‘New North’ MS Naming Update

The DCPS school planning team has been searching for a name for ‘New North’ MS that will open next school year on the campus of Coolidge HS with a 6th grade class. This school will serve the Brightwood EC, LaSalle-Backus EC, Takoma EC and Whittier EC school committees. Families who live in the boundaries of these 4 education campuses or who currently attend them will have the right to enroll their child at anytime starting in April 2019 for the 2019-20 School Year.

‘New North’ MS will add a grade each year until it is a full 6th – 8th grade middle school in SY21-22. We spent the summer collecting ideas and nominations from the public. We are very pleased that most of the nominations came from parents, families and community members in Ward. 4

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The DCPS school planning team worked together with the Coolidge Community group to help evaluate and narrow down the nominations to 10 finalist names. The group used a rubric that was developed from criteria outlined in the DCPS school naming policy

Here are the 10 finalist names. You can read more about them here.

Ida B. Wells

Georgiana Simpson

Lawrence Graves

Alma Woodsey Thomas

America Libertad Calderón

James Baldwin

Josephine Dorothy Butler

Paul A. Quander, Jr.

John Wesley Cromwell and Otelia Cromwell

Mary Ann Shadd

We are asking the general public to provide us with feedback on these 10 names.

Please take our survey here. It will be open from October 15 – October 30th. This survey will help DCPS narrow this list down to a final three that DCPS senior leadership will consider, review and work with the DC City Council for final review and action on the name of the school.

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October 4 Coolidge Community Meeting Recap

The Coolidge Community Working Group came together on October 4th at 6:30pm to discuss and engage around updates on the Coolidge HS modernization. This included highlights on Stadium renovations and progress toward the overall school modernization. Please visit the DCPS Modernization website for more information.

The school planning team shared updates on the progress toward finding a name for ‘New North’ MS that will open next school year with a 6th grade class on the campus of Coolidge HS. DCPS received 50 nominations from the public. Once duplicates are accounted for, this represents 31 individuals and 2 places/neighborhoods. The school planning team is pleased that 78% of the nominations came from Ward 4.

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For more information on the nominations including who was nominated and from where the nominations came and the naming process, please click here. During our meeting, members of the working group helped evaluate the submitted nominations with a rubric based on criteria from the DCPS Naming policy. There will be a survey for the broader public to share their thoughts on the finalist names this month.

The school planning team also introduced updates program for New North MS including proposed class and course offerings as well as the overall school vision. For the full presentation of the evening please please click here..

New North MS Program Overview.10042018Our next Community Working Group meeting will be Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Coolidge HS at 6:30pm. The purpose of this meeting will be to continue the conversation with the materials posted here about Coolidge HS and New North MS. This will include modernization updates of the Frank R. Williams Center and more information about New North MS.

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

The period to submit nominations opened on June 14 and ended on September 7. Please stay tuned to our blog for the next round of community input later this fall. 

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”)

 

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.