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Fenty Seeks Tenants for Closed Schools

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced today that the city is seeking applications from charter schools and agencies interested in leasing eight school buildings that are closed.

Earlier this year, Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee decided to close 23 under-enrolled schools, mostly this summer. The move was in response to a steady enrollment decline and an effort to save money.

"We hope to identify a reuse option for these public properties that allows us to both preserve and revitalize our communities," Fenty (D) said in a statement.

The schools are: Clark Elementary in Northwest Washington; Rudolph Elementary in Northwest; J.F. Cook Elementary in Northwest; M.M. Washington High in Northwest; Taft Center in Northeast; Backus Middle in Northeast; the 1911 building next to Randle Highlands Elementary in Southeast; and the old Grimke Elementary in Northwest. The building next to Randle Highlands and the old Grimke school closed previously.

Fenty's spokeswoman said the Office of Property Management will issue requests for proposal next week.

Dion Haynes

By Dion Haynes  |  June 27, 2008; 5:18 PM ET
Categories:  Education  
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The Chancellor is systematically depleting the educational roles of educational aides/ paraprofessionals in dc public schools. It has been told to me by my union official that she is not honoring the details of the paraprofessional contract. Specifically giving Head start paraprofessionals who were in this position during the 07-08 school year a letter of separation when it is clearly stated they have until 2012 to become highly qualified. As it stands now the educational aide / paraprofessional role will be held by Head start aides ,which will eliminate all other paraprofessional positions held in the past. This will leave special education, pre-k and k teachers without the much needed assistance of a paraprofessional. This problem will become more prudent as classroom sizes will surely become larger due to the closing of over 20 schools. I would like to remind the Chancellor that in most cases it is the paraprofessional who maintains order, and give the children the individualize instruction needed to be successful. The Chancellor also needs to remember these paraprofessionals live in the communities that they work in. These paraprofessionals are not new faces like those of admistrators, or teachers that change on a yearly basis. Paraprofessionals provide dc public schools with a sense of permanency and consistency.

Posted by: Caring Paraprofessional | June 27, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

While making the decision to close 23 schools has anyone thought of the children and staff of our community schools. How are these children going to move to other community schools safely. Their are issues between people on different streets which result in violence daily. How will the staff be impacted with all of Rhee's radical cuts with no checks and balances.Where is the plan for these issues. It looks like both Fenty and Rhee have no longterm plans and the City Council is giving both of them all the rope necessary to hang themselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: District of Criminals Blog | June 28, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Those para-professionals are especially important with new teachers and the teach for america group. I think TFA is great, but those teachers are counted as "highly qualified" but they are really student teachers. Our school copes by pairing experienced classroom aides with these inexperienced teachers. They need them to be able to keep their classes in control. In many cases it is these para-professionals who are serving as teachers because they have the experience the newbies don't.

Posted by: District Parent | June 30, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

As a former student of Rudolph Elementary, I am deeply saden to hear that it has been closed. I feel that no one cares about the children anymore and their safety. If we need highly qualified persons in the schools, than the school system should look into qualifying these persons. Combining students in other neighborhoods can become a big issue. I hope that the safety of the children is everyone's first priority!

Posted by: Former DC School Student | July 1, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Can we do something about Rees' spam please?

Posted by: asdfdsaf | July 2, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

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