Will someone take my daughter, please?


She’s very friendly. Likes sports. Has “great” attention span.  Is fairly charismatic and eager to start school .
Currently, she has virtually no where to begin her school experience in the fall. Our current boundary school is Bruce-Monroe Elementary, whose fate is in limbo ever since it was moved to Park View while the new Bruce Monroe is being built. In 2008 Chancellor Rhee closed the school along with 22 others, citing under-enrollment or poor physical conditions as the reason. However, demolition of the old school building just finished last month. And instead of reopening in fall of 2011 as originally intended, it is expected that our neighborhood will not see another school for at least another 3 to 5years.
Not wanting to go far from our neighborhood on Georgia Avenue, my wife and I visited nearly a dozen schools in Wards 1 and 2. None of them blue ribbon or “west-of-the-park” schools as conventional wisdom would suggest, just places we thought our daughter would be physically safe and academically challenged.    
Through DCPS’ lottery system we were able to apply to a maximum of 6 schools outside our “boundary”. The result… we did not get into any of our choices and were no lower on the waiting list than the 25th spot.  The Out-of-Boundary Lottery allows parents to apply for kindergarten through 12th grade at a different DCPS school than their child's assigned school(s). As an advocate for DC Public Schools, I am thrilled that the demand for even moderately performing elementary schools is seemingly so high. Some schools like Bancroft and Thompson took no kids or less than four in the upcoming year’s new class of Pre-K students. However, where does this leave our child? Bruce-Monroe at Park View--while a very quaint school community--has struggled to meet AYP, sits in a 100 year old building, and is still transitioning aggressively to meet the needs of their 56% English Language Learner population. 
My wife and I cannot afford private school. And while, Ward 1 hosts some of this city’s best charter schools, the varying level of academic standards and quality of school facilities concerns us, considerably. More importantly, shouldn’t the public school system be relied upon to support local school communities?
We have less than 100 days until the new school year starts and she desperately needs a quality public school option in or near our own neighborhood.  

Jeff Smith
Executive Director, DC VOICE


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