Tomorrow we are calling on the DC Council Committee on the Budget to restore $54 million in funding to reopen and modernize Shaw Middle School. Here is a copy of our letter to the DC Council.
The Honorable David Grosso
At-Large DC Councilman
Chair, Committee on Education
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20004
Re: Funding for Shaw Middle School
Dear Councilman Grosso:
The Central Shaw Neighborhood Association is deeply concerned that the Mayor’s proposed budget excludes $54 million for the modernization of the Shaw Middle School. We urge you, and your colleagues, to restore funding to this critical project and commit to a timeline for planning and construction.
Shaw is a growing community, rich in both history and new opportunities. Few neighborhoods in the country have experienced the revitalization and growth that Shaw has experienced in recent years, but in order to ensure the longevity of a healthy community, our public education options must grow with the neighborhood. As long-time neighbors welcome new ones, we all look to what the future holds for our families. Re-opening a modern Shaw Middle School is an essential element to realizing the potential of that future.
Seaton Elementary School and Cleveland Elementary School in Shaw have seen strong gains in test scores and enrollment. In order for neighborhood residents to fully commit to these schools, they need to have great, local options for the next step beyond the fifth grade. Without Shaw Middle School, these elementary schools will continue to lose students in the upper grades as parents struggle to find an appropriate placement for their children.
The same pattern of upper grade attrition is happening at Ross Elementary School, where despite test scores in the 90s, by third grade children are leaving in droves because of a perceived lack of a satisfactory middle school. Re-creating and modernizing Shaw Middle School will help these successful elementary schools retain students and will also ameliorate crowding at schools such as Deal, because residents will stay put in Shaw and the surrounding areas.
Rebuilding and improving Shaw Middle School also makes sense in light of the city’s investment of millions of dollars at Dunbar High School. Dunbar High School is currently under-enrolled, in part because local students who should be attending Dunbar have been scattered far away to Francis Stevens Middle School and to Cardozo. Re-creating Shaw Middle School is an integral step in revitalizing Dunbar.
The families of Shaw are invested in the District of Columbia. We ask that you invest in our families, our children and our educators for generations to come, by restoring funding to the Shaw Middle School.
Thank you for your representation of the District and for your leadership on the Education Committee. Please do not hesitate to contact the Central Shaw Neighborhood Association if you would like any additional perspectives on this or other neighborhood issues. Again, we deeply appreciate the Committee allowing public comment and giving citizens a meaningful voice in education policies affecting their neighborhood families.
Central Shaw Neighborhood Association
The Honorable Charles Allen
The Honorable Anita Bonds
The Honorable Yvette Alexander
The Honorable Phil Mendelson
The Honorable Mary Cheh
The Honorable David Grosso
The Honorable Kenyan McDuffie
The Honorable Elissa Silverman
The Honorable Vincent Orange
The Honorable Brianne Nadeau
The Honorable Jack Evans