Have you heard? The pope is coming, and with his visit comes road closures, transit changes and extra security across the District. But will it be the end of the world? Pope-alypse? Pope-mageddon? Probably not.
Residents across the Borderstan coverage area will likely feel the effects of Pope Francis’ visit on Wednesday, when the pope will hold mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Dupont Circle after parading around the White House.
Here’s our big infodump-y list of what to expect from the Pope’s visit:
Where Pope Francis Will Be
- Pope Francis will meet with President Obama Wednesday morning, which will be followed by a parade around the White House along Constitution Avenue NW and 15th and 17th streets NW
- The pope’s motorcade will then go from the White House to the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle at 1725 Rhode Island Ave. NW, where he will hold a midday prayer with U.S. bishops.
- He will then head to Catholic University to hold mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
- LGBT Catholics will gather outside of the Human Rights Campaign offices at 17th Street NW and Rhode Island Avenue NW to greet the pope as his motorcade passes en route to the cathedral
Where Pope Francis Will Not Be
Those looking to avoid the pope and road closures altogether should stay north of O Street NW. Places to avoid include Massachusetts Avenue near the Naval Observatory on Tuesday night, Farragut Square, Dupont, Catholic University and Brookland on Wednesday and the U.S. Capitol and downtown on Thursday.
- Rhode Island Avenue NW between Connecticut Avenue NW and 17th Street NW will be closed from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday
- Several roads around the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle will close intermittently between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. including:
– M Street NW between Connecticut Avenue NW and 17th Street NW
– Connecticut Avenue NW between 18th Street NW and Desales Street NW
– 17th Street NW between M and N streets NW
- Parking will be prohibited between midnight and 3 p.m. Wednesday in a one-block radius from the Cathedral including:
– Rhode Island Avenue NW between 17th Street NW and Connecticut Avenue NW
– M Street NW between Connecticut Avenue NW and the BB&T bank halfway down the block
- Parking will be limited from midnight tonight until 6 p.m. Thursday between 11th and 12th streets NW and between K and O streets NW
- Service on all lines will be increased during the midday and evenings. Metro does not have the capacity to increase service during rush hours and expects trains to be very crowded at those times
- Bicycles and large coolers will not be allowed on Metro trains Wednesday or Thursday
- Bags, packages and containers may be searched at Metro stations
- There is no scheduled track work on any lines during the Pope’s visit
- Updated information will be made available online
- 37, D1, D3, H1 and S1 buses will not operate on Wednesday or Thursday
Several bus routes have been shortened from due to road closures along their routes. Those bus lines are:
- 42 and 43 will only operate between Mt. Pleasant and 9th Street NW and F Street NW from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 2 p.m. Thursday
- N2 and N4 will only operate between Friendship Heights and the National Cathedral at 34th Street NW and Garfield Street NW from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Thursday.
- N3 and N6 will only operate between Friendship Heights and Dupont Circle from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Thursday
- S2 and S4 will only operate between Silver Spring and McPherson Square from 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to 2 p.m. Wednesday
- The Dupont Circle-Georgetown-Rosslyn and Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square lines will run every 15 minutes starting at noon on Wednesday and lasting until Thursday evening
- D.C. Public Schools will all be open for the entirety of the Pope’s visit. School officials warn that road closures and crowds may affect transportation to and from school and said parents can contact the Parent Resource Center at 202-576-5000 for transportation-related questions during the Pope’s visit.
Several charter schools will be closed on Wednesday, including:
- All Carlos Rosario International Charter School locations
- All Center City Public Charter School locations
- E.L. Hayned Public Charter School
- All KIPP D.C. locations
Places to Celebrate
- Embassy Row Hotel in Dupont Circle will hold a pope-themed rooftop party Tuesday night with foods from Pope Francis’ native Argentina. Tickets are $25
- Rumors Bar and Grill has a special pope sandwich on their menu this week
- Posto restaurant on 14th Street NW will offer a tasting menu of Roman dishes in honor of the pope’s visit
- Here’s a list of pope drink specials popping up across town
There may not be any troops at Garrison Elementary near Logan Circle, but this week there was a war.
The annual Garrison Elementary School Lemonade War pits fourth and fifth graders in the extended day before- and after-school program against each other to see who can sell the most lemonade.
The contest was inspired by the book “The Lemonade War” by Jacqueline Davies, which teaches business and economic concepts through a narrative about two siblings trying to out-sell each other in the competitive lemonade stand market.
The students in each grade were given $20 to buy supplies for their lemonade stands and were tasked with setting prices and selling the lemonade before and after school in front of Garrison Elementary at 1200 S St. NW.
The students also had to decide how much of their proceeds to re-invest in more lemonade and how much to keep. Whichever grade has the most money at the end of the week will be the winner, and both classes will get to decide how to spend the money they raised, according to Garrison principal Collin Hill.
Each grade took different strategies for their stands: The fourth graders went for variety, with small medium and large sized lemonade available, while the fifth graders adopted somewhat of a franchising strategy, stationing lemonade sellers in front of the school and at the playground behind the school.
A fourth grader who was pouring lemonade from a pitcher bigger than his head said on Wednesday that the class decided on the prices of the lemonade by taking a vote. Meanwhile, a fifth grader just feet away used a megaphone to assure passers-by that his grade’s lemonade was better.
Teachers were on hand to monitor the students but did not intervene with any business operations, leaving them to calculate change and serve customers themselves.
Who won and how much each grade has raised will be known on Friday, as the students had yet to count the cash filling their boxes. But it’s safe to assume the real victors of this crash course in capitalism were the paying customers.
The DC Department of Public Schools’ (DCPS) 2013-2014 budget includes cuts to the Fillmore Arts Center that leave the program “with no hope of viability,” the Friends of Fillmore group says.
Fillmore — part of the DC Public School system — provides classes, workshops and summer programs in dance, music, theater, visual arts, creative writing and media arts to more than 3,500 DC Public School students each year. The students who benefit from the programs are pulled from Garrison, Hearst, Houston, Hyde, Key, Raymond, Ross, Stoddert and River Terrace schools.
According to Friends of Fillmore — the PTA group who started a petition in response to the cuts — per-pupil funding at the school has dropped by 40 percent in the last four years. The latest round of cuts will force Fillmore’s principal to eliminate four of the five full-time teaching positions that remain at the arts school.
Friends of Fillmore is asking DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson to restore $300,000 to Fillmore’s budget for next year. This amount would restore the school’s budget to about what it was in the 2011-2012 school year.
“You need to remember that instruction in different areas of art don’t just make artists, it makes flexible, creative thinkers with critical minds ready to problem solve,” says Kelly Richmond, board chair of Friends of Fillmore, in a letter. “Arts training builds student confidence, perseverance, focus and dedication. These children will be asked to collaborate, work with constructive feedback and express themselves non-verbally when they learn in the arts. All skills I want in my future neighbors, employees, mortgage bankers, librarians, bus drivers, frankly anybody I encounter. Don’t you?”
So far, the petition has more than 600 signatures of support. Fillmore Arts Center has been active for more than 30 years. It operates two locations, including one at 1819 35th Street NW and one at 915 Spring Road NW.
Featured image: 15th Street NW at 7:15 am this morning.
Due to winter storm warning in effect until 3 am Thursday — along with the current weather of wet snow, rain and wind — the U.S. Government, D.C. Government, D.C. Public Library and D.C. Public Schools are all closed today. In addition, universities in DC are mostly closed today.
Tonight’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F meeting has been postponed and is rescheduled for next Wednesday, March 13.
- Looking for more information on what is closed, what’s delayed and what events have been cancelled? WTOP Radio’s website is a great source of information on weather closings (DC listings are toward the bottom of the page). You can also get more information at the District Snow Team page.
- From DC Alert on the storm warning: “The National Weather Service reports that the Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 3AM Thursday morning. NWS anticipates wet snow throughout the day and into tonight. Expect heavy snow at periods throughout Wednesday and tapering off Wednesday night. NWS expects snow accumulations from 5 to 9 inches during the warning period with Northeast winds from 20 to 24 MPH. Expect wind gusts up to 35 MPH Wednesday afternoon and night.”
- From DC Alert on the federal government: “Office of Personnel Management Decision: FEDERAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED for Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Emergency and Telework-Ready Employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies, including written telework agreements.”
- From the D.C. Government website: “The District of Columbia government will be closed on Wednesday, March 6 due to the inclement weather that is expected in the DC Metro area. District of Columbia Public Schools are also closed for students and school staff. View snow.dc.gov for more information.”
From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.
More than 43 percent of all public school children in DC attend one of the 57 Public Charter Schools spread across the city on 102 campuses.
Charter schools are publicly funded and tuition-free schools that are open to all DC children. They are exempt from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools, but they must achieve certain results which are set forth in each school’s charter. The DC Public Charter School Board is responsible for oversight of the charter schools.
Each charter school has its own application and lottery process. This year, for the first time, most DCPCS will have an application deadline of March 15, run their lotteries on March 22 and have a deadline of April 22 for parents to accept a spot before the schools move on to their wait lists.
Unlike the DC Public School lottery, in which parents must narrow their choices down to six options and in which preference is given for living in close proximity to the school, parents can apply to as many DCPCS as they wish and have an equal chance to anyone else in the city.
Most, if not all, charter schools give a preference to siblings of children already at the school. There are a handful of schools that fill spots in their classrooms in the order that applications were submitted, but most schools accept applications until a certain date and then hold a lottery.
For many schools, applying is as easy as entering name, date of birth and address information on a website, but some schools require you to apply in-person or fax in your application.
With so many charter schools in the city, deciding which schools to focus on can be daunting. Word of mouth is a great way to begin gathering information about schools. Ask your friends and neighbors what they like and dislike about the schools their children attend.
On the Charter School Board’s website, you can search for schools by location and name and view demographic information, a description of each school, and a detailed “School Performance Scorecard.” The Charter school board ranks schools into three tiers, with Tier 3 schools being underperforming.
The new website, Apply DC Charters, has basic information about the 85 schools participating in the March 15 application deadline, including upcoming open house dates. You can search the website by location, grade levels, and programs, such as arts-integration or interscholastic sports.
The website GreatSchools also has school profiles for DCPS, public charter schools, and private schools. GreatSchools has a ranking system that is currently based on test scores for Grades 3 and higher, and academic growth from year to year, so if you are researching a newer school there may be no ranking or limited data behind the ranking. On the GreatSchools website, you can also sort schools by their “specialty,” such as a dual-language curriculum or a Montessori program.
There are several public charter schools within the Borderstan area. Below is a list of DCPCS serving pre-school and elementary school aged students in Borderstan, along with the dates of upcoming Open Houses.
- Center City PCS – Shaw Campus: Contact to schedule a tour (202) 234-1093 or shaw[AT]centercitypcs.org.
- Community Academy PCS – Butler Campus: Contact for details 202-234-5437 or info[AT]capcs.org.
- Inspired Teaching PCS: February 23 at 10 am; March 5 at 6 pm; April 14 at 6 pm; May 4 at 10 am.
- Meridian PCS: February 23 at 1 pm; April 20 at 1 pm; May 4 at 1 pm; June 1 at 1 pm.
- Shining Stars Montessori Academy PCS: March 15 at 6:30 pm (also offers advance sign up morning visit of March 14).
Both DCPS and DCPCS will complete their lotteries by the end of March. With large numbers of parents entering the lottery for six DCPS and any number of charter schools, expect wait lists to move significantly over the summer and into the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.
Now that Garrison Elementary will remain open, the administration is preparing for new students for the 2013-2014 school year.
- Tuesday, January 29 at 5 pm
- Saturday, February 2 at 9 am
- Tuesday, February 5 at 9 am
- Tuesday, February 19 at 7:30 am
Francis-Stevens Educational Campus announced last week that it will expand to include grades 9th through 12th, beginning in the the 2013-2014 academic year. The school currently offers pre-K through 8th grade. School Without Walls is expanding into the space; Richard Trogusch will be principal.
To obtain students to fill the upper-education classes, Francis-Stevens will work to recruit new students.
On Monday, January 28, Francis-Stevens school advisory team member Olivia Chase will conduct a recruitment event in Ward 1 at Martha’s Table’s Child Development Center at 2114 14th Street NW. The event will begin at 4 pm.
Those with recommendations for additional recruitment event locations are encouraged to contact Ms. Chase at oacfromdc[AT]hotmail.com.
On Thursday, DC Public School Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced revisions to the November proposed plan to close 20 public schools in the District. One of the schools in the proposal included Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street NW).
However, on Thursday, Henderson removed Garrison from the closure list. Garrison serves students from pre-School through 5th Grade. The Francis-Stevens Education Campus at 2425 N Street was also removed from the closure list.
“Garrison’s staying open is a community victory!” Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham said. “Parents, students, and hundreds of community volunteers worked hard to convince DCPS that Garrison had to stay open. And in the end, the message prevailed.”
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans agreed: “I’m pleased to see that the Chancellor made the right decision and kept Garrison and Francis-Stevens open”, Evans said. “This is a new opportunity, and I know parents and children will take advantage of it. I am hopeful that Chancellor Henderson will continue to work with the parents and neighbors going forward to ensure the long-term vibrancy of these schools. This is a great day for Ward 2.”
Garrison PTA released a statement, which included the following paragraph:
“The most important work begins now. We will remain open and we made commitments to DCPS in order to do so. But more importantly, we made commitments to each other — our students, our parents, our staff, our neighborhood, our city. We must make good on these commitments. It is crucial that we continue to move forward from here with the same enthusiasm. And we need your involvement to do it, so please keep up the good work and involvement.”
The results will help to guide a counter-proposal to the school consolidation proposal, announced by DC Public Schools on November 13.
The survey asks for input from potential parents of students, current parents of students and members of the community.
“We are committed to ensuring that our proposal reflect the desires of the entire community,” said Ann McLeod, president of the Garrison PTA. “People can complete the survey on-line, and we’ll have folks walking throughout the neighborhood to talk with individuals one-on-one, as we know not everyone has internet access or a computer. Someone we’ve not had a chance to talk with directly just might come up with the one thing that can save our school, so we’ve got to make sure we hear all the ideas that we can.”
In addition to the survey results, the counter-proposal will also include suggestions for a full modernization of the school, a plan that was originally scheduled to start in 2012. The purpose of the plan, called the Garrison Improvement Project, is to retain current students and attract prospective families to the school. The Garrison Improvement Project would also improve the community and the grounds for community use.
“Garrison’s building and outdoor facilities are in sore need of an update – they’ve not seen improvement for decades,” said McLeod. “We understood we were scheduled for Phase I modernization in 2012, which somehow got pushed back to 2014. We knew that many Ward 3 schools were successful in fast-tracking their modernizations, and we undertook this effort to have the same thing happen at Garrison.”
For more information on the survey or the Save Garrison initiative, contact Ann McLeod at ann_mcleod[AT]verizon.net or follow @GarrisonPTA on Twitter.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B will hold it’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 12 at 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW from 7 pm until 10 pm.
At the height of they city’s impending bill to reform liquor licensing, voluntary agreements (VAs) and the role of neighbors in influencing a businesses liquor license, the ANC will discuss a consideration of waiver of VA interior hours restrictions during Inauguration Week (January 15 through January 21).
The meeting will also discuss a resolution on planned school consolidations, routine regulatory applications, zoning and development updates and public safety concerns — which should be an interesting discussion, considering the recent spike in crime in the area.
The meeting is open to the public. For more information, visit ANC 2B’s website.
On Wednesday evening, December 5, the Garrison Community showed up in full-force at the DC Public Schools meeting on the School Consolidation Proposal. Hundreds of District residents attended, representing Garrison Elementary and other schools slated to close next year.
Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans addressed DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, and told her that he is against the city’s plan to close the Logan Circle school.
“I do not support closing Garrison,” said Evans at the meeting. “Garrison has become a focal point of the Logan Circle Community.”
Evans even tweeted live from the meeting with comments attendees were making, as well as photos of the crowd.
The Garrison PTA stated that even reporters present at the meeting took notice of Garrison’s numbers and strong support. Martin Austermuhle from DCist tweeted, “Garrison ES highest turnout tonight, has generally dominated conversation on school closures.”
Prior to the meeting at Brightwood Education Campus, the Garrison PTA arranged a dinner meeting at the school and transportation to the meeting’s location, as well as childcare.
On November 13, Henderson announced a plan to consolidate the DC public school system. The plan includes a proposal to close Garrison Elementary and 19 other schools throughout the city.
On Wednesday, December 5, DC Public Schools (DCPS) will hold a community meeting on the proposed school consolidation and reorganization plan for Wards 1-4. The meeting, which will take place from 6 to 8 pm at Brightwood Education Campus (1300 Nicholson Street NW), will provide an opportunity for parents and community members to provide feedback on the proposed plans.
Prior to the community meeting, Garrison parents, community members and supporters will meet at Garrison between 4 and 5:30 pm to have a group discussion; a light supper will be served.
Childcare will be available for the evening’s meeting and Garrison PTA will provide buses between Garrison and the community meeting location.
Those who are interested in participating in the evening’s meeting and pre-meeting activities must RSVP online.
Even though DC Public Schools (DCPS) announced the closing of 20 schools nearly two weeks ago, Borderstan residents, parents, fauclty and community members still remain shocked by one on the list: Garrison Elementary.
The school at 1200 S Street NW, is home to 237 students in the Logan Circle/U Street neighborhood in Ward 2.
The plan, which also proposes closing two additional schools in Ward 2, including Shaw at Garnet-Patterson Middle School (2001 10th Street NW) and Francis-Stevens Educational Campus (2425 N Street NW), aims to consolidate schools to better utilize the city’s facilities and to work more efficiently.
“We have too many schools that are too small to support our students’ needs,” said DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson in video promoting the plan.
However, parents, community members and faculty at Garrison do not feel the same way.
Reaction from Parents, Public Officials
“I am just extremely disappointed and confused by the whole thing,” said Jeff Shank, a parent to a preschool student at Garrison. “I feel like [closing Garrison] was not well thought out.”
Since Henderson’s announcement, a petition opposing the closing of Garrison has received more than 375 signatures, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans made a public statement of disapproval and letters of opposition from ANC 1B and ANC 2F have been sent to Mayor Vincent Gray and Henderson.
“What doesn’t make sense is why they would close an elementary school in an area that is experiencing such a big growth in population,” said Sara Williams, another parent at Garrison and a seven-year Logan Circle resident.
Garrison is currently close to full capacity, and DCPS projects the neighborhood will see an increase of at least 125 children by 2015.
“We’ve seen the change in the neighborhood and the growing number of families, and [closing Garrison] seems very short-sighted of them, based on what’s coming in to the area,” said Williams.
A Vacant Building?
Other members of the community are concerned with the future plans for Garrison if the school does close and the building goes vacant.
“Many of us are all too familiar with crime, theft and neighborhood violence,” wrote ANC IB members in a letter to Gray and Henderson. “Another empty, dark area is asking for trouble and will likely deter people from either moving to the neighborhood, increase people’s unease about the adjacent streets and cause increased stress on the already strained police presence.”
Shank thinks that even if a vacant Garrison is eventually turned into a useful space, it will still cost DCPS lots of money to change it into something else.
“Closing Garrison leaves us with three abandoned schools in the neighborhood,” said Shank, who is also apprehensive about rebuilding a new community at Seaton, the school to which Garrison students will be redirected.
“Over the past three years, the parents and community really put a lot of work into building Garrison,” said Shank. “And now many of us feel like we have to start over.”
Garrison PTA member, Ann McLeod seconded Shank’s opinion. “Time and again, the ANC and local neighborhood associations have worked with – and have become increasingly excited about – the potential for Garrison to become a great school,” said McLeod.
“After three years of hard work led by parents and community members, and with new school leadership appointed less than three months ago, many essential elements are now in place to steepen Garrison’s trajectory to becoming one of the top schools in the District,” read the letter from the local ANCs to the city officials.
Melissa McClam, a former graduate and current parent at Garrison also opposes its closing, based on the school’s ability to foster a variety of races, ethnicities, cultures and needs.
The student body at Garrison is 66 percent black, 26 percent Latino and 6 percent white. Additionally, 23 percent of students at Garrison have special needs, and Garrison has an autism-specific classroom.
“Garrison is also special because it creates opportunities for families of different backgrounds to meet other parents and build relationships,” said McClam.
“Over the past few years, I’ve talked to several local parents of young kids who have just started considering sending their children to Garrison, ” said Williams. “And now they are closing – it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Since the announcement, Henderson has been adamant on obtaining community feedback to the closings, and is working with residents to remedy concerns. DCPS has held two DC Council hearings and will hold four additional community meetings for all eight wards over the next week.
If Garrison does close (the closure is not yet eminent), officials have started talking about the school reopening in the future.
“They keep talking about a reopening, and it takes a lot to reopen a school once it closes,” said Williams. “And why would I send my kid there if DCPS has already turned its back on the school once before?”
As for now, many parents are reconsidering their allegiance to DCPS if Garrison does close. When asked if she would still send her child to Seaton if Garrison closes, Williams responded, “You know, I am really hesitant.”
Colin Hill, principal of Garrison Elementary, declined a comment on the closing of the school, but acknowledged “the emotional nature of this process and [his] place in it.” Hill referred us to Melissa Salmanowitz, director of press for DCPS, for comment.
Salmanowitz referred us to the DCPS link for frequently asked questions.
Parents, residents and community members of Ward 2 are holding a town hall meeting on Tuesday, November 27 at the Francis-Stevens Educational Center (2425 N Street NW).
The meeting is to discuss the proposed closings of Francis-Stevens, as announced by DC Public Schools. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 6:30 pm.
This week, DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced a proposal to close 20 schools in six wards across the city. Two of the schools on the list – Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street NW) and Shaw at Garnet-Patterson Middle School (2001 10th Street NW) – are expected to close for the 2013-2014 school year.
On Thursday, Nov. 14, Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) sent an email to community members letting them know that he and Councilmember Jim Graham opposed to closing Garrison.
“Garrison, with its lively and involved support system consisting of parents, a strong PTA, and community support from the Logan Circle Citizens Association and the ANC, should remain open,” said Evans.
“If consolidation is needed, students can come from Seaton to Garrison. Garrison is at nearly 70 percent capacity – higher than almost any other school set to close.”
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has scheduled an upcoming Council hearing for Nov. 19. Evans is requesting that the Chairman re-open the witness lists so that more community members can put submit views on the record.
The DCPS website lists several ways in which parents and the community can provide feedback, including:
- Two DC Council hearings
- Four community meetings
- An online forum for feedback
- DCPS office hours (available times will be posted on the DCPS website after Dec. 5.)
“Please take advantage of all these forums to express your views,” said Evans, who plans on participating in the hearings and in a meeting with Teachers’ Union President Nathan Saunders.