From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email.
Anyone who has lived in Logan Circle for more than 10 years can attest to one of the most noticeable changes in the demographics of the neighborhood: the arrival of children. Baby strollers along 14th Street and high chairs in Logan Tavern on P Street are commonplace and no longer turn heads. As the popularity and convenience of Logan increases, couples aren’t automatically departing to the suburbs once children arrive.
Ann McLeod, president of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) at Garrison Elementary School at 12th and S Streets NW in Logan Circle, summed up the feelings of families with young children who choose to stay put:
“We are city people — moving to Virginia or Maryland was not even considered. Moving to upper Northwest was not even considered — we want to be able to walk to the grocery store, to restaurants, to shops.”
When the time came for McLeod and her husband to start thinking about schools for their son, they were a bit skeptical about the closest choice, Garrison, which serves students from preschool through 5th grade. After visits to the school, meeting with teachers and administrators and networking with other parents, they saw potential and decided to give it a try. McLeod knew the key to success was parental and community involvement.
Evelyn Boyd Simmons, chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F Education Committee, echoes some of McLeod’s feelings:
“The reasons that people chose the Logan Circle area do not all suddenly fly out the window when the stork flies in. People are at least beginning to question the conventional wisdom that says if you value education, you must flee this area.”
Simmons is not exactly a newcomer, however. She has lived a couple of blocks from Garrison since 1998 and in the Borderstan area since 1991 (and she has a child in DC Public Schools). Simmons connected with Ann McLeod through the Garrison Facebook page that had been set up by the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). They, along with other parents, then sought community support from the Logan Circle Community Association (LCCA) and ANC 2F. Last November, ANC 2F amended its bylaws in order to establish a permanent Education Committee.
Over the course of 2010 LCCA, ANC 2F and DCPS listened to the concerns of parents and their desire to have strong education options in the neighborhood. All the organizations were enthusiastic supporters, and later in the year, ANC 2F formed a standing committee on education with Evelyn Boyd Simmons as the chair. The resolution to form the committee stated, “The committee is formed for the purpose of seeking to assure improvement of the facilities, personnel, policies and progress of primary education for all.”
Dr. Peggy O’Brien, Chief of Family and Public Engagement for DCPS, who participated in some of the early meetings with the groups commented, “At DCPS, we’re delighted about the surge of interest from Ward 2 residents because all of us — parents, the school district, community members — must play a role in creating the kind of schools that our children deserve and in which they can thrive. We’re working with the ANC, its new education committee and the LCCA. They are an energetic, committed and impressive group. We are working together on a number of different fronts, and I look forward to the continuing growth and impact of the collaboration.”
Garrison Elementary will be hosting an open house for the community on Tuesday, February 8 from 10 to 11:30 am and again from 5:30 to 6:30 pm at the school, 1200 S Street NW.