Archive for the ‘Schools’ category

Fossils at Park View School

August 17, 2017

A while ago I found a website that explores fossils in the architecture of Washington, D.C. by Christopher Barr. The site is organized by geological periods and shows examples of fossils that are in stone used in local buildings. I was immediate drawn to the sections on Sacred Heart Church and the Unification Church on 16th Street.

But as I reviewed the site, I suspected that we would also have fossils in the limestone used at the Park View School — and after inspecting the school, my hunch was right. As near as I can tell, the limestone appears to be Indiana Limestone from the Mississippian period. Below are photos of some of the fossils I found at the school.

(An area of trace fossils or, more technically, “ichnofossils”. These are located on the north side of the entry doors on Warder Street.)

(The structures that resemble netting are typically fenestrate bryozoans.)

Tubman Field Permitting Creates Conflict with Community Use: Meeting Seeks Solutions

July 20, 2017

Early this July, the Department of General Services (DGS) issued a permit to Zog Sports reserving the athletic field at Tubman Elementary School for an organized soccer league on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The permit runs through August 31st. A Bocce league currently has a permit to use the field on Tuesdays. The permits for these leagues have effectively closed use of the field to the neighborhood pick up soccer games that have occurred nightly at Tubman for many years.

This conflict of use was brought to the attention of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A on July 12th when an incident occurred on the field during their meeting. While most recreational areas are under the Department of Parks and Recreation, athletic fields on DC Public Schools property are part of DCPS and supervised by DGS.

Over the past week, I’ve been working in collaboration with DGS, the Mayor’s office, and the Office of Latino Affairs (OLA) to find both short- and long-term solutions to this issue. The community members organized a meeting on Wednesday, July 20, to continue the conversation with representatives of DGS, OLA, the ANC, and the Mayor’s office to follow up on where things currently stand.

(Commission Boese addressing the community at Tubman Elementary School with DGS’s Jackie Stanley (left) and OLA’s Eduardo Perdomo (right).)

DGS’s Jackie Stanley came prepared with an initial short-term solution that included reserving the field for the community on Friday evenings and Saturdays as well as before 6 pm on weeknights. Based on the community’s response, this proposal doesn’t meet the neighborhood needs, and Stanley listened to feedback from the residents so that she can continue to work from within DGS to find a solution.

I addressed the assembly stating that I believe there is both a quick fix to prevent this conflict occurring in the future and suggested a need to review the underlying cause that allows for school athletic fields to be permitted in the first place.

The simple solution moving forward would be to change DGS’s process to require that permit applications be reviewed by Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and have a letter of support from them as part of the application process. This is currently standard practice for DPR permit applications. When a permit application is reviewed by the local ANC the community is able to identify use conflicts before an application is approved. In short, this provides the necessary oversight to ensure that the community is not adversely impacted by the issuance of the permit.


(Commissioner Boese discussing the need for ANC review and letters of support for DGS/DCPS school field permits.)

The practice of issuing permits to use DCPS athletic fields dates back to 1982, with the establishment of the DCPS Realty Office as a result of D.C. Law 4-158, the District of Columbia Board of Education Leasing Authority Act of 1982. The purpose of this law was to grant permission to the Board of Education to enter into lease and other agreements for the use of DC Public Schools buildings and grounds, to defray costs associated with the operation and maintenance of public school buildings, and for other purposes.

I believe that this 35 year old law no longer adequately serves the best interests of the community or the District of Columbia as a whole. It was established during a period when the District population, and our tax revenue, was in decline. As the District has grown, so has its budget. This has resulted in many school fields being renovated for the benefit of the community. However, this also makes these athletic fields more desirable for organized sport clubs which are also looking for places to play.

Because of this, we need to go back and review the 1982 law as well as the entire permitting process with the goal of amending both to ensure that we continue to have fair and balanced access to school fields for all who wish to use them.

 

Annie’s Ace Hardware Proud Partner of Powell Padres!

May 19, 2017

The Powell Elementary School Carnival is tomorrow, Saturday May 20th! In support of Powell, Annie’s Ace Hardware on Upshur will be giving customers an opportunity to support the school when they shop at Annie’s. See the announcement from Annie’s below.

Press release

Marvin Mancia, Assistant Manager at Annie’s Ace Hardware, reads to students at Powell Elementary

Annie’s Ace Hardware in Petworth supports a number of schools in the area but we have a special partnership with Powell Elementary which is right down the block from us. Our employees happily volunteer to be judges at their spelling bees, participate in Dr. Seuss reading days, and host tours of our store.

This Saturday, May 20, the Powell Carnival will be held at Roosevelt High School’s athletic field. As part of this event, Annie’s Ace Hardware will do a “round-up” fundraiser. What this means is that all customers will be asked if they would like to round-up their purchase to support the Powell Padres, the parent organization for Powell Elementary. If your total comes to $13.49, you will have the opportunity to “round-up” to $14.00 and 51 cents will be donated to Powell.

We appreciate your support of this event!

New Cafeteria for Park View School on Track for Fall 2018

April 27, 2017

At the April 26, 2017, School Improvement Team (SIT) meeting for the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View Elementary School, the Department of General Services announced the architects, builders, and timeline for the new cafeteria project. The project is aiming to break ground in the winter of 2017 and be completed by August 2018, in time for the new academic year. The architect chosen is Shinberg Levinas with Winmar Construction chosen as the general contractor.

The scope of the project includes a full kitchen, a larger dining space, a new loading zone, and a regrading of the parking lot at the rear of the building along Newton Place. Leading up to construction, the design team will be developing the plans and getting permits. During construction, there will be times when there will be no off street parking for the school’s teachers. No plan was shared at the SIT meeting on what, if any, accommodations would be made for teachers during the reconstruction of the parking lot. Another issue that was raised was the configuration and condition of the alley behind the school, which is currently very narrow and difficult for school deliveries and regular trash collection.

The estimated schedule for the project is below. The entire slide deck from the meeting and additional information and updates are/will be available at the Bruce Monroe @ Park View school modernization Web page.

Gardeners! Mark Your Calendars for Mighty Greens’ Spring Seedling Sale

April 10, 2017

City Blossoms — a nonprofit dedicated to fostering healthy communities by developing creative, kid-driven green spaces and innovative resources — announced an upcoming seedling sale called Mighty Greens that local gardeners may want to check out. Mighty Greens is a youth-led cooperative business run by students from Cardozo Education Campus and Eastern Senior High School. Mighty Greens combines garden-education with business skills to prepare students for possible next-level careers and job-readiness. Students maintain garden spaces, grow seedlings and produce added-value products, then selling those products and produce back to their communities. There is an information sheet about Mighty Greens  below.

Mighty Greens is hosting an upcoming seedling sale and weekly farmer’s market in our neighborhood! All of the money they earn through sales goes back into their pockets and into maintaining and growing their business. They are currently growing spring (kale, collards, swiss chard, lettuce), summer (peppers, tomatoes, basil, cilantro) and flower (calendula, marigolds, zinnias) seedlings.

Spring Seedling Sale:

  • Saturday April 15th (10-1pm) at the Girard Children’s Community Garden (1480 Girard Street, NW)

The students at Cardozo Education Campus will also be holding a weekly farmer’s market, selling both seedlings and fresh produce:

  • Wednesday April 26th–Wednesday May 31st (3:30-5:30pm) at Cardozo Education Campus (corner of 13th and Clifton)

This is a great opportunity to get a start on your annual gardening and support our local students.

 

Council Asks DGS to Study & Recommend Options for Community Use of Schools

January 25, 2017

school-use-billOn January 10, 2017, Councilmember Charles Allen — along with Councilmembers Robert White, Anita Bonds, and DAvid Grosso — introduced a bill to require the Department of General Services (DGS) to convene a task force to identify barriers to and develop recommendations for community use of public school facilities and ot submit those recommendations to the Council. The Task Force must transmit a report of its work and findings to the Council by March 1, 2018.

In reading through the bill, some of the items requested of DGS includes identifying existing barriers to community use of school buildings, determining costs for community use of school buildings, and developing recommendations for a District-wide policy to allow for community use of school buildings. The report’s focus is to be on policies and practices for increasing community use of school facilities for both organized and casual recreation, with an emphasis on promoting healthy activity.

While I’m encourage by this effort and can support its goals, I don’t feel it is going far enough. Based on messages I’ve read on area listservs over the last few years, this appears to be in response — in part — to residents seeking access to swimming pools (such as the one at Dunbar High School), gymnasiums, and other recreation focused areas of new and existing schools. I think such an approach is too narrow and presumes a definition of recreation that is physical in nature. For me, recreation needs to be defined more liberally and broadly, and increasing community access to school facilities for any purpose that builds a stronger community out to be the goal.

One issue that is particularly lacking in many neighborhoods is available community meeting space, where neighbors can come together over local issues and get to know each other as part of the process.  With this in mind, I’ll be reviewing the types of spaces available in some of our area schools, and coming up with a list of recommendations to be considered by the task force as they work on their report for the Council.

 

Park View School Cafeteria Replacement Project Moving Forward

November 21, 2016

At a School Improvement Team meeting held on November 2nd (minutes here), it was confirmed that $11.2M has been dedicated to replace and upgrade the cafeteria at the Bruce Monroe @ Park View Elementary School. The project was delayed in part due to a lot of turnover at the Department of General Services, both on the procurement and project management side. As a result, DGS has decided to execute in a more efficient way — Design-Build. This is when the architect and construction company are brought on together, which allows the design, planning, pricing, permitting, and construction to move quicker. The cafeteria kitchen expansion project is expected to increase the dining area for students and cooking space for staff.

At the time of this posting, the RFP had not been issued, but is expected to be issued any day. Interested neighbors can check the  Bruce Monroe @ Park View School Modernization Web page for updates.

NRHP Park View School(The Park View elementary school at 3560 Warder Street, NW)


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