A public school in West End is seeking some help to get ready for students before they start classes next week.
Locals can volunteer to garden, clean classrooms and install bookshelves, among other activities, at the school at 2425 N St. NW.
The school, which has students in preschool to eighth grade, is set to begin classes for the fall Monday.
Photo courtesy of Chris Sondreal
Borderstan periodically publishes opinion pieces from our readers. Have something you want to share with Borderstan’s readers? Email us at [email protected].
by Elizabeth Nicoletti
The green text bubble lit up on my iPhone, and I could see the words from across my kitchen counter, “Exciting news! We bought a new house!” The text came from close friends who live on our block. Our kids are similar ages, we all go to the local park regularly and twice a year we co-organize neighborhood events. However, their oldest is entering Pre-K, and they cannot commit to the local school.
The local school is Garrison Elementary School (1200 S St. NW). I decided to send my son to Garrison for numerous reasons — its high-quality teachers, curriculum, vicinity and diversity. Watching my son thrive in Garrison’s rich cultural bastion confirms my decision. At three years old, he is writing, reading and dancing ballet and hip-hop alongside his bright and eager classmates. However, I am constantly confronting shortcomings with the school’s structure. A reoccurring mouse infestation, a faulty heating and cooling system and acres of unusable athletic fields are distracting students and teachers from reaching their full potential. And they continue to weigh on parents’ conscience about whether this is the best setting for long-term success.
In 2010, D.C. Public Schools’ central office called for a Garrison modernization for 2014. When that never happened, Mayor Muriel Bowser, as Mayor Vincent Gray had done before her, reprogrammed Garrison’s modernization money and promised it would make Garrison whole in the 2016 budget cycle, which she did with $40 million. In May 2015, an amendment eliminated $20 million from that modernization. The school was left with only $20 million, which the Department of General Services has advised was insufficient. And now after two meetings at city hall, I still find the process for ensuring that remaining funds are efficiently and effectively deployed unclear and opaque.
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.
From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.
DC Public Schools (DCPS) opened the annual Preschool/Pre-Kindergarten and Out-Of-Boundary lottery application on January 28th. Parents have until February 25 to consider the options and narrow their choices down to six programs. DC Public Charter Schools operate their own lotteries that are separate from the DCPS lottery. This year, most charter schools have an application deadline of March 15.
Parents of young children who will be age 3 or 4 by October 2013 must apply to the Preschool/PreK lottery if they wish to enroll their children in DCPS. Although many Preschool and PreK spots are available, children are not guaranteed access to these programs.
If you have a child Kindergarten age (5) or older, you are guaranteed enrollment at your local DCPS. Borderstan residents are zoned for one of the following DC Public Elementary Schools: Cleveland, Francis-Stevens, Garrison, Marie Reed, Ross, Seaton or Thomson. If you wish to enroll your child at a school other than the one you are assigned, you can apply to the Out-Of-Boundary Lottery.
The DCPS lottery application allows you to choose up to six school programs, ranked in order of your preference. Some schools offer two programs; for example Marie Reed and Cleveland offer both dual language Spanish/English and English-only programs. Each program counts as one of your six lottery choices. If your child wins a spot at a school, he or she will be waitlisted at any school you ranked higher on your list, but not at schools you ranked lower.
In order to help you decide which six programs to list on your lottery application, you may want to start asking your friends, neighbors, and even strangers on the playground where their children go to school and what they see as the school’s strengths and weaknesses. You can find demographic information, test scores, and more on the DCPS school profiles website which allows you to sort by grade level, location, and special programs. The website www.greatschools.org also has school profiles for DCPS, public charter schools, and private schools.
As you contemplate which schools to put on your DCPS lottery application, you may want to consider the chances of winning a spot at that school. The DCPS lottery gives preference to children who live in-boundary (for Preschool and Pre-K), for children who have a sibling at the school, and for children who live within a “reasonable walking distance” (within a 3,000 foot square) of the school. Past lottery results can be a helpful guide, as some of the most sought after schools rarely admit students from out-of-bounds.
Once you have narrowed down your choices, most schools offer open houses where you can meet the principal and get a walk-through of the school. Below is a list of the upcoming open houses for Borderstan’s schools:
- Cleveland: February 13 at 9 am; and April 17 at 9 am.
- Francis-Stevens: February 7 at 8:30 am; February 12 at 8:30 am; February 16 at 10 am; February 21 at 8:30 am.
- Garrison: February 2 at 9 am; February 5 at 9 am; and February 19 at 7:30 am.
- Marie Reed: March 30 at 9 am.
- Ross: February 22 am time TBD; and March 15 am time TBD.
- Seaton: March 31 time TBD; and March 6 time TBD.
- Thomson: February 7 at 9:30 am; and March 21 at 9:30 am.
The lottery results will be posted online March 8, and you will be able to access your results with the number you receive when you submit your application. With large numbers of parents entering the lottery for six DCPS and several charter schools, expect wait lists to move significantly over the summer and into the beginning of the next school year.
Back to Life, Back to Reality
School is back in session for area children. While it brings back (to me, anyways) memories of Soul II Soul, this year brings a new reality to D.C. public schools. Harry Jaffe is back in the Washington Examiner with the surprising news that schools that have been predominantly African-American are seeing many more Caucasian classmates this year. DCPS reports that the 2011 enrollment percentage of white kids may have broken double digits. Credit population changes, credit Michelle Rhee or are the two related? Talk away in the comments.
Salute Your Shorts!
The D.C. Shorts Festival is nearly here again, and this year they have a blog! The Film Festival features 145 short movies from 23 countries and begins September 8 – 18. The Festival is in its eighth year in the District. When you think of D.C. and movies, maybe all you think of is Bumblebee hitting a car while Transformers was shooting here awhile ago. It’s time to change your perspective — the festival has been ranked in the top 20 festivals worth the entry fee. If you are still being a stick in the mud and hate movies, maybe you can still support them by boozing and partying at one of their ‘epic events.’
Wanna Go to the Coffee Shop?
Filter in Dupont Circle was rated “DC’s Best Coffeehouse” by Washington City Paper this year. Now, NBC Washington reports they are opening a second location in Foggy Bottom. It seems those flat whites and lattes will be shared with non-Borderstanis in about four to six months.
Speaking of Coffee Shops…
The Guardian features a gorgeous piece by George Pelecanos, creator of The Wire and D.C. native. He describes his formative years working in his father’s diner, the Jefferson Coffee Shop on 19th Street. You may have known about his local roots as he lovingly chronicled and derided Baltimore in his TV show, but now you can feel his love for his dad and a greasy spoon in Dupont. Anyone know what the current incarnation is on 19th? I’m going to go stalk, I mean wait for, Pelecanos to come wandering back home.
Amnesty for Egg Stealers
Eater and other blogs have talked to restaurant owners to find out “shit people steal” with often hilarious results before, but this installment involves a Dupont eatery styled after Grandma’s cooking. And people are still stealing! The hot commodity are fake eggs in a display at Casa Nonna. So they are offering amnesty for anyone that returns an egg and rewarding their change of heart with a free scoop of gelato. I am dying to hear an update on how many are being returned, how many fake “return eggs” have been gifted and if the DMV will add ice cream to the ticket amnesty program.
Attack of the Tomato
It’s a little out of the Borderstan area (or a lot depending on if you are planning on walking) but it’s worth checking out Ripple’s ‘Tomatina’ Festival if today’s morning chill made you mourn the end of summer. Get your tomato fix at their interpretation of Spain’s tomato throwing festival. It’s in Cleveland Park, tickets are $65 for five courses of tomatoes, performance artists and a showing of the cult favorite (?) “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”. Check out Metrocurean for more details, as I am unclear if this also includes tomato tossing.
The library at Garrison Elementary School, located at 1200 S Street NW in Logan Circle, has won a complete makeover from Target and the Heart of America Foundation. In addition to a renovation of the physical space, the library will receive more than 2,000 new books and upgrades in technology.
Garrison was one of just 41 school libraries nationwide to benefit from the prize. Schools selected for the extensive rehabilitation were evaluated and chosen based on need, site visits and dedication exhibited by school staff to carry out the mission of the program. The transformation will take place over the summer so the new space will be ready for students at the start of the school year in fall 2011.
From Michelle Lancater
West Dupont Liquor Moratorium Reviewed, Changes Recommended
The notes put on Scribd indicate some interesting recommendations are going before ANC2B with regards to the West Dupont [liquor] Moratorium. These include a call to eliminate the cap on CR/DR licenses to create a new ‘Restaurant Row,’ as well as more guidance on voluntary agreements. They recommend more VA’s be sought with new businesses and favor closing hours before 1am on weeknights and before 3am on weekends. Kevin O’Connor, who represents part of that area on Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B is heading up the panel; check out his site for some background. What do you think?