Calling for Nominations to officially name ‘New North Middle School’

The DCPS school planning team is asking for the public to submit nominations to officially name “New North MS” that will open on the campus of Coolidge High School for the 2019 – 2020 academic school year.  This public and community driven process is driven by the DCPS School Naming Policy

Naming Process Updated 062118.JPG

Your nomination may be based on a person or a place. While there are general requirements for all nominations, one based on an individual has additional and more specific requirements. Please see the requirements below but also please take time to review the full DCPS School Naming Policy

General Requirements for all nominations
All names, whether they are based on a person or a place, must meet the following general requirements:

  • The name symbolizes a contribution to society, including contributions made to the local school community
  • The name will lend prestige and status to an institution of learning
  • The name represents the DCPS mission, vision, and values.

Specific Requirements for nominations based on a person
All names based on a person must be the following requirements:

  • The individual must not be a living person
  • The individual must have been deceased for at least two (2) years; and
  • Only the individual’s given name as well as their surname may be used

(e.g. “Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School” rather than “Dunbar High School”)

If you would like to submit a nomination, then please use the following link to submit your nomination electronically: English, Español and አማርኛ (Ahmaric).

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One Pagers for Parents & Families about the opening of New North MS and the redesign of Coolidge HS

 

 

The DCPS School Planning team has made some one pagers for parents & families about the opening of the new Ward 4 middle school that will serve northern ward 4 beginning in school year 2019 – 2020. They also feature information about the phased opening of the school as well as the modernization and redesign happening at Coolidge HS.

Brightwood Education Campus
English, EspañolFrancaisTiếng Việt (Vietnamese),
አማርኛ,(Amharic), 中文 (Chinese)

LaSalle – Backus Education Campus
EnglishEspañol, FrançaisTiếng Việt (Vietnamese),
አማርኛ (Amharic),中文 (Chinese)

Takoma Education Campus
EnglishEspañolFrancaisTiếng Việt (Vietnamese),
አማርኛ (Amharic),中文 (Chinese)

Whittier Education Campus
EnglishEspañolFrancaisTiếng Việt (Vietnamese),
አማርኛ (Amharic),中文 (Chinese)

Winter Engagement Highlights

The DCPS School Planning team in collaboration with the DCPS Offices of Public and Family Engagement and College and Career Programs has recently completed a series of meetings with over 250 teachers, school leaders, parents, families and community members. The purpose of these meetings and events that started in November 2017 and concluded in April 2018 were to update the public and hear feedback about the district’s plans to modernize and redesign Coolidge High School as well as to open a to-be named  northern Ward 4 middle school for SY 2019 – 2020.

Winter Engagmement Timeline Summary
Above are the community and school groups the DCPS School Planning team has met with and engaged from November 2017 to April 2018 about the latest on the redesign and modernization of Coolidge High School as well as the plan for opening a new middle school.

The school planning team has heard plenty of helpful feedback, important critical questions and areas of excitement that fit into three big themes: A strong middle school opening, robust and equitable Coolidge academies and a successful middle school transition at the education campuses. Please note that below are overall themes and thus not every detail is included in the summary below. 

Strong Middle School Opening

  • Teachers and school staff at the new middle school should know students and the community.
  • The new middle school should have a strong academic program that prepares students for the new offerings at Coolidge High School.
  • It should be a school that is safe, supportive and able to support students from diverse backgrounds.
  • There is strong interest to hear more soon about what the new middle school will offer and opportunities to provide input into the planning.

Strong Middle School Transition

  • The middle school grades at the education campuses need to stay strong and robust during the transition years.
  • Students in the middle grades at the education campuses must have a quality middle school experience.
  • Schools and teachers must have the needed resources to successfully graduate their final middle school grades.
  • Middle school teachers and staff at the education campuses must be supported in securing new positions at either the new middle school or another middle school in the district.

Coolidge Academies

  • All students should have access to dual enrollment, advanced placement, career pathways and extracurricular activities.
  • All students should have plenty of opportunities to interact and build community across the three academies.

In the spring and summer months, the DCPS school planning team will be working on its next round of engagement which will likely include

  • Planning activities with 4th grade students, who will be the first 6th graders at the new middle school, in order to build investment and excitement
  • Working to continue the development of both the MS and HS programs
  • Working to promote overall awareness with parents and families about the changes that will take effect starting in August 2019.

Continue reading

New Ward 4 North Middle School Update

Middle School

Why is DCPS opening a new middle school in Ward 4?
In 2014 the DC Advisory Committee on Student Assignment, which was a group of residents, parents and community stakeholders, came together to review student assignment, boundaries and feeder patterns. After a nine month process of gathering input and feedback from all 8 wards with about 1,500 residents in focus groups, working groups and community meetings, they presented a set of recommendations to DCPS.

One of these recommendations included opening a new middle school in Ward 4. This recommendation and other factors behind this decision are summarized below.

  • 3 of the 4 education campuses that currently feed into Coolidge High School: LaSalle-Backus EC, Takoma EC and Brightwood EC are near capacity or are already over capacity.
  • In a recent strategic regional analysis DCPS helped conduct with the DC Office of Planning, some of the highest population growth in the city is expected in the neighborhoods of Brightwood Park, Takoma and Manor Park over the next 7 years.
  • In a 2016 survey of 150 parents and school staff from the education campuses, 90% of parents and 90% of staff recommended moving forward with the 2014 recommendation to open a new middle school.
  • Early childhood is in high demand. As of September 2017, there were over 70 in-boundary families on a waitlist to enroll in either PK3 or PK4. DCPS can offer more seats with the space created after the MS transition.

What is the schedule for the opening of the new middle school?
The new middle school will open in SY19-20 with a 6th grade class and will add a grade each year until it becomes a full middle school in SY21-22. Students currently enrolled in 5th grade and above will graduate from their education campus while students who are in 4th grade and younger will have the right to attend the new middle school.

New North MS Opening TimelineWho can attend the new middle school?
Families who currently live in the boundaries for LaSalle-Backus EC, Takoma EC, Whittier EC and Brightwood EC will have the right to send their child to the new middle school and will simply need to enroll starting in spring 2019. There is no additional criteria to enroll such as an application or testing.

What will the new middle school be named? Where will it be located?
The new middle school will be located on the campus of the newly modernized Coolidge High School on the corner of 5th ST NW and Sheridan ST NW. It will open in August 2019. The official name of the new middle school has not yet been determined. In the interim, the school will be unofficially referred to as ‘Coolidge MS’ or ‘New North MS’. The naming decision will be led by an extensive process of gathering ideas and feedback with the education campus communities in accordance with the DCPS policy governing the naming of new schools.

How has DCPS collected input from school communities including teachers, parents and school leaders?
DCPS has worked to engage many groups and stakeholders throughout Ward 4 to gather feedback and input following the work of the DC Advisory Committee on Student Assignment. See below for a summary of where we’ve been. As we move into 2018, the school planning team is looking forward to continuing the dialog and gathering input.

Engagment History.JPG

Why is DCPS doing a phased opening starting with a 6th grade?
DCPS considered multiple ideas on how to go about creating the best timeline for opening a new middle school. There was broad consensus among Principals that new school openings are best done by starting with one grade and growing by a new grade each year. This helps build a unified school culture. This is also less of a recruitment burden to hire staff and recruit students when building a new school one grade at a time. We also heard it’s important for current middle school students to have the opportunity to graduate from their education campus rather than moving to a new school while they are in middle school. Because of this phased approached beginning with 6th grade, students will transition to middle school at the end of the elementary grades as opposed to transitioning while in a middle school grade.

What will the new middle school offer?
DCPS is working to create programming at the new middle school that will help create a pipeline for a newly redesigned Coolidge High School that will launch in SY19-20. Families can expect programming that will help students prepare to enter one of the three academies at the relaunched Coolidge High School: Health Sciences, Mass Media and Early College.

If have any feedback, or additional questions or concerns, then who should I contact?
Please feel free to reach out to Brian Alexander on the School Planning team: brian.alexander@dc.gov. You can also follow @DCPSPlanning and @BAlexanderLeads on twitter for updates.

Coolidge High School Community Working Group Meeting

Thanks to everyone who attended our most recent Community Working Group (CWG) meeting on January 31st at the high school.  The school planning team along with the college and career programs team were excited to share some updates about what students and families can expect at Coolidge High School beginning in School Year 2019-2020 when it will open its new building with a new high school program defined by three academies: Health sciences, mass media, and a new, selective early college program.

Academies Overview

You can find the full presentation from the meeting about each of the academies: here . You can also see the full announcement from Wanda H. Legrand, Ed.D who is the Deputy Chancellor of Social Emotional Academic Development at DC Public Schools. The letter is available in five languages: EnglishEspañol, FrançaisTiếng Việt (Vietnamese) and አማርኛ (Ahmaric)

The community working group also had an opportunity to hear from the facilities and planning team about updates on the modernization of the building that is slated to begin in a few weeks and will complete in August 2019. We had special guests from the architect and design firms who showed the group, the color schemes of the tiles, hallways and classrooms of both the High School and the new Middle School. They also received and overall timeline of the construction project.

For more frequent and more in depth updates about the construction and modernization, you can visit the DCPS School Modernization page.

The picture below is a cross section of the atriums

Atriums All

The Middle School addition on the south side of the building

Middle School

Finally, check out below an example of the new classrooms

Classroom 1

Questions? What’s Next?

There are some frequently asked questions we have received over the past few months. You are welcome to check out our current FAQ document to see if it meets your needs. You may also find it in additional languages:  Español, Français, Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese), አማርኛ (Amharic), and  中文 (Chinese)

Moving forward the school planning team will continue to engage and get input from a wide variety of stakeholders in the spring to include school staff, family and community members at Coolidge HS and its feeder education campuses at Brightwood EC, Takoma EC, LaSalle-Backus EC and Whittier EC.

The school planning team will work with school leadership and the DCPS Office of Family and Public Engagement to identify and plan future spring engagement events. Stay tuned to this blog for updates. You can also follow us on twitter @DCPSPlanning and @BAlexanderLeads. You can also contact us by e-mail at dcps.planning@dc.gov and brian.alexander@dc.gov.

 

Ward 4 Education Alliance Meeting

Updated 11/30 with presentation shared at this meeting: 

Thank you to everyone who attended the Ward 4 Ed Alliance meeting and shared feedback! We are currently putting together a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to answer all the questions and concerns we heard. In the mean time, the presentation from the meeting can be found here.

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Join the Strategic School Planning and College & Career Teams on Thursday, November 9th to learn more about updates for Coolidge HS at the Ward 4 Ed Alliance Meeting

  • Location: Powell ES- 1350 Upshur St. NW, Washington, DC 20011
  • Time: 6 – 8 PM

Contact us at DCPS.Planning@dc.gov with any questions and see you next week!

Coolidge and Middle Grades Feedback and Updates

We spent the month of February visiting Coolidge’s four feeder education campuses: Brightwood, LaSalle-Backus, Whittier, and Takoma, to meet with parents and staff about the planning process for Coolidge and the new middle school. At each of the eight meetings, we provided background on the project, planning process, and gathered input on a few key questions:

  • What are you excited about?
  • What are you concerned about?
  • How should DCPS support families through the transition? What do you want to make sure we’re thinking about?
  • What do you want to see DCPS do to support EC staff members in the middle grades if they are not continuing with their EC, and specifically if they’re interested in transitioning to the new middle school?

Presentation from parent meetings is below:

We got a lot of helpful feedback from parent and staff communities. Below is a summary of what we heard:

  • What are you excited about?
    • Middle school and elementary students each having their own space. More space in the feeder schools for enrichment and other activities.
    • Traditional middle school experience for 6-8th graders. More space for both elementary school students and middle school students.
    • With a larger middle school enrollment, more comprehensive offerings that come with a larger budget – sports, advanced course offerings, world languages, electives, extracurricular activities
    • New facilities
    • One middle school for the neighborhood instead of four small ones can improve alignment with the neighborhood high school.
    • Currently many of the middle grades teachers in the EC’s have to teach across multiple grades or content areas. If they transition to a more comprehensive middle school they are likely to be able to focus more on one grade level and content.
  • What are you concerned about?
    • Crowding in the area with an elementary, middle, and high school in close proximity. Safety, parking, crowd control.
    • Proximity of the middle school to Coolidge High school. What will potential interactions and shared spaces look like?
    • Transportation, especially for further away schools like LaSalle-Backus
    • Programming at MS – what will it look like? Advanced offerings? SPED?
    • Transition challenges of bringing together four different middle grades and their own cultures
    • Teacher support – what will DCPS do to help middle grades teachers who may be out of a job post-transition? How early can these supports be communicated?
    • Will there be limited space or enrollment?
    • Potential to lose positive elements of each individual school’s culture
    • Support for families, particularly Spanish speaking families (but also Amharic speaking) who may need extra attention navigating the transition
    • Support for the EC’s as they transition to elementary schools – how will their budget be impacted? Will they be able to have the same offerings?
  • What thoughts or ideas do you have to make the transition successful for students, families, and teachers?
    • Lots of opportunities for parents, students, and staff to collaborate and build relationships on the front end – can parents get together and begin forming a PTA before the school opens? Can they begin collaborating on school culture and climate?
    • Communicate early and often to staff about what the transition will look like, what support they will have, and when they will have it.
    • Think about how can students from the four schools begin to build culture before the school opens – barbecues, retreats, sporting events or other extracurricular collaborations.
    • Home visits to EC feeder students or enrolled students
    • Bring students in to visit the new school before it opens

We’ll be continuing our engagement of the Coolidge community and its four feeder communities over the next two and a half years. In the more immediate term, we should have a proposed staffing policy for EC middle grades teachers public this spring, and will be at the Ward 4 Education Alliance meeting on Thursday, March 9th at Whittier EC at 6:30pm to discuss Coolidge’s planning process and building modernization. Join us!

As always, feel free to get in touch at DCPS.Planning@dc.gov.