,143,363$4,334,677 for the middle school. This is based upon a projected enrollment of 474516. This also seems like an overestimate. The pre-audited numbers for Hardy this year are 418. (Deal similarly has a disparity of 891945 budgeted with a 866 pre-audited ’10-’11 enrollment). Either way that works out as a $8,741.27$8,401 per student budget for Hardy (Deal’s will be $8,843.11$8,400).
The bigger news this week for Hardy is that Mayor Gray is keeping Kaya Henderson as school’s chancellor. After Jack Evans proposed a bill to bring Patrick Pope back as principal of Hardy, Henderson and Gray made it crystal clear that they were uninterested in Evans’ meddling and reiterated that Pope was not going to return to Hardy. With Gray making Henderson’s appointment permanent, it seems that the administration’s position on Pope is unlikely to change.
Last week DCPS initiated the annual Out of Boundary (“OOB”) lottery for the 2011-12 school year. This is the process by which students who do not wish to attend their designated local school take open places in schools outside their neighborhood. As the name states, it is a lottery process. Applicants have until February 28th to submit their application (there’s no advantage to applying early). The lottery will run on March 2nd, and the results will be published on March 3rd.
What many people do not realize is that to attend any pre-K program, even if it’s your local school, you have to apply to the lottery as well. So regardless of which school you want, if you plan on sending your child to pre-K next year, you need to apply to the lottery.
Here in Georgetown, that pre-K lottery is about to assume a pretty significant role in the ongoing transformation of Hyde-Addison, whereby the school is steadily becoming a primarily Georgetown-serving school.
The Long History
Throughout the twentieth century, schools in Georgetown had problems with underenrollment. This forced the schools to go through several mergers. At one point there was a Addison-Curtis-Hyde School, later there was a Hyde-Jackson school, which itself merged with the Corcoran School. All this was done to prevent the central office from shutting down the schools completely.
As early as 1965, the city started busing students to attend the relatively empty Georgetown schools. By the early 1970s, the non-neighborhood children represented the majority of students in Georgetown schools (by 1972, only Hyde and Fillmore were still open).
That situation has remained pretty much the same for the last forty years.
The Recent History
In the past 5-10 years, the population of in-boundary children attending Hyde has been steadily increasing. This reflects the on-going baby boom in Georgetown. GM checked the census records, and it doesn’t appear that Georgetown children are necessarily choosing public school over private school more than they did in the past. It’s just that there are literally hundreds more children living in Georgetown now than there were just two decades ago. Even if they attend public schools at the same rate as they historically have, that would still result in a big student enrollment jump considering how small Hyde is.
There does, however, seem to be some dispute over the current number of in boundary students at Hyde. Principal Dana Nerenberg told GM she believes it’s at or around 50%; however, DCPS pegs last year’s number at just 32%. (In Nerenberg’s defense, she told GM that Hyde does not keep records of which students are in-boundary and which are out-of-boundary, so it was just a guess on her part).
Whatever the number was last year, it’s indubitably higher this year. Why? Because Hyde got a raft of unexpected new neighborhood students enrolling in kindergarten last fall. So many that the school had to hire an extra teacher to float between the extra large kindergarten classes.
While it appears that the school has been able to successfully handle the population spike, the administration recognizes that changes must be made to prevent over-population.
Traditionally, the time when most out-of-boundary children enroll in Hyde is during the pre-K lottery. Once they get in then, they can stay with Hyde straight through. Historically, only a handful of 5-7 in-boundary students then show up during the kindergarten year. Last year, though, there were 20 neighborhood kids that showed up in August for kindergarten.
So basically, a lot of neighborhood children wait until kindergarten to enroll in Hyde. To keep space available for this expected influx, Hyde next year is cutting one of its two Pre-K classes. Last year it accepted 35 students (24 in boundary and 11 out-of-boundary [but only about 15 of the in-boundary students actually enrolled]). This year, with only one Pre-K class, they are only accepting 19 pre-K students in the lottery.
So if recent numbers hold-up, almost every pre-K slot will go to in boundary students. And further, if the increase in neighborhood children showing up for kindergarten also holds up, there won’t be very many slots for out-of-boundary students then either. There is a distinct possibility, therefore, that in the very near future, Hyde will be almost 100% filled with Georgetown kids.
That would be a event that has not happened in a long, long time. You probably have to go back to before the depression to find a time when Georgetown kids used up all the spaces in Georgetown schools (although there were a lot more spaces back then).
GM has had conversations with parents that are worried that even with 100% of the slots being taken by Georgetown students, it still won’t be enough space. One has even suggested to him that the city ought to consider looking for additional space. The space that immediately would come to mind, of course, is the one other school building in Georgetown still owned by DCPS: the Jackson School.
But while GM loves the renewed interest in Hyde, he just doesn’t think we’ll ever get to that point (and besides, he doesn’t want to see the artists kicked out). But that we were even having a discussion about reopening a school that was closed in 1971 due to a dearth in local students is frankly pretty remarkable.
Of course, time will tell. Perhaps this is just a blip caused by the recession. But GM believes there are firm demographic reasons underlying this change, namely there are more young families in Georgetown than there used to be. And that’s unlikely to change once the economy picks up.
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 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
Last night Chancellor of the D.C. Public Schools Michelle Rhee spoke to the Citizens Association of Georgetown at the Hyde-Addison School. Rhee spoke for about an hour to the packed crowd of mostly supportive listeners.
Before the meeting, however, a set of impressive student ambassadors gave members of the audience personal tours of the Hyde and Addison buildings. GM was particularly impressed with the poise and enthusiasm of his three ambassadors.
Now to the meeting: Rhee started it off with a quick introductory speech. She thanked Hyde principal Dana Nerenberg and congratulated her on being one of DCPS’s exemplary principals. Specifically she cited two of Nerenberg’s accomplishments.
First, Rhee mentioned that Nerenberg had developed a program to improve special education by offering Hyde as a location for more “inclusion kids”. To accommodate the addition children, Nerenberg worked with school building czar Alan Lew to completely renovate the empty Addison school. The school took over the Addison school last spring. Now kindergarten through first grade are in Hyde, while second through fifth grade are in the gleaming Addison building.
Second Rhee mentioned Nerenberg’s work with the principals of Mann and Janney. Together they developed a collaborative program for their three schools to help spread their success to six less highly achieving schools. The program enables the struggling schools to learn best practices from the higher achieving schools.
After speaking about Nerenberg, Rhee stated that we are nowhere near being able to say we can provide a good education to all the kids in the school district. But despite telling a journalist last year that she would give herself a failing grade, Rhee stated that there are nonetheless hopeful signs of progress. Specifically she mentioned that the improvements that the fourth graders made in math last year put the District in first place versus all the fifty states in terms year-over-year improvements.
Adorably, shortly after Rhee made this claim a student ambassador raised his hands and wanted to clarify that it was in fact his class-year that had increased its performance so well. The crowd got a kick out of that. Continue reading
The Georgetown Current alerts GM that the D.C. Public Schools opened up the Out of Boundary lottery process on January 28th. For Georgetown residents interested in sending their children to our local school, Hyde, for pre-k, they actually need to apply through the lottery process. Although Georgetown children have priority for Hyde’s pre-k, there are limited slots, and for Georgetown students to keep their priority they need to apply by March 13th.