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District Government Awards Two Former Public School Buildings to High-Quality Public Charter Schools

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

District Government Awards Two Former Public School Buildings to High-Quality Public Charter Schools

KIPP DC and Two Rivers Public Charter Schools to open new sites

(Washington, DC) The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) and the Department of General Services (DGS) today awarded the Hamilton School at 1401 Brentwood Parkway NE to KIPP DC and the Charles E. Young Elementary School at 820 26th Street NE to Two Rivers Public Charter School. KIPP DC plans to move its existing high school to Hamilton, where it will have room to expand. Two Rivers will replicate its highly successful preschool-through-8th-grade program at Young. Both schools plan to open these new sites in time for the 2015-2016 school year.

“KIPP DC and Two Rivers are great examples of the success of public charter schools in the District of Columbia, and I am excited to see them serve more students and continue to build on their success,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “I am especially excited that we have been able to quickly identify a good alternative for KIPP DC’s high school needs, and look forward to seeing a new, high-quality high school in Ward 5.”

Mayor Gray continued: “It is also very gratifying that we have been able to find a strong candidate in Two Rivers to reuse the Charles E. Young building, which once housed a school with a proud history. These are valuable public buildings and I firmly believe that they should continue to serve the educational needs of District families.”

KIPP DC operates 12 schools at four sites and currently serves more than 3,600 students at all grade levels. Hamilton will be KIPP DC’s first stand-alone high school in the District, serving up to 850 students. KIPP DC College Preparatory, which will move from its current location in Ward 8 to the Hamilton site, had a college acceptance rate of 100 percent for its first graduating class. The charter school plans to demolish the existing Hamilton building to make way for a brand new, 120,000-square-foot high school building and multi-use athletic fields. In addition to expanding the existing KIPP DC high school program by adding up to 450 seats, KIPP DC and Gallaudet University, which is adjacent to the Hamilton School, are exploring a series of innovative partnerships focused on teacher training, student internships, security, transportation and community service.

“We are thrilled to have access to the Hamilton site and to be able to relocate and expand our high-performing high school so that we can serve more students from across the city,” said Susan Schaeffler, Founder and CEO of KIPP DC. “Our students will be able to engage in rigorous college-preparatory coursework, compete on best-in-class athletic fields, explore technology and the arts, and prepare for the transition to college at a true high school campus and state-of-the-art facility.”

Two Rivers Public Charter School currently serves approximately 500 students in preschool through 8th grade at two buildings on Florida Avenue in the NoMA neighborhood. Two Rivers provides a highly successful expeditionary learning program and has been a Tier 1 school for the past three years on the D.C. Public Charter School Board’s Performance Management Framework. Though it draws students from across the District, the majority of the current student body lives in Ward 5, 6 or 7 and the school expects the Young location will draw more students from high-need areas. The school plans to serve up to 500 additional students at the Charles E. Young site.

“Two Rivers is thrilled to be awarded the Charles E. Young school building,” said Jessica Wodatch, Two Rivers’ CEO. “Last year, more than 1,800 students applied for fewer than 35 seats at Two Rivers. Expanding to the Young site will enable us to offer more high-quality seats for D.C. kids to experience our vibrant, engaging education. We also look forward to partnering with the dedicated members of the Carver Langston community.”

“Our top priority is ensuring that all students in the District have access to high-quality public school options,” said Abigail Smith, Deputy Mayor for Education. “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.”

DC Public Schools (DCPS) closed Charles E. Young in 2008, and it has since sat unused. Hamilton was formerly the site for DCPS’ C.H.O.I.C.E program until the program was relocated and the building closed at the end of the last school year.

DGS, which is the agency responsible for managing the reuse of District property, issued a Request for Offers (RFO) in July 2013 for Hamilton, Young, Shaed Elementary School at 301 Douglas Street NE and Winston Education Campus at 3100 Erie Street SE. DGS and DME are presently evaluating the proposals for Winston and Shaed and plan to announce awards for these two sites in the coming weeks.