The Office of the Deputy Mayor of Education and the Department of General Services announced yesterday in a press release the awarding of two DCPS properties to charter schools. The Hamilton School at 1401 Brentwood Parkway NE is being turned over to KIPP DC Public Charter School, and the Charles E. Young Elementary School located at 820 26th Street NE has been provided to Two Rivers Public Charter School. Both KIPP and Two Rivers plan to open their new facilities for the 2015 to 2016 school term.
As you remember KIPP was trying to relocate their existing high school to a space near Nationals Park. Instead the charter will take over Hamilton, demolish it, and build a brand-new 120,000 square foot building. The new site will allow KIPP to add about 450 seats over their current capacity of about 400 pupils.
The new high school building is located in close proximity to Gallaudet University. According to the press release, the two schools are now exploring ways that they can work together which may include "teacher training, student internships, security, transportation and community service."
The Tier 1 PMF Two Rivers PCS plans to replicate its existing pre-Kindergarten to eighth grade program at the Charles E. Young Elementary School. Jessica Wodatch, Two Rivers' executive director, pointed out that 1,800 students applied for 35 spots in last years' lottery, a situation which drove home the need to expand. Ms. Wodatch explained to the current study body that no child will be transferred from the current campuses to the new location.
Both charters are excited about the green space associated with their new homes.
Charles E. Young Elementary has been vacant since 2008. The Hamilton School was home to a DCPS program that was relocated to another building at the end of last school year.
The awards for these facilities were made in record time for the District of Columbia. Last July, the Department of General Services issued RFP's for four former DCPS facilities so these decisions were made in approximately two months. The rulings on the other schools put out to bid, Shaed Elementary School at 301 Douglas Street N.E. and Winston Education Campus at 3100 Erie Street S.E., will be made in the near future.
Commenting on the transfer of buildings to charters, Deputy Mayor of Education Smith remarked “Our top priority is ensuring that all students in the District have access to high-quality public school options. Making vacant school buildings available to public charter schools that are serving students well supports that goal, while also ensuring a vibrant community use for these city assets.”
Extremely encouraging news.